1 learning and growing through challenging r.e. The Buckinghamshire Agreed Syllabus for Religious Education
2 A model for Religious Education 2 How we behave affects other people and the world we live in. This is why our behaviour is an important issue. Our behaviour is influenced by our attitudes. Our attitudes are influenced by our experiences and beliefs. RE is the opportunity to reflect on our experiences and explore the beliefs, values and attitudes that guide us through life by exploring the beliefs, values, practices and ways of life of the principal religions and secular philosophies. We all play a part in creating the world and society we live in. What we believe, whether religious or not, contributes significantly to this. RE helps pupils (and the school as a whole) to reflect on the ways in which beliefs influence the way people live their lives.
3 learning and growing through challenging r.e. 3 The Buckinghamshire Agreed Syllabus for Religious Education
4 4 Contents Preface 05 1 Introduction Challenging RE National and local requirements What is the value of RE in 21st 07 Century schools? 2 The educational rationale for RE in 09 the curriculum 2.1 The importance of RE RE and Personal Development 10 3 The basis for planning quality 11 Religious Education 3.1 The four aims of RE The Learning Process for Challenging RE Conceptual Creativity: engaging pupils 13 in their learning 3.4 How to structure pupils learning 16 guidance on planning 3.5 Inclusion and Special Educational Needs Skills and attitudes in Religious Education Religious Education and Learning Across 19 the Curriculum 4 What pupils will learn Which religions to study RE in the Early Years and Foundation Stage KS1 curriculum: Enquiring into experience 25 and feelings 4.4 KS2 curriculum: Enquiring into experience 28 and beliefs 4.5 KS3 curriculum: Enquiring into experience 32 and ultimate questions 4.6 Key Stage 4 curriculum RE in the Sixth Form Concepts in RE 39 5 Progression and assessment Assessment Progression through the aims of the 41 Agreed Syllabus 5.3 Using the learning process skills to support 43 and plan progression 5.4 Transition across the Key Stages Assessing Pupil Progress Levels of Attainment 48
5 Preface We live in challenging times and it is appropriate that we have maintained this title for our newly revised Buckinghamshire Agreed Syllabus Challenging RE This syllabus is a revised version of the previous one which was so well received by RE teachers across the county. This corresponded well with SACRE s impression gained from listening to pupils who have benefited from the challenges implicit in the subject. RE is more interesting especially due to the topic being more fun, interactive and sensitive. I like learning about these topics because I learn more about what people believe in and don t believe in. Everything you learn in RE has two sides and you need to see both sides. The Agreed Syllabus Conference agreed that only minimal changes should be made, so that schools may, if they wish, continue as before with no need to change. There is less prescription of content, allowing schools the freedom to plan a curriculum which is appropriate for their pupils yet still maintaining the integrity of RE as a discrete subject. In addition, the revised version has a contents page, an enlarged resource list, separately produced support materials, as well as a pupil friendly version of the assessing pupil progress statements, much of it in electronic form. We commend Challenging RE The Buckinghamshire Agreed Syllabus for RE to you all, trusting it will facilitate the delivery of exciting and reflective RE for the benefit of the pupils in our county so that their learning enables them to develop as people and to take their place in society. This is the culmination of some stimulating collaborative work by a very professional team of teachers from a broad spread of educational background, namely the Writing Panel. Their work was monitored by members of Buckinghamshire SACRE and the Agreed Syllabus Conference, who are extremely grateful to them for their creative work. Our hope now is that Challenging RE will be enjoyed throughout Buckinghamshire. 5 Sue Imbriano Director of Children s Services Valerie McFarlane Chair of the Agreed Syllabus Conference Chair of SACRE The Oxford Diocesan Board of Education values its partnership with Buckinghamshire County Council in the promotion of high quality Religious Education for all pupils in all schools. It warmly welcomes the publication of this revised Buckinghamshire Agreed Syllabus Challenging RE , which takes account of developments in education and the greater freedoms schools have to plan their own curriculum for their pupils. It recognises that Challenging RE encourages a broad and balanced approach, which will develop pupils critical and philosophical thinking skills and their respect for people whose opinions and beliefs are different from their own. It is also pleased that guidance has been provided on the religions to be studied in each Key Stage. Church schools are strongly recommended to follow this guidance so that the aspirations of the Non-statutory National Framework for Religious Education, thoroughly endorsed by the Church of England, will be achieved, namely that all pupils will have the opportunity to explore all six of the principal religions found in Great Britain by the age of fourteen. Going beyond the recommendation of this syllabus, the Diocesan Board of Education expects all pupils in its secondary schools to follow an externally accredited course in Religious Studies in Key Stage 4. All those who have contributed to the production of this syllabus are to be congratulated and it is recommended as the basis of Religious Education courses in Voluntary Aided Church of England schools. Leslie Stephen Director of Education, Diocese of Oxford
