Religious Education - RE
RE Intent Statement
Didsbury CE school vision
‘Belonging, Believing, Becoming.’
Firmly rooted in Jesus’ vision of the kingdom of God as described in the parable of the mustard seed, Mark 4v30-32. Our Christian school exists to provide a welcoming environment in which everybody is cherished and challenged to fulfil their potential.
RE prepares children for citizenship in today’s diverse society. Religious education in a Church school should enable every child to flourish and to live life in all its fullness. (John 10:10). It enables them to develop sensitivity to, and respect for others. Quality RE breaks down barriers and builds communities. At its best RE offers pupils authentic encounters with living faith communities equipping them with the ability to hold an informed conversation about religious beliefs and practices.
At Didsbury CE it is our intent that the RE curriculum that is taught provides opportunities for spiritual development and personal reflection. We believe that we should build on children’s knowledge and understanding of the nature of religion and belief. Our RE curriculum provokes challenging questions about meaning and purpose, truth and values, identity and belonging.
A high-quality sequential religious education (RE) programme is essential to meet the statutory requirement for all state funded schools, including academies and free schools, to teach a full curriculum that prepares pupils for the opportunities, responsibilities and experiences of life in modern Britain. Didsbury CE operates in accordance with the Guidance set out in the RE Statement of Entitlement, (The Church of England Education Office (2019). The Governors of Didsbury CE and The St James and Emmanuel Trust have chosen to adopt the Blackburn Diocesan Board of Education Syllabus for RE which fulfils all legal requirements.
A curriculum for life for all regardless of background
The RE syllabus at Didsbury CE provides opportunities for spiritual development and personal reflection. It develops children’s knowledge and understanding of the nature of religion and belief, it provokes challenging questions about meaning and purpose, truth and values, identity and belonging.
At its best the RE at Didsbury CE offers pupils authentic encounters with living faith communities equipping them with the ability to hold an informed conversation about religious beliefs and practices. We are proud of the fact that the ambitious RE curriculum at Didsbury CE plays a vital role in equipping each child with the skills and knowledge needed to take advantage of opportunities that life can offer. We aim for pupils to understand the wide range of religious beliefs in their community and how they can be respectful inquisitive and positive members of their community. RE can break down barriers and builds communities. The RE curriculum at Didsbury CE prepares children for citizenship and courageous advocacy in today’s diverse society.
Curriculum end points
The RE curriculum is designed with clear key knowledge end points at the end of each year and ultimately each key stage. The RE curriculum that is taught in each year group is designed to work towards those end points. Our RE curriculum enables our pupils to ask perceptive questions, think critically, analyse evidence and arguments and develop a view point and opinion. Key aspects of English such as persuasive language, advocacy and critical thinking are woven in our RE curriculum.
The ladder of expectation and achievement in the Questful RE syllabus provides an indication of the expected level of achievement. The ladder is intended primarily to contribute to planning excellent tasks at the right level appropriate for the pupils’ experience, knowledge and ability. The ladder can be used to make judgements about the level of individual pupils’ achievement at the end of each year group and ach key stage. This is supported by assessment sheets for each unit which contain knowledge and skills objectives for teacher a pupil assessment.
Curriculum planning and sequencing
Children in Years 1 to 6 are taught RE using a spiral curriculum, revisiting previous concepts in the big idea which is visually transformed into a frieze, based on the study of the units year-on-year, building on their prior learning. Our curriculum coverage is 70-80% Christianity and 20-30% other faiths reflecting our foundation as a Church of England academy.
The curriculum at Didsbury CE is mainly a knowledge-engaged curriculum that consciously develops both knowledge and skills. We have provided training to support teachers to put in place opportunities for ‘I wonder’ and ‘Dive Deeper’ these skills which encourage the children to be inquisitive can be translated to other subjects including the humanities, science and English. A key feature of the syllabus is the opportunity for pupils to investigate, reflect, evaluate and make meaning. In doing so they will discover more about themselves, their relationships with others, their relationship with the world around them and their relationship with God.
In the EYFS the knowledge and skills in RE come from the starting point of the child. The Early Years RE Chatterbox Units are designed to encourage an atmosphere of community where everyone, child and adult are learning together. Right from the start planning involves a child centred approach which aims to inspire and motivate. Children are confident to ask questions and make choices. Continuous provision is provided for all and children are given opportunities to explore various types of equipment. Often this is child-initiated but on occasion is also completed through adult-led activities. This results in enthusiastic, interested and creative children.
Key stage 1
In Key Stage 1 the units have been chosen from the syllabus that we consider allow the exploration of the big idea which is the basis of the syllabus. The units also provide links to the wider curriculum including within the story of creation exploring recycling and looking after the planet and in the harvest topic looking at Fair Trade. Links are made to other faiths across the curriculum There are many cross curricular links with PSHE and English.
Key Stage 2
In KS2 the curriculum builds upon the higher-level thinking developed with the dive deeper and I wonder questioning started in KS1. The eight key concepts of the big idea continue to be revisited but with a great level of challenge in terms of the links that are made across the Bible and links with other faiths. We ensure that our that our RE curriculum builds on previous learning and that it is connected to other subject areas, especially English and PSHE to create a greater coherence and context for the children.
