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Religious Education

Intent

At Lowtown, it is our intention for Religious Education to engage, inspire, challenge and enrich pupils as holistic individuals. We believe that it is important for all our pupils to learn from and about religion, so that they can understand the world around them. Providing a robust, relevant and restorative curriculum has never been more important than in the current climate where unprecedented circumstances have reshaped the core societal structures we relied upon as permanent, unchanging and utterly dependable. Religion holds a unique and powerful position to help negotiate safely into this new normality and as such respect for the subject is given in kind. We intend to help children to acquire and develop knowledge and understanding of the principal religions represented in Great Britain; to appreciate the way that religious beliefs shape life and behaviour, develop the ability to make reasoned and informed judgements about religious and moral issues and enhance their spiritual, moral, social and cultural development. Religious Education is taught throughout the school in such a way as to reflect the overall aims, values, and philosophy of the school. It plays an important role, along with all other curriculum areas, particularly PSHE, in promoting social awareness and understanding in our children. We encourage our pupils to ask questions about the world and to reflect on their own beliefs, values and experiences. At Lowtown, our curriculum is designed to encourage creativity, imagination, enquiry, debate, discussion, and independence. Above all, the teaching of RE ensures pupils develop the values of respect, empathy, responsibility, honesty, resilience, and tolerance necessary to ensure a positive and productive societal step forward into a bright future.

Implementation

At Lowtown, we use the ‘BELIEVING AND BELONGING in West Yorkshire: The Agreed Syllabus for Religious Education in Calderdale, Kirklees and Leeds’ as the basis for our curriculum. We believe that the syllabus, ‘Believing and Belonging’ provides a stimulating and rigorous framework to teach about religion and world views, alongside nurturing tolerance, respect, empathy and kindness in our cohort and local communities. We structure the teaching of RE through key questions, enquiry, and investigation. Each unit of work focuses on a key question related to the subject content of the syllabus. Enquiry and investigation of the key question includes at least three elements: 

  • An analysis of the question and prior learning. 
  • A critical investigation of relevant beliefs, practices and ways of life.
  • A reasoned and critical response in relation to modern life and supported through scripture.

At Lowtown, it has been agreed that having considered the requirements and guidelines presented in the Agreed Syllabus, the following religions have been selected for study in depth: 

  • Christianity 
  • Islam
  • Judaism 
  • Sikhism

From our RE syllabus it has been agreed that in EYFS, the children learn about Christianity and where appropriate a range of other beliefs and cultures as pertained to their immediate environment and own unique cultural backgrounds. These are covered through learning about specific key celebrations and are more fully expounded and explored through play and continuous provision. In KS1 Christianity is studied (and one other principal religion in some depth (Islam)). In KS2 Christianity is studied (and at least two other principal religions in some depth (Judaism, Sikhism, Islam)).

There are no presumptions made as to the religious backgrounds and beliefs and values of the children and the staff.  We value the religious background of all members of the school community and hope that this will encourage individuals to share their own experiences with others freely.  All religions and their communities are treated with respect and sensitivity and we value the links, which are, and can be made between home, school, and a faith community.  We are extremely lucky that members of the local church, Pudsey Parish, regularly visit our school to carry out assemblies. We acknowledge that each religion studied can contribute to the education of all our pupils.  We promote teaching in Religious Education that stresses open enquiry and first-hand experiences wherever possible for both staff and children. 

Impact

At the start of the year, teachers plan a pre-assessment to explore what the children have retained from the previous year. This will inform teachers of a starting point to work from based on ‘Believing and Belonging’ scheme of work. Children then show their learning throughout the year in their verbal and written work by using a mixture of self and peer assessment, and observations of children in, around and out of school expressing their acquired knowledge. A key example of where children’s acquired knowledge is most acutely expressed is in the religious observance week where each year group visits a different house of worship where they gain first-hand experience of how a different religion lives, works and worships. Formal assessment of children’s progress, learning and attainment are checked by the teacher through marking and observation. These judgements are cross referenced with the learning intentions and outcomes detailed in the ‘Believing and Belonging’ scheme of work. Feedback is given verbally, through peer review marking, annotations in books and, more recently, through online  

The children at Lowtown Primary enjoy learning about other religions and why people choose or choose not to follow a religion. Through their R.E. learning, the children can make links between their own lives and those of others in their community and in the wider world, developing an understanding of other people’s cultures and ways of life. As such, R.E. is invaluable in an ever changing and shrinking world. RE plays an important role in preparing pupils for their future, for employment and lifelong learning. It enhances their spiritual, moral, social and cultural development by: 

  • Developing awareness of the fundamental questions raised by human experiences, and of how religious teachings can relate to them. 
  • Responding to such questions with reference to the teachings and practices of religions and other belief systems, relating them to their own understanding and experience.
  • Reflecting on their own beliefs, values, and experiences in the light of their study. 

Therefore, the impact can be seen in all our pupils in how they interact, reflect, discuss and form long lasting and strong relationships with one another. This spills out into the community with tangible results and a quick google search brings up a plethora of images and news articles relating to how the pupils at Lowtown have given back to their wider Pudsey community. It is often remarked that being a part of Lowtown Primary School is to be part of a large family that are unified by their tolerance, understanding, support and mutual respect of and for one another.

Religious Education Long Term Plan