1 St Francis Church of England Voluntary Aided Primary School Where God s gifts begin their journey to gain, attain and grow into lifelong learners Religious Education Policy a) Policy drawn up by the RE Coordinator. b) Date adopted: March 2007 c) Reviewed: Spring 2010 d) Reviewed: Spring 2012 (in light of syllabus changes) e) Reviewed: January 2014 f) Review date: September 2015 g) Review date: September 2016
2 Introduction We believe that all children are a gift from God, that they are special and should be allowed to develop and grow in a nurturing environment, secure in the knowledge that they are cherished. It is our wish for all pupils that they leave St Francis with special memories and having achieved personal success, whilst being equipped to take their next steps in the journey of life. We want to challenge all our children to reach their full potential spiritually, morally, socially and culturally and to develop relationships where all beliefs, differences and ways of life are respected; each child being recognised as a unique individual. Our Christian beliefs and values inform everything we do and achieve at St Francis and we encourage our children, within an ethos of trust, to reflect on their own values and faith in a supportive environment. St Francis Vision and Aims The importance of Religious Education We believe at St Francis, that Religious Education is not just an academic subject, but, lying at the very heart of the curriculum, has an important role in reflecting and conveying the distinctively Christian character of our school. This was highlighted in our Church School Inspection (2009): The assertion, We believe that all children are a gift from God, underpins everything that the school does. Religious Education has a place of high importance in the school. At St Francis we believe the core purpose of RE is to provide opportunities to promote: Spiritual development through: -discussing and reflecting upon key questions of meaning and truth such as the origins of the universe, life after death, good and evil, the being of God and values such as justice, honesty and truth. Moral development through: -enhancing the values identified within the curriculum, particularly valuing diversity and engaging in issues of truth, justice and trust; -exploring the influences on moral choices of family, friends and the media; and how society is influenced by beliefs, teachings, sacred texts and guidance from religious leaders. Social development through:
3 -considering how religious and other beliefs lead to particular actions and concerns. Cultural development through: -promoting cultural understanding from a religious perspective through encounters with people, literature, the creative and expressive arts and resources from differing cultures. By endorsing these things we meet the 3 statutory aims which are that: Swindon Agreed Syllabus (2011) RE helps pupils become successful learners by enabling them to: -develop important skills, knowledge and understanding in RE; -build progression from simple skills such as naming, recognising and recalling, to complex and demanding skills such as synthesis and critical evaluation. RE helps pupils become confident individuals by enabling them to: -express their own ideas and responses in a variety of ways such as creative writing, oral work, the use of ICT, drama, story and music; -share their own views, ideas and experiences, in a supportive learning environment, without fear or embarrassment. RE helps pupils become responsible citizens by enabling them to: -develop both respect and sensitivity to other people s beliefs and values; -learn about and from the contribution of religion and belief to Community Cohesion through engaging with school, local, British and global communities. In teaching RE to our pupils at St Francis, we aim to: Nourish those of the Christian faith; Encourage those of other faiths; Challenge those who have no faith. (as described by Lord Runcie, previous Archbishop of Canterbury) Legal Requirements The Education Act 1999 requires that: religious education should be taught to all students other than those in nursery classes and except for those withdrawn at the wish of their parents. Teachers rights are safeguarded should they wish to withdraw from the teaching of religious education. an Agreed Syllabus must reflect the fact that the religious traditions in Great Britain are in the main Christian, whilst taking account of the teaching of the teachings and practices of the other principal religions in Great Britain.