6 1. Introduction 6 Challenging RE not another Buckinghamshire Agreed Syllabus? Well, no, not exactly. In the survey sent out in 2010 to gauge teacher views of Challenging RE , 97% of respondents found it very useful or useful and the overwhelming request was not to change it unnecessarily. This corresponded well with SACRE s impression gained from our meetings with teachers in schools, and responses at training. The main adjustments asked for were greater clarity of structure, more resource ideas and more support materials. The ASC agreed: a. that there would be minimal change and that schools may, if they so choose, carry on with their planning using the current Agreed Syllabus ( Challenging RE ) with no need to change; b. that there would be less prescription of content, to reflect more fully the freedoms of schools to plan an appropriate curriculum for their pupils whilst at the same time keeping the integrity of RE as an important subject in its own right; c. that the statutory content will be set out in Key Stage frameworks in the form of key questions, except for KS4 and Post-16; d. that the structure, particularly for planning and progression, would be brought together more coherently; e. that the new Agreed Syllabus would provide only what is statutory with no set out units and that support materials would be produced separately; f. that the Agreed Syllabus for would become the first layer of support material, with the units and teaching ideas; and g. that schools could adopt more flexible ways to plan and structure their RE whilst ensuring that they provide a coherent and meaningful experience for their pupils. So, to make this very clear: 1. you can carry on as you are without having to change anything that you are already doing, provided, of course, that you are confident that you are already meeting the requirements of Challenging RE ; 2. or, if you so choose, you can use the structure and reduced prescription in the revised syllabus to change the way you provide RE and totally overhaul your current provision; 3. or you can implement changes in a gradual, planned way to reflect and take account of national changes to the school curriculum. The current Government has stressed that Religious Education remains part of the statutory Basic Curriculum, alongside the National Curriculum and that it expects all pupils to receive RE as part of the school s provision. It is an entitlement of all registered pupils in a maintained school, including those in Reception and Post-16, unless they are withdrawn by their parents. At the time of going to print, the situation regarding Academies and Free Schools is unclear. However, SACRE hopes that this Agreed Syllabus will encourage and enable all schools in Buckinghamshire, whatever their designation, to provide quality and challenging RE for all their pupils, not just because by law they have to, but because headteachers, governors and teachers see the value of good RE for their pupils, school and communities.
7 1.1 National and local requirements The national requirements for Religious Education are set out in the 1944, 1988 Education Acts and section 375(3) of the 1996 Education Act. Every Agreed Syllabus shall reflect the fact that the religious traditions in Great Britain are in the main Christian, whilst taking account of the teachings and practices of the other principal religions represented in Great Britain Christianity should have more time devoted to it than the other religions taken together. This is further explained in DfE circular 1/94 from which the following paragraphs are taken: Religious Education is required to be included, alongside the National Curriculum, in the Basic Curriculum which all maintained schools must provide for their registered pupils; this includes those in reception classes and sixth forms, and is not confined to pupils of compulsory school age. Para 20. If the parent asks that a child should be wholly or partly excused from Religious Education at the school, then the school must comply. Para 44. As a whole and at each Key Stage, the relative content devoted to Christianity in the syllabus should predominate. Para 35. Whilst, as with other subjects, there is no minimum time allocation for RE, it is expected that schools will provide sufficient time, in planning their whole school curriculum, to achieve the aims of the Agreed Syllabus and ensure their pupils have a coherent and meaningful experience of RE. In developing this Agreed Syllabus, SACRE and the Agreed Syllabus Writing Panel of teachers suggest the equivalent of a minimum of 5% of curriculum time as an aggregate over each Key Stage in order to be able to give the pupils a meaningful experience of their RE. This could be planned as a separate subject, but you might want to provide intensive learning for half a term and then no RE for the other half of the term; or in a mixed curriculum model, involving RE as part of a creative curriculum in which it is sometimes a lead subject and others a support subject; or as a vehicle for intensive Literacy development; or occasionally through drop-down days focusing on whole-curriculum issues such as creativity, community, identity, truth; or as a combination of all these approaches over the course of a Key Stage. In other words, the provision for RE can be flexible to meet the planning and learning needs of the school so long as the school ensures that pupil learning, progression and assessment are transparent and coherent and that teachers can report meaningfully on progression and attainment in Religious Education. 1.2 What is the value of RE in 21st century schools? Many people will ask: What will my school/ child/pupils/society gain from RE? Why give time to RE in an already overcrowded curriculum? These are important questions, which we should seriously consider. Likewise, those who ask should seriously consider the response and, if RE is still deemed to be low on the priority list, should be able to justify that position in the context of the nature, purpose and educational value of RE. 7
8 8 RE helps pupils with their literacy, creativity, personal development and critical thinking; it provides opportunities for and develops their ability to reflect on experience; it helps them to develop skills in handling and analysing the big questions and concepts that arise from experience; it develops debating, reasoning, self-expression, relationships and selfunderstanding; it helps pupils and staff s understanding of identity-in-difference. their search for meaning, purpose and value. and their sense of humour and enjoyment! It helps schools with their ethos, values. sense of community and belonging, relationships for learning. behaviour, expectations and aspirations. It helps society to grow, share, understand deal with controversy, learn to disagree whilst living together in community. explore meaning and truth, live by values. understand and respectfully challenge and be challenged by - people of different lifestyles, beliefs and practices. It helps us as humans to explore visions of humanity and at the same time reflect on the depths to which that humanity can sink In short, good RE is just what schools and society need to help develop some of the most important skills, attitudes, knowledge, understanding and dispositions that we would want for our children and young people. Can we imagine a future where people are unable to handle the big questions and concepts of life? Challenging RE is a most appropriate title for this Agreed Syllabus. RE should be academically, personally, spiritually, morally and socially challenging for us all. We hope you and your pupils will rise to these challenges, get a lot out of the Agreed Syllabus and, over time, be able to contribute to it.
