‘All children need to acquire core knowledge and understanding of the beliefs and practices of the religions and worldviews which not only shape their history and culture but which guide their own development. The modern world needs young people who are sufficiently confident in their own beliefs and values that they can respect the religious and cultural differences of others, and contribute to a cohesive and compassionate society’. (NATRE)
Our own vision here at Fairburn Primary School for Religion and World views lessons (previously RE) mirrors the quote above. Indeed, we feel that the very uniqueness of RE as a subject is that it provides opportunities to provoke challenging questions about the meaning and purpose of life; religious beliefs; issues of right and wrong and what it means to be human. Through learning about knowledge and understanding of a range of religions and world views, children will develop their own ideas, values and identities. They will do this through their experiences at home, within society around them and through discussions and lessons here at school.
Our curriculum will ensure that pupils -
know about a range of religions and world views
express ideas about the nature, significance and impact of religions and world views
gain and deploy skills to engage seriously with religions and world views
What is RE?
We feel that this needs clarification because parents may be concerned that it means instruction in a religion. This is not the case. As a Community School we are not influenced by a religious group. We do have a legal requirement to teach a curriculum which
‘promotes the spiritual, moral, cultural, mental and physical development of pupils and prepares pupils at the school for the opportunities, responsibilities and experiences of later life’
and we must teach Religious Education. (NYCC Agreed Syllabus 2019 – 2024)
However, this means teaching about principle world religions represented in Great Britain including Christianity, and the belief systems in the UK both locally and nationally. We follow the North Yorkshire Agreed Syllabus which will
‘challenge stereotypical views and appreciate difference positively. The syllabus enables all pupils to consider the impact of people’s beliefs on their actions and ways of life…It provides a key context to develop children’s understanding and appreciation of diversity, to promote shared values and to challenge all forms of racism and discrimination…We are education children in their own locality but also to live in a wider region, the UK and as world citizens.’ (North Yorkshire Agreed Syllabus 2019 – 2024)
Data from the recent census in 2021 has show that our decision to teach Christianity (46.2%, 27.5 million people) Muslim,(3.9 million, 6.5%) Hindu,( 1.0 million, 1.7%) and Non- Religious World views (37.2% 22.2 million) is representative of our children’s locality. It is also essential that we reflect the pluralistic, diverse and often complicated belief in modern Britain – where a worldview may be made up of both religious and non-religious ideas.
Below is a diagram showing the knowledge, skills and attitudes that RE develops as well as how SMSC (Spiritual, moral, social, cultural development) and British Values are also supported by the RE curriculum all of which serve to develop the whole child.
Please note that as parents, you do have the right to withdraw your child from RE lessons to provide your own Religious Education. However, we strongly encourage you to discuss any concerns you may have with us.
What does teaching and learning look like?
As already stated, we follow the North Yorkshire Syllabus and the associated units of work that go with it. Our RE consultant who provides our training and and support is Fiona Moss who is a national consultant for RE in the country with RE today and CEO NATRE. For further information, see the link below.
We work with her regularly and have organised our long term plan using her guidance. These are supported by detailed units of work which we tailor to suit the needs of our class. All children across school have RE lessons each week. Units of work last for either a half term or over a full term.
See at the bottom of the page for our long term plans.
Like in other curriculum subjects, we refer back to prior teaching at the start of units of work and we use the local church as much as possible as a starting point for discussions even about other religions.
In Foundation/Y1, teaching is combined into a weekly taught session and then a challenge activity based on the lesson will be incorporated into the classroom provision. An example of this may be re telling stories through role play/small world. Persona dolls are used to base discussions around. In Foundation/Y1 the main religion taught is Christianity although seasonal festivals are also celebrated.
In Y2‑3 & 4−5−6 all children also have weekly RE lessons. Sessions are very practical and discussion based. A full range of resources are used including sacred texts, films and religious artefacts. Our resources are mainly from RE today or NATRE so that they have fidelity. Children also have opportunities to work alongside visitors to our school and visit places of worship.
All children regularly work with Yasmien, a Muslim, here within school supporting them in learning about the Muslim religion, beliefs and practices. They love her coming into school and enjoy the wide ranging discussions they have with her. Here is a link to her website if you require further information.