Religious Education Intent Statement
Why teach RE?
Religious Education has a significant role to play in the promotion of learners’ spiritual, moral, social and cultural development. It promotes respect and open-mindedness towards others with different faiths and beliefs and encourages learners to develop their own sense of identity and belonging through self-awareness and reflection.
We acknowledge this sensitive aspect of education and realise the need for a sincere and sympathetic approach to all religions. We are aware some learners, parents and staff may hold deep beliefs whilst others hold none. With this in mind, we encourage questioning and discussion but respect the right of any individual who does not want to share their inner thoughts.
Essentially, we seek to produce learners who are religiously literate and are able to hold balanced and informed conversations about religion and belief, which will in turn enable them to explore purpose, meaning and value in their own lives.
We follow the advice of the agreed syllabus that ‘if RE is to be made relevant and meaningful to children whether religious or not, it needs to connect with aspects of their own and other peoples experience that may be termed spiritual.’
What should good Religious Education contain?
At Boston Pioneers Academy we believe that good RE should:
- Develop learners’ knowledge and understanding of Christianity as well as other principal religions and world views
- Focus on concepts as well as content (Learning from religion as well as about religion)
- Explore authentic religious material, e.g. sacred texts.
- Reflect diversity in terms of the changing religious landscape of the UK so that they are prepared for life in modern Britain. (This includes considering the increase in the number of people with non-religious beliefs and identities).
- Reflect learners’ own experiences of religion and provide a safe place for discussion of their beliefs and experiences.
- Present religious belief as a real, lived phenomenon, not something exotic or belonging to the past.
- Provide opportunities for personal reflection and spiritual development.
- Help to prepare learners for adult life, enabling them to develop respect and sensitivity for others.
- Include visitors from places of worship within our community to widen the learners’ understanding.
- Include visiting places of worship to gain greater understanding of what faith means to different people.
What religions are taught?
Our RE curriculum reflects the fact that the religious traditions in the immediate locality and in Great Britain, are in the main Christian, whilst considering the teaching and practices of other principal religions represented in Modern Britain (Islam, Judaism, Hinduism, Sikhism, Buddhism and Humanism). This is particularly important as we have many children of different faiths at our school.
As a non-denominational Academy, we do not seek to convert or steer pupils towards a particular religious belief, rather we aim to encourage them to develop their own beliefs and values and make them aware that some people have no attachment to religious beliefs and follow secular philosophies.
Do I have the right to withdraw my child from RE?
Parents/carers may withdraw their child(ren) from all or part of the RE curriculum.
They do not have to provide a reason for this and the school will comply with the
request. It is a responsibility of the Academy to supervise any learners who are withdrawn from RE, but the Academy is not required to provide additional teaching or incur extra costs. If parents/carers wish their child to receive an alternative programme of RE, it is their responsibility to arrange this.
To support planning, Boston Pioneers Academy asks that if parents/carers wish to withdraw their child(ren) from all or part of their Religious Education Curriculum, they forward a letter to Head Teacher in order that alternative arrangements can be made for their child for the duration of the core RE lessons.
At Boston Pioneers Academy there are three main aspects to our RE teaching:
- Specific RE units of work taught weekly by class teachers (as outlined in the RE long-term plan).
- Focus days when the whole school takes time out to concentrate on an RE theme (often related to a festival).
- Within wider themes for learning, where RE-related work could be effectively integrated to provide deeper knowledge and understanding for our learners. (For example, work on Judaism as part of age-appropriate World War 2 studies.)
For our core RE teaching, we follow a personalised version of the Agreed Syllabus for Religious Education (SACRE) produced by The Educational Framework for RE in Lincolnshire.
The core concepts we seek to develop in our pupils through our RE teaching are:
- Being Human – To know how faith and belief affects the way people live their lives.
- God/Gods – To know what different people believe in.
- Community, Worship and Celebration – To know how people express their religion and beliefs.
- Personal response – To explore their own feelings about their own beliefs and that of others (tolerance, respects and appreciation).
- Life Journeys and rights of passage – To know the significance and key features of a variety of ceremonies and festivals linked to the world’s main religions. To know how people mark important events in their lives.
Our RE progression plan allows learners to develop key skills in R.E to enhance their learning, this is evident across each key stage. It is these skills that have formed the basis of our progression grid:
- Investigation and enquiry: asking relevant and increasingly deep questions; using a range of sources and evidence, including sacred texts; identifying and talking about key concepts.
- Critical thinking and reflection: analysing information to form a judgement; reflecting on beliefs and practices, ultimate questions and experiences.
- Empathy: considering the thoughts, feelings, experiences, attitudes, beliefs and values of others; seeing the world through the eyes of others.
- Interpretation: interpreting religious language and the meaning of sacred texts; drawing meaning from, for example, artefacts and symbols.
- Analysis: distinguishing between opinion, belief and fact; distinguishing between the features of different religions.
- Evaluation: enquiring into religious issues and drawing conclusions with reference to experience, reason, evidence and dialogue
Where possible and appropriate to do so, an enquiry-based approach is adopted in the learning. By engaging learners from the outset in ‘big questions’, we seek to provide a context and reason for carrying out an investigation (making sure they can see the relevance and importance of the enquiry and how it relates to their own concerns); and allow them time to gather and draw conclusions before asking them to reflect what they have learned.