R.E. at Hillside

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At Hillside, we aim to engage pupils in systematic enquiry into significant human questions which religion and worldviews address, so that they can develop the understanding and skills needed to appreciate and appraise varied responses to these questions, as well as develop responses of their own.  

Subject Leader 

I am Mrs Ashton, R.E subject leader here at Hillside Primary School. I have the important role of monitoring and developing the teaching and learning of R.E. in order for the pupils at our school to make the best possible progress. I am also responsible for auditing resources and CPD requirements to ensure that our resources and training are as up to date as possible. 

I attend regular Network meetings to ensure that I am aware of current updates and initiatives in R.E. I also recently attended the Understanding Christianity training, which I found invaluable. I then cascaded this knowledge to the rest of the staff in school. I also meet regularly with the schools in our Collaboration, to share good practice.  This has proved invaluable when assessing the development of R.E. in our school. Together as a collaboration we have introduced the highly successful Floor Books and also worked together to apply for and gain the REQM (R.E. Quality Mark Award) in recognition of our successes in R.E. I am pleased to say that Hillside achieved the Silver Award for this in June 2019. 

To ensure that these high standards are maintained, I monitor the Teaching and Learning on a termly basis, complete floor book scrutinees, pupil interviews and monitor the termly assessments that are uploaded onto our school’s assessment system. Feedback is given to staff for areas of development.  

I fully believe that with consistently high, quality teaching all pupils will be able to share their knowledge and understanding of religions and worldviews, recognising their local, national and global contexts. They will recognise an extended range of sources and subject specific vocabulary. They will be curious and ask increasingly challenging questions about religion, belief, values and human life. Pupils will learn to express their own ideas in response to the material they engage with, identifying relevant information, selecting examples and giving reasons to support their ideas and views.

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We follow the Stoke-on-Trent Agreed Syllabus for Religious Education 2021. This syllabus offers increased flexibility and extra support for planning as well as providing practical strategies, guidance and resources for teachers. Religious Education provides rich opportunities for children and young people to learn about things that matter in the lives of local people and the wider world. This agreed syllabus enables pupils to study beliefs, teachings and ways of living, and is structured so that they can explore a range of responses to questions of identity, meaning, purpose, values and commitments. In the process they can examine and reflect upon their own ideas and values. At a time when religious beliefs guide the lives of billions of people worldwide, understanding people’s views can be a first step to recognising and appreciating diversity. This is particularly important at a time of global tensions. This agreed syllabus inspires creative, challenging and thoughtful Religious Education to promote personal development. It offers support and guidance for teachers to enable Stoke-on-Trent pupils to make excellent progress. It encourages a thoughtful and questioning approach to life and seeks to lay the foundation for schools, so that their pupils grow in understanding of themselves and the world in which they live, preparing them for life in Britain today.

Principal aim 

The principal aim of RE is to engage pupils in systematic enquiry into significant human questions which religion and worldviews address, so that they can develop the understanding and skills needed to appreciate and appraise varied responses to these questions, as well as develop responses of their own.  

The curriculum for RE aims to ensure that all pupils:   

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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  

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  

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  

Curriculum Design 

As part of my role as R.E subject leader, I aim to ensure that our RE curriculum is effective in the way that it builds in clear and visible progression, showing pupils, teachers and parents how to make progress in RE. I also aim to ensure that connections are made with the children’s own lives as well as with other subjects, where appropriate, to ensure that R.E is not taught as a stand-alone subject. In this way, pupils are able to immerse themselves in the topics covered and gain a deeper understanding. See cross-curricular links below. The curriculum has been designed as a spiral that revisits content regularly and builds on that prior knowledge. It is challenging, with high expectations and gives the children a deep understanding of world views and their own personal place in society.  

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I have identified three key areas that underpin pupil’s learning in R.E. : Making sense of beliefs, Understanding the impact and Making connections. Pupils are taught the knowledge, skills and understanding of these areas, when learning about Christians, Muslims, Hindus and Jewish people.  Alongside this, the Principal aims for R.E. are taught and developed throughout each Key Stage and are detailed in the Progression map. 

Through careful planning, teachers at Hillside consider how their teaching contributes towards the principal aim of RE in the local area, and how they help pupils to achieve the threefold aim.  

This agreed syllabus requires that all pupils learn from Christianity in each key stage. In addition, pupils will learn from the principal religions represented in the UK, in line with the law. These are Islam, Hinduism, Sikhism, Buddhism and Judaism. Furthermore, children from families where non-religious worldviews are held are represented in almost all of our classrooms. These worldviews, including for example Humanism, will also be the focus for study.   

Religious traditions studied at depth at Hillside are:  

  • 4–5s Reception Children will encounter Christianity and other faiths, as part of their growing sense of self, their own community and their place within it.  
  • 5–7s Key Stage 1 Christians and Muslims or Jewish people  
  • 7–11s Key Stage 2 Christians, Muslims, Hindus and Jewish people