RE (Religious Education)

 

Taken from ‘Religious Literacy for All’ and amended to reflect Bridgelea's vision of ‘Understanding People’. 

Article 14 (freedom of thought, belief and religion) 

Every child has the right to think and believe what they choose and also to practise their religion, as long as they are not stopping other people from enjoying their rights.

 

A person pointing to themselves while surrounded by the symbols of several different religions.

 UNCRC Article 14

I have the right to have my own thoughts and beliefs and to choose my religion with my parents’ guidance

Article 14 of the UNCRC says that children and young people are free to be of any or no religion. Their parents can help them make decisions around religion, but:

  • a parent can’t force a child or young person to adopt a religion, and
  • a parent can’t force a child or young person to stop following a religion.

No religious discrimination

Children and young people shouldn’t be discriminated against because of their religion. They should be treated the same as everyone else, no matter what they believe.

Freedom of thought

Article 14 also covers the right to freedom of thought. This is the right of a person to have their own ideas, thoughts, opinions and beliefs― and for nobody to be able to stop them from holding them. A person has the right to keep their beliefs private, and shouldn’t be forced to reveal them.

Freedom of conscience

The right to freedom of conscience is also covered by Article 14. This is a person’s right to refuse to do things that they object to for real moral reasons. Some decisions a child or young person may make that involve freedom of conscience are:

  • becoming a vegan or vegetarian,
  • refusing to sign up to the armed services, and
  • refusing to drink alcohol.

The purpose of RE

Religious Education contributes dynamically to children and young people’s education in schools by provoking challenging questions about: meaning and purpose in life; beliefs about God; ultimate reality; issues of right and wrong and what it means to be human. In RE children learn about, and from, religions and worldviews in local, national, and global contexts, to discover, explore and consider different answers to these questions. They learn to weigh up the value of wisdom from different sources, to develop and express their insights in response, and to agree or disagree respectfully. Teaching therefore should equip pupils with systematic knowledge and understanding of a range of religions and worldviews, enabling them to develop their ideas, values and identities. It should develop in pupils an aptitude for dialogue so that they can participate positively in our society, with its diverse religions and worldviews. Pupils should gain and deploy the skills needed to understand, interpret and evaluate texts, sources of wisdom and authority, and other evidence. They should learn to articulate clearly and coherently their personal beliefs, ideas, values, and experiences while respecting the right of others to differ.

 

The aim(s) of RE

The threefold aim of RE elaborates on the principal aim. The curriculum for RE aims to ensure that all pupils:

1. Know about and understand a range of religions and worldviews, so that they can:

  • describe, explain, and analyse beliefs and practices, recognising the diversity which exists within and between communities and amongst individuals
  • identify, investigate, and respond to questions posed, and responses offered by some of the sources of wisdom2 found in religions and worldviews
  • appreciate and appraise the nature, significance, and impact of different ways of life and ways of expressing meaning.

2. Express ideas and insights about the nature, significance, and impact of religions and worldviews, so that they can:

  • explain reasonably their ideas about how beliefs, practices, and forms of expression influence individuals and communities
  • express with increasing discernment their personal reflections and critical responses to questions and teachings about identity, diversity, meaning, and value, including ethical issues
  • appreciate and appraise varied dimensions of religion.

3. Gain and deploy the skills needed to engage seriously with religions and worldviews, so that they can:

  • find out about and investigate key concepts and questions of belonging, meaning, purpose, and truth, responding creatively
  • enquire into what enables different individuals and communities to live together respectfully for the well-being of all
  • articulate beliefs, values, and commitments clearly in order to explain why they may be important in their own and other people’s lives.

 

RE in special schools

The vision of this agreed syllabus is of RE for all. Every pupil can achieve and benefit from their RE, including all pupils with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND).

RE is a statutory part of the core curriculum for all pupils, including those with learning difficulties. Pupils with SEND are found in all contexts, and all teachers are teachers of pupils with SEND. Good quality teaching in RE will tailor the planning of the syllabus carefully to the special needs of all pupils. RE provision for different groups of pupils will vary but all pupils should be included in RE.

.For pupils with social and emotional  and mental health difficulties (SEMH)

  • RE can enable pupils to address deep issues of concern in helpful ways by exploring spiritual material and seeing how others have tackled difficult experiences.
  • RE lessons can explore, in the safe space schools should provide, complex emotions or thoughts, and challenging questions.
  • RE can assist in the development of pupils' maturity and self-awareness.

The law says that the agreed syllabus is to be taught to pupils with SEND ‘as far as it is practicable’. At Bridgelea we teach RE weekly.

 

Implementation

The RE curriculum has been created using the Manchester SACRE Agreed Syllabus as a base, with themes and questions chosen to ensure the curriculum is bespoke to the needs of our children. It has been designed to give all learners, especially the most disadvantaged, the knowledge they will need to succeed in life. The question-based spiral model covers key content around four major world religions - Christianity, Islam, Judaism, and Hinduism. Core knowledge of these major religions is used as a springboard to explore big questions around life, death, prayer, and relationships.

Children are taught discretely, on a weekly basis. Teachers develop the key questions linked to the themes in the syllabus, allowing links with other subject areas where appropriate. Lessons are planned and delivered in a variety of ways ensuring that all children can access and participate in lessons. Interactive, practical activities encourage the children to discuss their ideas and extend their understanding of difficult concepts and challenging questions. The spiral model of our curriculum ensures that children are constantly revisiting important content, and retrieval practice is built into RE lessons. As well as timetabled weekly lessons, special days throughout the year - such as Christmas Nativity celebrations, Holi and Eid - are planned in addition to these weekly sessions.

Staff are trained to effectively challenge intolerance and misconceptions, and children are empowered to explore difficult topics in age-appropriate ways. We aim to ensure that all religions are represented precisely and accurately, with nuances and differences within a religion explored and discussed. Although we make sure that all lessons are balanced, appropriate, and sensitive to children’s backgrounds and the needs of our community, parents have a right to withdraw their children from RE. Those wishing to do so should contact the headteacher at the first instance.

 

Impact

In our school, we enjoy learning about other religions and why people choose to follow a religion or choose not to follow a religion. Through their RE learning, the children are able to make links between their own lives and those of others in their community and in the wider world. We can be sure that progress is made across all year groups. 

RE develops:

  • Knowledge and understanding of, and their ability to respond to principal world religions, religious traditions, and world views.
  • Understanding of the influence of faith and belief on individuals, societies, communities, and cultures;
  • Skills of enquiry and response through the use of religious vocabulary, questioning, and empathy;
  • Understanding of challenging questions of the meaning and purpose of life, death, and beliefs about God, issues of right and wrong, and what it means to be human.
  • Learning from different religions, beliefs, values, and traditions while exploring questions of meaning and their own beliefs.
  • Sense of identity and belonging, preparing children for life as engaged and empowered citizens.
  • Respect for and sensitivity to others, in particular those whose faiths and beliefs are different from their own.
  • Awareness and understanding of religions and beliefs, teachings, practices, and forms of expression.

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