Religious Education at the Skylark Federation
Our ‘Intent’ in designing our bespoke, South Downs curriculum is to maximise the potential of all of our pupils intellectually, socially, morally, emotionally and culturally. We believe our curriculum should be relevant and have a strong local resonance with pupils. In doing so, our intention is that all learners reach their full potential through a curriculum that is tangible and real for pupils of the South Downs. That is not to say our curriculum is narrow-sighted: we use children’s local understanding to project their minds across the globe.
In the Skylark Federation, we follow the East Sussex Agreed Syllabus for RE. We seek to develop the children’s knowledge and understanding of some of the major world faiths, and we address the fundamental questions in life, for example, the meaning of life and the existence of a divine spirit. We enable children to develop a sound knowledge of Christianity and to explore aspects of some other world religions. Children reflect on what it means to have a faith and to develop their own spiritual knowledge and understanding. We help the children learn about religion (knowledge and understanding) and from religion (response, evaluation, application).
During their time in the Skylark Federation, children have the opportunity through RE to do the following:
- Develop their knowledge and understanding of the Christian faith and of other principal religions (KS1 – Judaism and Islam, KS2 – all world religions covered in a rolling programme)
- Respond to the ideas, beliefs and feelings of Christianity and some other principal religions
- Understand the influences of faith individuals on societies, communities and cultures
- Develop enquiry and response skills
- Explore what it means to have a faith
- Develop their sense of identity and belonging
- Reflect on, analyse and evaluate their own beliefs, values and practices
- Consider questions of meaning and purpose in life
- Respect people with different beliefs, values and traditions
- Make reasoned and informed judgements on religious and moral issues
The purpose of RE is not to urge religious beliefs on children nor to compromise the integrity of their own belief.
Teaching is planned on an enquiry basis. A question is posed to frame each unit of work (for example ‘How does believing Jesus is their Saviour inspire Christians to save and serve others?’ (Lower KS2) or ‘How do questions about Brahman and atman influence the way a Hindu lives?’ (Upper KS2))
RE is taught weekly at Barcombe Church of England Primary. Staff at Hamsey Primary School and Plumpton Primary School may choose to teach lessons weekly or may block a unit of lessons together.
In Key Stage 1, children’s work is recorded in a class book – this contains photographs of drama work, pictures the children have drawn, short pieces of writing they have done, and quotes of what the children have said (scribed by the teacher). These books are available for the children to use in classroom reflection areas.
In Key Stage 2, children work in individual RE books. The work consists of photos of drama work, poster designs, analysis of pictures and Bible verses as well as longer pieces of writing.
Classrooms or school open spaces have opportunities for reflection. In Barcombe CE School, these are in the classroom and Christianity-based. In Hamsey School and Plumpton School, they may focus more on values for leading a good life.
Staff are trained internally by the RE subject lead. The subject lead is based at Barcombe CE Primary and attends regular training led by the Diocese including Subject Leader network meetings and training on Understanding Christianity, a resource used alongside the Emmanuel Project to support teaching.
Impact – At the end of each unit of work, children are able to produce a task that shows their understanding – these are evidenced in the RE class books or individual books. Subject and school leaders monitor the impact of our curriculum provision through completing regular monitoring including listening to the voice of our children.