RE Curriculum Content and Sequence
RE SEQUENCE OVERVIEW
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Through the teaching of Religious Education and as a result of the real, relevant and engaging Religious Education curriculum children will be genuinely enthusiastic about RE in all its forms. By encouraging dialogue and inquisitiveness amongst our children in RE lessons they will develop an understanding of major world faiths and will show respect for the beliefs of people around them. The syllabus will demystify the differences of customs and cultures children will meet in life and they will be able to make informed decisions for their own faith journeys.
RE will prompt pupils to consider their responsibilities to themselves and to others, and to explore how they might contribute to their communities and to wider society which will broaden their life opportunities. Children will understand clear links between their learning and real life – understanding how their developing knowledge and skills can be applied today, beyond school and into adult life, including potential career paths, furthermore it encourages empathy, generosity and compassion. Pupils will develop a sense of awe, wonder and mystery. The curriculum will help to nurture children’s own spiritual development.
Although RE is a highly spiritual and moral subject, learning will be underpinned by core knowledge, skills, concepts and vocabulary on which will allow the children to have confidence, to be more empathic, tolerant and able to make informed decisions about their beliefs.
In line with the whole school curriculum policy, the following drivers and principles underpin everything we do in RE.
Life Opportunities Creativity, Confidence, Competence
Balanced Coherent Real & Relevant
Knowledge Rich Cognitively Challenging Inclusive
Life skills are key to Religious Education at Chesswood. The focus is on exploring concepts and gaining transferable life skills, including Empathy, Investigation, Evaluation and Reflection. Opportunities to link all units of work to careers are taken where possible – e.g. during the Christianity topics a local Outreach Worker has an active role in teaching. Links to roles in the local community are promoted – e.g. children have the opportunity to attend a local church to experience and gain an understanding of other faiths. Real life opportunities are sought, linking the key concepts of beliefs, practices and festivals to aspects of their lives where they too experience this e.g. celebrating special occasions. Links to the best of what has been thought and said, through studying a range of different faiths allows each to explore their own values. This inspires them to decide what they believe to be true and embeds ACRO skills in RE.
Creativity Confidence Competence
The Religious Education curriculum seeks to build knowledge upon knowledge and skills upon skills, sequencing progression through the school. This seeks to embed competence and confidence within the subject by focusing on key concepts children must achieve to be able to progress. Children use the vocabulary and skills learned to share their own ideas, first orally and then through writing and other creative outputs, using the Engagement, Investigate, Evaluation and Reflection cycle of learning.
Religious Education is varied in time between year groups. The RE curriculum ‘must reflect the fact that the religious traditions in Great Britain are in the main Christian, while taking account of the teaching and practices of the other principal religions represented in Great Britain’ (Education Act 1996). Each year group studies Christianity and in Years 3-5 they will also study 1 other principle religion (Hinduism, Judaism and Islam). In Year 6 they will complete a unit that reflects on their learning from one of the key strands across all 4 religions studied. Three strands will be given particular importance - Beliefs (Religion, Faith and Teachings), Practices (Worship, Commitment, Rites of Passage and Pilgrimage) and Festivals (Belonging and Celebration).
We envisage this curriculum will produce pupils who are religiously literate, helping them to hold balanced and well-informed conversations about religion and belief.
Whilst making links to various other subjects, the place and importance of Religious Education is the core focus. Knowledge, skills, concepts and vocabulary are coherently planned and sequenced progressively. The spiral curriculum allows children to move from novice to expert by expanding their knowledge on topics and understanding how that relates to other topics. For example, in Year 3 the children will learn about key symbols from the Nativity story and then in Year 4 they will use the skills of interpreting and evaluating to consider the most significant of these.
Real and Relevant
Religious Education is rooted in real and relevant experiences for children. The core focus on key life skills and links to the local community (faith groups) is central to the planning of the subject. Every unit within the curriculum ensures children draw on their own personal experiences allowing them to make links to the concepts being taught e.g. when considering belonging the children discuss groups they belong to and how this makes them feel.
The Religious Education curriculum seeks to sequence knowledge effectively, ensuring that children have a good understanding of core knowledge to enable them to progress from unit to unit. Core knowledge and skills (Empathy, Investigation, Evaluation and Reflection) are specified in detail and laid out in knowledge organisers for the focus religions and concepts within RE.
The Chesswood curriculum is a knowledge-rich curriculum; it provides pupils with an introduction to the essential knowledge they need to be educated citizens.
• knowledge provides a driving, underpinning philosophy
• knowledge content is specified in detail
• knowledge is taught to be remembered, not merely encountered
• knowledge is sequenced and mapped deliberately and coherently
The curriculum is designed to give all learners, particularly the most disadvantaged, the knowledge and cultural capital to succeed in life.
The RE curriculum seeks to introduce children to the best of what has been thought and said, linking to key individuals historically and currently. Units are chosen specifically to stretch children’s knowledge and skills development, with a key focus on core religious vocabulary and understanding.
The RE curriculum seeks to include all children through the use of high-quality discussion and debate. A key aspect of inclusion in RE is developing empathy. Empathy is an important skill that we are developing in individuals through the use of discussion. Children (particularly disadvantaged children) who do not have access to texts at home; are unable to visit places of interest; or who are managing family struggles do not often have the opportunities to have rich conversations that help develop this skill. Teachers help to model how we empathise with those of other faiths and beliefs to enable children to make those important connections.
Knowledge is selected deliberately ensuring ‘cultural capital’ is developed for all. A knowledge focus has significant advantages for disadvantaged children as it ‘enables students to acquire knowledge that takes them beyond their own experiences.… Knowledge-led curricula attempts to provide young people with a school experience that enables them to be socially mobile, for this is at the core of what social justice is: enabling all people, regardless of socio-economic background, to be provided with the opportunities to succeed in life.’
The knowledge and skills foci seek to overcome barriers of the varied life experiences of children at Chesswood.