RE Curriculum Intent Statement
Although RE is not part of the National Curriculum, it is compulsory for all maintained schools to provide RE and there is non-statutory guidance for teaching RE in English schools.
At Faringdon Infant School, our RE curriculum is committed to the spiritual, moral, social and cultural development, the personal development and well-being and the developing sense of community of our young learners.
We believe a beginning understanding of religion and beliefs informs our school values and is reflected in what we say and how we behave. Our RE curriculum aims to develop our knowledge and understanding of the religions and beliefs which form part of the communities we live in. It is designed to be rich in meaningful first hand experiences and early language development. We believe that asking young children challenging questions encourages discussion about the meaning of life, beliefs about God, what is right and wrong and what it means to be human. We would like our children to be confident to explore their own beliefs, which in turn helps to build on their sense of identity and belonging. We think it is important to teach children to respect the faiths and beliefs of others and to consider the ways in which children can be responsible for themselves, others and the wider community.
At Faringdon Infant School we follow the Discovery RE Scheme of work.
Following this scheme of work ensures that the children develop, deepen and build on their knowledge and understanding of the subject of RE.
Discovery RE is a thoughtful and creative set of RE planning for the whole Primary school, F1/2 to Year 6. Christianity is taught in every year group, with Christmas and Easter given new treatment each year, developing the learning in a progressive way. Hinduism, Islam, Judaism and Sikhism are also covered.
The Enquiry-based Approach
The 4-step enquiry
The key question for the enquiry is an Attainment Target 2 (impersonal) question, needing an answer that weighs up ‘evidence’ and reaches a conclusion based on this. This necessitates children using their subject knowledge and applying it to the enquiry question, rather than this knowledge being an end
in itself. Discovery RE teases out AT2 (impersonal)which focuses on critical thinking skills, and AT2 (personal) which requires personal reflection into the child’s own thoughts and feelings.
Step 1 (usually 1 lesson)
Engagement: The human experience underpinning the key question is explored here within the children’s own experience, whether that includes religion or not. If they can relate to the human experience they will be better able to understand the world of religion into which the enquiry takes them. This is Attainment Target 2 (personal). Their personal resonance with this underpinning human experience acts as the BRIDGE into AT1, the world of religion (which may be very much outside of their experience).
Step 2 (usually the equivalent of 3 lessons)
Investigation: The teacher guides the children through the enquiry, studying Attainment Target 1 (Learning ABOUT) subject knowledge (the factual base about the religion), carefully selected to assist their thinking about the key question. Some of the enquiries have a lot of relevant content so teachers do need to be selective and not try to cover too much. Depth is more important.
Step 3 (usually 1 lesson)
Evaluation: This lesson draws together the children’s learning and their conclusions about the key question of that enquiry. This is an assessment task (the task sheet and resources are included) which the teacher can assess by using the Level descriptors at the end of each enquiry. The levels are exemplified and tracking and record sheets are included, as are pupil self-assessment sheets.
These ‘I can’ level descriptors (based on the national 8-level scale) may well lend themselves to meaningful and less onerous report writing, with evidence in children’s books from every Evaluation (Step 3) lesson.
This is Attainment Target 2 (impersonal).
Attainment Target 2 (personal) can be assessed by observation and children’s work in Lessons 1 and 6.
Step 4 (usually 1 lesson)
Expression: Children are taken back to Step 1, their own experience, to reflect on how this enquiry might have influenced their own starting point/beliefs, etc. There is often further evidence for their books produced in this lesson.
This is Attainment Target 2 (personal).
SMSC (Spiritual, Moral, Social and Cultural) development
With the Ofsted inspection framework emphasising the opportunities children are offered for SMSC development, RE can be a key contributor. Therefore, SMSC opportunities are identified in each enquiry, and are mapped on the overview grid for each year group.
Mindfulness means cultivating a sense of awareness on purpose, in a non-judgemental way in the present moment. It is hoped that teachers will use mindfulness practices to build children’s self-awareness and skills of reflection, thus supporting their RE learning as well as their personal spiritual development.
The belief is that, using an enquiry-based model well, children’s critical thinking skills can be developed, their motivation to learn increased, and their knowledge and understanding of, and empathy with people and their beliefs, religious or otherwise, will be enhanced.
This approach takes very seriously the philosophy that children are free to make their own choices and decisions concerning religion and belief. RE does not try to persuade but rather to inform and develop the skills with which evaluation can take place.
How does Discovery RE support the promotion of British Values?
Year Group Overviews