Religious Education

School Policy for Religious Education

RATIONALE:

Religious Education makes a vital contribution to the education of our children at West Park Primary school. It enables teachers to foster children’s spiritual, moral, social and cultural development and engages children in learning about and from religion. Through the study of beliefs and practices children are given the opportunity to think about ultimate questions that concern all of humanity. Children are able to develop skills such as empathy, interpretation, expression and evaluation. RE lessons play a vital role in enhancing the school ethos by fostering attitudes such as self- understanding, enquiry and respect for others. RE contributes to PSHCE, and multi-cultural awareness.

The 1988 Education Reform Act provides a legal framework for the provision of Religious Education and states that Religious Education must be taught to all pupils aged 5-18. At West Park Primary School we follow the Hartlepool legally adopted Agreed Syllabus for Religious Education which is a statutory order.

In accordance with the 1988 Act, the Agreed syllabus reflects the fact that religious traditions in Great Britain are in the main Christian whilst taking account of teachings and practices of other principal world religions represented in Great Britain. At West Park Primary School Foundation Stage and Key Stage 1 children focus on Christianity and Hinduism and Key stage 2 children focus on Christianity, Sikhism and Islam. Dimensions from other faiths are also included. At Key Stage 1 these include Judaism and at Key Stage 2 Buddhism and Judaism.

Legally, the Agreed Syllabus must be non-denominational and must not be designed to convert pupils or to urge a particular religion or religious belief on pupils. We at West Park Primary School treat all belief systems with respect and encourage children to do the same.

AIMS:

Religious Education at West Park Primary School provides opportunities for the children to:

These aims are underpinned by the ethos and aims at West Park Primary School. We emphasise the importance of children being aware of and respecting the needs of others in a caring, multi-cultural community. The children will learn about religions by focusing on traditional belief systems. This will be developed by considering questions of human experience in the light of the children’s knowledge of the religion and learn from this by being encouraged to develop their own beliefs and values.

ORGANISATION:

The allocation of time for Religious Education, which is recommended as the minimum entitlement in Circular 1/94 is:

This roughly equates to 5% of curriculum time or one hour per week. Owing to the organisation of the primary curriculum the teachers at West Park Primary School are flexible at times in the delivery of Religious Education to allow for visits and half and full day sessions.

There is a Religious Co-ordinator in the school who prepares the Action Plan and reviews, monitors and evaluates provision and practice of Religious Education.

PLANNING AND DELIVERY:

A Long Term Plan for Religious Education has been produced by the Co-ordinator to fulfil the requirements of the Agreed Syllabus. All Class Teachers have a copy of this and is used when Medium Term Planning is undertaken. We at West Park Primary School are moving towards a more skill based curriculum so the skills outlined in the Chris Quigley Religious Education document are also addressed in Medium Term Planning. Medium Term Planning takes into account the need for:

This includes the ability to:

  1. Identify, name, describe and give accounts in order to build a coherent picture of each religion.
  2. Explain the meanings of religious language, stories and symbolism.
  3. Explain the similarities and differences between and within religions.

Attainment Target 2 (Learning from Religion)

This includes the ability to:

  1. Give an informed and considered response to religious and moral issues.
  2. Reflect on what might be learned from religions in the light of one’s own beliefs and experience.
  3. Identify and respond to questions of meaning within religions.

Progression and Differentiation.

Across Key Stage 1 and Key Stage 2 pupils may re-visit areas of content but there will be different expectations at each Key Stage. The approach to whole school planning will ensure that there is no needless repetition and that learning experiences are meaningful.

Within the short term planning stage care will be given to ensuring that the learning activities are appropriate to ages and aptitudes of the pupils and matched to the learning needs of individual pupils where necessary. Extension activities should be designed for the more able pupils as well as activities designed for those with learning difficulties and special needs in Religious Education. Activities will be designed to ensure that contact is maintained with the central idea under consideration.

Assessment

RE is not subject to nationally prescribed assessment arrangements however assessment is an integral part of the planning process. Care should be taken to ensure that the form of assessment is designed to match the learning outcomes. Although there is no statutory requirement for assessment in RE, it is important that teachers are able to identify evidence of pupil’s learning in order to monitor progress. The Scheme of Work indicates learning outcomes, suggested teaching content and learning activities. Successful completion of the learning activities will provide teachers with evidence which can be used for assessment purposes. This is are recorded in the form of Unit Assessment Sheets , copies of which are collected , held and scrutinised by the co-ordinator.

Recording and Reporting

In order to provide evidence across the Key Stages records of pupil’s work in RE should be kept. It is a legal requirement that schools should report to parents on pupils’ progress in Religious Education.

MONITORING:

The Scheme of Work will be monitored from the medium term planning sheets.

SPECIAL NEEDS

The range of special needs in Religious Education includes:

  1. Pupils who have special needs across the curriculum and who also have special needs themselves.
  2. Pupils who experience difficulties in other areas of the curriculum but who demonstrate the capacity to respond to the religious or spiritual dimension.
  3. Pupils who are more able and talented across the curriculum including RE.
  4. Pupils who live in an environment that is entirely secular or strongly religious where values and beliefs may be at odds with the wider culture in which they live.
  5. Pupils themselves who have a personal faith commitment.

Careful attention to these individual needs should be given at the planning stage.

EQUAL OPPORTUNITIES

Children at West Park Primary School have access to the teaching of RE regardless of religion, race, culture, gender and ability both physical and academic. Through the teaching of RE children will learn to:

WITHDRAWAL:

Under the terms of the 1988 Education Reform Act, parents have the right to withdraw their children wholly or partly from Religious Education. The school must comply with the parents’ request and no reason need be given.

It is the responsibility of the school to make adequate alternative provision for children withdrawn from Religious Education. However the Head Teacher may wish to establish a working relationship with parents and discuss issues and practical implications of their decision for withdrawal.

SCHOOL POPULATION:

There is a variety of faiths represented within our school population and we recognise that many of our children are nurtured within a faith community including the Hindu and Islamic faiths we have chosen to teach.

SPECIAL DIFFICULTIES:

The physical location of West Park Primary School means that we are not close to places of worship of Christian or other faith communities. We do endeavour to allow the children access to a variety of faith buildings via school trips.

CROSS CURRICULAR ISSUES:

Religious Education can make a distinctive contribution to many areas of the school curriculum. There have always been links between religion and the Arts and as a consequence RE fits naturally with subjects such as Art, Music, PE, Drama and Dance. In Science RE has the capacity to raise questions of value and purpose which can add an extra dimension to work in these areas.

RESOURCES:

A list of resources is held within the co-ordinator’s file and is regularly updated.

The school will ensure that governors are informed of any developments and changes to provision in Religious Education and amendments to school policy are made available for discussion and approval.

The school will also keep parents informed of any developments in relation to Religious Education and make the Religious Education policy available if requested.

Updated December 2014