9 2. The educational rationale for RE in the curriculum 2.1 The importance of RE Although RE is statutory, it justifies its place in the curriculum on purely educational grounds. It gives opportunities to explore a major and distinctive dimension of human experience, namely faith in a Divine Being as the source of all life, meaning and purpose, whilst also taking account of non-religious beliefs about humanity; to consider the search for meaning and value in a wondrous but also often confusing and sometimes threatening world; and to offer pupils the chance to raise and reflect on perennial questions about life. In doing this, it draws on the rich history of the major religious traditions in Britain, giving due prominence to Christianity to reflect the fact that the religious traditions in Great Britain are in the main Christian, whilst taking account of the principal world faiths, local communities and non-religious beliefs that may form the family background of many children in our schools. Thus there are two main educational purposes to RE. 1. so that pupils can learn about religions and beliefs which have influenced the lives of millions of people and heavily influenced the development of different human cultures. 2. so that pupils can learn more about themselves and their place in the world from their study of religion and belief. RE is therefore both rigorously academic and deeply personal. Effective RE reaches pupils of any religious faith or none and of all academic abilities; challenges pupils to question and explore their own and others understanding of the world; does not seek to impose religious beliefs upon pupils, nor compromise their own beliefs; raises questions of identity, meaning and value and encourages people to reflect on their experiences, behaviour and opinions; contributes positively and powerfully to the spiritual, personal, social, moral and cultural development of pupils; provides opportunities for pupils to develop key skills and thinking skills; teaches children and young people about Christian and other religions beliefs, practices and responses to ultimate questions so that they can understand the world better and develop their own sense of place within it. RE has a key role to play in enabling pupils to achieve and preparing them for the opportunities, responsibilities and experiences of life. 9
10 RE and Personal Development RE develops self-concept and self-esteem, explores moral and social frameworks and encourages people to reflect on experiences and emotions. It explores health in both specific issues and in the broader sense of the spiritual dimension of life. In RE we explore what it means to be a person and the way we should treat others, develop understanding of and respect for diverse beliefs and cultures and thus contribute to anti-racism and anti-bullying. RE promotes creative and conceptual thinking and links these to universal and personal human experiences so that learning is engaging, reflective and enjoyable. Personal development and academic achievement are woven together so that pupils are able to apply critical thinking to and reflect meaningfully on their spiritual, moral, social and cultural values. Pupils own experiences, beliefs and perceptions lie at the heart of RE. This pupil-centric approach both necessitates and ensures that they contribute to their learning. RE provides the opportunity for pupils to explore and reflect on spiritual and ethical values and thus helps them to develop qualities, attitudes and dispositions that will help them to engage effectively with the world of work and responsible citizenship.
