RE at Bridgelea: ‘Understanding People’ and their beliefs.
Taken from ‘Religious Literacy for All’ and amended to reflect Bridgelea vision of ‘Understanding People’.
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 purpose of RE is captured in the principal aim, which is intended to be a short-hand version for day-to- day use. Teachers should use it when planning RE, whether long-term or short-term. It should be considered as a doorway into the wider purpose articulated above.
The aim(s) of RE
The threefold aim of RE elaborates the principal aim. The curriculum for RE aims to ensure that all pupils:
1. Know about and understand a range of religions and worldviews1, 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 wellbeing 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.
Throughout schooling, teachers should consider how their teaching contributes towards the principal aim of RE in the local area, and how they help pupils to achieve the threefold aim.
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 through 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.
Planning for RE in special schools
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 for one full day every half term.The rationale for teaching RE as a drop down day every half term at Bridgelea is:
- transitions being important in childrens lives…reduce transition, increase focus.
- help children to immerse themselves-allow for processing, so they know and understand the questions they are being asked. Wider choice in how they present the answer to their question makes it more memorable for the children and allows for their unique learning styles to be catered for and thus increases likelihood of children remembering their learning.
- reduces the likelihood of children not engaging in weekly sessions of RE as it is a full days focus.
- increases its perceived importance to the children as it is a day to ‘experience’