Religious Education

  • We follow the Hartlepool Agreed Syllabus for RE.

    This is taught to all children in school unless their parent makes a request to withdraw them from lessons on the grounds of faith.

    Purpose of Study

    Religious Education is an academically rigorous subject which makes a distinctive contribution to pupils’ overall knowledge. It provides opportunities for external accreditation, including GCSE Full Course and Advanced Level study in Religious Studies.

    Religious Education contributes dynamically to pupils’ education in schools 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. In RE pupils learn about religious and non-religious worldviews in order to discover, explore and consider different answers to these questions. They learn to interpret, analyse, evaluate and critically respond to the claims that religious and non-religious worldviews make. Pupils learn to express their insights and to agree or disagree respectfully. Teaching therefore should equip pupils with knowledge and understanding of what is meant by the terms ‘religion’ and ‘worldview’ as well as systematic knowledge and understanding of a range of religious and non-religious worldviews. Teaching should enable pupils to appreciate that worldviews are complex, diverse and plural and have influence on individuals, communities, societies and cultures.

    RE offers opportunities for personal reflection and pupils’ spiritual, moral, social and cultural development as it encourages pupils to examine the significance of their learning in relation to themselves and others. It enables pupils to explore their own beliefs (whether they are religious or not), ideas, feelings, experiences and values in the light of what they learn. RE encourages empathy and respect. It enables pupils to develop their own sense of identity and belonging. It also promotes respect for the right of others to hold different beliefs, values and ideas.

    RE should develop in pupils an aptitude for dialogue so that they can participate positively in our society with its diverse religious and non-religious worldviews. RE enables pupils to have a nuanced and informed understanding of political, social and moral issues that they will need to face as they grow up in an increasingly globalised world. It helps pupils deal positively with controversial issues, to manage strongly held differences of belief and to challenge stereotypes and prejudice. As such RE is central to good local, national and global citizenship. It makes a significant contribution to the active promotion of mutual respect and tolerance of others’ faiths and beliefs, a fundamental British value. It prepares pupils for life in modern Britain.

    Teaching in RE must promote therefore openness, respect for others, scholarly accuracy and critical enquiry.

    Aims of Religious Education

    This Agreed Syllabus for Religious Education aims to ensure that pupils:
    • develop deepening knowledge and understanding about a range of religious and nonreligious worldviews so that they can:
    – describe and explain beliefs and theological concepts
    – describe and explain some sources of authority and teachings within and across
    religious and non-religious traditions
    – describe and explain ways in which beliefs are expressed
    – know and understand the significance and impact of beliefs and practices on
    individuals, communities and societies
    – connect these together into a coherent framework of beliefs and practices
    • gain and deploy deepening understanding of specialist vocabulary and terms
    • know and understand about religious diversity within the region, as well as nationally and
    globally
    • know and understand how religion can be defined and what is meant by the term
    ‘religious and non-religious worldviews’ and with increasing clarity know that these
    worldviews are complex, diverse and plural
    • gain and deploy skills that enable critical thinking and enquiry in relation to the material
    they study
    • reflect on their own thoughts, feelings, experiences, ideas, values and beliefs with
    increasing discernment

    Breadth of Study

    Key Stage 1: Christianity, Hinduism
    Key Stage 2: Christianity, Islam, Sikhism
    Key Stage 3: Christianity, Buddhism, Judaism
    Key Stage 4: Christianity plus at least one other principal religion
    At Early Years Foundation Stage, schools should draw on Christianity plus aspects of the
    other principal religions as appropriate.
    At post 16 schools should draw on a range of religious and non-religious worldviews
    including Christianity and other principal religions.

