‘RE is like the Tardis. Despite the small space it occupies in the curriculum, it is huge, encompassing nothing less than humanity’s most searching questions, its deepest hopes, the history of the world’s beliefs and their diverse manifestation in the modern world.’ (NATRE)
RE must be provided for all pupils in state funded schools in England. This is a legal requirement and is also a necessary part of a ‘broad and balanced curriculum.’
Religious Education (RE) is not part of the National Curriculum but must be taught in schools by law. We are a Church of England Controlled School and hold a strong commitment to teaching the principles of Christianity. Religion and beliefs inform our values and are reflected in what we say and how we behave. At Woodstock CE Primary School, RE is an integral part of the curriculum in developing an individual’s knowledge and understanding of the religions and beliefs which form part of contemporary society. Our Religious Education curriculum provokes challenging questions about the ultimate meaning and purpose of life, beliefs about God, the self and the nature of reality, issues of right and wrong, and what it means to be human. It develops pupils’ knowledge and understanding of Christianity, of other principal religions, other religious traditions and world-views that offer answers to questions such as these. RE also contributes to our pupils’ personal development and wellbeing, and to community cohesion by promoting mutual respect and tolerance in a diverse society.
Our framework for RE makes important contributions to other parts of the school curriculum such as PSHE, humanities, education for sustainable development and others. It offers opportunities for personal reflection and spiritual development, deepening the understanding of the significance of religion in the lives of others – individually, communally and cross-culturally. RE is provided in accordance with the Oxfordshire Diocese Agreed Syllabus and draws from the most recent practice and educational thinking. The agreed syllabus is supplemented with the Understanding Christianity resources which are intended to support teachers in teaching about Christianity in Religious Education. Understanding Christianity’s approach to teaching about Christianity builds up pupils’ encounters with biblical concepts through texts, placing them within the wider Bible story. Through RE we aim to enable children to understand the nature of religions and beliefs which have influenced the lives of millions of people and heavily influenced the development of different human cultures. We also aim to enable pupils to learn more about themselves and their place in the world from their increasingly academic and creative exploration of religions and beliefs. RE is taught through an enquiry-based approach and provides opportunities for all pupils to explore questions, experiences and concepts related to identity and what it means to be human, whilst at the same time developing a good knowledge and understanding of the principal faiths in Britain. The syllabus promotes an inclusive and educational approach to RE, which is of increasing importance to help people understand modern society and critical issues in the world, as well as promoting understanding and respect. It enables teachers to develop key skills, attitudes and dispositions in their pupils, such as critical thinking, empathy and conceptual creativity, which will equip them better to be able to grapple with the questions that life throws at us.
Delivery of RE is not always taught as a weekly lesson. It can also be through RE Days (whole school, key stage, phase, class) or any organisational arrangement between. Children and staff have indicated that larger blocks of RE teaching can have a more positive impact on learning, so this approach is encouraged. There is also some cross-curricular coverage of RE including teaching through other subjects, whole school events, assemblies and collective worship.
A daily act of Collective Worship is held either as a whole-school or in Key Stages. It is an important part of our school day. A representative from the local churches leads worship once a week. Friday assemblies are special because we celebrate children’s achievement both in and outside school. Parents are regularly invited to join us in assemblies. Each term children across the school visit a local Church to take part in a celebratory service. Parents have the right to withdraw their child from RE lessons and collective worship and should talk to the Headteacher if this is their intention.