Religious Education teaching provides a unique opportunity to allow our pupils to develop and widen their world view to include an appreciation and respect of other faiths, religious practises and beliefs – whilst also reflecting on their own personal beliefs.
We follow the Durham Locally Agreed Syllabus (add link here) revised in 2020 which provides all teaching and support staff from EYFS to Year 6 with a comprehensive and detailed programme of study, key vocabulary and clear guidelines in order to ensure that all statutory requirements of this subject are met.
Our aim is to teach pupils to develop into respectful citizens within both their own community of Sunderland but also in the wider community of Britain. From our very youngest children in Nursery, to our Year Six pupils poised to move into secondary school; RE is taught using a wide variety of teaching methods to promote ever deepening knowledge and understanding, an ability to analyse aspects of faith and doctrine but perhaps most importantly, to be able to reflect on their own feelings, thoughts, experiences, values and personal beliefs and develop a tolerance, openness and acceptance of others.
Our pupils are provided with opportunities to widen their knowledge, tolerance and acceptance of others – explore their own views and are encouraged to celebrate, respect and support others views, religious practices and beliefs – which is vital if they are to become responsible citizens in the diverse community of Sunderland and beyond. For our pupils growing up and forming their own opinions in a rapidly changing digital world, RE is very important in order for them to develop balanced and informed viewpoints of a variety of religious and non-religious beliefs – ignoring misinformation and finding trusted sources online to widen their understanding.
Pupils will be allowed opportunities to explore key religious landmarks in Sunderland and the North-East including St Peter’s Church, Durham Cathedral, the Sunderland Sikh Association Gurdwara and local mosques. Pupils will develop understanding of their own place within their own religious community or that of others and will be allowed to question and look closely at key questions to develop, deepen and at times challenge their current understanding of religious and non-religious world views. Staff and visitors into school will allow pupils to meet members of faith groups and their leaders and learn from them in order to contextualise their understanding. Pupils will always be learning about and from various religions and pupils will never be encouraged to worship or follow a particular faith group.
The school follows the Durham Locally Agreed Syllabus (Revised in 2020). A long-term overview provides staff with the key questions to be studied each term. The aspects to be covered for EYFS beginning in Nursery and ending in Year Six with the statutory bridging unit in Christianity.
RE is taught in all year groups from EYFS to Year Six. It is taught weekly by teaching staff and all pupils have the right to be withdrawn from lessons. We follow the Durham Agreed syllabus with regards to teaching time allocated weekly to this subject which varies across the phases and key stages.
The basis of the Durham Scheme is to use key questions that allow pupils to build upon prior learning and develop in their ability to analyse religious belief and practice with an ever-deepening enquiry approach. Hence pupils may study Christianity or Hinduism across a phase or key stage but they will be studying aspects in an increasingly complex and enquiring way.
Religious Education is taught in a variety of ways including using art, craft, drama, extended writing, talk partners and is assessed using questioning, live marking, detailed written marking and work scrutiny and also teacher observations and pupil-teacher dialogue. Pupil’s viewpoints may be recorded in a variety of ways – including teacher scribing in the Early Years or in extended writing in Year six – however we would never formally assess, belittle or express a negative view on a pupils own personal viewpoint – we would always demonstrate empathy, tolerance and kindness.
All pupils regardless of ability are supported to access the RE curriculum. Cross curricular links to art, drama and d. and t. and a variety of ways of recording their learning allow all pupils to develop in their understanding of faith and belief, regardless of their starting points or academic ability. Key Questions from previous year groups, key stages or phases can be accessed to ensure that pupils with SEND and specific learning difficulties can develop in order to support them to develop as valued members of their community and work towards targets within the Sunderland Preparation for Adulthood (Pfa) outcomes.
At Dame Dorothy Primary School, we aim to ensure that all pupils in our school are educated to develop spiritually, academically, emotionally and morally to enable them to better understand themselves and others and to cope with opportunities, challenges and responsibilities of living in a rapidly changing, multicultural world.
Weekly teaching, visits to places of religious worship and visitors from a range of faith groups will support pupils deepening understanding, appreciation and admiration for other faiths and world views and ensure that they become accepting and respectful members both in their own community of Sunderland and beyond, able to listen to the views of others and reflect and discuss their own beliefs and reflections both religious or non-religious.