At Clarendon we are fortunate that some of the main faiths present in the U.K. are also represented in our school; learning about them becomes a natural part of learning about one another and our local community. We recognise that the majority of our pupils are Muslim and that Islam holds a central place in their lives. We also recognise that we have Hindu and Christian children in our school as well as those with no religion at all. In Key Stage 1 will focus on Christianity which has played and does play an important part in the religious, cultural and social life of Britain. In Key Stage 2 the children will also learn about Hinduism. In Key Stage 1 children learn about Christianity and Islam then in Key stage 2 children learn about Christianity, Islam and Hinduism. As well as these religions, children have the opportunity to discuss other world views. Religious Education also celebrates British values: demoracy, rule of law, individual liberty, mutual respect. These values are evident in every R.E lesson. These are also assigned to each class as well as their Clarendon Value.
R.E. allows children to encounter a wide range of insights and beliefs enabling them to deepen their own understanding of and response to life. It deals with beliefs that are of fundamental importance to people and determine how each person understands self and relationships with others, God and the world around them. The purpose of R.E. is to provide opportunities for children to explore and grow in understanding of that dimension of human experience which is to do with religion.
At Clarendon, the RE curriculum is set up so that there are clear, high expectations of all children. Our curriculum is planned and sequenced in a clear and progressive way so that knowledge and skills are continually being built on. All children will leave Clarendon knowing about religion and what place religion has in today’s society, as well as what religion means to them. Our approach provides children with the knowledge and skills needed to take advantage of opportunities, responsibilities and experiences later in life.
In the introduction to the Manchester Diocesan Board of Education’s syllabus for Religious Education it states:-
“Every person is on a spiritual journey: discovering things that matter: taking into themselves teachings and insights from other people and systems and finding what is of value for themselves; working out sometimes painfully, how to live, how to treat other people, how to find meaning in their lives.
Some people find all their questions answered within the context of the great religions of the world; others look for answers in human experience only. Most people fall somewhere in between, feeling a stronger sense of belief at some times than at others.
Part of the educational process is to introduce pupils to this area of life, explore with them the mysteries and perplexities of existence and to share with them some of the paths that have been travelled before and are travelled now. An important task in R.E. therefore is to introduce pupils to the major religious traditions of the world – beliefs and teachings, practices and effects.”
Therefore in order to help our children make sense of their own “journeys”, in order to open up for them an awareness of a religious dimension in people’s lives, in order for children to develop a positive attitude towards and respect for the religious beliefs of others within both our immediate and wider community, R.E. has an important and valued part to play in the overall curriculum and life of the school.
At Clarendon our policy and curriculum is guided by and in line with Bolton Local Authority’s revised Agreed Syllabus and should be read in conjunction with this document. All locally agreed syllabuses must reflect the fact that religious traditions in the country are in the main Christian whilst taking account of the teaching and practices of other religions. The precise balance between Christianity and other religions should take into account both the National and local position. Our curriculum develops children’s knowledge about each religion as well as challenging chidren to develop their own ideas and learning from religion. We follow AT1 and AT2 levelled strands: name, recall, recognise, retell, respond sensitively, describe, show understanding, similarities and differences, suggest answers to questions, explain the impact and pose and suggest answers to questions. These form part of the children’s targets and are planned for in the lessons to ensure children acquire knowledge and skills.
DFE Circular 1/94 “Religious Education and Collective Worship” paragraph 36 states:-
“In considering this, account should be taken of the local school population and the wishes of local parents, with a view to minimising the number who might exercise the right to withdraw from R.E. lessons.”
We try not to compare religions and so compromise the distinctiveness of each. We try to ensure that the integrity of each religion is recognised and respected. Children are encouraged to value themselves and their own religious beliefs whilst appreciating that different things are important to others.
Our school is not an agent of any religious standpoint. We seek to affirm and strengthen the shared values of the school and the moral values common to most religions.
Religious Education is planned to ensure children develop their knowledge of each religion as well as skills to participate in purposeful discussion about religion and what religion means to them. Each termly unit of work is led by a learning challenge question, which is set to open up a dialogue about the children’s learning. Children are encouraged to ask questions at the start of the topic to ensure the learning is enquiry based and that prior learning is not repeated. Teachers then use MTP to ensure all objectives, knowledge and skills are covered and children are receiving are breadth of knowledge and experiences.
Aims and objectives
Throughout the Foundation Stage, Key Stage 1 and Key Stage 2 children are taught RE in their year groups.
The aims and objectives are worked out through the strands: special people, special times with family and friends, special places, special responsibilities, special friends and relationships, special books and stories.
EYFS cover similar strands throughout areas of their learning mainly through communication and language and understanding the world.
Religious Education also permeates other aspects of school life and is delivered through areas of the curriculum when natural links occur, in daily interactions. Our ethos is supportive of individuals and is built on respect for self and others. The aims of R.E. will also be furthered by the moral and spiritual development taking place through explicit teaching, in our life skill sessions: cr8, cookery and Forest School or through daily routines. We also make links at times of celebration especially Christmas, Eid and Diwali.
Inclusion, Equal Opportunities, Children with Special Educational Needs and More Able Children
It is intended that pupils of all abilities and need should have equal access to following the schemes of work. Flexibility as to the depth to which the statements and aims may be interpreted is left to the teachers. The targets to be achieved are progressive and build on previous knowledge, therefore they are achievable for all children. Tasks matched to ability should be given to all children although it is recognised that there will be differentiation through outcome in answering appropriate questions, discussion and written work.
In line with Clarendon policy all children are taught in mixed ability groups which enhances the learning experience of both the more and less able. More able children should be given plenty of opportunity to plan their own investigations into the topic being studied. They should be encouraged to come up with plenty of questions of their own and set about answering them through research in books, planning questionnaires, interviewing classmates, using databases, giving oral reports to the class on their findings, examining artefacts and offering theories on their use based on knowledge gained from previous learning. There are also opportunities for the more able to lead or chair group discussions.
Impact of Clarendon’s RE curriculum
The quality of education in Religious Education at Clarendon will ensure children grow up with understanding and respect for their own and other people’s religious beliefs. A sensitive attitude towards others and a pride in their own faith will enable them to enjoy valuable, personal relationships in our multi-faith society. These will ultimately prove of value to the whole community.
At the end of the year all children should be secure at their age related expectation. 85% of children should be secure in RE by the end of the school year.