Religious Education


Intent

Our curriculum starts in the Early Years and progresses sequentially through to Year Six. In every lesson we focus on threshold concepts that ties the ambitious body of knowledge together with the characteristics children are developing.

These essential characteristics of mastery in RE are:

  • An outstanding level of religious understanding and knowledge.

  • A thorough engagement with a range of ultimate questions about the meaning and significance of existence.

  • The ability to ask significant and highly reflective questions about religion and demonstrate an excellent understanding of issues related to the nature, truth and value of religion.

  • A strong understanding of how the beliefs, values, practices and ways of life within any religion cohere together.

  • Exceptional independence; the ability to think for themselves and take the initiative in, for example, asking questions, carrying out investigations, evaluating ideas and working constructively with others.

  • Significant levels of originality, imagination or creativity, which are shown in their responses to their learning in RE.

  • The ability to link the study of religion and belief to personal reflections on meaning and purpose.

  • A wide knowledge and deep understanding across a wide range of religions and beliefs.

Threshold concepts are taught repeatedly throughout the curriculum, linking learning into meaningful and rich semantic schemas.

In RE the threshold concepts are:

  • To understand beliefs and teachings.

  • To understand how beliefs are conveyed.

  • To understand values.

  • To understand practices and lifestyles

  • To reflect.

It is our vision to inspire a lifelong love of RE within our pupils. RE has changed our lives and is vital to the world’s future prosperity.

From their first day at Gorseland, RE gives children valuable insights into the diverse beliefs and opinions held by people today. It helps with their own personal development and supports an understanding of the spiritual, moral, social & cultural questions that surface again and again in their lives.

RE provides opportunities for children and young people to reflect and analyse, to discuss and debate, to explore and discover, and to learn more about the world in which they live.

Christian RE is particularly important with relation to living in a broadly and historically Christian country. A keen experience of Christian RE will enable the children to understand, for example, references to stories such as Noah and the rainbow, even in casual remarks. We hope that the RE learnt at Gorseland will, in future, support their understanding of much historical art and music, being enhanced by the knowledge of some Biblical narrative

At Gorseland we also believe that a clear knowledge of religions and religious practises will, in the future, support much of their historical learning, as they learn about the impact of faith on many historical events.

We think it is essential that children start from a strong sense of their place in a family and the recognition of the celebrations that happen there. At Gorseland we value the experiences and faiths of those in our classes. We do however appreciate that Gorseland school lacks the religious diversity which might be represented in other schools, which makes RE possibly even more important. We believe that RE provides a clear opportunity to educate our pupils about people, religions and cultures within Britain as a whole. To support this, where possible, we welcome visitors from various faiths and visits to faith buildings.

Therefore, at Gorseland, our aims are to ensure children experience a wide breadth of study and have, by the end of each key stage, long-term memory of an ambitious body of procedural and semantic knowledge.

Our curriculum maps are carefully crafted and available in school. The curriculum content is available on our website.


Implementation

Within RE, we strive to create a supportive and collaborative ethos for learning by encouraging questioning and enquiry.

We ‘look through the window’ - learning about other religions and gaining a strong understanding of how the beliefs, values, practices and ways of life within any religion cohere together.

We ‘look in a mirror’ - learning from religion by linking the study of religion and belief to personal reflections on meaning and purpose. We consider why one aspect is important to a believer and help children to relate the aspect to his or her own life.

Our RE curriculum is high quality, well thought out and is planned to demonstrate progression. Children will deepen their understanding of different faiths and the similarities and differences between people of different faiths, cultures and backgrounds.

We maintain a high level of subject knowledge of RE in our school by regular training and professional development for teachers and subject leaders. Teachers create a positive attitude to RE learning within their classrooms and reinforce an expectation that all children are capable of achieving high standards in RE.

Through our planning of problem-solving opportunities, children are encouraged to ask their own questions to discover the answers. Their curiosity is celebrated within the classroom.

Planning involves teachers creating engaging lessons, often involving high-quality resources to aid understanding of conceptual knowledge. Teachers use precise questioning in class to test conceptual knowledge and skills, assessing children regularly to identify those children with gaps in learning in order to plan for next steps.

We build upon the learning and skill development of the previous years.

Within each year’s study topics, students gradually progress in their procedural fluency and semantic strength through three cognitive domains: basic, advancing and deep. Knowledge organisers help students to relate each topic to previously studied topics and to form strong, meaningful schema.

Guidance from the framework of ‘Support and Challenge’ is used to plan a bespoke curriculum tailored to pupils’ individual needs to facilitate access to quality learning experiences and develop their RE knowledge, understanding and skills.

With effective subject leadership, we are a well-equipped and resourced school. Regular monitoring shows that our children understand and apply key principles within their work. At Gorseland, we have a rigorous monitoring process of the RE curriculum that is kept up to date and contributes towards our school improvement plan.


Impact

The successful approach at Gorseland results in an engaging, high-quality Religious education that provides children with the foundations and knowledge for understanding the world and people in it. Our engagement with the local environment and faith groups ensures that children learn through varied and first hand experiences.

Frequent, continuous and progressive learning - both inside and outside the classroom is embedded throughout the RE curriculum. Through various lesson styles, learning objectives, trips and interactions with faith representatives, children have the understanding that RE is an important area of learning to enhance their knowledge of and about themselves and others, therefore supporting positive interactions with others, throughout their lives.

At Gorseland we demonstrate the success of our ambitious RE curriculum as follows:

  • Assessment - Teachers have high ambitions for the progression of children’s knowledge and understanding of RE. Using the Suffolk Agreed RE syllabus children are assessed through each aspect of faith that they study, considering how well they have ‘learnt about’ and ‘learnt from’ the faith. Teachers’ assessments and judgements of pupils’ RE learning at basic, advancing or deep levels, are moderated internally and externally when opportunities arise.

  • AfL practices such as peer and self-assessment, immediate feedback, helping pupils understand where they are in their learning, where they are going and how to get there and other activities to directly support progress.

  • A reflection on standards achieved against the planned outcomes; pupil’s books are scrutinised where possible and there is the opportunity for a dialogue between teachers to understand their class’s work.

  • Pupil Voice - Images and videos of the children’s practical learning, Interviewing the pupils about their learning, during and after their experiences.

  • Their opinions and interests are valued and included.

  • Children develop a passion for and commitment to a diverse range of RE activities.

  • Snap Shots - Photographic evidence of the learning that has taken place or currently taking place. Displays around the learning environment reflecting learning about and from the different faiths.