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We believe, at Elsecar Holy Trinity Primary School, in developing a positive attitude and a love of learning towards Religious Education. Through the delivery of Religious Education, we aim to:
- promote pupil’s spiritual, moral, social and cultural development.
- prepare pupils for the opportunities, responsibilities and experiences of life.
- establish the principles for distinguishing the difference between right and wrong.
- developing knowledge, understanding and appreciation of pupil’s own and other’s beliefs and cultures.
- promote equality and empower pupils with the opportunity to challenge discrimination and stereotyping.
- support thoughtful debate and discussion around sensitive topics like the existence of God, life after death and the meaning of life, enable the pupils to think beyond their normal daily experiences.
Our approach follows the philosophy that children are free to make their own choices and decisions concerning religion and belief. RE does not try to persuade but rather to inform and develop the skills with which evaluation can take place
The school follows the Barnsley Syllabus for RE and uses Discovery RE as a toolkit for implementing this. At Elsecar we use Discovery RE which advocates an enquiry model and seeks to instil respect for religious and moral values and tolerance of all races, religions and ways of life. Every unit (enquiry) is based around a key question. The key question for the enquiry is such that it demands an answer that weighs up ‘evidence’ and reaches a conclusion based on this. This necessitates children using their subject knowledge and applying it to the enquiry question, rather than this knowledge being an end in itself. Importanly, our chosen scheme focuses on critical thinking skills, on personal reflection into the child’s own thoughts and feelings, on growing subject knowledge and nurturing spiritual development.
The children start from their own experience to ensure understanding of the concept being studied then move into investigating that concept in depth from the point of view of the chosen religion. This continues over three lessons of investigation and discussion, which embeds subject knowledge. These lessons not only support the children with embedding their RE knowledge, but also contribute to their oracy and critical thinking skills. Exposure to and analysis of religious texts also enhances their reading, comprehension and inference skills. Then, they complete an assessment activity to evaluate the question again in light of their new knowledge, and have further opportunities to embed their own reflections on the learning. Our coverage ensures that pupils study Christianity plus one other religion in each year group. This ensures that the children revisit prior learning for both religions throughout the year to build on the previous enquiries, and Christmas and Easter enquiries are built on year-on-year throughout the child’s primary school journey. Our RE curriculum also supports the following British Values
Discovery RE promotes the idea that individuals have freedom to choose what they believe. Woven into every enquiry is the idea that not everyone is the same. Through enquiries children are given the opportunity to explore, gain knowledge and to reach an understanding that people are at liberty to choose how they express their faith and what they believe in.
Rule of law
There are many examples of ‘rule of law’ within Discovery RE. Children are encouraged to think about the laws, commandments, expectations within a faith and how those rules would impact on their own lives as well as on the lives of the people within those religions. Children are enabled to understand the origins of the various codes of conduct, rules, laws and expectations put forward by different religions and belief positions, and to consider their own position in relation to these.
Mutual respect, democracy and tolerance of those of different faiths and beliefs.
These three concepts stand at the very heart of every classroom. Every lesson is a chance to demonstrate them. Teachers have opportunity to model respect, tolerance and democracy within the classroom, allowing all children the opportunity to speak, using class voting systems, debate and trips to bring the subject to life. Through learning about faith practices and really investigating what they mean for the individuals, children are encouraged to develop mutual respect and tolerance. They are also enabled, through their knowledge, to challenge ideas about religion and spot intolerance when they see it amongst their community and in the media. Pupils will begin to identify similarities and draw comparisons between different faiths. Through the framework of their own experience, they learn to understand and respect the experiences of others. They are also enabled through their knowledge to challenge ideas about religion and recognise intolerance.
The school recognises the right of parents/carers to ask for their child to be withdrawn from all or part of the Religious Education or collective worship provided.
We want children to have an awareness of the relevance of Religious Education in the real world and aim to link this within our curriculum. We hope to increase enjoyment, tolerance and understanding of learning about different cultures and religions. We want children to have independence to make their own choices about beliefs and values that are important to them.