11 3. The basis for planning quality Religious Education The Agreed Syllabus provides the aims, objectives and structure for planning learning in RE. It specifies broadly what must be taught, whilst allowing for teachers professional judgement to determine the detail, order and methods used. It also specifies the principles of progression and assessment to provide a coherent structure for planning, helping pupils make progress, reporting and target setting. It is not, and nor can it be, a detailed scheme of work to be delivered by teachers to pupils. The Agreed Syllabus is the long-term planning document for Religious Education in Buckinghamshire. In it you will find the content outlined in terms of questions and concepts to be explored at each Key Stage through the religions. From these, subject co-ordinators will be able to use their professional judgement to plan Learning Structures (Schemes of Work) appropriate to their pupils learning needs, background and experiences and the school s curriculum mapping. This forms the medium-term planning for RE. Lesson plans or chunks of learning drawn up by individual teachers form the shortterm planning by which the school s Learning Structures are transposed in an appropriate way into learning experiences and opportunities in the classroom or beyond for individual pupils and groups of pupils. 3.1 The Agreed Syllabus has four aims for RE To enable pupils to: 1 understand the nature, role and influence of religion in the world; 2 pursue personal quest for meaning, purpose and value; 3 formulate reasoned opinion/argument and handle controversial issues and truth claims; 4 develop understanding of and respect for different beliefs and lifestyles. (See section 5.2 on p41 for the way the aims are divided into stepping stones for progression as part of the structure to help teachers plan appropriately challenging RE.) 3.2 The Learning Process for Challenging RE The Agreed Syllabus is built around a vision of education in which the core purpose is human development. This includes the academic, personal, spiritual, moral, social, cultural, aesthetic and physical development of individuals and their interpersonal development in community. Education s main role is to pass on to children and young people those skills, areas of knowledge, values, attitudes and dispositions that our society considers to be important; to equip them to meet the challenges and opportunities of life, and to help them grow as citizens of their locality, nation and world. In the model shown below, we have tried to reflect this in the context of RE. Learning in RE involves helping pupils make sense of life. Learning about religions, beliefs and lifestyles is the vehicle through which they develop their understanding of themselves, others and the world. Pupils will grow to recognise how we are all different and what we hold in common (what we refer to as identity-indifference ), so that through their exploration of religions and beliefs they will develop their own understanding of what it means to be human, their sense of meaning, purpose and values. The model below incorporates skills development and progression. The skills running along the sides of the triangle are described for each Key Stage to help teachers plan challenging learning. Thus at KS1 the process will be simple and will become more complex and challenging as the pupil progresses through her/his education. See 11
12 the tables on pp below. In their planning, teachers can start anywhere on the model, although KS1 is most likely to start with the pupils own experience, KS2 with the religious experience and KS3 with universal experience. Pupils experience and self-concept. What does it mean to be me? 12 Apply Identify Contextualise Reflect Learning and growing through Challenging RE (Academic and Personal Development) Explore Reflect Universal human experience and concepts. What does it mean to be a person/human? Synthesise Respond Reflect Contextualise Investigate Religious experience and concepts. What does it mean to be religious?
13 3.3 Conceptual Creativity Central to the approach to learning in the Buckinghamshire Agreed Syllabus is the process of building bridges between the pupils own lives and the religious content that they explore. Whether the pupil comes from a particular faith background or none, Religious Education must be relevant to their lives and engage them in meaningful learning that they can apply to life. Thus in order to provide opportunities for all children to learn and grow through their experiences of Religious Education, we have to take their own experience seriously whilst expanding their understanding and horizons. In this way they can appreciate the relevance of the beliefs, practices and lifestyles found in the principal faiths and beliefs to life in the modern world and their own lives. The diagram on page 14 provides a structure to help plan this. The universal structure on the left of the diagram provides a way of exploring the pupils own experiences, ideas and feelings: We all have experiences. These experiences evoke a range of responses (feeling, thinking, challenging). We need to express these responses and make sense of them, and do so in a variety of ways. The religious structure on the right of the diagram mirrors the universal structure, but in the context of a faith perspective: Religious people experience the world as being in some sense sacred. This evokes a response of reverence, beliefs, attitudes and dispositions. These are expressed through worship in its broadest sense, including how to live life. People use a range of ways of expressing these feelings, thoughts and challenges, whether secular or religious, and these can combine in various ways (eg words and music = songs): Art, music and drama Language Inner creativity and imagination Actions and the way we live our lives We can now build bridges between the pupils own experiences and the faith experiences of others through an exploration of questions and concepts. These bridges can start anywhere on the diagram (eg music to personal feelings to personal experience and over to religious worship, on to religious belief, feeling or attitude and reflection on relevant concepts and questions) and pupils can engage in creative ways to understand both their own experiences and those of other people. However, it is the creative conceptual enquiry that provides the link between the two and which has to occur for there to be any meaningful learning and connection. This produces engaging, creative, challenging, enjoyable and worthwhile Religious Education, in which pupils genuinely learn and grow. 13
14 (We all have) Experiences (Religious people) Experiencing the world as in some sense sacred (These produce) Emotions Beliefs, attitudes and feelings?? 14 Language Creativity/ Imagination Actions Music Expression Drama Art Face Body Language Creativity/ Imagination Actions Music Worship Drama Art Face Body Universal Structure: 1. We all have experiences 2. Experience evokes a range of responses 3. How we make sense of and express these. Religious Structure: 1. Religious people experience the world as being in some sense sacred. 2. This evokes a response of reverence, beliefs, attitudes and dispositions. 3. These are expressed through worship in its broadest sense, including how to live life.
