RE at Sir John Heron
“Together We Learn. Together We Achieve” is embedded into all elements of school life and learning at Sir John Heron Primary including in the RE curriculum and lessons. RE is an important part of the school’s broad and balanced curriculum. We believe it is important that all children have access to a coherently sequenced RE curriculum which is relevant to their needs and interests and equips children with the necessary knowledge and skills needed to succeed in their next stage of education and prepares them for life in modern 21st century Britain.
As part of this, RE plays an important role in working towards the school’s curriculum aims which are ensuring children master a range of knowledge and skills, provides vocabulary rich learning, encourages children to become healthy and active citizens and provides enrichment opportunities and cultural capital development while also supporting the development of key skills needed for successful learning such as resilience and risk taking.
‘Newham is the most diverse borough in England and that has led us to create an inclusive agreed syllabus which includes religions and worldviews representative in our local community and beyond for pupils from EYFS to KS5. Our syllabus delivers high quality RE that is planned, comprehensive and enquiry led.’ (Newham Syllabus, 2022) As a school, we are determined to ensure that our pupils understand beliefs, practices and different ways of life. We are also committed to making our pupils reflect, reason and recognise their personal views that derive from their own experience as well as others from different faiths around them.
In the Newham syllabus (2022) it states that RE should teach children to:
- RE is about developing religious literacy, therefore this syllabus promotes an understanding of religion and worldviews.
- It provides a balanced diet ensuring that pupils are seeing religion and worldviews through different lenses, and places RE within a strong and well established academic tradition.
- There are 7 disciplines in RE, each discipline is widely understood to have:
- An intellectual history/tradition which is manifested through higher education
- A body of knowledge founded on core concepts and theories
- A particular object of research/investigation, although this might be shared across disciples
- Specific terminology and language to define and explain concepts
- Research methods and modes of enquiry according to its specific requirements
- A specific stance towards the nature of reality
- Particular grounds upon which valid truth claims are made/ways of validating knowledge (epistemology)
- A group of intellectual followers (academics) who conduct new research in that discipline and ring changes to it over time.
In this syllabus we assert that RE/Religion and Worldviews is rooted in three key disciplines or disciplinary fields. These are theology, philosophy and the human/social sciences. In this syllabus they are re-contextualised for the school context in the following ways:
History – This is about asking questions that historians would ask. It requires pupils to think like historians, to look at religion and worldviews through a history lens. Pupils will explore questions and answers raised through considering the validity of evidence, accounts and interpretation for beliefs and practices in religion and worldviews.
Philosophy – This is about asking questions that thinkers would ask. It requires pupils to think like philosophers, to look at concepts through a philosophical lens. Pupils will explore questions and answers raised through considering the nature of knowledge, existence, and morality.
Empathy – This is about recognising personal meaning. It requires pupils to recognise personal meaning for themselves as well as others. Pupils will learn to accurately represent people’s beliefs and practices being able to articulate their religious or worldview background/s.
Theology – This is about asking questions that believers would ask. It requires pupils to think like theologians, to look at concepts through a theological lens. Pupils will explore questions and answers that arise from inside religions and worldviews.
Debate – This is about asking questions about the nature of truth and reality. It requires pupils to think and argue logically, providing evidence to ethical questions in life that religions and worldviews engage with.
Experiencer – This is about asking questions that people who study lived reality or phenomena would ask. It requires pupils to think like human and social scientists, to look at concepts through a human/social science lens. Pupils will explore questions and answers raised in relation to the impact of religions and worldviews on people and their lives.
Worldview – This is about understanding that there is no neutral position or thought. We are the combination of our upbringing, life experience and our beliefs. These together give us a unique way of understanding/viewing the world and in turn affects the way we engage with and understand religion and worldviews.
With these disciplines in mind, we teach a RE curriculum that promotes awe and wonder, curiosity where children ask questions, hands on experiences that are fun and memorable and have cross-curricular links to deepen learning.
- EYFS, KS1 and KS2 RE teaching follows the Newham RE Syllabus (2022). All teachers plan RE using this curriculum. Topics have been sequenced and mapped out for all year groups in year group curriculum maps and medium term plans. They are allocated in specific terms with guidance from the Newham Syllabus and carefully thought out in regards to festive seasons and cross-curricular links.
