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The importance of Religious Education in Minterne’s Learning For a Lifetime curriculum

"We live in a dynamic ever-changing society full of different perspectives, beliefs and cultures. Learning about these things helps the pupils develop a genuine understanding about the world and the people in it. And that understanding will help them to shape the society of the future - a better society." Lyndsey Wilkinson Head of RE at Redhill Academy Nottingham.

The aim of RE in Minterne is to enable pupils as they grow to understand the communities around them and become part of a thriving, tolerant and diverse society.  At Minterne we know that this understanding is an ongoing process as pupils become adults, move to new places and mix with new people and cultures.  This learning for a Lifetime is why RE at Minterne is a vital part of the curriculum.

 

SMSC (Spiritual, Moral, Social and cultural development) and British Values

RE supports and promotes the spiritual, moral social and cultural (SMSC) development of pupils in Minterne. For example, through RE lessons, pupils gain self-knowledge, moral courage and an appreciation for the natural world and the human capacity to love and care for others.

RE also makes a huge contribution to the promotion of British Values, which are in many ways universal human values. By studying other world views and value systems, pupils can learn to be respectful of difference so that they can celebrate the diversity in their communities. Pupils learn about the importance of democracy and issues of individual liberty through the study of religion and religious leaders. Through RE lessons they will examine different codes for living and the importance of rules and fairness in society.

 

How is RE taught in lessons?

In RE lessons we want to engage pupils in examining some of life’s ‘big questions’ and to look at how religions and other world views, such as Humanism  address these questions. Pupils will find out what people believe and what difference this makes to how they live. RE lessons in Minterne seek the active response of pupils to what they are learning about. They value pupils ideas and concerns, sometimes challenging them and putting up alternative views for their consideration. Lessons are open ended to allow the exploration of ideas and often raise questions that speak to the  pupils’ own human and personal experiences. Through studying religions and religious ideas, pupils can begin to apply the meaning and significance of what they have learned to their own lives.  RE lessons in Minterne are about developing the skills of living in a plural society by developing attitudes of tolerance and empathy towards others.

 

How progression is ensured in RE

In Minterne, every year group follows the Kent SACRE Agreed Syllabus for RE 2017 – 2022 and each year group follows the programmes of study provided by RE Today Services (see Minterne’s RE skills progression doc). Each year group has a main religion or world view to study over two terms but pupils are encouraged through other units to build on their knowledge of main world religions and to link their learning, spotting similarities and differences and beginning to build their own views. Every lesson from the programme of study is based around a key question and in this way, each RE lesson is an enquiry, It challenges pupils to ask more questions, to research and discover so that by the end of the lesson they can respond to the original key question.

 

The main religions studied are: Year 3 What does it mean to be a Christian in Britain today?

                                                        Year 4 What does it mean to be a Hindu in Britain today?

                                                        Year 5 What does it mean to be a Muslim in Britain today?

                                                        Year 6 What matters most to Christians and Humanists?

 

How RE is assessed

Each lesson (or key Question) from the programme of study has learning outcomes divided into Emerging/Expected/Exceeding. This allows teachers to track pupils progress through the lesson and through the unit. At the end of each unit, based on their knowledge of pupil responses during lessons and through work in RE books, teachers will assess each pupil as Emerging, Expected or Exceeding for that particular unit.

 

Assemblies

At the start of the year the Head of PSCHE and RE meet with the Head and Deputy to plan assemblies through the year. As much as possible the most important religious festivals from the main world religions  are included in assemblies taken by the  senior leadership team. The Christian celebrations of Harvest, Christmas and Easter are given special significance. The Family Trust group take 5 themed assemblies through the year and are Christian based.

 

Links with the local community

The Family Trust (a locally based Christian charity) visit the school to take assemblies and lessons.

Year 4 pupils take part in the annual Swale Fusion Festival of Light.

 

Does my child have to attend RE lessons?

RE is a statutory subject in all schools in England, except for those children withdrawn at the request of their parents. (Education Act 2002, section 80). It is parents’ legal right to withdraw their children from Religious Education.

 

What do schools have to teach in RE?

According to the latest guidance from the government, via the National Curriculum for England, every school needs to have a broad and balanced curriculum that:

• promotes the spiritual, moral, cultural, social, mental and physical development of pupils.

• prepares pupils for the opportunities, responsibilities and experiences of later life.

• promotes British values.

Schools also have statutory responsibility to promote community cohesion (Education Act, 2006), and have to demonstrate that they are “Protecting children from the risk of radicalisation, from whatever source” (The Prevent duty – departmental advice for schools and childcare providers”, June 2015).

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