15 EXPERIENCE WORLD AS SACRED Words RESPONSE Key Questions And Concepts FEELINGS, BELIEFS, ATTITUDES & DISPOSITIONS Tone of Voice EXPRESSION WORSHIP Language Actions Colour Language & Symbol Way of life 15 Structure Music Creativity/ Imagination Art Meditation/ Contemplation Prayer Melody Rhythm Volume Texture Shape Music, Song Artefacts, Art, Features Buidling Ritual This diagram shows how links can be made between: Drama Gestures 1. pupils feelings, ideas and their experience 2. pupils experience and the religious context 3. beliefs, values and how these are expressed Facial Expression Body Posture
16 How to structure pupils learning guidance on planning When planning pupils learning, think of developing a Learning Structure that can be divided into chunks of learning, which can last from 1 3 lessons. 1. Establish an aim for the learning why should the pupils learn this? What is the purpose? (This can be in the form of a big question.) 2. Identify what you want pupils to learn about and from religion (learning intentions). 3. Identify key concepts and key questions that will help pupils to achieve these. 4. Group concepts in relation to: a. Pupils own experience (eg friendship); b. Universal human experience (eg relationships); c. Specific religious concepts (eg agape). 5. Establish what religious and other content you want pupils to learn: a. Knowledge and understanding; b. Skills; c. Attitudes and personal development. 6. Develop the outline of your Learning Structure (Scheme of Work). 7. Identify learning objectives for each chunk of learning (this means that objectives can carry over more than one lesson). 8. Plan appropriate activities and resources to enable pupils of different abilities and learning styles to achieve the learning intentions. 9. Establish what you want to assess over the whole Learning Structure and plan how you will assess it through the learning activities (NB you do not have to assess everything!). 10. Identify any contributions to learning across the curriculum (eg literacy, ICT, Thinking Skills, Citizenship). 11. Record pupils attainment against the level descriptors for each unit and use this to inform future planning and to build a picture of pupils achievement over time. It is good practice during all stages of the Learning Structure to allow opportunities for pupils to ask their own questions about the concepts and content. This is especially powerful at the start of the learning, with pupils questions arising from an appropriate stimulus. Schools can use the original units from the 2006 Agreed Syllabus to help with the planning. Please note that the structure of the units in each Key Stage broadly reflects this approach. 3.5 Inclusion and Special Educational Needs The Buckinghamshire Agreed Syllabus is the RE entitlement of all pupils in maintained schools and therefore supports the principles of inclusion as set out in the National Curriculum: a. setting suitable learning challenges; b. responding to pupils diverse learning needs; c. overcoming potential barriers to learning and assessment for individuals and groups of pupils. As the subject matter of RE sometimes raises sensitive issues, it is important that teachers are aware of and sensitive to the background and personal circumstances of their pupils. It is expected that teachers of pupils with special educational needs will modify the RE provision according to their own situation, meeting the needs of the children. This also includes meeting the needs and challenges of the most able pupils.
17 The guidance that follows for Special Schools may also prove helpful to teachers of pupils with special educational needs in mainstream schooling. RE in Special Schools Pupils in Special Schools are referred to in the Education Act 1993, which states: Some pupils will be able to work factually but not relate to feelings and meanings. Others will find factual detail confusing and will need a more sensory and experiential approach in their RE lessons. It is up to the teacher s professional judgement and personal knowledge of the child to decide how best to meet the needs of individual pupils. inform practice. Similarly, studying more than one religion may overload some pupils with facts, so if appropriate, only one religion may be studied. (NB care must then be taken to ensure that the school meets the statutory requirement that Christianity should predominate, but that other religions are studied.) Every pupil attending a Special School will, so far as is practicable receive religious education unless the child s parents have expressed a wish to the contrary. It is for schools to decide what is practicable but, in general terms, the Secretary of State would expect the question of practicability to relate to the special educational needs of the pupils and not to problems of staffing or premises. Teachers of children with special educational needs will broadly need to follow the three core principles outlined below: a. Be sensitive to and meet the needs of the individual child. b. Set challenging tasks, but have realistic expectations of what they can do and celebrate their responses. c. Make the pupils experience of RE meaningful taking account of their ability and special educational needs. For example, pupils with Educational and Behavioural difficulties will have short concentration spans and so will not cope with extensive reading, research and writing. The school may well decide it is more fitting to have short sessions more frequently during the week the little and often approach. A more active and varied lesson will help these pupils gain from their experience of RE. We suggest that teachers use activities and resources that best meet the needs of their pupils. Kinaesthetic, visual and aural approaches should be considered whilst acknowledging the preferred learning styles of pupils. Teachers should choose appropriate content from the units of the Syllabus. For example, in Rites of Passage (KS2), birth and marriage may be nearer the pupils own experience than initiation rites. Professional judgement and personal knowledge of the pupils will A programme of units, planned for pupils with special educational needs at KS3, is available as an additional resource, as well as advice and ideas for suitable activities, including sensory, at KS 1& Skills and attitudes in Religious Education Skills Progress in RE is dependent upon the application of general educational skills and processes, which in turn will be strengthened through this application. The following skills are central to RE and should be reflected in planning, task-setting, learning experiences and progression. Enquiry - this includes: asking relevant questions; knowing how to use different types of sources, including ICT, as a way of gathering information; 17
