Religious Education Curriculum Policy
The school follows the Hertfordshire Agreed Syllabus for Religious Education (2017-2022), in accordance with Hertfordshire Standing Advisory Council of Religious Education (SACRE).
At How Wood School, it is our intention that all our children are given the opportunity to develop an understanding of six main Faith Groups: Christianity, Judaism, Islam, Hinduism, Sikhism and Buddhism, as well as recognising that not all people belong to a Faith Group.
Through enquiry-based learning, handling of artefacts, receiving visitors to the school and making visits to places of worship, learning in RE will underpin and promote the development of respect and tolerance which echoes the school’s values in preparing our children for life in modern Britain.
In addition, the teaching of Religious Education at How Wood School:
- Is open and objective, not seeking to urge religious beliefs on young people nor compromising the integrity of their own religious position by promoting one tradition over another.
- Enables pupils to become religiously and theologically literate so they can engage in life in an increasingly diverse society.
- Encourages a positive attitude towards all people and respecting their right to hold different beliefs from their own.
- It enables pupils to gain a shared human understanding, develop personal identity and search for meaning in the context of evaluating different viewpoints.
Religious Education (RE) at How Wood School is delivered according to the legal requirements for primary school pupils:
- Early Years Foundation Stage: Delivered flexibly according to the statutory requirements of the EYFS.
- Key Stage 1 (Years 1 & 2): 60 hours over 2 years (approximately 10 hours per term).
- Key Stage 2 (Years 3, 4, 5 & 6): 156 hours over 4 years (approximately 13 hours per term)
- NB: Time allocation does include visits and RE curriculum days but not school productions related to festivals or collective worship time. (See Collective Worship policy).
RE lessons are delivered weekly by Class Teachers and/or Higher-Level Teaching Assistants (HLTA). Where HLTAs teach the RE curriculum, Class Teachers plan the sessions.
Where appropriate to do so, sessions may be blocked; for instance, for ‘WOW’ or Curriculum Enrichment Days (CED) at the beginning of a new topic.
Work is recorded in RE-specific books and is evidenced by a variety of outcomes, including written pieces, artwork, and photographs. The RE books move up the school with the children as they progress through the year groups.
Children in EYFS encounter Christianity and religions and beliefs represented in class, the school, or local community. Religious Education supports a growing sense of the child’s awareness of self, their own community, and their place within this.
- Children in Years 1 and 2 study a minimum of two religions; Christianity and Judaism in Year 1 and Christianity and Islam in Year 2.
- Pupils in Years 3 and 4 each study Christianity and Islam (Year 3) and Christianity and Hinduism/Sikhism (Year 4)
- Pupils in Years 5 and 6 focus on Christianity and Judaism (Year 5) and Christianity and Buddhism (Year 6)
- NB. Children are also made aware that not everyone belongs to a faith group and these views and ideas are explored and valued as part of lessons.
The RE Curriculum Overview and more detailed Scheme of Work, which incorporates long-term and medium-term planning, demonstrate the progression of skills and the development of subject-specific vocabulary from EYFS to Year 6. Cross-curricular links are made whenever and wherever it is appropriate to do so without compromising the integrity of the RE programmes of study.
How Wood School is a signed-up member of NATRE (National Association for the Teaching of Religious Education). As part of that membership, the School receives the termly REtoday magazine. This provides teachers with articles and information which increase subject knowledge as well as fun and innovative ideas for teaching RE.
The local NATRE- affiliated support group, St Albans RE Teachers Together (SARETT), meet twice per term and offer opportunities for Continuing Professional Development for teachers as well as local and national updates in the world of RE. Visits and speakers as well as members’ own shared experiences enhance confidence for our teachers for teaching RE.
Alongside a whole school approach to celebrating different religious and cultural celebrations, the RE curriculum provides the means to celebrate the diversity of the school community and promote positive images of people in the wider community, including their beliefs, traditions, culture, language and history. It ensures that children develop spiritually, academically, emotionally and morally to promote and realise a better understanding of themselves and others and provide them with the opportunities, challenges and responsibilities of living in a rapidly changing, multicultural world.
Teaching and learning style
- Teachers recognise that within the class there will be a range of ability and experience. Teaching and learning styles and tasks will therefore be adapted and appropriate to suit the needs of all pupils.
- As part of the introduction to each new RE topic, teachers review what the children know already and identify what children would like to learn, to inform the programme of study so that it takes account of children’s interests. KWL grids are used and revisited at the end of the topic/lesson to record what they have discovered/learnt.
- In each lesson, a Learning Intention (LI) and success criteria are shared at the beginning of the lesson and reviewed by children at the end. They are subsequently used by the teacher to assess and identify next steps for the children.
- Teachers provide a teaching environment, which encourages children to share, question, reflect and to empathise. ‘Big’ or Ultimate questions are an important part of the enquiry-based learning children undertake.
- Teachers use a mixture of teaching styles, including whole class, group, paired and individual.
- Wherever possible, religious education lessons are related to the life experiences of the pupils. Active learning in RE includes practical first-hand experiences, e.g., through artefacts, visits to places of worship and relevant learning outside the classroom, visitors to school with specialist knowledge and expertise and first-hand accounts.
- Teachers help children to acquire skills in the use of secondary resources, such as the internet, libraries etc.
- The school places great value on the importance of all children’s opinions and these are encouraged and valued.
- Displays are used to support and celebrate learning and support the acquisition of key knowledge and the accurate use of key vocabulary.
- The children have access to the necessary resources, to further their own independent learning e.g. artefacts, books, etc.