Religious Education (RE) teaches children about the different religions and traditions throughout the world. Our aim at Dunston Hill, is to provide a Religious Education that provides our pupils with a rich understanding of the diverse beliefs and practices of today and to promote a Spiritual, Moral, Social and Cultural (SMSC) development of our pupils. This document sets out how we aim to put this into practise throughout our school.
At Dunston Hill, we strongly believe in providing a RE curriculum to prepare and equip pupils for life in a modern-day contemporary Britain. We want to develop children’s understanding of the diverse beliefs and practices within our country and teach pupils to respect differences and personal choices. Children will deepen their knowledge of faith communities and we welcome visitors to help us achieve this.
Although RE is not included in the National Curriculum, it is still a statutory duty to teach this subject in schools. At Dunston Hill, we follow Discovery RE which supports us in delivering the Gateshead Agreed Syllabus for Religious Education. We recognise Christianity being the predominant religion in Great Britain and therefore there is a greater focus on Christianity in school. We pride our self in maintaining a close relationship with our local Church – St Nicholas and Reverent David Atkinson who supports and enhances the teaching of Christianity. The other religions taught are Islam, Judaism and Hinduism and we welcome other visitors for these areas.
For each faith and across all ages, we use an enquiry-based approach. Every unit has a big question with opportunities for SMSC development as well teaching children British values. This approach not only develops children’s subject knowledge of the different religions, it encourages more critical thinking.
Each enquiry has a four-step process. These are:
- Engagement – How can I relate to the underpinning concept in my own world?
- Investigation – What do I need to learn about the religion in order to answer the big question?
- Evaluation – How well can I apply this knowledge to the big question using critical thinking/evaluation skills?
- Expression – Can I express what difference this enquiry has made to me, my thinking and my starting point?
Lessons include inclusive discussion, drama and debate to stimulate and excite pupils’ learning. RE lessons are normally a discrete lesson but they can be linked to other areas of the curriculum such as PSHE, Art, Music and Geography. We welcome visitors into school to further inspire the teaching of each faith and we encourage staff to plan educational visits to places of worship.
All RE lessons begin by revisiting prior learning as we want children to be able to confidently recall and understand key facts (sticky facts) about the different religions taught. These have been identified within each medium term plan by the RE lead. We believe using a range of retrieval activities will help embed these sticky facts and deepen children’s knowledge as well as their ability to successfully evaluate the big questions. The different retrieval activities include verbal recall, flashback quizzes, retrieval grids, think pair share and writing from memory activities.
Every year group teaches Christianity as well as another religion which is outlined in our school RE overview. However, throughout the year, a diverse range of religious festivals are celebrated by the whole school e.g., Harvest Festival, Christmas, Easter, Diwali, Eid al-Fitr and Chinese New Year. As an inclusive school which supports all faiths, we believe it is essential that we promote, raise awareness and celebrate the traditions of different faiths. School assemblies are held to help celebrate these festivals, stimulate and broaden our children’s religious knowledge.
Our RE curriculum ensures children have the opportunity to explore Christianity, Islam, Hinduism and Judaism religion and develop an in-depth insight of these diverse beliefs. By the end of Primary School, children will be able to discuss the big questions for all four religions and take part in meaningful debates, respecting and valuing differing opinions and beliefs of others. They will have engaged with the ‘British values‘ of democracy, the rule of law, liberty, respect and tolerance and be able to express their own personal belief.