18 18 knowing what may constitute evidence for understanding religion(s). Reflection - this includes: looking thoughtfully at an idea, practice or experience to see what we can learn from it; the ability to ask appropriate questions to further understanding; the ability to think carefully about the material being explored; the ability to reflect on feelings, relationships, experience, ultimate questions, beliefs and practices. Empathy - this includes: the ability to consider the thoughts, feelings, experiences, attitudes, beliefs and values of others; developing the power of imagination to identify feelings such as love, wonder, forgiveness and sorrow; the ability to see the world through the eyes of others, and to see issues from their point of view. Expression - this includes: the ability to describe concepts, rituals and practices so that others can know about them; the ability to explain rituals, beliefs and concepts so that others can understand them; the ability to express religious views and respond to religious questions through a variety of media. Interpretation - this includes: the ability to draw meanings from rituals, artefacts, works of art, poetry and symbolism; the ability to interpret religious language; the ability to suggest meanings of religious texts. Evaluation - this includes: the ability to debate issues of religious significance with reference to evidence and argument; the ability to identify and assess relative strengths and weaknesses in different viewpoints. Analysis - this includes: distinguishing between opinion, belief and fact; distinguishing between the features of different religions. Synthesis - this includes: linking significant features of religion together in a coherent pattern; connecting different aspects of life into a meaningful whole. Application - this includes: making the association between religions and individual, community, national and global life; applying the beliefs, values and practices explored to their own beliefs and experiences. Attitudes While knowledge, skills and understanding are central to the Buckinghamshire Agreed Syllabus, it is also vital that Religious Education encourages pupils to develop positive attitudes to their learning and to the beliefs and values of others. The following four attitudes are essential for good learning in Religious Education and should be developed at each Key Stage: Self-awareness in Religious Education includes pupils: feeling confident about their own beliefs and identity and sharing them without
19 fear of embarrassment or ridicule; developing a realistic and positive sense of their own religious, moral and spiritual ideas; recognising their own uniqueness as human beings and affirming their selfworth; becoming increasingly sensitive to the impact of their ideas and behaviour on other people; developing an increasingly coherent selfconcept in relation to ideas and beliefs around what it means to be a person. Respect for all in Religious Education includes pupils: developing skills of listening and a willingness to learn from others, even when others views are different from their own; being ready to value difference and diversity for the common good; appreciating that some beliefs are not inclusive and considering the issues that this raises for individuals and society; being prepared to recognise and acknowledge their own bias; being sensitive to the feelings and ideas of others. Open-mindedness in Religious Education includes pupils: being willing to learn and gain new understanding; engaging in argument or disagreeing reasonably and respectfully (without belittling or abusing others) about religious, moral and spiritual questions; being willing to go beyond surface impressions; distinguishing between opinions, viewpoints and beliefs in connection with issues of conviction and faith. Appreciation and wonder in Religious Education includes pupils: developing their imagination and curiosity; recognising that knowledge is bounded by mystery; appreciating the sense of wonder at the world in which they live; developing their capacity to respond to questions of meaning and purpose. 3.7 Religious Education and Learning Across the Curriculum Promoting spiritual, moral, social and cultural development through Religious Education Religious Education provides opportunities to promote spiritual development through: discussing and reflecting on key questions of meaning and truth such as the origins of the universe, life after death, good and evil, beliefs about God and values such as justice, honesty and truth; learning about and reflecting on important concepts, experiences and beliefs that are at the heart of religious and other traditions and practices; considering how beliefs and concepts in religion may be expressed through the creative and expressive arts and related to the human and natural sciences, thereby contributing to personal and communal identity; considering how religions and other world views perceive the value of human beings, and their relationships with one another, with the natural world, and with God; 19
20 valuing relationships and developing a sense of belonging; Religious Education provides opportunities to promote social development through: cooperation can support the pursuit of the common good. 20 developing their own views and ideas on religious and spiritual issues. Religious Education provides opportunities to promote moral development through: enhancing the values identified within the National Curriculum, particularly valuing diversity and engaging in issues of truth, justice and trust; exploring the influence of family, friends and media on moral choices and how society is influenced by beliefs, teachings, sacred texts and guidance from religious leaders; considering what is of ultimate value to pupils and believers through studying the key beliefs and teachings from religion and philosophy about values and ethical codes of practice; studying a range of ethical issues, including those that focus on justice, to promote racial and religious respect and personal integrity; considering the importance of rights and responsibilities and developing a sense of conscience. considering how religious and other beliefs lead to particular actions and concerns; investigating social issues from religious perspectives, recognising the diversity of viewpoints within and between religions as well as the common ground between religions; articulating pupils own and others ideas on a range of contemporary social issues. Religious Education provides opportunities to promote cultural development through: encountering people, literature, the creative and expressive arts and resources from differing cultures; considering the relationship between religion and cultures and how religions and beliefs contribute to cultural identity and practices; promoting racial and interfaith harmony and respect for all, combating prejudice and discrimination, contributing positively to community cohesion and promoting awareness of how interfaith Promoting citizenship through Religious Education Religious Education plays a significant part in promoting citizenship through: developing pupils knowledge and understanding about the diversity of national, regional, religious and ethnic identities in the United Kingdom and the need for mutual respect and understanding; enabling pupils to think about topical spiritual, moral, social and cultural issues including the importance of resolving conflict fairly; exploring the rights, responsibilities and duties of citizens locally, nationally and globally; enabling pupils to justify and defend orally, and in writing, personal opinions about issues, problems and events.
