Religious Education policy

Agreed: Summer 2015
Review: Summer 2017

All maintained schools are required by law to provide religious education for all registered pupils. RE must be taught according to the locally agreed syllabus (The Agreed Syllabus for Religious Education in Surrey Schools 2012 – 2017). Valley End is a Church of England controlled school and as such follows the Agreed Syllabus for Surrey.

As a church school, we value the place of RE in the school curriculum very highly and we aim to provide a rich and varied RE curriculum that enables learners to acquire a thorough knowledge of the Christian faith. Learners also develop a knowledge about the Islamic and Jewish faiths.

The teaching of RE is an acknowledgement of the fact that religious beliefs and practices have, throughout history, played an important role, not only in the lives of individuals, but in the structuring of society world-wide. An understanding of religions can help children develop a better understanding and appreciation of the world around them, and the world in which we live. The teaching of RE enhances pupils’ spiritual moral and cultural development and we recognise the importance of helping children learn to respect religious faith and gain a broader understanding of the moral and spiritual world.

RE at Valley End C of E Infant School provides opportunities for children to:-

• Develop knowledge and understanding of Christianity and of the other religions represented in Great Britain
• Provide opportunities for learners to understand and to make links between the beliefs, practices and value systems of different faiths
• Develop an interest in and enthusiasm for the study of religion and enhance their own spiritual, moral, social and cultural development
• Develop the ability to make reasoned, informed and creative responses to religious and moral issues.

Breadth and Balance

The following religions will be studied:-
• Early Years Foundation Stage: – themed topics based upon children’s own lives and experiences.
• Key Stage One: – The study of Christianity and aspects of Judaism and Islam.

Skills, processes and attitudes developed through RE

Reflection
• On feelings, relationships, experiences, beliefs and practices.

Empathy
• Considering and valuing others.
• Identifying feelings such as love, wonder and forgiveness.
• Seeing the World from another point of view.

Investigation – this includes:-
• Asking relevant questions.
• Knowing how to gather information from a variety of sources.
• Knowing what might constitute evidence for justifying beliefs in evidence.

Interpretation – this includes:-
• Drawing meaning from artefacts, works of art, music, poetry and symbolism.
• Interpreting religious language.
• Suggesting meanings of religious texts.

Evaluation – this includes:-
• Debating issues of religious significance with reference to evidence and argument.

Analysis – this includes:-
• Distinguishing between opinion and fact.
• Distinguishing between different features of different religions.

Synthesis – this includes:-
• Linking significant features of a religion together in a coherent pattern.
• Connecting different aspects of life into a meaningful whole.

Application – this includes:-
• Making the association between religion and individual, community, national and international life.

Expression – this includes:-
• Explaining concepts, rituals and practices.
• Expressing religious views and responding to religious questions through a variety of media.

At Valley End Infant School, we also aim to develop self-awareness, respect for all, open-mindness, appreciation and wonder as attitudes that are at the heart of RE.

Attainment Targets

The two attainment targets for RE are:-

AT1: Learning about Religions: knowledge and understanding

AT1 cover the skills and processes necessary for children to develop knowledge and understanding of the religious beliefs, teaching and practices of Christianity, Islam, and Judaism (Key Stage One). This area is often described as explicit RE because it deals directly with religious beliefs.

AT2: Learning from Religion: explore, reflect on and respond to religious beliefs, values and experiences.

AT2 is concerned with the response of the individual pupil to what they are learning in RE. It values both what the pupil brings with them to RE, and what they learn from it. It encourages reflection and the sharing of ideas and concerns. This ‘implicit’ RE explores a range of human experiences such as feelings of joy, fear, hope, loneliness, compassion and anger, regardless of the personal beliefs of that individual. It enables pupils to recognise the fundamental questions about life’s meanings and purpose and to explore a variety of responses to those questions by religions through the ages.

Teaching and Learning

In Key Stage One, RE is taught as a discrete subject and is allocated 1 hour per week of teaching time. In EYFS, RE is taught through a themed topic approach. The RE whole school planning document shows progression and coverage for each year group. This plan links weekly RE themes to the Agreed Syllabus for Surrey. RE is also found in other aspects of school life such as PSHE, celebrating festivals, collective worship, class discussions and circle times or stories with a moral or cultural theme.

Children learn about Christianity and aspects of Judaism and Islam through encountering some of the important places and objects connected with the religions that are studied. Children become familiar with stories about key people and learn about practices, celebrations and events as well using stories and symbols.

Through the teaching of RE, children develop positive attitudes towards other people. They also enhance their own moral and social development by:-

• Responding to stories from the Bible and stories from other religious traditions.
• Realising that Bible stories and stories from other religions often deal with feelings and situations similar to their own.
• Talking and thinking about puzzling questions which arise in life.
• Talking and listening to others about personally important matters.
• Exploring the sense of belonging to a community and especially belonging to a Christian community.
• Exploring the difference between right and wrong, fair and unfair.
• Expressing themselves in art, drama or dance.
• Expressing themselves creatively and thoughtfully with times of refection and quiet.
• Responding to the wonder and beauty of creation.

Assessment

Assessment in RE is concerned with pupils’ growing knowledge and understanding and their application of skills. It is NOT used to make judgements about personal beliefs, views of behaviour.

In EYFS, assessments are made using the Early Years Foundation Stage Profile within the area of Knowledge and Understanding of the World.

In Key Stage One levelled assessments (levels 1, 2 and 3) are made against the assessment criteria for RE. Assessment levels for each child are built up over each term. Levels for each pupil are then reported at the end of each term.

The Right of Withdrawal

Parents have a legal right of withdraw their child from RE and from acts of collective worship on religious grounds. Should the school receive a request, close consultation with the parents as to the nature of religious education that would be acceptable would need to be sought and a mutual agreement reached.
Many parents send their children to Valley End because of its strong commitment to practising Christianity and to date no parent has exercised this right.