At Orchard Park Community Primary School, we believe that Religious Education (RE) is important so that pupils can understand the world around them. RE has a significant role in developing pupils’ spiritual, moral, social and cultural development. Our RE curriculum encourages pupils to develop their sense of identity and belonging through self-awareness and reflection, while promoting respect towards others. We promote and welcome cultural diversity through our RE lessons, thus enabling our children to become well-rounded individuals who are understanding and respectful of all beliefs, especially those that differ from their own. This is vital to us as we are a diverse school.
Through an enquiry-based approach, pupils will develop their knowledge of world faiths and their understanding of beliefs, values and traditions of other cultures. We aim to engage, inspire and encourage pupils to reflect on challenging questions, which will allow them to gain a clear understanding of both our immediate and wider multi-cultural society. As pupils progress throughout their time at Orchard Park Community Primary School, they will gain confidence in discussing and comparing cultures and religions. This will be achieved by studying a range of world faiths and cultures, as well as considering non-religious views and having thoughtful and respectful discussions around religious questions. Religious Literacy plays an important role in preparing pupils for life in modern Britain and so our Religious Curriculum aims to ensure all pupils are able to talk with fluency and understanding about religion and belief.
At Orchard Park Community Primary School, we follow the units of work designed by the Cambridgeshire Agreed Syllabus for RE (2018). The syllabus is designed so each key stage is built upon allowing children to have a broad, inclusive religious education. Therefore, by the end of Key Stage 2, all major religions and a secular worldview will be explored. The syllabus focuses on two attainment targets:
- AT1 – Learning about religion and belief. Enquiring into, investigating and understanding religions and beliefs. This includes thinking about and interpreting religious beliefs, teachings sources, practices, ways of life and ways of expressing meaning with reference to the specific beliefs and religions studied.
- AT2 – Learning from religion and belief. Questioning, exploring, reflecting upon and interpreting human experience in the light of religions and beliefs studied. This includes communicating reflections, responses and evaluations about questions of identity, belonging, diversity, meaning, purpose, truth, values and commitments, making increasingly insightful links to the specific religions studied.
RE is taught weekly in half term blocks. Topics are planned to link with key dates and religious festivals. At Orchard Park Community Primary School, we have a wide range of artefacts. In addition, we have links to local leaders and places of worship including the Church, Gurdwara and Synagogue which we often visit. We regularly invite members of the community into our school to give the children first-hand experience of their religion and belief. This provides opportunities to celebrate festivals and religions with greater contextual relevance. Therefore, allowing pupils to value beliefs through shared experience of the different religions and religious festivals.
In Early Years, RE is part of the children’s personal, social and emotional development as well as helping them to understand the world. Along with the rest of the school, the children experience religious festivals, such as Christmas, Diwali, Hanukkah and Eid. Children are also encouraged to ask questions about what is important to them.
Throughout each half term, teachers will use assessment for learning to ensure lessons are pitched at an age-appropriate level. Pupils will be able to reflect on their previous knowledge and convey what they would like to find out. This helps to inform the programme of study and also ensures that children’s prior knowledge and starting points are taken into account. Our inclusion policy ensures that all children will have the same opportunities, with access to a broad and balanced curriculum.
Work produced in RE books is of high quality and outcomes evidence a broad and balanced RE curriculum. It is evident that children have a love for learning and are excited to discover and reflect on new beliefs, views and traditions. As children progress throughout the school, they will develop a deep knowledge, understanding and appreciation of various beliefs, views, traditions and cultures.
RE will also contribute to children’s spiritual, moral, social and cultural development by allowing pupils to gain the knowledge and understanding to explore responses to life’s challenges. This gives pupils the knowledge and skills for them to flourish within their own community and as members of a diverse and global society. RE will play a vital role in preparing pupils for their future and lifelong learning, by developing their awareness of fundamental questions raised by human experience, giving them knowledge to respond to such questions and allowing pupils to reflect on their own beliefs, values and experiences.