- Medium term plans have been carefully configured by the RE lead and are shared with the teachers so they can explicitly follow it. The medium term plans are a product of the Newham Agreed Syllabus units that solely focus on the learning intent, vocabulary, enrichment and final destination of the pupil’s learning journey. There are suggestions for how to support SEN&D and EAL children as well as lesson ideas to make cross-curricular links that enriches their learning through cultural capital. It also encompasses questions and statements linked to the SMSC learning. This guideline provides teachers with a core focus and understanding of the content they need to teach and the outcomes they need to produce. In EYFS, RE is taught through: storytelling, role play, making artefacts, performances and educational visits to places of worship which links to the understanding of the world and people and community strands. This is shown in their special books, which includes relevant strands from the EYFS framework 2021.
- RE lessons are now taught at the beginning of each term in EYFS, KS1 and KS2. At the start of each new unit of work, children fill in a KWL grid and are given a flashback 4 to discuss their prior learning. This gives the teacher the opportunity to make formative assessments of what the children already know and what they would like to know based on their final destination and key vocabulary that is embedded in their KWL grid. Throughout the duration of the learning journey, they will update their KWL grids at the start of each new lesson or during the plenary.
- RE starters can be used to address misconceptions and make links to children’s learning from the lesson before. This will give an opportunity for open dialogue and language (tier 3) rich. This can be done as odd one out,flashback 4, matching or exploring tactile artefacts.
- During the lesson, the children review their key vocabulary list and their meanings which is displayed on their topic board or around their class environment.
- This can be done with acting or through partner talk. When the teacher introduces the LI, there is at least one tier 2 and one tier 3 word in the success criteria. This ensures that children are made aware of the language expectation from the start of the lesson. The main teaching of the lesson consists of a lot of discussion and questioning where the children will learn new content. This can be delivered through storytelling, primary or secondary artefacts. During the lesson, the children will do an activity that enhances their learning about that unit. As evidence for the unit of work, this should be a combination of a practical, dialogue (acting/discussion) and a reflection. The reflection is the most paramount part of their learning journey and is recorded in a range of ways such as report writing or a symbolic piece of art.
- Children are encouraged to ask questions and are provided with the resources to answer their questions through their KWL grid which is displayed in their RE/PSHCE books. They are given the opportunity to use a wide range of resources, including technology. This allows every child's learning style to be met. We recognise that children are working at different stages of attainment in all classes and we ensure that we provide suitable learning opportunities for all children by matching the challenge of the task to the ability of the child and learning style.
- Formative assessment techniques are used regularly in lessons to continuously check children’s RE learning, gauge children’s understanding and their progress towards end-of-unit outcomes.
- For example, RE assesses children’s ability to respond to the big questions using tier 3 (subject specific) vocabulary. They should be able to use the words appropriately within the context of the unit that they are learning. Children are also assessed by their level of reflection and engagement with enrichment activities such as acting out, visiting a place of worship, questioning a visitor or creating a piece of aesthetic art. We also assess children’s progress with their learning; this information is used to re-shape teaching in lessons if needed and plan subsequent learning depending on children’s emerging needs and next steps.
- Children are given a teacher assessment judgement that is based on the Newham Agreed syllabus (given by the RE lead) at the end of each unit (summative assessment)- the teacher assessment judgement is formed on the basis of observations and work children have completed in a series of lessons (including their KWL grids). Children are assessed as emerging, secure or mastered depending on the stage they are working at related to age-related expectations. There are end of unit assessment grids that are glued into each child’s book and will be self-assessed by the child at the end of each unit. At the end of each unit, the teacher will also assess the child.
- The assessment is based on the Bloom’s Taxonomy ‘assessment steps
- Knowledge and recall is sequencing and retelling of a religious story.
- Comprehension is being able to show an understanding of the meaning of the story.
- Application is being able to empathise with those from a faith.
- Analysis is being able to compare and look at statistics.
- Evaluation is being able to make a conclusion based on the analysis.
- This information is recorded in books to demonstrate progress in terms of breadth and depth children make in RE over a period of time. This information is used to identify trends (e.g. with groups of children, year groups), strength and possible areas of development. The information is also used to inform curriculum reviews which take place regularly.