21 Promoting other aspects of the curriculum Religious Education provides opportunities to promote: thinking skills through helping pupils to research, select, interpret and analyse information from religious traditions, reflect and question their own views and ideas and those of others and communicate their ideas in a variety of ways. It develops pupils ability to understand, analyse, relate to and apply concepts to do with meaning, purpose, values and truth; financial capability through considering the responsible use of money, the importance of giving and the ethics of wealth, debt, poverty, gambling, business and investment; creativity and culture through considering the scope of human nature, sources of inspiration and discovery, connections between beliefs, values and forms of artistic expression, appreciating the value of cultural distinctiveness and reflecting on beauty, goodness and truth in creative and expressive arts; education for racial equality and community cohesion through studying the damaging effects of xenophobia and racial stereotyping, the impact of conflict in religion and the promotion of respect, understanding and cooperation through dialogue between people of different faiths and beliefs; effective contributions to scientific, medical and health issues through exploring philosophical and ethical questions of the origin, purpose and destiny of the cosmos and life within it, exploring the nature of humanity and human interaction with the world, exploring developments in genetics and medicine and their application and use and exploring concepts of health and wellbeing and their promotion; links to employment, vocations and workrelated learning through a focus on individual sense of purpose and aspiration in life, and through considering the appropriateness and relevance of religious education to a wide range of employment opportunities and the development of spiritual and ethical issues linked to the world of work; education for sustainable development through helping pupils consider the origins and value of life, the importance of looking after the environment and studying the ways in which religious beliefs and teachings have influenced attitudes to the environment and other species. 21
22 4. What pupils will learn Which religions to study Schools remain free to choose which religions other than Christianity to study at each Key Stage (although we encourage schools to study the religions exemplified in the Syllabus units so that all pupils gain an understanding of all six principal faiths 1 ). However, it is not good educational practice to study all religions in depth over a single Key Stage, therefore the following restrictions apply. In deciding which to choose, schools should consider the following: What is the religious background of the pupils? How are you contributing to an understanding of the six principal faiths? How are you liaising with your main feeder and transfer schools to ensure broad coverage of faiths? Are you providing a balance by including something from both western and eastern religions? (NB this can be achieved through referring to other faiths within units.) 1. The six principal faiths are Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism, Islam, Judaism and Sikhism At Key Stage 1, pupils should study Christianity plus one other religion in depth. The Agreed Syllabus recommends Judaism. Schools should refer to religions other than the main ones they have chosen, in the course of individual units of study, as appropriate to the needs of the pupils or the needs of the concepts being explored. At Key Stage 2, pupils should study Christianity plus two other religions in depth. The Agreed Syllabus recommends Hinduism and Islam. Schools should refer to religions other than the main ones they have chosen, in the course of individual units of study, as appropriate to the needs of the pupils or the needs of the concepts being explored. At Key Stage 3, pupils should study Christianity and two other religions in depth. The Agreed Syllabus recommends Buddhism and Sikhism. Schools should refer to religions other than the main ones they have chosen, in the course of individual units of study, as appropriate to the needs of the pupils or the needs of the concepts being explored. The Curriculum At Key Stage 4, pupils should study Christianity plus one or at most two other religions in depth, and it is highly recommended that this is done through a recognised accredited course to provide appropriate challenge and the opportunity for a qualification. Students do not have to be entered for the examination at the end of the course. For Sixth Form RE, schools should follow the principles outlined at the start of the section on RE in the Sixth Form. Pupils should have the opportunity to study Religious Studies through to Full or Short Course GCSE examination and AS and A2 courses in the Sixth Form, and due regard should be given to the structure of option groupings in order that pupils should not be discouraged from taking the subject. Over the course of their education, pupils should study all six principal faiths so that they develop an understanding of what belonging to each faith means for individuals, families and communities. Teaching the religions as laid out in the Agreed Syllabus units and accredited examination specifications will ensure that this occurs, but the Agreed Syllabus Conference, in line with
