The school follows the Cheshire Agreed Syllabus for Religious Education in accordance with Cheshire’s ‘Standing Advisory Council of Religious Education’ (SACRE). In accordance with the agreed syllabus, Religious Education at Weaverham Forest Primary school:
- Is open and objective. It does not seek to urge religious beliefs on young people, nor compromise the integrity of their own religious position by promoting one tradition over another.
- Endeavours to promote a positive attitude toward people, respecting their right to hold different beliefs from their own.
- Promotes the values and attitudes necessary for citizenship in a multi-faith and multi-racial society through developing understanding of, respect for, and dialogue with people of different beliefs, practices, races and cultures.
- Recognises similarities and differences in commitment, self-understanding and the search for truth. Respecting and valuing these for the common good.
- Is not the same as collective worship, which has its own place in the educational life of the school, contributing to an informed, reflective, compassionate and caring school community.
- Recognises and celebrates the range of cultures and diversity of the school through workshops, assemblies and shared experiences of staff, children and people from the local community.
The RE curriculum at Weaverham Forest Primary School is organised to support the development of children’s knowledge of religious and non-religious beliefs and worldviews, practices and ways of life and enable children to make links between these. It also develops children’s knowledge and understanding of the different members of our rich and diverse community. Knowledge and skills are supported by first-hand experiences, including visits to local places of worship and visits from faith communities. Knowledge and skills are mapped to support children’s understanding of religion and faith. The RE curriculum is also designed to support positive attitudes and values, and encourage children to reflect and relate learning to their own experience. Children learn that there are those who do not hold religious beliefs and have their own philosophical perspectives, as part of its commitment to ensure mutual respect and tolerance for those with different faiths.
The syllabus recommends that any themes or ‘Big Questions’ are explored by investigating and reflecting on the responses of more than one religion or belief system. All the Cheshire units therefore include an exploration of these themes or big questions through different perspectives. For example, the Big Question of ‘How and why do Christians worship? What are the benefits for believers?.’ in the year 6 unit is investigated through a variety of religious responses, including the Humanist response. Each unit encourages and promotes the contemplation of key concepts or themes within religions and comparing these with responses in other faiths, religions and belief systems.
The syllabus has been created in a cyclical format to enable children to revisit and build on prior knowledge of the different beliefs and practices taught across the school.
Cheshire SACRE promote RE and Collective Worship in the Borough, develop the good teaching of Religious Education in schools and support community cohesion.
At Weaverham Forest Primary School, we are committed to providing our children with an exciting and positive learning environment, in which they have the opportunity to develop their knowledge and understanding of religions to support their spiritual, moral, social and cultural development.
RE is taught in a weekly topic block each half term (autumn 1 – summer 1). Coverage is planned to link with key dates and religious festivals to provide opportunities to celebrate festivals and religions with greater consistency and contextual relevance. Work is recorded and is evidenced with a variety of outcomes, including written pieces, artwork and photographs.
As children progress through the programme of study, they are able to look deeper into spiritual, ethical, moral and social issues and with increasing breadth across different religions and worldviews through time and around the world. Learning is planned and sequenced to support pupils in building an ever-increasing picture over time, constantly building their knowledge and understanding of key subject knowledge and specialist vocabulary around concepts focusing on Believing, Living and Thinking. This ensures that the investigation, exploration and reflection of their own and others’ responses to ‘Big Questions’ can continuously increase in depth, breadth and complexity. As pupils move through the Religious Education curriculum and the ‘Big Questions’ increase in complexity, depth and breadth, the expectations of pupils to explain ‘what’ the beliefs, practices and values are and the relationships between them, as well as explaining ‘why’ these are important and may make a difference to people, and ‘how’ they relate, change or impact on a wider world view also increases.
‘Big questions’ relate to: What people believe and do (Believing), how people respond to big questions and issues (Thinking) and how beliefs and values make a difference to lives (Living).
Therefore, the enquiry learning continuously builds to enable achievement in the stated skills end points for each Milestone. The teaching of RE and the formation of the enquiry questions based on the Believing, Thinking and Living strands of the units are pitched to match pupils’ developmental stages, so that they can achieve the learning outcomes specified for their age expectation.
The Milestone curriculum is set out in a two year rolling programme with 5 units taught over the 3 terms. In Summer 2, we do a rotation of an RE week one year and a free choice unit the next.
Cheshire SACRE continues to work with teachers in improving the quality of teaching and learning of RE by providing training, and publishing updated schemes of work and materials and guidance to develop and support SMSC, Assessment for Learning and effective teaching and learning strategies.
Alongside a whole school approach to celebrating different religious and cultural celebrations, the RE curriculum provides the means to celebrate the diversity of the school community and promote positive images of people in the wider community, including their beliefs, traditions, culture, language and history. It ensures that children develop spiritually, academically, emotionally and morally to promote and realise a better understanding of themselves and others and to equip with the opportunities, challenges and responsibilities of living in a rapidly changing, multicultural world.