At St James’ Blackburn Church of England Primary School RE is a core subject which is highly valued and enjoyed by both pupils and staff. It plays a major role in fulfilling our mission statement which is "Together we value, inspire and develop each other within a happy, safe community based on Christian values and respect for other faiths." Through a rich and varied curriculum and a range of memorable experiences, pupils acquire a thorough knowledge and understanding of Christianity as a worldwide living faith whilst developing their understanding of other World religions, beliefs and cultures. We provide a wide range of opportunities for learners to understand and to make links between the beliefs, practices and value systems of Christianity and a range of faiths and world views. Seeking “to build respect for all faiths and beliefs” is a key part of the school’s Christian Vision. RE contributes to the development, exploration and enrichment of pupils’ own beliefs and values and has a strong influence on the overall personal, social, moral and spiritual education of pupils.
RE is a legal requirement for all pupils however there is no prescribed curriculum content through the National curriculum. The school uses the agreed syllabus and Christianity Units produced by the Blackburn Diocesan Board of Education, Questful RE. This is supported by units from the Understanding Christianity syllabus produced by the Church of England Education Office. The school syllabus is predominantly Christian based (79%) and the remaining 21% is a balance of other World religions chosen in order to develop knowledge, understanding and respect. The balance has been carefully considered for each Key Stage. For example each year group explore a different facet of Christmas and Easter. The school ensures that Religious Education lessons allow opportunities for children to reflect upon their own thoughts and beliefs, whilst respecting the views of others. At least 5% of the curriculum time is devoted to the teaching of RE, equivalent to a one hour session each week, with many classes often doing more than this.
When planning RE, teachers use learning objectives, lesson activities and assessment opportunities adapted from the relevant unit plans in order to plan well balanced RE lessons and this ensures progression throughout school. For example, in Year 1 pupils explore why Jesus is special to Christians and in Year 5 they explore His role as a teacher. This progression and carefully designed syllabus enables them to build on prior learning. Lessons are inspiring, stimulating and relevant to children and draw upon a range of techniques including but not limited to drama, the use of artwork and music, creative writing and debates.
One of the main aims of the RE curriculum is to challenge children to reflect on issues of beliefs and values. The approaches that are used engage the children in this active thinking process. Work is differentiated through tasks, recording, support or outcome to match the needs of the children.
Regular assessments of RE are made within lessons and at the end of each unit. Assessment statements for each unit have been developed from the syllabus and are used for formative and summative assessment. EYFS teachers will assess children using the Early Learning Goals and the ‘I can statements’ taken from the syllabus. Class scrapbooks are used to record evidence that isn’t suitable for pupils to record in their individual books- including photographs, artwork and comments and questions from pupils. The assessment scrapbooks show evidence of how pupils are assessed. They include an overview of achievement in units which is kept up to date, reference to the assessment statements and work from pupils. Marking and feedback in RE includes questions to challenge thinking and makes reference to the assessment statements, whilst also sharing with pupils how well they are doing.
RE is subject to regular constructive and supportive monitoring which includes book and scrapbook scrutinies, data assessment, lesson observations and pupil conferencing. The leadership team have an overview of this monitoring and support class teachers to enable pupils to meet expected standards for their age, striving to be ‘exceptional in all we do.’ Children working at a higher than or a lower level than expected are tracked and appropriate differentiation is given to support these pupils. The information gathered is used to inform further curriculum development and provision.
By providing an RE curriculum that ensures progression and repetition, pupils will develop the skills and knowledge needed to meet the end of key stage expectations. Pupils should leave St James’ with an in-depth knowledge of Christianity as a worldwide living faith alongside a greater understanding of other World religions, beliefs and cultures. Pupils will be resilient and independent learners with the ability to question and reflect on their own thoughts and values. Pupils should leave St James’ being able to make links between beliefs, practice and the value systems of Christianity with a range of other faiths and world views, remembering their inspiring RE lessons and experiences in school.
For further information on RE and Worship at St James', please visit the RE and Worship Page.