The principal aim of religious education is to explore what people believe and what difference this makes to how they live, so that pupils can gain the knowledge, understanding and skills needed to handle questions raised by religion and belief, reflecting on their own ideas and ways of living.
Religion and beliefs inform our values and are reflected in what we say and how we behave. RE is an important subject in itself, developing an individual’s knowledge and understanding of the religions and beliefs which form part of contemporary society.
RE also contributes to pupils’ personal development and well-being and to community cohesion by promoting mutual respect and tolerance in a diverse society. It offers opportunities for personal reflection and spiritual development, deepening the understanding of the significance of religion in the lives of others – individually, communally and cross-culturally.
At Windmill Hill Academy, we follow the 2020 Cornwall Agreed Syllabus which has been created for Cornwall SACRE and approved by Cornwall Council. It provides a syllabus for RE which explains the value and purposes of RE for all pupils and specifies for teachers what shall be taught in each age group. It provides a coherent framework for setting high standards of learning in RE and enabling pupils to reach their potential in the subject.
The Cornwall Agreed Syllabus 2020 asserts the importance and value of religious education (RE) for all pupils, with on-going benefits for an open, articulate and understanding society. The following purpose statements underpin the syllabus, which is constructed to support pupils and teachers in fulfilling them:
- Religious education contributes dynamically to children and young people’s education in schools by provoking challenging questions about meaning and purpose in life, beliefs about God, ultimate reality, issues of right and wrong and what it means to be human.
- In RE, pupils learn about religions and beliefs in local, national and global contexts, to discover, explore and consider different answers to these questions.
- Pupils learn to weigh up the value of wisdom from different sources, to develop and express their insights in response and to agree or disagree respectfully.
- Teaching, therefore, should equip pupils with systematic knowledge and understanding of a range of religions and beliefs, enabling them to develop their ideas, values and identities.
- RE should develop in pupils an aptitude for dialogue so that they can participate positively in our society, with its diverse religions and beliefs.
- Pupils should gain and deploy the skills needed to understand, interpret and evaluate texts, sources of wisdom and authority and other evidence. They should learn to articulate clearly and coherently their personal beliefs, ideas, values and experiences while respecting the right of others to differ.
Assessment is regarded as an integral part of teaching and learning and is a continuous process. There are planned opportunities within the curriculum plan to revisit learning from the current year but also previous year groups.
It is the responsibility of the class teacher to assess all pupils in their class. This is mainly achieved through mini-plenaries, questioning, observation, end of unit tasks, marking, feedback from support staff and pupil self-assessment.
End of year assessment is reported on Itrack and features on the annual report to parents. Teachers use the result of sessions tasks as well as end of unit tasks to monitor attainment and progress, as well as analysing for gaps to plan follow up learning.
The monitoring of the standards of children’s learning and the quality of learning and teaching of RE is the shared responsibility of the Senior Leadership Team and the subject leader. The work of the subject leader also involves supporting colleagues in the teaching of RE, being informed about current developments in the subject, and providing a strategic lead and direction for the subject in the school. A named member of the school governing body is briefed to overview the teaching of the curriculum in the school.
We believe that it is vital for all our pupils to learn from and about religion, so that they can understand the world around them. Through Religious Education, pupils develop their knowledge of the world faiths, and their understanding and awareness of the beliefs, values and traditions of other individuals, societies, communities and cultures.
We encourage our pupils to ask questions about the world and to reflect on their own beliefs, values and experiences. The culture around RE in our school is there to develop understanding and mutual respect between all children from different backgrounds and cultures.
RE is vitally important, not just for the children in our school, but moving forward into adulthood. There is a huge emphasis placed on RE in our school because we know it’s importance to society and helping our community grow together.
We value high quality CPD for staff and staff have had opportunities to attend CPD.
The threefold aim of RE elaborates the principal aim. The curriculum for RE aims to ensure that all pupils:
1. make sense of a range of religious and non-religious beliefs, so that they can:
- identify, describe, explain and analyse beliefs and concepts in the context of living religions, using appropriate vocabulary
- explain how and why these beliefs are understood in different ways, by individuals and within communities
- recognise how and why sources of authority (e.g. texts, teachings, traditions, leaders) are used, expressed and interpreted in different ways, developing skills of interpretation
2. understand the impact and significance of religious and non-religious beliefs, so that they can:
- examine and explain how and why people express their beliefs in diverse ways
- recognise and account for ways in which people put their beliefs into action in diverse ways, in their everyday lives, within their communities and in the wider world
- appreciate and appraise the significance of different ways of life and ways of expressing meaning
3. make connections between religious and non-religious beliefs, concepts, practices and ideas studied, so that they can:
- evaluate, reflect on and enquire into key concepts and questions studied, responding thoughtfully and creatively, giving good reasons for their responses
- challenge the ideas studied, and allow the ideas studied to challenge their own thinking, articulating beliefs, values and commitments clearly in response
- discern possible connections between the ideas studied and their own ways of understanding the world, expressing their critical responses and personal reflections with increasing clarity and understanding
Throughout schooling, teachers should consider how their teaching contributes towards the principal aim of RE in Cornwall, and how they help pupils to achieve the threefold aims above.
At Windmill Hill Academy, we use the ‘Understanding Christianity’ resource from RE Today to ensure we are meeting the requirements of the agreed syllabus with regard to the teaching of Christianity. As a Cornish school, we have incorporated the statutory units from the Curriculum Kernewek. We also use the ‘Inspiring RE’ units and resources to supplement our teaching of a range of religions.
- 2020 Cornwall Agreed Syllabus
- Whole School Long term horizontal curriculum map
- RE Knowledge and Skills organiser - WHA RE Syllabus Plan – One year rolling programme
- Understanding Christianity (including resources)
- Curriculum Kernewek Units
- Inspiring RE units and resources
- RE Leaflet for parents – principal aim
All of these can be can be found on our website under the curriculum/policies tab.