Religious Education (RE)
Just as a candle cannot burn without fire, men cannot live without a spiritual life.
At Burrington RE is about awareness, mystery and values.
We reflect on different Faiths. We are Theologians!
RE and Worldviews is an important subject for everybody, not just because of its significance in current world affairs, but because it links so strongly into many other fields - music, art, history, politics, social and cultural issues, global economics – the list is endless. No sphere of life is untouched by issues of religion and belief, so how can any of us understand humanity without understanding at least a little about the subject?
It is our intention at Burrington CofE Primary to make full provision for the cultural development of our pupils including their ability to recognise and value the things we share in common across cultural, religious, ethnic and socio-economic communities. We aim to improve our pupils’ understanding and respect for different world faiths and in particular provide a clear and comprehensive coverage of Christianity.
We aspire to teach RE lessons that are academically rigorous, well-researched and resourced and encourage pupils to explore religions through a variety of lenses – historical, philosophical and theological.
As the children study each religion we offer them opportunities to be reflective about their own beliefs (religious or otherwise), and we consider that in an increasingly confusing, fast-paced world laced with misinformation and fake news, we need to equip and support our pupils to examine information thoughtfully and critically. Analysing evidence, respect for others, questioning, curiosity and empathy (the RE attitudes and skills set) are explicitly taught and incorporated into our curriculum.
We intend that the RE taught in our school is up-to-date, relevant and inspiring!
For to be free is not merely to cast off one's chains, but to live in a way that respects and enhances the freedom of others.”
RE is planned and taught through the locally agreed syllabus Awareness, Mystery and Value (AMV) (http://awarenessmysteryvalue.org.uk) and is supplemented by the Understanding Christianity resource (http://www.understandingchristianity.org.uk). The Understanding Christianity materials were commissioned by the Church of England to offer a detailed, coherent and systematic approach to teaching Christianity and ‘the Big Story of the Bible’. The Agreed Syllabus also covers the other main religions represented in Britain today: Judaism, Islam and Hinduism.
Teaching and Learning
Each unit of work is introduced by a visual, clearly presented topic web so pupils can see and understand the learning journey for the term ahead. Long term planning is sequenced so that key concepts are embedded and built upon as pupils progress through the school. Lessons and activities are designed to ensure all children are supported in their learning, and challenge is built in to extend pupils who can ‘dig deeper’ into a topic. We aim to make the learning experience varied and enjoyable with a variety of teaching approaches that allow the children to engage actively and express themselves creatively:
- Visits and visitors.
- Use of virtual tours and online teaching resources and relevant and engaging video clips.
- We have a library of religious artefacts which are used to support learning, stimulate curiosity and open a discussion about respect, sensitivity and reverence when handling ‘sacred/special’ objects. For our younger children we have story bags and special objects which help the children remember stories. We use Floor books in EYFS and KS1 to create a resource that can be displayed in the classroom and referred back to.
- Cross-curricular lessons involving art and design, music, poetry, dance, signing, puppetry and film.
- Courageous advocacy and participation of ‘Global Neighbours’ campaigning activities. (Where possible, close links are made between RE topics and the 17 UN Sustainable Development Goals which form part of Burrington’s over-arching curriculum.)
- Good use is made of drama and ‘acting out’. Teaching techniques involving simple props and 'hot seating' are used to help the children immerse themselves in a story, develop insights and different perspectives and empathise with characters.
- High quality texts reflecting cultural and religious diversity, including illustrated and child-friendly versions of the Bible.
- Church Days – visits to local places of worship – often with a ‘themed’ or enquiry-led approach. Our Year 6 leavers take part in 'Pilgrims Day' events held at Wells Cathedral.
- We have very close links with our local church, located next to our school. Children are familiar with visiting the Holy Trinity Church for Weekly celebration and clergy led assemblies community at Holy Trinity, Burrington. We also access online teaching resources and we are able to access support from Revd. Andrew Hemming (Foundation Governor), Revd. David Gent (Rector) and Revd. Sue Wood (Curate, All Saints Church, Wrington) .
- Whole-school themed mornings, e.g. Advent and Easter themed activities in the church, Mothering Sunday preparation in the church.
- Special thematic weeks eg mark making week in September (usually focussed on one of the UN Sustainable Development Goals).
- Stilling, reflection and Godly Play sessions.
- Simulation Games
RE is largely taught by our class teachers. We have close links with our Federation colleagues and especially our highly experienced RE lead teacher based at Wrington who has many years’ experience in the role and continues to develop and update her subject knowledge through attending RE conferences in Bristol, Bath and Wells diocese as well as regular local Learn Teach Lead RE hub meetings. Our Burrington RE lead also attends our local RE hub meetings and has completed training in the delivery of 'Understanding Christinaity' which supplements the AMV locally agreed syllabus.
Right to withdraw:
The Education Reform Act 1988 makes provision for pupils to be withdrawn from Religious Education. Parents wishing to exercise this right are asked to express their wishes in writing to the Head Teacher. The School will follow the Guidelines outlined by the School Standards and Framework Act 1998 which are also outlined in the AMV guidance under the section, The Right to Withdraw from RE.
Children’s progress is assessed formatively by teachers. Each unit of work is introduced with a clear statement of learning and evaluation in the later years of school is through short, focussed quizzes to ensure that key learning is embedded and misconceptions diagnosed and addressed. This approach to assessment measures how well pupils have understood and retained factual ‘substantive’ RE knowledge.
RE is reported through the annual report to parents and through information given at regular parents meetings as appropriate.
RE Subject Lead liaises with Foundation Governors to review teaching and learning of RE.
Strength does not come from physical capacity. It comes from an indomitable will.
Whatever their own worldview, pupils enjoy RE because it engages them with questions and issues that matter to them. Children have an innate sense of justice and are always ready to respond to activities on social justice or respect for our planet (which again link back to the UN Sustainable Development Goals and our opportunities to be Global Neighbours).
It is our hope that children will leave Burrington with a good knowledge of the four main world faiths (Christianity, Judaism, Hinduism and Islam) represented in Britain today and also an understanding of other religions and non-religious worldviews. They will have an appreciation of ‘lived’ faiths, and the prejudice and struggles that believers have encountered in the past and continue to encounter in today’s society. Through a variety of teaching methods and opportunities for personal reflection we hope that our children will be able to admire people of faith, be equipped to defend religious and racial freedom and inspired to explore and deepen their own values, worldviews and spirituality.