    Overview

    Early Years

    The Early Years Foundation Stage describes the phase of a child’s education from birth to the end of the Reception year at the age of five. Religious Education (RE) becomes compulsory when children enter Reception and are placed on the school roll. Children in Reception must follow planning which meets Agreed Syllabus requirements. Sufficient time must be given to ensure that children receive their entitlement to RE: this can be organised to be in line with school planning for the Early Years Foundation Stage. Please see page on appropriate time allocation in this Agreed Syllabus.
    During the Early Years Foundation Stage, children may begin to explore the world of religion in terms of special people, books, times, places and objects and by visiting places of worship. They listen to and talk about stories. They may be introduced to religious words and concepts and use their senses in exploring religions and beliefs, practices and forms of expression. They begin to ask questions and reflect on their own feelings and experiences. They use their imagination and curiosity to develop their appreciation and wonder of the world in which they live.
    This Agreed Syllabus uses the following themes to explore religion:
    • Special: special times, people, places, objects, books (this includes stories)
    • Belonging: how belonging and identity are expressed.
    These two themes introduce children to some of the practices, beliefs and ideas within religious traditions. Examples:
    • Let’s find out about the Christmas story
    • Let’s find out about Raksha Bandhan.
    Apart from the worthwhile nature of RE itself, the subject makes a significant contribution to children’s wider learning and development. RE can help children to develop:
    • a positive sense of themselves and how they can manage their own feelings and ideas
    • positive relationships with others and respect for all
    • listening and speaking skills and confidence in expressing themselves
    • making sense of the world around them as they explore, observe and find out about the environment, people, places and objects and how people celebrate special times
    • differing ways to express themselves through art, music, movement, dance, role play, design and technology.
    Points to Note
    • The statutory requirement for RE begins when children are placed on the school roll. RE is, therefore, not compulsory in Nursery. RE does, however, form a valuable part of the educational experience of children throughout the key stage. This Agreed Syllabus, therefore, highly recommends the delivery of RE at Nursery.
    • RE is a statutory entitlement for all children, whether they are adherents of a particular religious tradition or not.
    Hartlepool Agreed Syllabus 2020 39
    • RE must not be designed to convert children or to urge a particular religion or religious belief (please see the page in this Agreed Syllabus on legal requirements). Care should be taken in the use of language, activities and materials and any stereotyping should be challenged. For example, it is inappropriate in RE to say “we believe” or “our faith says”.
    • Planning for RE in EYFS should take account of the purpose, aims and elements of RE in this Agreed Syllabus. Children will be:
    o introduced to some religious practices (knowledge and understanding)
    o given opportunities to ask questions (critical thinking)
    o given opportunities to reflect on their own experiences and feelings (personal reflection).
    • Schools can draw content from any part of the EYFS Programme of Study in this Agreed Syllabus. They can also complement this Programme of Study with additional material from other religious and non-religious worldviews if appropriate.
    • RE can be planned as a discrete curriculum and/or can be incorporated into wider themes and topics as appropriate to EYFS curriculum planning. RE should, however, be discernible and distinctive within any topic and should contain appropriate and explicit references to religious beliefs, practices and forms of expression. Tenuous links between RE and class topics should be avoided.
    • A wide range of appropriate experiences and activities can be used to support learning in RE eg exploring artefacts and objects; taking part in role play, dance and drama; listening to stories and poems; exploring pictures and films; taking part in art, craft and ICT activities, circle time and talking together. These activities can be enriched if exploration can also include opportunities for encountering and engaging with local faith members and traditions eg through visits to places of worship, virtual visits, inviting faith members into school, handling artefacts and objects used within faith traditions.
    • Whilst children may take part in role play and re-enactments in RE, teachers should be clear that they are not asking children to ‘celebrate’ a religious practice or take part in worship in RE. Role play is valuable in helping children explore a story or a religious practice and develop empathy and respect. It is not, however, the same as worship within a religious community and should not promote religious affiliation or belief (see legal requirements).
    • Schools should use the appropriate assessment methodology for EYFS.
    • The following pages contain the Programme of Study for EYFS and an exemplar plan. Teachers could use this exemplar plan to teach RE as a discrete area of exploration or they could

    Key Stage 1

    Most Key Stage 1 pupils have a natural curiosity. They ask questions and wonder about life; they show a willingness to use their imagination and they have an intuitive sense of mystery in the world around them. Pupils should be introduced to some of the beliefs and features of a religion and begin to use basic subject specific vocabulary.
    In relation to their learning about these religious beliefs and practices, pupils should be given the opportunity to raise questions and express their views simply.
    Pupils should also be given opportunities to reflect on their own ideas and feelings in relation to their learning.
    Pupils can take part in enquiries, finding out about religious and non-religious beliefs and practices by encountering a variety of sources.
    Pupils must be taught about:
    • Christianity – introduction to beliefs and practices and their impact
    • Hinduism – introduction to some beliefs and practices and their impact
    • Religious diversity – introduction to the diverse religious and non-religious landscape in the local area (including differing denominations).
    Schools may also choose to include the study of another religious or non-religious worldview (including the six principal religions) as part of their RE curriculum. This would be selected at the discretion of the school.
    Please see pages on appropriate time allocation and guidance on curriculum delivery.

    Key Stage 2

    Most Key Stage 2 pupils are becoming more aware of themselves and others and the wider world in which they live. They should be encouraged to be curious and ask increasingly challenging questions about religion, belief, values and human life. Key Stage 2 pupils can build on their learning at Key Stage 1 as they develop a capacity to extend and deepen their factual knowledge of religious beliefs and practices and begin to recognise local, national and global contexts. They will extend their range of specific subject vocabulary.
    In relation to the religious material studied, pupils develop the capacity to form their own reasoned opinions, identifying relevant information and using examples to back up their ideas. They develop the capacity to listen to differing points of view and see the world through the eyes of others.
    Pupils should be given opportunities to reflect on their own feelings, experiences, ideas, beliefs and values in reference to the religious material studied.
    Pupils can develop ability to investigate and enquire independently, using a variety of sources.
    Pupils must be taught about:
    • Christianity – beliefs and practices across the denominations and the impact of these for individuals and communities
    • Islam – some beliefs and practices and the impact of these for individuals and communities
    • Sikhism – some beliefs and practices and the impact of these for individuals and communities
    • religious diversity – the diverse religious and non-religious landscape across the region
    • similarities and differences within and between religious and non-religious worldviews through at least one thematic study e.g. about ritual, the environment, care for others.
    Schools may also choose to include the study of another religious or non-religious worldview (including the six principal religions) as part of their RE curriculum. This would be selected at the discretion of the school.
    Please see pages on appropriate time allocation and guidance on curriculum delivery.