Reflecting the local context
At Didsbury CE we also study the practices and beliefs of other major world faiths. From the other major faiths, the school has decided to focus on Islam and Judaism which reflects the local community and the link to Christianity. The children experience hands on learning experiences with visits to the local church, Synagogue and Mosque. These opportunities assist children to ask questions and experience religion alive in their community.
During their time at Didsbury CE we believe that the vocabulary rich, knowledge engaged curriculum provides children with first hand experiences that bring the subject to life and root the curriculum in a local context.
The discussion, debate and social advocacy opportunities that thread through our curriculum equip our children, whatever their social background, the soft skills such as critical thinking and teamwork that are vital to success in 21st century Britain. We often use cross-curricular teaching to make the curriculum relevant and meaningful to children and for putting knowledge into context.
A broad and balanced curriculum
We have always been committed to providing a broad and balanced curriculum that is not narrowed in end of key stage years. Didsbury CE operates in accordance with the Guidance set out in the RE Statement of Entitlement, (The Church of England Education Office 2019). At Didsbury CE we adopt the principal that 5% of the curriculum being dedicated to RE. This is the minimum recommended in national guidelines. There will be occasions when RE takes a larger slice of the curriculum, reflecting the Church School’s greater commitment to the subject.
We passionately believe that the RE curriculum builds upon the skills and knowledge of the core subjects. For example, the RE curriculum gives opportunity for high level and substantial pieces of writing that contextualise the skills taught in the English and links to courageous advocacy in the PSHE curriculum.
High academic ambition
Throughout the RE curriculum at Didsbury CE there is an expectation of high academic standards and children at Didsbury CE enjoy the opportunity to be advocates for change and ambassadors of respect and tolerance in society. The design of the curriculum and the opportunities afforded the children mean that high standard of writing in RE is the same as it is in the core subjects. We passionately believe that all children regardless of background can reach those high standards. Pupil premium is used to ensure that all children have full access to the RE curriculum. For children with SEN our RE curriculum and the resources we use are adapted so that they have the opportunity to receive their full educational entitlement. Visuals and differentiated work are provided to support children with EAL.
Our RE curriculum is designed so that all may be challenged to fulfil their potential and encourages pupils to develop positive attitudes to their learning and to the beliefs and values of others. This provides children with the knowledge, skills and understanding they need to be ready for their next stage of education.
Implementation – how we teach what we teach
Didsbury CE operates in accordance with the guidance set out in the RE Statement of Entitlement, (The Church of England Education Office 2016). We use a highly regarded, investigative and challenging scheme of work called Questful RE supported by Understanding Christianity. As a church school, RE is a core subject and consequently we ensure that at least 5% of curriculum time is dedicated to the subject. The curriculum that we follow focusses on Christianity for 70% of the time and other world faiths for 30%. With regard to non-Christian faiths, the school has decided to focus on Islam and Judaism. RE is taught by class teachers in discrete weekly lessons that are engaging, thought provoking and challenging.
Impact – how we measure what we teach
The impact of RE will be seen through our pupils who will be able to give a theologically informed and thoughtful account of Christianity as a living and diverse faith. They will show an informed and respectful attitude to religions and world views in their search for God and meaning as well as engage in meaningful and informed dialogue with those of other faiths and reflect critically and responsibly on their own spiritual, philosophical and ethical convictions.
The children’s learning journey in RE is assessed each term using the current assessment framework with judgements by class teachers having been informed by the contributions made by children in class discussions and work recorded in their RE book. RE is reported on formally to parents at the end of each academic year. Progress of children is tracked throughout their time at Didsbury CE Primary.
Parental Rights of Withdrawal in a Church of England Academy
The Worship and Religious Education provided by the school is in accordance with the Church of England. This foundation is also reflected in the curriculum and the whole life of the school community. Since the conduct of the school as a whole reflects the Church of England ethos, removal of pupils from Worship and/or Religious Education (as parents are legally entitled to do) cannot insulate them from the religious life of the school.
At Didsbury CE Primary School, the daily act of collective worship is viewed as an integral and important part of school life. Through this and in the general ethos of the school we seek to promote our mission statement of Belonging, Believing and Becoming.
It is a time where we come together to share our love of God based on promoting the Christian values which permeate the ethos of the school. As such, the contributions of staff, pupils, church clergy and other visitors are valued highly. We also actively seek to encourage the attitudes of awe, wonder and reflection. We have regular contributions to assembly. In accordance with Manchester Diocesan Guidelines, our school ensures that every child is entitled to an opportunity for daily worship.
Withdrawing Pupils from Collective Worship
The 1996 Education Act gives parents the legal right to withdraw their children from collective worship. This is upheld under the 1998 Act.
As an Anglican school we hold great value in the power of collective worship to formulate, enhance and celebrate the power and wonder of our Christian faith. That said, if parents wish to withdraw their child from collective worship we request that the reasons be put in writing and submitted to the Head of School.