23 its statement in the previous Agreed Syllabus and having consulted with teachers at training and on school visits, has not made it statutory to cover the other specific religions as stated in the Key Stages above. Please note, however, that the number of religions covered in depth is statutory, to ensure that pupils gain a good level of understanding of what it means to be a member of the faiths. It is up to schools to decide which religion(s) to dip into for the broader reference and understanding beyond the two main religions they have agreed for each Key Stage. Please note as well that the pupils own backgrounds and views must be included in their learning as part of this. While it is good practice to co-ordinate classroom RE with the Collective Worship themes, time for collective worship cannot be considered as part of the time allocation for RE. It is strongly advised that the teaching of RE in Buckinghamshire secondary schools should be by specialist teachers wherever possible, and that every school should have an RE Co-ordinator. 4.2 RE in the Early Years and Foundation Stage As the 1988 Education Reform Act clearly states, all registered pupils in maintained schools have an entitlement to Religious Education and thus it must be taught to Reception classes. However, the way learning here is structured is through the Early Years and Foundation Stage curriculum and not through the Agreed Syllabus itself. Teachers should use the Early Learning Goals (or equivalent if the Government changes these) as the basis of their assessment and planning, and what follows is suggested guidance on what RE can contribute to learning in the EYFS. Remember, this is only statutory for registered pupils, but it is good practice to provide for all EYFS some context of belief, belonging and relationships from different cultural and global contexts. The Areas of Learning identified in the Foundation Stage ensure that breadth of learning is possible across a range of individual experiences and activities. The provider uses her/his professional expertise to elicit development in a number of areas from planned activities and learning experiences. (See Challenging RE pp29-36 for detailed suggestions.) The Areas of Learning and specific ELGs identified in the tables highlight the particular links with RE. The suggestions listed below provide a broad range of topics that can be covered, but should not be seen as prescriptive. Possible topic areas with RE Myself Other people How I live How other people live Belonging Important things Important experiences Feelings Expressing our feelings Celebrations Religious stories and what they mean Exploring belief It is entirely at the discretion of the Early Year s provider whether these topics are taught separately or within cross-curricular themes. Cultures and faiths represented locally should be a focus for the children s learning. The environment in which learning takes place can provide many contexts in which young children may explore religion and ask questions. Such contexts might include: 23
24 the home corner; dressing up boxes; interest areas; artefacts; story books; jigsaws; object trays; dolls; painting and drawing. 24 In order to meet the Early Learning Goals and the requirements of the Buckinghamshire Agreed Syllabus, Reception classes should include specific planned activities (for example on festivals, special places) as well as unplanned opportunities for developing children s knowledge and understanding of religious beliefs through circle time and every day routines.
25 4.3 KS1: Enquiring into experience and feelings Theme Experience Me, my family and friends Religions and beliefs Expressing Caring Special places Special people Special things Special stories Our world All about me Special occasions Belonging What makes your home/ room a special place? What makes my family and friends special to me? What things are special in your home, to you, your family and friends? What stories are special to you, your family and your friends? What makes them special? How is your family the same as and different from families around the world? How do my family and friends influence who I am? What special times do I celebrate with my family and friends and why? What groups do I belong to and how does this make me feel? What makes some places special to religious people? Who is special in the religions and what makes them special? What special things can show that people belong to a group? What can we learn from religious stories? What can we learn from religious stories that explain how the world came about? What can we learn from religious stories that can influence how we behave? What can we learn from some special occasions in the religions? How does belonging to a religion make some children feel? How do people show that their special places are important? How do we show that someone is special to us? How can special things help to show what is important to us? Why are stories a good way of teaching us things? How can you show your feelings about the world through art, music, acting and stories? How can I express feelings about myself and others using art, music, drama and words? How do we celebrate special times? What things can show that someone belongs to a religion? How should we look after special places? How do special people influence the way we behave? How do we treat things that are special to us and to others? How can stories influence how we behave? What can people do to help look after the world? How can our behaviour affect others? How do special times show what is important to me? How does belonging to a group influence how we behave? 25 These questions should be explored through conceptual enquiry into Christianity and one other religion (Judaism) in depth, with reference to other religions and beliefs as appropriate. Teachers should also take the pupils own background, experiences and questions into consideration.