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Religious Education (RE) is an important subject at St George’s Church of England Primary School. It is part of the basic curriculum and is taught in accordance with the Kent Agreed Syllabus for Religious Education (REact 2007), as we are required to do by law.
Also by law, RE must focus mainly on Christianity, whilst taking account of the other principal religions in Great Britain. At St George’s we use Rochester Diocesan RE materials to deliver this Agreed Syllabus and include aspects of Christianity appropriate to Primary Schools, as found in the Church of England’s report on RE: ‘Excellence and Distinctiveness’ (2005).
We follow the recommendation of the Kent Agreed Syllabus supported by Rochester Diocesan materials which requires a minimum 5% curriculum time for RE, which amounts to one hour a week at Key Stage One and 1.25 hours at Key Stage Two. (This is in addition to time for worship). As a Church school, we make sure that this is fulfilled.
At St George’s staff, Governors and pupils work together to create a caring Christian ethos in the school. RE has a particular contribution to make towards the spiritual, moral, social and cultural education of each child including the school values of Love and Compassion, Justice and Tolerance, Respect and Understanding, Friendship and Kindness and Trust and Forgiveness. The school echo’s the vision of Kent Standing Advisory Council for Religious Education (SACRE), that the skills, attitudes and knowledge learnt through RE are necessary for “pupil’s self-fulfilment and development as active and responsible citizens” (Kent Advisory Syllabus, 2006).
RE at St George’s Primary School involves Learning About Religion i.e. understanding what religious people believe and do, and how they express their faith (Attainment Target 1); and also Learning From Religion i.e. making sense of who we are, of life, and of right and wrong (Attainment Target 2). We encourage respect for religious commitment and for those holding different beliefs.
PROGRAMMES OF STUDY
As a Church of England School the principal faith that is explored through RE is Christianity. However, we promote tolerance, respect and understanding for those who adhere to Religions other than Christianity. At St George’s careful planning ensures that over the course Key Stage 1 and 2 the children will investigate some of the practices and festivals of 4 World faiths.
The Agreed Syllabus is taught from Reception and is linked to the Foundation Stage curriculum through the Early Learning Goals. Christianity is the main religion taught at this early stage, with other religions drawn on as appropriate. They are taught through ‘special’ themes e.g. Special People, Special Places, and Special Objects.
At Key Stage One, RE is predominantly about Christianity, with 2 of the 12 units on Judaism and 2 on Hinduism.
At Lower Key Stage Two, RE is also predominantly about Christianity, with 3 of the 12 units on Judaism.
At Upper Key Stage Two, Christianity predominates, with 2 of the 12 on Islam and 2 on Sikhism. Sikhism is taught in Year 6 as a transition to Secondary school, where it is taught again in Year 7.
The majority of the units in this scheme focus on one religion at a time, to avoid confusion and to do justice to the distinctiveness of each religion. However, there are opportunities to compare and contrast religious ideas and beliefs in a number of the units and also a few thematic units included. See Appendix 1 (model overview) for a more detailed summary of our RE scheme.
Through interactive, interesting and progressive teaching across the school the children learn about the beliefs and practices of the Christian faith. The Kent Agreed Syllabus supported by Rochester Diocesan emphasises the importance of distinctive RE skills, such as enquiring, questioning, analysing and interpreting, as well as empathising and reflecting. Lessons are planned to develop each skill at a time.
Each child has his/her own book specifically for RE work, but RE also includes creative and practical activities and discussion. We benefit from our close ties with the parish church for RE visits and visitors to the lessons.
RE at St George’s is planned and assessed using the levels for the 2 Attainment Targets adopted by the Canterbury Diocese Agreed Syllabus, using the levelled assessment statements from the Rochester Planning: Attainment Target 1 encompasses children learning about religions and Attainment Target 2 children learn from religions.
Teachers at St George’s mark children’s work in RE on a ‘traffic light scale’ to illustrate a child’s understanding of a concept or skill. Feedback is given to children on an individual basis and to parents through progress reports at the end of the year.
Class teachers are responsible for assessment records that plot children against level descriptors and ‘I can statements’ for RE knowledge and skills. Clear and concise assessment records ensure progressive teaching across the school.
DIFFERENTIATION AND SPECIAL NEEDS – At St George’s all children are made to feel that their contributions are valued. Re lessons are planned to enable all children to access the RE curriculum and achieve their highest potential.
Parents have the right to choose whether or not to withdraw their child from RE without influence from the school, although a school should 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 Headteacher will need to discuss the arrangements with the parents or carers to explore how the child’s withdrawal can be best accommodated. If pupils are withdrawn from RE, schools have a duty to supervise them, though not to provide additional teaching or to incur extra cost. Pupils will usually remain on school premises.
Where a pupil has been withdrawn, the law provides for alternative arrangements to be made for RE of the kind the parent wants the pupil to receive (Section 71(3) of the School Standards and Framework Act 1998).
This RE could be provided at the school in question, or the pupil could be sent to another school where suitable RE is provided if this is reasonably convenient. If neither approach is practicable, outside arrangements can be made to provide the pupil with the kind of RE that the parent wants, and the pupil may be withdrawn from school for a reasonable period of time to allow them to attend this external RE.
Outside arrangements for RE are allowed as long as the LA is satisfied that any interference with the pupil’s attendance at school resulting from the withdrawal will affect only the start or end of a school session.
This policy is to be reviewed by staff and governors bi-annually.
Next Review: Summer 2018
RE Subject Co-ordinator: Annette Holmes