As a Church of England primary school in the Diocese of Canterbury, we follow the 'Kent Agreed Syllabus' for Religious Education and the 'Understanding Christianity' scheme of learning.
At St Mary's, RE is of a very high profile within our curriculum. As a Voluntary Aided (VA) school, we have a legal requirement to teach RE in accordance with the Trust deed and the Statement of Entitlement: "Parents and pupils are entitled to expect that in Church Schools, Christianity should be the majority religion studied in each year group and should be at least 50% of curriculum time."
Our 'Understanding Christianity' documentation offers a coherent and comprehensive resource that focuses on: theological and conceptual basis; core knowledge 'building blocks'. Our pedagogical approach for teaching Christianity within RE encompasses three main aspects:
- Making sense of a text
- Understanding the impact
- Making connections
Pupils will learn about biblical concepts, placing the text and concepts within the wider Bible story. Each unit addresses a concept through some key questions, exploring core Bible texts, their impact for Christians, and possible implications for pupils.
We believe that the approach 'Understanding Christianity' has is not just getting pupils to learn what Christians think, but instead, about developing skills to help them think 'theologically'; alongside learning lots of knowledge about the Bible. It also places the pupil's engagement with Christian text, beliefs and practices, taking seriously the role of the pupil, bringing their own world to the text whilst giving them the opportunity to allow the text to enlarge their understanding of the world.
Within our RE teaching, teachers provide opportunities for children to relate key concepts covered to their own experiences, beliefs and questions of meaning. As well as Christianity, children learn about the community, leaders and expressions of other World Faiths.
Our core Christian Values, in conjunction with British Values and PSHE learning, enable our children to question aspects of diversity and equality, as well as develop holistically and flourish as an individual.
The legal requirements for all schools are that:
- Religious Education must be provided for all registered pupils in full time education except those withdrawn at their parents’ request (or their own request if aged 18 or over). (DfE Circular 1 / 94, paragraphs 44 & 49, and Non-Statutory Guidance 2010 page 28)
- The law relating to Religious Education for pupils who are not yet in key stage 1 is different from that relating to subjects of the National Curriculum. As Religious Education must be taught to ‘all registered pupils at the school’, it includes pupils in reception classes, but not those in nursery classes or play groups
- By the same law, Religious Education must be provided for all students in school sixth forms (but not those in Sixth Form Colleges, which must provide Religious Education for all students wishing to receive it)
What should I do if I want to withdraw my child from RE or Collective Worship?
Parents have the right to choose whether or not to withdraw their child from RE without influence from the school, although a school should ensure parents or carers are informed of this right and are aware of the educational objectives and content of the RE syllabus. In this way, parents can make an informed decision. Where parents have requested that their child is withdrawn, their right must be respected, and where RE is integrated in the curriculum, the Headteacher will need to discuss the arrangements with the parents or carers to explore how the child’s withdrawal can be best accommodated. If pupils are withdrawn from RE, schools have a duty to supervise them, though not to provide additional teaching or to incur extra cost. Pupils will usually remain on school premises.