Religious Education Curriculum Statement of Intent
At Westwood, our RE curriculum is based on ‘Believing and Belonging’, The Agreed Syllabus for Religious Education in West Yorkshire. Our aim is to provide learning which enables our children to develop a broad understanding of Christianity, other world faiths as well as non-religious beliefs. Our teaching makes sure some areas are investigated in more detail, giving depth to our children’s knowledge, and understanding about different religions and beliefs. We strive to nurture children’s awareness of the diverse world in which they belong and to be sensitive to the views and beliefs of other cultures. Our Long-Term Plan has been carefully mapped out to ensure the progression of skills and knowledge. We take pride in ensuring our RE lessons are engaging, relevant, and provide opportunities for our children to find out for themselves, and then respond, sharing their own thinking and understanding. At Westwood we want our children to recognise who they are, what they believe, and what is important to them. We want to excite children into wanting to explore and find out more about the diverse world in which they live so that they are able to show empathy, sensitivity, respect, and kindness to others, today and in their future lives.
Religious Education - Implementation
At Westwood we study four of the main World Religions in depth: Christianity, Islam, Sikhism and Judaism.
In KS1, learning is focused around Christianity and Islam, alongside non-religious perspectives. The curriculum at KS1 may include aspects of other faiths and world views within themes studied and may reflect the beliefs in the local community and beyond.
In KS2, learning is focused around developing pupils’ understanding of Christianity, Islam and nonreligious perspectives, extending to Judaism and Sikhism. The curriculum may include aspects of other faiths and world views.
Religious Education is taught at times, in context through our adventure approach and also as a discreet subject. We begin each new aspect of learning by asking a key question, this encourages children to engage with their work and each other. Lessons are planned so that children have opportunities for thinking out loud, active discussion and enthuses children to investigate and find out more.
In Key Stage One children look at how people choose to express their Christian belief and how Christians feel that they belong when at Church. Children look at prayer within the faith and learn about how Christians celebrate different occasions. They do this by recreating their own celebrations, such as christenings. By including active learning it enables the children to have a more memorable experience of learning about the faith. A trip to the local church also ensures that children have a first-hand experience about life for a Christian within their local community. Learning also takes place in the form of showing children how religious leaders can be inspiring to people. Children investigate the moral side of Christianity, with children researching how religious teachings can help people to decide between right and wrong choices. This then allows children to express their own opinions in response, with further learning having them looking at reasons for caring for the environment in relation to morally right and wrong answers. Children in KS1 also look at the Bible and learn why this is a sacred text to Christians and how it can tell moral and religious stories that children can discuss as a class and offer thoughts on.
In Lower Key Stage 2 previous work on the Bible is recapped and learning is furthered by having the children investigate and understand links between the Bible and their own community. Children in LKS2 look at celebrations within the Christian world. They use previous knowledge to form a deeper look as to how and why Christians use celebrations such as Christmas and Easter to help them feel closer to God. Children go on a journey into the theories about the origin of the world, including creation stories and scientific understanding about the universe. This is done by completing Burn2Learns. Burn2Learns engage children, having them exercise whilst learning. For example, children go on a treasure hunt to try and find hidden facts about the creation story and scientific understanding. They then go back to their classroom to sort them out into the correct category. Not only is this providing children with active learning, but it is presenting itself in a way that children are more likely to remember. Similarly, to KS1 investigating moral right or wrong answers, LKS2 push their learning into having them discuss and respond to ethical statements, through just and fair complexity questions. Children look at why some people believe in God and others don’t. They can do this by going to church and talking to Vicars, to understand why some people devote their lives to the religion. They can then draw on their own experiences of what they believe to help them understand the differences between the two ideologies. When in Upper Key Stage 2 children once again must use previous knowledge to enable them to understand how the bible is a key source of authority for Christians and how there are sacred writings and teachings within it. Children look deeper into learning about the ways in which Christians express their beliefs and ways in which they are interpreted. Learning is cemented when children look at religious and secular leaders within the faith, going back over what they have previously looked at in KS1. Children are given the opportunity to visit and talk to different religious leaders, for then they are learning through a practical approach by getting first-hand knowledge of how these religions differ. UKS2 children also look at how Christianity influences people’s lives and the way in which they live them, relating back to what was taught in LKS2. Children are given different situations to which they must imagine they are Christians and think about how they would act towards the situation. This enables children to really think about how Christians live their day to day lives and how it may differ from their own.
