Our RE curriculum provides the opportunity to explore a variety of beliefs, how these impact on people’s lives and how this relates to the lives of our children at Lawnside Academy.
Our main aim is for the children at our school to be understanding and tolerant of others’ beliefs, regardless of their own ideas, needs and experiences. Developing these traits at the first stage of their school life will help our children play a part in sustaining a liberal and open-minded society from when they leave our school and beyond.
We also aim to teach our children to develop an insight into their own beliefs by reflecting on the beliefs of others. We work with the children to think about challenging questions, to reflect on their own experiences and to articulate their ideas, all whilst respecting the rights of others to differ.
Our intention is to deliver an exciting and purposeful RE curriculum to equip our children with knowledge and understanding of a range of religions and views, to support them to develop and understand their own ideas and beliefs. It is not the school’s role to preach to the children; our staff simply provide knowledge of a range of religions. Our staff take care to respect the faith background of all staff and families at our school.
RE is not a National Curriculum subject, but must be taught to all pupils as part of a broad and balanced curriculum (The National Curriculum in England Key Stages 1 and 2 Framework Document, Department for Education, 2013). At Lawnside Academy, we follow the Central Bedfordshire RE Agreed Syllabus 2018-2023, which supports our teachers to provide an interesting and engaging RE curriculum.
This syllabus, and therefore our RE teaching, focuses on depth rather than breadth when learning about religions. Studying the key ideas and belief systems of religions can be challenging and it is therefore important for our pupils to have time to understand concepts fully, rather than learning about a wide range of religions at a surface level.
To structure our RE teaching for both key stages one and two, each unit of work is taught through a key question, taken from the Central Bedfordshire RE Agreed Syllabus. Some units of work are focused on learning about, and learning from, specific religions. Other units of work have a thematic approach in which wider key questions are asked. These units encourage children to make links to a range of religions and also to their own ideas and beliefs. Coverage of units and religions taught in each year group can be found in the curriculum overview table.
To ensure that there is a balance of learning about religions and how they impact people’s lives, as well as providing opportunities to reflect on the children’s own beliefs, each unit has three elements to the teaching and learning process:
'Making sense of beliefs'; 'Understanding the impact'; 'Making connections'.
Our teachers plan a range of activities using these 3 elements. Some lessons may focus more heavily on one element than the others, but over the course of the unit and/or year, there will be a balance between all three elements.
For pupils with SEND, the Central Bedfordshire RE Agreed Syllabus states that “Good-quality teaching in RE will tailor the planning of the syllabus carefully to the special needs of all pupils.” At Lawnside Academy, we recognise that all pupils can achieve and benefit from RE, regardless of their needs and/or disabilities. Our teachers adapt and plan activities to meet the varying needs of our pupils, recognising that RE can bring benefits to all. Our teachers follow the specific SEND guidance in the Central Bedfordshire RE Agreed Syllabus to ensure all pupils can access our RE curriculum.
Our RE teaching is inclusive for all pupils, however, it is acknowledged that parents/carers do have the right to withdraw their child from RE. Parents and carers are encouraged to discuss this with the headteacher if they are considering withdrawing their child from RE.
Our RE curriculum provides a clear path of progression, taken from the Central Bedfordshire RE Agreed Syllabus. At the end of Key Stage One (year 2) and Lower Key Stage Two (year 4), the majority of our pupils are expected to achieve the end of key stage outcomes as stated in the syllabus. This is achieved by the effective teaching of the units set for key stage. Teachers know that their pupils have achieved these outcomes through discussions about their learning in lessons and the work produced by the pupils. On a broader level, we will know that our RE curriculum is achieving our intentions through the daily interactions between children, and between children and staff, where tolerance and understanding of others’ beliefs is demonstrated.