What are we trying to achieve?
Religious Education aims to develop pupil’s spiritual, moral, cultural, mental and physical development and prepare them for a future in society.
The Birmingham approach is designed to be inclusive for all children across our super-diverse city enabling each one to be respected and understood. The syllabus includes the nine religious traditions recorded to have significant representation within Birmingham: Bahá’i, Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism, Islam, Jainism, Judaism, Rastafari and Sikhism, and established non-religious worldviews such as Atheism, Humanism and Secularism. At St Benedict’s Primary School, RE promotes pupils’ spiritual, moral, social and cultural development. Children learn about and from religious and non- religious worldviews, they learn from experience and they learn to discern (critically evaluate).
We strive to enable pupils to:
- Develop pupils’ spiritual, social, moral, cultural, mental and physical well-being.
- Reflect on their experiences, beliefs and values.
- Develop the ability to make reasoned and informed judgements about religious and moral life.
- Develop positive attitudes towards other people, respecting their rights to hold beliefs different from their own, and to enable them to live in a world with many diverse religions or non-religious worldviews.
- Develop knowledge and understanding of the faiths, practices and values of the religious and non-religious traditions found in Birmingham and elsewhere, and their influence on individuals, families, communities, and society.
- Experience the significance of religion for our community, through a range of activities including meeting people, sharing experiences, listening to stories and music and appreciating art forms.
- Experience and understand a range of approaches to life.
- Develop the skills of living in a world where people are respected and valued.
How do we organise this?
There is a statutory requirement laid upon schools to provide a basic curriculum. This consists of the national curriculum and the locally agreed syllabus of Religious Education. The statutory requirement entitles all pupils in Birmingham, irrespective of social background, culture, race, religion, gender or differences in ability or disabilities, to a programme of teaching and learning in religious education.
The syllabus uses a learning model which breaks the dispositions into four tangible, interconnected aspects. They are:
- Learning from Experience Effective Religious Education takes into account pupils’ experiences and backgrounds. Pupils come to Religious Education with a variety of divergent experiences including: those from religious backgrounds, those with a background in organised non-religious worldviews, and those not identifying with either the religious or non-religious, the ‘nones’. Each disposition is initially encountered by discovering what pupils know about the concept from their experiences. This way of exploring the disposition is particularly inclusive as the full range of perspectives represented in the classroom can be harnessed. This dimension addresses the concern that pupils from a background not identifying with the religious or non-religious, a ‘none’, may find it difficult to access religious content or established non-religious worldview content since they may not perceive the relevance of it to their own lives. Some may have a personal ideology to which they adhere and on which they will want to reflect, but all will have relevant experiences against which to examine their thinking. Learning from Experience is therefore a powerful and universal foundation from which to move on to explore the other dimensions of the disposition.
- Learning about Religious Traditions and Non-Religious Worldviews In Birmingham, Religious Education is open, inclusive and represents diverse convictions in a fair and honest manner that is accessible to all. As pupils approach successive Key Stages, they will have the opportunity to learn about a growing range of different religious traditions and nonreligious worldviews, the balance and selection recognising that Christianity is the predominant faith in the country. Pupils will acquire knowledge of religious traditions and non-religious worldviews enabling an understanding of their own faith or established view and those of others.
- Learning from Faith and Non-Religious Worldviews pupils will be supported as they reflect on their own practice in the light of their experiences so that they can to learn to live well. To develop as a whole person means to grow intellectually, emotionally and behaviourally; sometimes referred to as developing cognitively, affectively and conatively
Intellectually (or cognitively):
• Through developing knowledge and understanding of religious traditions and non-religious world views;
• by evaluating and reflecting on these in the light of their own experiences;
• by developing informed judgement.
Emotionally (or affectively):
• through having their feelings deepened;
• by acknowledging, and responding to, shared human experiences, such as joy, grief, thankfulness, care;
• by expressing any personal refection, which could include the spiritual or religious in words, or through other media.
Behaviourally (or conatively):
• through being encouraged to act responsibly;
• by cultivating widely recognised values and virtues such as honesty and integrity;
• by being motivated to act upon their new-found understanding.
- Learning to Discern In learning to critically interpret and evaluate the content that is presented, pupils will grow in their ability to discern. Pupils will be encouraged and challenged to reflect and evaluate, to think critically about what they have learned. This will involve reflective and interpretative skills, as well as the ability for pupils to examine themselves in the light of the information encountered.
It is recommended that in KS1 and 2 Religious Education be taught for 36 hours per year. Each class in Key Stage One and Two is taught RE for at least 40 minutes on a weekly basis.
Teaching methods are stimulating and engaging, providing all pupils with access to religious education. Consideration is paid to different learning styles and the differing abilities of pupils so that all pupils make progress in their learning. In Key stage 1 and 2 children engage in lessons with a strong focus on speaking and listening, prompting skills such as discussion, conversation, teamwork and collaborative thought. Children learn through role play, stories, video clips, artwork and creative writing. Children are introduced to a range of artefacts, religious stories and photographs to enhance their learning.
Children’s learning in this syllabus of religious education is guided by encouraging 24 dispositions. Taken together, the dispositions constitute a person’s spiritual and moral character and help to depict a human ideal.
The clusters are set out as follows:
To allow the children to access a holistic view and appreciation of different religions own we have chosen to teach on a separate plan to the Agreed Syllabus, the main festivals celebrated by the 6 Key religions. The festivals are –
- Chinese New Year
Collective Worship is a time when the whole school, or groups within the school meet together in order to consider and reflect on common concerns, issues and interests. It offers all pupils an opportunity to worship through engaging in relevant, meaningful experiences and provides opportunities for the pupils’ spiritual, moral, social and cultural development.
We fulfil this through:
- Celebration assemblies where children’s achievements are recognised and valued .
- Leadership assemblies, which focus on moral development and festivals.
- Rights respecting- and everything we do connected to this helps children to develop their moral awareness.
- Celebrating different festivals over the year. This enables children to consider their own cultural and spiritual beliefs in relation to others .
- Incidental class discussions.
- School council/ Eco committee etc .
- Daily dashboard sessions including specific, planned activities:
World Peace Day
World water day
Black History month
World Health Day
Cultural diversity day
Human Rights Day
World Environment day
World Religion day
International Day of Friendship
International mother language day
How do we know it is successful?
R.E. offers our children the means by which to understand how other people choose to live and to understand why they choose to live in that way. As such, R.E. is invaluable in an ever-changing world.
During pupils’ first few years in school, they are progressively introduced to the dispositions. Subsequently, they re-visit all 24 with increasing depth, enabling a growing sophistication of spiritual and moral character, disposition by disposition, and a growing knowledge of religious traditions and non-religious worldviews
The children enjoy learning lots about other religious and non-religious world views and are able to make links between their own lives and those of others in their community and in the wider world. RE. acts as a hub, therefore, between social aspects of learning, science and geography. Through R.E. our children are developing an understanding of other people’s cultures, customs, experiences, beliefs and ways of life, which they are then able to communicate to the wider community.
At St Benedict’s we aim to create; ‘Successful Learners’ who enjoy learning, making progress and achieve, ‘Responsible Citizens’, who are self-assured and socially aware, who have pride in their own history and heritage and respect that of others, and ‘Confident Individuals’ who are able to live safe, healthy and fulfilling lives. RE helps the children to achieve these aims.
As children move through the school there is a clear picture of the progression of skills and the broadening of religious educational knowledge. In the Foundation stage children begin to learn about some of the religious festivals and some of the main religions in the UK,
Example of progression: