At Gusford, it is our intention that all pupils, regardless of needs, will leave Gusford with critical thinking skills and the ability to empathise with others, even when they may hold different beliefs to their own. We aim to prepare all children to combat prejudice and celebrate diversity in our multicultural society, armed with a rigorous understanding of different religious traditions, beliefs, practices and worldviews. We use the Discovery RE Scheme which has an enquiry-based approach, which aims to empower children to question and explore religious beliefs with confidence and respect. Over the course of a child’s time at Gusford they will learn about all of the 6 major religions.
To begin their Religious Education learning journey, children in EYFS will be given opportunities to be immersed in activities, stories, video clips and texts surrounding key religious celebrations and festivals which will be rich in language and vocabulary to enable them to begin to make sense of the beliefs held by people in their communities and the world and they will have the opportunity to reflect on their personal experiences. Children will also focus on Special people and Special places. In KS1, teaching is delivered on a weekly basis using the Discovery Programme. Teaching and Learning is enquiry lead and is built around the four steps of: engagement, investigation, evaluation and expression. Children begin to cement their essential foundational knowledge of Christianity through continued study of Christmas and Easter as well as a focus on creation. Judaism is explored in Year 1 and in addition, Islam in Year 2. Here the focus is for children to explore a religion that might be different from that of the majority of their class or local community and for them to begin to understand and reflect upon what is important to others and how their faith impacts their lives. In KS2, Christianity is developed further by beginning to question more deeply the meaning of Christmas and Easter and its influence in the world today as well as considering the question of Jesus’ miracles and a deeper look at forgiveness. Hinduism, Sikhism and Buddhism are introduced to the children. The continued focus in Judaism is commitment to God and how that can be demonstrated by a Jew. The festival of Passover is also studied. Gusford’s KS2 Religious Education Curriculum which is also taught weekly and follows the same four steps outlined above will ensure that children grow to be understanding, empathic and religiously conscious citizens of the world by considering the impact of a person’s religious beliefs on their lives through their words and actions. In addition, the lessons are sequenced to help children build on prior knowledge alongside introducing new skills and challenges whilst the children continue to progress their knowledge by revisiting and consolidating skills. All children will expand on their skills of explaining, describing, reflecting on, religious stories, events, celebrations, views and beliefs and begin to develop skills of critical thinking and opinion justification through thought provoking questions about the influence of religious beliefs upon our world today. It is important that children develop the understanding, tolerance, and empathy fostered through religious studies that will enable them to make a positive difference in our multicultural society. Within the local area and slightly further afield all major religions are represented either through a special building which can be visited or through the presence of a local community representative which, if fully utilised will support the achievement of desired outcomes, with opportunities for learning outside the classroom embedded in practice. Artefacts, school visitors and trips are provided to give first hand experiences, which enhance children’s understanding of the different religions of the world beyond their locality.
At the end of each unit of work and each year, the children’s learning is assessed against the two attainment targets: ‘Learning about Religion’ (AT1) and ‘Learning from Religion’ (AT2) and within these the Discovery RE scheme comprises 3 age-related descriptors for each enquiry; working TOWARDS, AT and BEYOND, as well as summary descriptors for the end of each Key Stage. In 2013 non-statutory guidance re-organised RE learning into three strands: A: Know about and understand a range of religions and world views B: express ideas and insights about the nature significance and impact of religions and world views and C: gain and deploy the skills needed to engage seriously with religions and world views. At Gusford, we use summative assessment to determine children’s understanding and inform teachers’ planning. In KS2, weekly recap questions on previous learning form part of the LO and introduction to the lesson; this practice ensures learning is embedded and remembered. This is reviewed by the subject leader, who also carries out regular learning walks, book studies and lesson observations. At Gusford Primary School the Religious Education curriculum impacts the children in the following ways:
Extend their knowledge and understanding of religions and beliefs
Develop a religious vocabulary and interpret religious symbolism in a variety of forms
Reflect on questions of meaning, offering their own thoughtful and informed insights into religious and secular world-views
Explore ultimate questions of beliefs and values in relation to a range of contemporary issues in an ever-changing society.
By the end of each key stage, pupils are expected to know, understand and apply skills related to the enquiry that they have been studying.