Islam – In Key Stage One children are exposed to seeing how diverse the world is by investigating the Islamic religion and comparing it to the previously taught Christianity belief. They visit a mosque and understand how Muslims practise their faith and practise the celebration of Eid Al Fitr. They begin to learn how Muslims express their faith and feel closer to Allah when they regularly read and practice the work of the Quran. In Lower Key Stage 2 children deepen their understanding of Islam by understanding the importance of special places and journeys, such as Muslims going on the pilgrimage to Mecca. Imagineering takes place here as children can create their own version of a pilgrimage. Once children understand the religions, they will be encouraged to describe and make connections between features of Christianity and Islam, drawing on their knowledge from both Key Stage One and Lower Key Stage 2. In Upper Key Stage 2 they continue their work on pilgrimages but further learning by understanding why this marks an important part in Muslim lives. They look at the work of Prophet Muhammed and begin to respond thoughtfully to the different beliefs and teachings of himself and other important figures. In UKS2 children will be expected to make connections between previously taught religions and will be able to state similarities and differences between them.
Sikhism – Children are introduced to the Sikh religion in KS2, they find out about the beliefs and practices of the Sikh faith. In UKS2 children learn to describe and understand links between stories they have learnt and how there are different features within the religion, making connections with the use of prayer. They will look at the sacred writing and teachings of Guru Granth Sanib and learn about the main key practices for Sikhs. They will build on knowledge from Christianity to enable them to consider how communities with such diverse backgrounds can all live together and support one another through respect. They can do this by splitting the class and giving them different religions, then the children will come together and see how they can all work as one. Enabling children to use Imagineering within their learning makes it come alive and will makes children want to learn more as they are part of the learning process.
Judaism – In Lower Key Stage 2 children discuss and respond to ethical questions relating to the faith of Judaism. They will explore the religion and think about what is fair and just in given situations. They will observe how different religions would act in a set situation and then will act it out themselves and see how they would react. The practical style of this teaching enables the learning experience to become broader thinkers and lets the children develop deeper thinking into how Jews live their everyday lives. Children begin to learn more about worship, prayer and celebration within Judaism. Upper Key Stage 2 children will learn to respond thoughtfully to the idea that beliefs and teachings within Judaism and how Jews put these into practise.
Early Years Foundation Stage - In Reception children investigate the Christianity faith, by developing a respect for not only their own culture but that of those around them. They visit churches to understand how traditions take place and explore and observe why celebrations such as Easter and Christmas hold an important place in Christians lives. With first -hand experiences of religious places, children can really envisage how Christians live their everyday lives. Links will also be made between the events of baptism, christenings and harvest festivals. Children will begin to develop their own narrative when listening to religious stories and start to understand how diverse the world is. Children will also look at Chinese New Year and learn now different cultures celebrate. This can be done through Burn2Learns, where children have to find different pictures about Chinese New Year and make a picture with them to show the children what it looks like. This brings excitement to learning. They will study the similarities and differences between what they know. We aim for children in Reception to not only begin learning about themselves through the work of RE but to also start too see the world as whole.
We aim to present learning through many approaches; through the use of trips to local places of worship to engage the children with the concepts they are being taught, with outdoor experiences to make work exciting and by incorporating our Burn2Learn scheme so children are active when learning. At Westwood we believe this is the best way to teach, as the children are interested in what they are being taught, rather than have it just read to them.
Our RE curriculum also links closely with British Values, for example, exploring democracy, teaching our children to have mutual respect to others, having tolerance to other faiths and religion, understanding the law, and being encouraged to make individual decisions in a safe environment. Our lessons encourage children to reflect, discuss and be given opportunity for social development, expressing own views and discussing right and wrong.