4 The Status of Religious Education within the National Curriculum Section 352 of the Education Act 1996 identifies the distinctive place of religious education as part of the basic curriculum alongside the National Curriculum. Religious education is to have equal standing in relation to the core and foundation subjects within the school. It differs from the subjects of the National Curriculum only in that it is not subject to national prescription in terms of attainment targets and programmes of study. It is a matter for the Agreed Syllabus Conferences to recommend locally prescribed procedures for the LEA. Time for Religious Education It is recommended within the Swindon Agreed Syllabus that the following minimum hours should be devoted to religious education: Key Stage 1: 36 hours per year Key Stage 2: 45 hours per year At St Francis we ensure that RE is taught for at least 5% of curriculum teaching time. Withdrawal In accordance with the provision of the 1944 Education Act, parents may request that their children be withdrawn from Religious Education. Parents have the right to choose whether or not to withdraw their child from RE. We must ensure parents or carers are informed of this right and are aware of the educational objectives and content of the RE syllabus. In this way, parents can make an informed decision. Where parents have requested that their child is withdrawn, their right must be respected, and where RE is integrated in the curriculum, the school will need to discuss the arrangements with the parents or carers to explore how the child s withdrawal can be best accommodated. However, since Religious Education forms an integral part of life at St Francis, we would strongly discourage this. Aims At St Francis we aim to help children to; Think theologically and be able to reflect upon their own experiences to help them explore the great questions of life and death, meaning and purpose; Reflect critically on the truth claims of Christian belief; Develop skills to handle the bible text; Respond in terms of beliefs, commitments and ways of living;
5 Develop an understanding of what it means to be committed to a religious tradition Learn about and have respect for other faiths, their beliefs, traditions and practices and learn from them through encounter and dialogue; Recognise areas of common belief and practice as well as differences between faiths; Engage in thoughtful dialogue with other faiths and traditions; Develop a sense of themselves as significant, unique and precious; Become active citizens, serving their neighbour; Develop an awareness of spiritual and moral issues in life experiences Develop a sense of awe, wonder and mystery Develop investigative and research skills and to enable them to make reasoned judgements about religious issues Teaching and Learning At St Francis we continually aim to develop an exciting & creative Religious Education curriculum which will promote children s interest and understanding of the subject and support our school s Christian ethos. We believe that practical, first-hand experience is the best way for children to learn and we seek to provide our children with real life experiences such as; visits to places of worship, talks from representatives of different faiths and handling and use of a range of religious artifacts. As well as the units of work, we have Encounter Days which aim to give pupils a flavour of different religions, such as Hinduism and Sikhism. These days give opportunities for pupils of all ages to learn and work together, whilst gaining a deeper understanding of other religions not given a major focus in our particular RE curriculum. Key Skills Through our teaching we aim to stimulate curiosity, and develop children s sense of exploration and discovery for other religions, cultures and the wider world around them. We want children to understand that questions in RE are in the main contentious, and that worthwhile questions will not always be answered by facts alone. We aim to develop an environment where children are encouraged to ask questions, to look for alternative possibilities and to be open-minded and flexible in their thinking. We want children to think for themselves, become reflective learners, drawing their own conclusions and forming their own opinions. A broad and secure base of skills which underpins the ability to think, reason, reflect and articulate ideas is vital in giving children access to high quality Religious education. These skills are: Investigation - asking relevant questions
6 -knowing how to use different types of sources as a way of gathering information -knowing what may constitute evidence for understanding religions Expression - the ability to explain concepts, rituals and practices - the ability to identify and articulate matters of deep conviction and concern by a variety of means (not only through words) - the ability to respond to religious issues through a variety of media Interpretation - the ability to draw meaning from stories, artefacts, works of art, poetry and symbolism - the ability to suggest meanings of religious texts Reflection - the ability to reflect on feelings, relationships, experience, ultimate questions, beliefs and practices - the ability to use stillness, mental and physical, to think with clarity and care about significant events, emotions and atmospheres Empathy - the ability to ponder on 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 see issues from their point of view Application - making the association between religions and individual, community and national and international life - identifying key religious values and their interplay with secular ones Discernment - explaining the significance of aspects of religious beliefs and practice - developing insight into people, motives, actions and consequences -seeing clearly how individuals might learn from the religions they study for themselves Analysis - drawing out essentials ideas and being able to sort out their component parts - distinguishing between opinion, belief and fact - distinguishing between the features of different religions Synthesis
7 - linking significant features of religion together in a coherent pattern - connecting different aspects of life into a meaningful whole Evaluation - the ability to debate issues of religious significance with reference to evidence and argument - weighing the respective claims of self-interest, consideration for others, religious teaching and individual conscience The following attitudes are essential for good learning in RE and should be constantly developed: self-awareness respect for all open-mindedness and questioning curiosity, appreciation and wonder Objectives Foundation Stage During the Foundation Stage pupils will have the opportunity to: share enjoyment of a celebration at home or at school recognise that people belong to different cultures and communities hear a range of stories from the Christian faith as well as different faiths and cultures explore artefacts listen to a variety of music from different cultures listen to stories that focus on feelings and emotions experience quiet times for reflection be introduced to belief in God as important for some people experience beauty and wonder in the natural world hear and use some basic religious vocabulary ask questions and express curiosity, wonder and delight Key Stage One During Key Stage One, pupils will learn from the following areas How did Jesus show friendship? How do Christians care for others? What do Christians believe about God? What do I believe? Who are the leaders in the Bible? Who are my leaders? What is prayer? Why do Christians pray? What do I think about prayer?
8 Why is Jesus special to Christians? Why is the Bible a special book for Christians? Why is the church an important place for Christians? What places are special to me? Why is Easter a special time of celebration for Christians? Which celebrations are special to me How do Christians get ready for Christmas? What do Muslims believe about God? Why is the Mosque a special place for Muslims? Why is the Muhammad (pbuh) special to Muslims? Key Stage Two During Key Stage Two, children will learn from the following areas Belonging to a Community How do Christians show their commitment to Jesus teaching? How does the church building help Christians to worship? How do I respond to the idea of a holy place? Easter forgiveness and sacrifice What do Christians believe about prayer? What questions do I have about prayer? What is the Bible? How do Christians use the Bible? What is my view of the Bible? How do artists interpret the life of Jesus? What symbols are important in the Christmas story? How do Christians celebrate Jesus birth, and show their beliefs about Jesus? What are my hopes for the future? What do the parables of Jesus teach us? What do the Gospel writers tell us about the life of Jesus? What do Christians believe about the Incarnation? How and why do Christians believe they are responsible for the earth and its resources? How do others see this responsibility? What responsibilities do I have? How have Christians sought to follow the teaching of Jesus? Who do I admire as a role model or leader? Jesus through art How is Christian worship expressed? How can I communicate what inspires me & influences me? Why do people believe in God? What do I believe and value? What do Christians believe happened at Easter? What do I believe about issues of life and death? Why is the Torah sacred to Jews? How is the Mosque the centre of the Islamic community How do Muslims show commitment to the Five Pillars?
