At Brunton First School, our RE curriculum plays a unique role in promoting the spiritual, moral, social and cultural development of our children. While helping them gain a greater understanding of themselves when exploring, discovering and learning more about religions and culture within the world in which they live.
Children learn to understand the world and their place in it, know that all members of our school community show respect and tolerance for others and develop their awareness of the culture and beliefs of others. Religious Education contributes dynamically to children’s education by provoking challenging questions about meaning and purpose in life.
We want each child at Brunton to feel represented within our school, our RE curriculum reflects the religious breakdown of our school community and ensures that important religious or cultural events are celebrated within school. This is done through standalone lessons throughout the year and assemblies.
We pride ourselves on having friends within our local community who we invite into school during the school year to enrich our RE teaching. This provides pupils with the opportunity to engage with people who differ from them. This helps us promote shared values and encourage pupils to actively engage with others to understand what they have in common.
At Brunton, we take great care to ensure our children learn to respect and understand people of all faiths and those of no religious belief. We firmly believe that by welcoming visitors to our school and taking children to places of worship not only brings the subject to life but also gives our children the opportunity to ask questions and see for themselves.
At Brunton First School, our RE curriculum plays a unique role in promoting the spiritual, moral, social and cultural development of our children. While helping them gain a greater understanding of themselves when exploring, discovering and learning more about religions and culture within the world in which they live. We believe that oracy, metacognition, and community are key drivers in achieving this aim.
Our RE curriculum provides opportunities for children to develop their speaking and listening skills, enabling them to communicate confidently and articulate their own beliefs. Our school follows the Newcastle Standing Advisory Council for RE curriculum. As children progress through the school, they learn to listen to and talk about stories. Use their imagination and curiosity to develop their appreciation of and wonder of the world in which they live. They develop basic subject-specific vocabulary. They raise questions and begin to express their own views in response to their learning and ideas. As their knowledge and understanding develops, they are encouraged to be curious and to ask increasingly challenging questions. Children learn to express their own ideas and responses, identifying relevant information, selecting examples and giving reasons to support their ideas and view.
Successful Lifelong Learners (Metacognition):
Our RE curriculum encourages children to think about different faiths that are represented within the wider world. Children will be taught to ask questions, make links between other religions, and reflect on their own learning, developing their metacognitive skills and enabling them to become independent, self-directed learners.
Our RE curriculum recognises that RE helps develop children’s sense of belonging and identity within their community. Through exploring a diverse range of faiths and beliefs, children will learn about different cultures and religions, promoting mutual respect and tolerance. Our RE curriculum reflects the religious breakdown of our school and ensures that every child feels recognised. As a school we have a partnership with our local church, St. Aidan’s, the Reverend delivers assemblies to the children on a regular basis, members of the church community also lead Easter and Christmas craft workshops for the children. Outside of Christianity, we also have built links with faith leaders within our local community to help enhance our teaching of RE, allowing the children to visit places of worship or inviting faith leaders into school.
Through these curriculum drivers, our RE curriculum aims to inspire children’s curiosity, develop their understanding of those around them and provide them with a sense of belonging. Through learning about mutual respect and tolerance of those with different faiths and beliefs, they develop and demonstrate skills and attitudes that will allow them to participate fully in and contribute positively to life in modern Britain.
At Brunton First School, we recognise the importance of providing our students with an enriching RE curriculum which promotes the spiritual, moral, social and cultural development of our children and helps them to gain a greater understanding of themselves and a more sympathetic awareness of the needs of others. At Brunton, we use the Newcastle Agreed Syllabus for RE to ensure that our curriculum teaches our children about a variety of religions, cultures and worldviews. However, we ensure that our curriculum is suited to the demographic of our community and that all children feel represented. Across the school year we celebrate a wide range of both religious and non-religious festivals and celebrations. As a school our collective worship is centred around our school values which promotes the children to reflect on how they have been a proud, kind, respectful independent learner.
At Brunton, our RE curriculum is based on the Newcastle Agreed Syllabus for RE. The end of Key Stage requirements are based on the assessment descriptors from the Newcastle Agreed Syllabus for RE.
Children are introduced to the concept of belonging, which is then related to their own sense of belonging and to how they are made to feel they belong. They think about groups they belong to, how they know and show they belong, and what is special about belonging. Children are also introduced to the concept of religious celebration and the notion of religions expressing their beliefs through festivals. From Bible stories the children are introduced to the person of Jesus by looking at his family and friends, and to the notion of Jesus as a special person for Christians.
At the end of EYFS the children will be able to:
- understand the concept of belonging within their own experience
- name some different religious festivals and celebrations that are celebrated around the world
- retell simply stories about Jesus and know that Jesus offered friendship to everyone
Children will continue to build on their understanding of Christianity in Key Stage 1 while gaining knowledge about Judaism and Islam. They will begin to make comparisons between festivals and celebrations.
At the end of Key Stage 1 the children will be able to:
- recall and name different beliefs and practices, including festivals and worship
- re-tell and suggest meanings to some religious and moral stories, exploring and discussing sacred writings, and recognising the communities from which they come.
- recognise some different symbols and actions which express a community’s way of life, appreciating some similarities between communities.
- observe and recount different ways of expressing identity and belonging, responding sensitively for themselves.
- notice and respond sensitively to some similarities between different religions and worldviews.
In KS2 the children will explore the beliefs of Hindus, Humanists and Sikhs in addition to Christianity. They will make further comparisons between beliefs, places of worship and rituals within religions. They will explore what worldviews look like and what it means to be part of a non-religious group and how it compares to other religions.
