At St George’s Religious Education inspires children to be able to become more confident in holding balanced and informed discussions relating to religious beliefs at an age appropriate level, using ‘big questions’ for exploration. Religious education at our school allows pupils to make sense of what they have learnt in RE and pupils gain religious literacy through shared experiences, discussion and reflection.
At St George’s we believe that learning about and from religion, gives pupils the ability to make sense of the world around them. In exploring beliefs and how these beliefs influence the way people live their lives, pupils are able to gain respect and understanding of ‘difference’.
Supporting these aims is our vision “Inspire, Believe, Achieve. With God all things are possible”. This shared vision underpins everything we do at St George’s; enabling our children to become successful learners and caring, thoughtful individuals.
Pupils learn mainly about the Christian and Jewish faiths and our curriculum follows the Oxford Diocese scheme of work in both Year 1 and 2. We also use the Understanding Christianity resources (in particular The Big Frieze) to support whole school learning of key theological concepts, including God, Creation, Incarnation, Gospel and Salvation.
In Key Stage 1, pupils learn about Christianity as a living world faith. Each unit of work begins with a ‘Big Question’ which allows the children to challenge and extend their understanding of religion though enquiry and analysis. In their learning about Judaism, children begin to understand that there are teachings and texts that this faith has in common with Christianity. They will be able to make links between the Bible and the Torah and religious practices and festivals of the Jewish people.
Whilst (in line with national guidelines) Christianity is the predominant religion taught, we value and embrace all pupils’ backgrounds and cultural differences, by encouraging learning about other world faiths celebrated by pupils in our school. We actively encourage links that are, and can be made between home, school and faith communities; for example, festivals such as Diwali are explored through parent visitors to school and the children sharing their ‘special’ experiences and celebrations with their peers.
In EYFS RE provides opportunities for learning and development in both the prime and some specific areas and we endeavour to follow the interests and cultural faiths and backgrounds of the children in the cohort. We use the Bucks Agreed Syllabus alongside the units of work ‘Creation’, ‘Incarnation’ and ‘Salvation’ from the Understanding Christianity resources to plan specific activities and learning linked to our wider topic of learning. In order to meet the Early Learning Goals (ELG) we include specific planned activities, role play, circle time, and story time as well as child-initiated opportunities to develop children’s knowledge and understanding of religious beliefs.
To enable our vision statement to be a focal point in our daily school lives, it is incorporated into our hall display where we gather for worship and our values are included and recited in our ‘sending out’ prayer, led by our Year 2 worship leaders. Our vision is embedded across our entire curriculum, supporting and impacting the children’s determination to learn and achieve, through the use of Lenny Lion’s Learning Zoo. Each character has a distinct characteristic demonstrating effective learning and is linked directly to the words of our vision: ‘Inspire, Believe, Achieve’.
Teachers assess children’s learning in RE by making formative assessment judgements through observing them working during lessons and also through class discussions. All pupils are encouraged to evaluate their own learning and understanding using the smiley face self-assessment system in their books. Teachers record the progress made by the children against the learning outcome for each unit of work, which are: below expected for age, at expected, or working at greater depth. This information is recorded individually in each child’s RE book using the Oxford Diocese assessment proforma and is used to plan future learning.
The overall monitoring of the standard of children’s learning and work, alongside the quality of teaching in RE is the responsibility of the RE subject leader. Monitoring involves book scrutinies and learning walks to provide strategic direction for the teaching of RE at St George’s. This information is incorporated into the subject's development plan and is monitored termly in collaboration with the governor for RE.
At St George’s, we believe Religious Education is invaluable to our pupils understanding of the world. Their learning enables them the foundation of knowledge necessary to become respectful and responsible citizens of the school community and wider world around them.