The teaching of RE at Appleby Primary School enables our children to express their views on beliefs and values. It raises important questions about meaning and purpose, religions and worldviews and the concept of right and wrong. These themes are explored and compared through a variety of themes across the academic year. Our school follows the Agreed Syllabus for the teaching of Religious Education for Cumbria.
The three aims of the Syllabus that are implemented at Appleby Primary School are:
RE lessons are taught through enquiry-based learning, where the children are presented with questions that link to concepts either common to all, shared by multiple faiths or specific to a particular faith or group. These concepts are then explored in more depth by comparing and contrasting the impact on the groups and communities to which they apply to.
RE lessons at Appleby Primary School are planned and delivered in line with the Subject Content found within the Cumbria Agreed Syllabus for Religious Education. Our RE lessons introduce the children to a range of beliefs and practices from the Christian, Hindu and Islamic faiths, whilst recognising that there are also individuals who do not follow a particular faith.
In the Early Years Foundation Stage, RE lessons support the achievement of many objectives outlined in the Development Matters Curriculum, including:
Communication and language: listening to stories, answering questions about their own experiences and linking these to new ones they are introduced to.
Personal, social and emotional development: discussion-based activities that support our children’s confidence and their ability to link their ideas to emotions and behaviours.
Literacy: reading, writing and understanding simple sentences through the delivery of stories about special events that take place around different parts of the world.
Understanding the world: talking about events they have experienced and learning about similarities and differences between themselves and other people and communities, using their senses to explore artefacts and objects whilst learning about their function, importance and material.
Expressive arts and design: singing and playing instruments, experimenting with colour, pattern and shape in creative activities, representing ideas through different art forms including dance, drama and retelling stories.
Children in Key Stage One and Two are introduced to half-termly units of RE through discussion-based activities that support their self-confidence and their ability to interpret others’ ideas. Questions are introduced that begin group and class-based talk and debates. Drama and freeze-frame activities are used as a memorable way of empathising with characters and retelling stories that are special to different communities.
Vocabulary-based discussions are a powerful way of exposing the children to new language. They are given the opportunity to enquire about vocabulary they are unfamiliar with as well as practising what they already know. Subject-specific vocabulary is embedded through talk and both shared and independent writing. Word mats with supporting images are used to provide a context for this vocabulary and to ensure that it is used accurately and sensitively. Appleby has strong links with the local community; visitors are welcomed into our school to support the teaching of RE and provide a familiar context for the children’s learning to relate to.
Stories and events are shared with our children in RE to enable them to analyse similarities and differences between groups and faiths whilst remaining respectful to all. They also allow the children to identify and discuss the messages that arise from these stories and the impact that these have on individuals and communities, including our own school and locality.
Practical RE lessons at Appleby are enjoyable, memorable and help strengthen connections between the concepts we have studied. The children often handle religious artefacts, explore their purposes and have a go themselves at creative activities which are also undertaken by different religious groups during special and celebrations.
RE lessons at Appleby are designed to enable children to connect taught knowledge and concepts to previous learning, resulting in progression and increased confidence within the subject. This progression is achieved through our teaching of the objectives outlined in the RE Syllabus for Cumbria, which states that progression is made through: