Religious Education at All Souls' CE
Religious Education Curriculum Rationale
At All Souls’ we are theologists! We want our children to love religious education. We want them to have no limits to what their ambitions are and grow up wanting to be priests, anthropologists, lecturers or social workers! We want them to embody our core values. We all believe All Souls’ is: “a place to grow”. The RE curriculum has been carefully crafted so that our children develop their SMSC capital. We want our children to remember their RE lessons in our school, to cherish these memories and embrace the opportunities they are presented with! During our whole-school faith week, some of our key stage 2 children took part in an interactive workshop to further develop their knowledge of Judaism. They learnt all about the symbol of the Star of David and the Menorah candles. The children were able to hold special objects and discuss their significance. The children were also able to share some of the special Sabbath bread and grape juice. Everybody enjoyed the experience. Bringing RE alive is important at All Souls’ CE Primary School.
The religious education curriculum promotes curiosity and a love and thirst for learning. It is ambitious and empowers our children to become independent and resilient – like all curriculum areas.
We want to equip them with not only the minimum statutory requirements of religious education and our locally agreed syllabus but to prepare them for the opportunities, responsibilities and experiences of later life. For example, in the spring term, Year 4 and Year 3 were invited to St Aidan’s Church by Reverend Mike Read to learn more about the Easter story. The children participated enthusiastically with many becoming characters from the story; dressing up and acting out scenes. The children got a real sense of the meaning of Easter, in a fun and practical way. We are committed to putting religious education on the map here at All Souls’ CE Primary.
We want our children to use the vibrancy of our great city to learn from other cultures, respect diversity, co-operate with one another and appreciate what they have. We achieve this by providing a strong SMSC curriculum, with British Values and our core values placed at the heart of everything we do. This often feeds into the religious education curriculum. For example, children from Years 5 went on an enrichment trip to the Neeli Mosque. The children were invited into the Mosque by the Imam, who showed everyone around the Mosque. The children learnt Arabic words for the prayer area and the prayer arch. Most of the time there was spent discussing how we feel when people look different to us and we how should try and accept differences and learn about them. What a great way to celebrate our whole-school theme of tolerance that week.
We enrich their time in our school with memorable, unforgettable experiences and provide opportunities which are normally out of reach – this piques their interests and passions. For example, It’s not every day you get to meet the Bishop of Manchester! Bishop David came to speak to us about Jesus and how we can learn from his teachings. He then answered a wide range of questions. He spoke to the children and told them how his most exciting days are those he spends in schools with young people. Bishop David said that Jesus was the light of the world and that we can be the light for our world in the good things we do and the positive example we set for others. He said that each and every person has the possibility to achieve their best and young people should never believe anything negative about themselves. We firmly believe that it is not just about what happens in the classroom, it is about the added value we offer to really inspire our children.
An annual audit is completed of the religious education curriculum. Following the findings from this audit, the religious education curriculum has been carefully built and the learning opportunities and assessment milestones for each year group crafted to ensure progression and repetition in terms of embedding key learning, knowledge and skills. At All Souls’ CE Primary School we follow SACRE, the agreed syllabus for Rochdale. Children are taught to understand and respect the importance of religious beliefs in the world around them. The syllabus aims to allow pupils to explore themes and concepts within religion drawing on beliefs from a range of different faiths and world views. We aim to ensure that the RE curriculum is challenging, dynamic and relevant to pupils of all ages. – that is why an enquiry approach was implemented, encouraging higher-order thinking and allowing our children to explore in a way that is meaningful to them.
Religious education subject specific characteristics, which we expect the children to demonstrate, have been developed and shared with all stakeholders. These characteristics underpin all work in RE and form a focal point for display areas and provide a common subject specific vocabulary for staff and pupils. These characteristics are:
- To know about and understand a range of religions and worldviews
- To describe, explain and analyse beliefs and practices, recognising the diversity which exists within and between communities and amongst individuals
- To identify, investigate and respond to questions posed and responses offered by some of the sources of wisdom found in religions and worldviews
- To appreciate and appraise the nature, significance and impact of different ways of life and ways of expressing meaning
- To express ideas and insights about the nature, significance and impact of religion and worldviews
- To explain reasonable their ideas about how beliefs, practices and forms of expression influence individuals and communities
- To 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 religions
- Gain and deploy the skills needed to engage seriously with religions and worldviews
- 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
Staff develop year group specific long-term curriculum maps which identify when the different subjects and topics will be taught across the academic year. All subjects are taught discretely but staff make meaningful links across subjects. They link prior knowledge to new learning to deepen children’s learning. For example, we have used pieces of artwork to stimulate discussions on key theological questions such as ‘Who is God?’ Our children are taught the right, connected knowledge.
Our short-term plans are produced on a bi-weekly basis. We use these to set out the learning objectives for each lesson, identifying engaging activities and resources which will be used to achieve them.
We encourage staff to teach a bi-weekly religious education lesson. This was a notable change after the religious education audit. This helps to ensure sufficient time is allocated to religious education and that the subject matter can be revisited frequently. We believe that by crafting our curriculum this way, we improve the potential for our children to retain what they have been taught, to alter their long-term memory and thus improve the rates of progress they make.
We use both formative and summative assessment information in every religious education lesson. Staff use this information to inform their short-term planning and short-term interventions. This helps us provide the best possible support for all of our pupils, including the more able. The assessment milestones for each phase have been carefully mapped out and further broken down for each year group. This means that skills in religious education are progressive and build year on year.
Our staff use religious education formative assessment grids to systematically assess what the children know as the topic progresses and inform their future planning. These formative assessment grids then inform summative assessment judgements for each topic.
Assessment information is collected frequently and analysed as part of our monitoring cycle. This process provides an accurate and comprehensive understanding of the quality of education in religious education. A comprehensive monitoring cycle is developed at the beginning of each academic year. This identifies when monitoring will be undertaken. Monitoring in religious education includes: book scrutinies, lesson observations and/or learning walks, pupil/parent and/or staff voice.
All of this information is gathered and reviewed. It is used to inform further curriculum developments and provision is adapted accordingly.
At All Souls' CE Primary School, we are