The aim of Religious Education (RE) is to foster in pupils a reflective approach to life and enable and enrich this process through their study of living faiths, acknowledging the fact that the religious traditions in Great Britain are in the main Christian, and taking account of the teaching and practices of the other principal religions represented in the country.
Through this approach we aim to help children develop understanding, empathy and respect the right of people to hold and practise beliefs different from their own.
- Religious Education aims to develop the children’s skills, concepts and attitudes identified in the Agreed Hampshire Syllabus.
- Religious Education seeks to promote reflection, empathy, comprehension, investigation, interpretation and analysis. RE also aims to foster attitudes such as curiosity, open-mindedness, self understanding, respect, wonder and appreciation, as these are fundamental to a fair minded study of religions and spiritual dimensions of human life.
- Religious Education encourages and allows pupils to think critically about religion and ethics.
The Education Act 1996, School Standards and Framework Act 1998 and Education Act 2002 require that:
- Religious education should be taught to all children and young people other than those in nursery classes and except for those withdrawn at the wish of their parents. Teachers’ rights are safeguarded, should they wish to withdraw from the teaching of religious education.
- Religious education in all community, foundation and voluntary controlled schools should be taught in accordance with an Agreed Syllabus.
- An Agreed Syllabus should reflect the fact that the religious traditions in Great Britain are in the main Christian, while taking account of the teachings and practices of the other principal religions in Great Britain.
- An Agreed Syllabus must not be designed to convert pupils, or to urge a particular religion or religious belief on pupils.
- An Agreed Syllabus Conference must be convened every five years to review the existing syllabus.
Local Authority Agreed Syllabus
In accordance with the Education Act (2006), the teaching of Religious Education at Hook Junior School follows the Local Authority Agreed Syllabus ‘Living Difference III’ (revised December 2016).
The time allocation for the teaching of Religious Education at Hook Junior School is 45 hours per year, as recommended in the Agreed Syllabus ‘Living Difference III’. Collective worship is not part of the taught day and cannot be considered as part of the recommended time for teaching the Agreed Syllabus.
Approaches for teaching Religious Education
Religious Education is taught in accordance with the agreed Hampshire Syllabus ‘Living Difference III’. Although the main learning focus is Christianity, the children are taught other key religions which are non-Christian denominations identified in the Agreed Syllabus. Years 3 and 4 study Hinduism and Years 5 and 6 study Islam. Links are also made with other religions such as Judaism in Year 6 linking with World War 2. The RE topics build on the children’s own experiences and progressively develop an understanding of the key concepts, features, beliefs, celebrations and values of all religions. Whilst fostering an appreciation of the significance of faiths and their followers, children learn to appreciate the significance of faiths to their believers.
Strategies for the teaching of Religious Education
The predominant mode of working in Religious Education is whole class teaching, although individual work and co-operative group work are used to further enrich the learning. The teaching and learning methods of Religious Education is planned to employ a wide range of teaching methods including:
- Visits to places of worship.
- Exploring Religious artefacts.
- Listening to religious stories.
- Visits by members of faith communities.
- Reflection on religious symbols, sounds and the use of silence.
- Using ICT where appropriate.
- Art, music, dance, etc.
- Experiential learning through drama.
- RE is a delivered through a process of enquiry into concepts. This allows children to develop skills such as critical thinking. The enquiry model included the following five steps: communicate, apply, enquire, contextualise and apply.
Parental right of withdrawal
In accordance with the Education Act 1996, School Standards and Framework Act 1998 and Education Act 2002, parents should have the right to withdraw their children from the teaching of Religious Education, without influence from the school, although the school will ensure parents or carers are informed of this right and are aware of the educational objectives and content of the Religious Education syllabus. In this way, parents can make an informed decision. Where parents have requested that their child is withdrawn, their right must be respected, and where Religious Education is integrated in the curriculum, the school will discuss the arrangements with the parents or carers to explore how the child’s withdrawal can be best accommodated. In order to avoid misunderstandings, any parent wishing to withdraw their child may arrange a meeting with the Head Teacher in order to discuss:
- The religious issues about which the parent would object to his/her child being taught.
- The practical implications of withdrawal e.g. supervision and alternative activities.
- The circumstances in which the school can reasonably be expected to accommodate parental wishes.
- Any advance notice required of such Religious Education.