9 How did the Prophet Muhammad [pbuh] receive the Qur an? Why is the Qur an sacred to Muslims? What is authoritative in my life? Why do people go on a Pilgrimage? How can my life be seen as a journey? Commitment within a community Who was Jesus? Planning We follow the statutory Swindon Agreed Syllabus for Religious Education (updated 2011) which sets out the skills, knowledge and concepts pupils will be taught. We also use the Wiltshire Schemes of Work for Key Stages One and Two. We have an overview planning grid (Curriculum Map One) for Years One to Six, which takes into account mixed year groups. Foundation Stage teachers use the Solihull materials to deliver RE, which will usually be linked to topics and children s areas of interest. There are two main areas of focus in each unit of work; Learning About Religion (Attainment Target 1) Learning From Religion (Attainment Target 2) Planning for RE is in line with planning for the school s foundation subjects at the long, medium and weekly stages. Opportunities for Spiritual Development are also included in medium term plans. Weekly plans include the particular learning intentions and whether the focus for the lesson is AT1, AT2 or a combination of both. We always seek to maximize cross curricular links at each stage of planning. Differentiation is included in the weekly plans and pupils of all abilities are planned for. Differentiation may be in the form of different tasks, outcomes and groups of children working together. Assessment, Recording and Reporting The professional judgement of the teacher is respected in the assessment of RE. Assessment should be used to inform teacher planning and pupil development by highlighting particular strengths and areas for development. Each unit is assessed using the grids from Swindon Agreed Syllabus. Teachers write pupil initials by the level they assess them to have achieved. A brief outline of the assessment task is written on these sheets, indicating whether the task assessed AT 1, AT 2 or both. Pupil work is recorded in class floorbooks and in individual topic books. Assessment pieces may be recorded in the individual topic book or class floorbook. Evidence of discussion and other work which is not written such as photos of dance, drama, art, music etc should be recorded in the class floorbook. We recognise that written work does not always fully demonstrate children s attainment
10 The co-ordinator will carry out monitoring activitie 3 times each year. On an annual basis we are required to report to parents on the attainment and progress in RE based on teacher judgements. Comments made will reflect progress related to AT1 and AT2 and indicate how further progress might be made. Resources We have a range of good quality resources in school to support the effective teaching of the three main faiths; Christianity, Islam and Judaism. We also have resources to support the religions of Sikhism and Hinduism. These are stored centrally, in faith collections and are available for all staff and children. Teachers should report any lost or damaged items to the RE co-ordinator so they can be replaced. Resources should also be returned to the cupboard as soon as they are finished with. Special Educational Needs (refer to SEN Policy) At St Francis we teach Religious Education to all our children, whatever their ability. When planning and teaching Religious Education we ensure that we provide learning opportunities matched to the needs of children with learning difficulties. Where appropriate, we take into account the targets set for individual children in their Individual Education Plans (IEPs). The Role of ICT Pupils should have the opportunities to support their work in RE by being taught to: find things out from a variety of sources, selecting information and developing an ability to question its accuracy, bias and plausibility develop ideas using ICT tools to amend and refine their work, enhancing its quality and accuracy review, modify and evaluate their work, reflecting critically on its quality, as it progresses Equal Opportunities Teachers have the responsibility of ensuring that all pupils irrespective of gender, ability (including Gifted and Talented children), ethnicity and social circumstances are able to access the RE curriculum and make all possible progress.
11 The Role of the RE Co-ordinator The role of the RE Co-ordinator is; to be responsible for the planning and delivery of RE throughout the school; monitoring and reviewing planning, preparing and developing policies and schemes of work with teaching staff make regular reports to the School s Governing Body regarding the progress of teaching and learning in RE. to lead the implementation of the Agreed Syllabus to be responsible for the assessment of RE throughout the school; collecting and recording evidence of achievement, work scrutiny, monitoring of medium and weekly planning, lesson observations and feedback, discussions with pupils to manage the RE budget, purchasing and maintaining quality resources to support effective teaching of RE to plan and lead staff meetings as and when appropriate in conjunction with the Head Teacher keep staff updated with recent developments in RE education
12 Appendices St Francis Vision and Aims Curriculum Map 1 Examples of unit level sheets from syllabus (KS 1 and 2)