Religious Education is the study of a particular religion and its beliefs, rules, rituals and customs.
At Elmhurst, we firmly believe that RE should equip pupils with knowledge and understanding of a range of religions and worldviews, enabling them to develop their ideas, values and identities and should develop in pupils an aptitude for dialogue so that they can participate positively in our society with its diverse religions and worldviews.
Religious Education at Elmhurst contributes dynamically to our pupil’s learning by provoking challenging questions about meaning and purpose in life, beliefs about God, issues of right and wrong and what it means to be human. In RE pupils learn about and from religions and worldviews in local, national and global contexts, to discover, explore and consider different answers to these questions. They learn to consider religious practices and themes such as commitment, wisdom and morals, from a range of different world religions, to develop and express their insights in response, and to agree or disagree respectfully.
At Elmhurst Junior School we use the Discovery RE scheme of work which is supported by Somerset SACRE (Standing Advisory Council on RE). RE is taught weekly across the school and all year groups study aspects of Christianity termly, with the religions of Judaism, Hinduism and Islam taught in alternate terms and year groups. Our RE curriculum is therefore organised and implemented through a spiralled learning approach, ensuring that religions, themes and vocabulary are revisited, consolidated and extended as pupils move through the school.
Within all units of work, children at Elmhurst have the opportunity to extend their knowledge and understanding of different holy texts and scriptures, significant people and places, in addition to religious events, rituals and festivals.
RE knowledge organisers highlight the key knowledge and vocabulary for each lesson. Medium term planning shows key questions for each lesson so the learning intention is clear and consists of the same structure comprising: engagement, investigation, evaluation and expression which ensures pupils are exposed to a progressive approach to their learning journey. The learning journey for each half term is culminated by a final piece of work showcasing the knowledge that has been learnt. Sticky knowledge is checked through the use of retrieval questions and through interactive displays. All children have access to the full curriculum and tasks are adapted to provide appropriate challenge and support depending on individual needs.
Any misunderstandings or questions that may arise throughout the unit are identified and addressed appropriately by the teacher and live feedback techniques help all children to move forward, deepening their understanding of key knowledge and concepts within Religious Education.
Our RE lessons offer a structured and safe space during curriculum time for reflection, discussion, dialogue and debate, offering distinctive opportunities to promote pupils’ spiritual, moral, social and cultural development. In line with our school value of respect, pupils learn to articulate clearly and coherently their personal beliefs, ideas, values and experiences while respecting the right of others to differ.
RE resources are allocated to year groups and specific units of work, allowing teachers to support effective learning and we use Somerset Resources For Learning to support this. Elmhurst has built strong links with Holy Trinity Church in Street, with all year groups taking part in Easter and Christmas workshops and celebrations.
Key questions are planned into each unit of work for pupils to show progression of knowledge and understanding of key concepts taught, either through verbal or written feedback. This allows teachers to assess pupils’ skills and knowledge throughout each unit taught. Specific knowledge retrieval activities like Talk Like A Theologian are used to enable teachers and children to monitor the depth of understanding of core substantive knowledge and vocabulary and the strength of its retrieval.
Outcomes in pupils’ Religious Education books provides clear evidence of a broad and balanced curriculum and demonstrates children’s acquisition of key knowledge. End of unit pieces of work as part of the expression aspect of units provide a variety of evidence about pupils’ understanding and this is used to inform teacher assessment as well as by the RE subject leader as part of the monitoring process.
Children are confident recalling key knowledge that has been learnt and are able to discuss aspects of their RE units with enthusiasm in discussion with the RE subject leader. Children’s books and knowledge organisers are used to guide discussion and provide the subject leader with the necessary information to measure how much core knowledge and vocabulary has been remembered and understood. Weekly celebration assemblies, shared on the school website, showcase a variety of Religious Education activities and work completed across all year groups. Feedback from pupils relating to their learning outside of the classroom within local religious venues has been hugely positive.