At the end of Key Stage 2 the children will be able to:
- describe and make connections between different features of the religions and worldviews they study, discovering more about celebrations, worship and the rituals which mark important points in life in order to reflect on their ideas.
- describe and understand links between stories and other aspects of the communities they are investigating, responding thoughtfully to a range of sources.
- explore and describe a range of beliefs, symbols and actions so that they can understand different ways of life and ways of expressing meaning.
- observe and consider different dimensions of religion, so that they can explore and show understanding of similarities and differences between different religions and worldviews.
- consider and apply ideas about ways in which diverse communities can live together for the well-being of all, responding thoughtfully to ideas about community, values and respect.
It is the responsibility of the whole curriculum to contribute to pupils’ and students’ spiritual, moral, social and cultural (SMSC) development. Nonetheless, it is widely recognised that RE can make a unique contribution to SMSC development and the Agreed Syllabus reflects this is so.
Spiritual Development at Key Stages 1 and 2: Pupils should:
- become familiar with what “spiritual” means in the religions and worldviews they study;
- reflect on what they learn about religion and belief;
- consider their own beliefs and values;
- value intuition and imagination;
- consider the beauty and order of the natural and the human world;
- respond to the world with wonder and awe;
- ask ultimate questions;
- express their thoughts and feelings imaginatively.
Moral Development at Key Stages 1 and 2: Pupils should:
- discuss how characters in religious and other stories behave morally and immorally;
- examine the moral teaching of religious founders and leaders and important people with secular backgrounds;
- explore key themes such as good and evil in religious and other stories;
- reflect on what different moral codes identify as right and wrong;
- learn that there may be more than two sides to an argument or moral dilemma;
- explore human rights and responsibilities.
Social Development at Key Stages 1 and 2: Pupils should:
- learn about different religious and belief communities and how they work together;
- hear religious and other stories that examine a variety of relationships;
- understand how moral codes bind communities together;
- explore events such as festivals and rites of passage that bring communities together;
- discuss religious and other attitudes to social and environmental issues.
Cultural Development at Key Stages 1 and 2: Pupils should:
- explore Britain as a multifaith and multicultural society, with particular emphasis on Christianity, Hinduism, Islam and Judaism;
- discuss how people’s beliefs and cultural traditions affect the way they live their lives;
- explore religious and other traditions in their own community and how they shape people’s lives;
- use the arts as a stimulus to learning and reflection;
- give expression to cultural identity in various artistic forms.
- A starter activity to remind pupils of prior learning and encourage children to revisit key facts
- Introduction of key religious concepts, vocabulary or knowledge with opportunities to talk, explore and share ideas
- Task – independent, pair or group supported by staff as appropriate
- Plenary with opportunity to revisit and reflect on key vocabulary and learning
Through our RE lessons we use a metacognitive approach to teaching and learning which includes
- Explicitly teaching metacognitive strategies – activating prior knowledge, independent practice and structured reflection
- Modelling by the staff, verbalising their thinking and scaffolding tasks
- Setting an appropriate level of challenge
- Promoting and developing metacognitive talk in the classroom – language development and acquisition
- Explicitly teaching children how to organise and effectively manage their learning
At Brunton in EYFS, we also use the SACRE descriptors which describe what most children will be able to do, what some children who have not made as much progress will be able to do as well as what some pupils who will have progressed further can do for each topic area.
KS1 and KS2
At Brunton we use the assessment structure for Key Stages 1 and 2 based on the requirements in the 2020 to 2025 Newcastle Agreed Syllabus for RE. In the tables below, the Aims in RE (the statements in the left-hand column) relate intimately to the requirements in the statutory part of the Agreed Syllabus for RE. The statements in the next three columns (the end of Key Stage statements) therefore become the statements for which evidence has to be generated to confirm that pupils and students have acquired the expected knowledge, understanding and skills.
For end of topic assessment, we also use the SACRE descriptors which describe what most children will be able to do, what some children who have not made as much progress will be able to do as well as what some pupils who will have progressed further can do.
In RE children are taught to reflect about their own beliefs religious or otherwise, this informs their perspective on life and their interest in and respect for different people’s faiths feelings and values. This is promoted through having whole school religious and cultural celebrations, which reflects the religious breakdown of our current school cohort, children are able to share their experiences of religious celebrations with their peers. Children develop deep respect and understanding in RE by visiting different places of worship or welcoming a variety of faith leaders into the classroom to learn from. Our assemblies are based on the fundamental British Values of democracy, rule of law, individual liberty and mutual respect and tolerance of those with different faiths and beliefs. As our children progress through school, they are given increased responsibility including leading assemblies about religious celebrations and festivals.
The Head teacher and RE subject leader play a central role in the monitoring and evaluation of the quality of teaching and learning of RE in the school.
The monitoring strategy:
- Children’s work and planning scrutinies are conducted.
- Pupil voice is conducted to ascertain how children feel about their learning.
- Lesson ‘drop ins’ and observations take place in all classes throughout the year.
The subject leader is responsible for monitoring attainment and progress, the outcomes of which are collated in the subject leadership folder and fed back to staff at an appropriate time.
Through our quality first teaching at Brunton First School we provide opportunities for spiritual, moral, social and cultural development through giving them an increased sense of belonging within our school community. We provide opportunities for our children to reflect and analyse, to discuss and debate, to explore and discover, and to learn more about the world in which they live. Children learn to understand the world and their place in it, know that all members of the school community show respect and tolerance for others and develop their awareness of the culture and beliefs of others.