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
Through the enquiry-based approach of our RE curriculum, children not only learn knowledge but crucially develop an understanding of the world of religion and how beliefs impact on daily lives. At FPS, we plan and deliver challenging RE that helps children develop into empathic, confident students who can discuss, debate, ask questions and seek answers in a compassionate way. This will enable them to make a difference in the world they inherit. This will fulfil the aim stated in the REC introduction for ‘a curriculum that promotes high quality learning and teaching’ which will ‘give all young people the opportunity to gain an informed understanding of religious beliefs and worldviews
Our RE curriculum is line with the curriculum framework for RE and breaks down the aims of RE into 3 strands::
Know about and understand a range of religions and worldviews, 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 wisdom found in religions and worldviews;
• appreciate and appraise the nature, significance and impact of different ways of life and ways of expressing meaning.
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 or a worldview
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.
These 3 strands are designed to ensure that RE contributes to education 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’ so that they can ‘learn to articulate clearly and coherently their personal beliefs, ideas, values and experiences while respecting the right of others to differ’. and ultimately ‘participate positively in our society with its diverse religions and worldviews’.
Our curriculum at FPS meets all these aims and shares the belief that RE makes a strong contribution to the education of each child by encouraging them to develop skills of critical thinking and analysis, as well as developing attitudes like empathy, sensitivity, humanity and understanding whilst being able to stand up for their own beliefs and challenge injustice around them.
Children at FPS will experience and learn to appreciate diversity and difference, developing an outward-looking attitude to their 21st Century world, ensuring that they are ready for their next steps in education and life beyond
Our Enquiry-based Approach
At FPS, we teach RE using the 4-step enquiry approach.
The key question for the enquiry is an impersonal question, needing an answer that weighs up ‘evidence’ and reaches a conclusion based on this. This necessitates children using their subject knowledge and applying it to the enquiry question, rather than this knowledge being an end in itself. Children focus their learning on critical thinking skills, personal reflection into the their own thoughts and feelings.
Step 1 Engagement:
The human experience underpinning the key question is explored here within the children’s own experience, whether that includes religion or not. If they can relate to the human experience they will be better able to understand the world of religion into which the enquiry takes them. Their personal resonance with this underpinning human experience acts as the BRIDGE into the world of religion (which may be very much outside of their experience).
Step 2 Investigation:
The teacher guides the children through the enquiry, studying and learning about subject knowledge (the factual base about the religion), carefully selected to assist their thinking about the key question. Some of the enquiries have a lot of relevant content so teachers are selective and not try to cover too much. Depth is more important.
Step 3 Evaluation:
This lesson draws together the children’s learning and their conclusions about the key question of that enquiry. This is an assessment task which the teacher assesses at the end of each enquiry using the ‘I can’ level descriptors.
Step 4 Expression:
Children are taken back to Step 1, their own experience, to reflect on how this enquiry might have influenced their own starting point/beliefs, etc.
In addition, our children are taught mindfulness meaning that they cultivate a sense of awareness on purpose, in a non-judgemental way in the present moment. Teachers use mindfulness practices to build children’s self-awareness and skills of reflection, thus supporting their RE learning as well as their personal spiritual development.
Using this enquiry-based model to teach RE ensures that children’s critical thinking skills can be developed, their motivation to learn increased, and their knowledge and understanding of, and empathy with people and their beliefs, religious or otherwise, will be enhanced.
Our approach takes very seriously the philosophy that children are free to make their own choices and decisions concerning religion and belief. Our curriculum for RE does not try to persuade but rather to inform and develop the skills with which evaluation can take place.
Through the discrete teaching of RE and opportunities across the wider curriculum, FPS children develop a growing sense of humanity. They experience and appreciate diversity and difference, developing an outward-looking attitude to their 21st Century world.
Our children develop their voices to express opinions, value difference and challenge viewpoints. FPS children are able to see and understand the complexities of religion and appreciate how individuals can interpret the same beliefs differently. They also understand how religions are constantly evolving in our ever-changing world.
The below attachment includes our RE progression statements across the school and our RE long term plan.