At Eppleton, we want our pupils to be able to ask and answer challenging questions about the ultimate meaning and purpose of life, beliefs about God, the self, the nature of reality, issues of right and wrong and what it means to be human. We aim to achieve this through enquiry-based learning with a focus on three key elements: knowledge and understanding of religion, critical thinking and personal reflection.
At Eppleton, we encourage tolerance and respect for all, including those with differing faiths and beliefs, through developing our pupils’ understanding and appreciation of diversity, hand in hand with helping children to develop the confidence and skills that they require in order to challenge and deal with prejudice, discrimination and racism.
Alongside this, we offer our pupils opportunities for personal reflection, where they are able to explore their own beliefs (whether religious or not). Children are also given the opportunity to explore their own responses to questions raised and to examine issues of religious beliefs, in relation to both themselves and others, as they consider how religion and beliefs have an impact on individuals and groups in local, national and global contexts.
Within RE, we promote the SMSC values (spiritual, moral, social and cultural), preparing children for the experiences of later life. Ultimately, we strive to ensure that all children become listeners and communicators, develop empathy and respect, and form their own sense of identity and belonging.
‘Through RE at Eppleton, children will develop lifelong skills; an understanding of how religious traditions contribute to the cultural heritage in all its diversity; an understanding of how religious identity and belonging are expressed, and consider their own participation in groups and communities; and reflect on their own spiritual and moral ideas and those of others.’
Unit questions are evident in all RE lessons. All children will be given the chance to be a listener and a communicator, where they will be given opportunities to develop their knowledge and understanding of the beliefs and practices within religion, as well as to develop skills, such as: critical thinking, evaluation, analysis and reflection (in relation to the religious material they learn about).
Furthermore, lessons should follow the following cycle of enquiry: engage, explore, enquire, evaluate, present, reflect and evaluate.
In terms of timetable allocation, RE may not be taught every week, for example: it may be taught in an allocated slot every week; an afternoon every few weeks, or given a suspended timetable day (allowing for enquiry based research, a visit to a place of worship, a visitor to school etc.)
‘RE at Eppleton helps to promote the spiritual, moral, cultural, mental and physical development of pupils, allowing them to develop valuable life skills and prepare them for the opportunities, responsibilities and experiences of later life.’
Teachers should use the Agreed Syllabus for the Teaching of RE in Sunderland to plan lessons, which provides continuity and progression by building on the knowledge, understanding and skills that pupils gain across and between key stages. Teachers must ensure that the RE concepts (belief, authority, expressions of belief and impact of belief) underpin their teaching so that pupils have the opportunity to deepen their understanding of these concepts and make increasingly complex studies of religion.
Teachers must follow the appropriate programmes of study, which indicate appropriate learning about each religion across the key stages, enabling teachers to refer to other key stages to ensure they plan for progression in learning. Teachers must be aware of the key focus and learning outcomes for each key stage in order to ensure that they plan work that is appropriate for the age and ability of their pupils.
Teachers must follow the long-term plan agreed for their year group and should refer to the exemplar plans within the agreed syllabus if needed. Teachers will use questions as the focus for their units of work, as these are designed to enable pupils to develop and extend their learning about religious beliefs and practices across the key stages. Teachers are to use a range of sources to find suitable resources and activities to support the learning, engagement and progression of ALL children.
‘At Eppleton, RE provides opportunities for pupils to develop knowledge and understanding of religion, the ability to think critically while listening to others, to personally reflect and to develop empathy and respect for all.’