Religious Education

“Like the bee gathering honey from different flowers, the wise person accepts the essence of the different scriptures, and sees only the good in all religions.”

Gandhi

Introduction

At Evenwood C of E Primary School, children are taught to understand and respect the importance of religious beliefs in the world around them.  We encourage children to use and develop their skills in RE and to participate in critical thinking. We aim to ensure that the RE curriculum is challenging, dynamic and relevant to pupils of all ages giving them a better understanding of the world that they live in.

Intent

At Evenwood C of E Primary School, the aim of Religious Education is to develop children’s knowledge and understanding of Christianity and other principal religions represented in the local community, Great Britain and throughout the world. The RE curriculum is taught in accordance to the Durham Agreed Syllabus.  We provide a wide range of opportunities for learners to understand and to make links between the beliefs, practices and value systems of the range of faiths and world views studied. We recognise that children in our context are not exposed to different faiths on a regular basis, and we feel it is our duty to open pupils’ eyes and minds to our diverse world and to develop the fundamental British Values of tolerance and mutual respect for all.

Religious Education and a ‘Christian Ethos’ is embedded throughout the school curriculum and everyday life at Evenwood C of E Primary School with the focus upon seven main Christian values: koinonia, thankfulness, trust, forgiveness, endurance, justice and service.

The aims of RE include:

  • To know about and understand Christianity as a diverse global living faith through the exploration of core beliefs using an approach that critically engages with biblical text.
  • To gain knowledge and understanding of a range of religions and worldviews appreciating diversity, continuity and change within the religions and worldviews being studied.
  • To engage with challenging questions of meaning and purpose raised by human existence and experience.
  • To recognise the concept of religion and its continuing influence of Britain’s cultural heritage and in the lives of individuals and societies in different times, cultures and places.
  • To explore their own religious, spiritual and philosophical ways living, believing and thinking.

Cultural Capital

As aforementioned, at Evenwood  C of E Primary School we value the purpose in learning and the opportunity to develop a broad and rich awareness of the world around us. We recognise the importance and the strength of RE as a subject in order to do this. Here is an example of how our RE teaching contributes to the development of our learner’s Cultural Capital: –

Implementation

Our RE curriculum design is based on principles derived from evidence through cognitive science:

  • Learning is most effective with spaced repetition.
  • Retrieval of previously learnt content is frequent and regular, which increases both storage and retrieval strength.

In addition to the principles, we also understand that learning is invisible in the short term and that sustained mastery takes time.

At Evenwood C of E Primary School, we teach according to the Durham Agreed Syllabus which sets out a continuous and progressive outline for the development of Religious Education across the school. Pupils build religious literacy by developing knowledge and understanding of religious and non-religious worldviews. Our pupils become increasingly able to respond to religious and non-religious worldviews in an informed and insightful way, providing them with opportunities to reflect on their own ideas and the ideas of others.

In the Durham Agreed Syllabus these are called the three elements of Religious Education and cover the aims of Religious Education:

  • Knowledge and Understanding
  • Critical Thinking
  • Personal Reflection

Lessons are taught using an enquiry- based approach and that poses theological, phenomenological, philosophical, ethical and sociological questions to produce a challenging and balanced RE curriculum. R.E lessons are timetabled once a week. To coincide with Religious Festivals, some units of work are taught in blocks.

Throughout the primary key stages, pupils have opportunities to develop a range of skills. Some skills are more appropriate to knowledge and understanding (e.g. investigation), critical thinking (e.g. evaluation) or personal reflection (e.g. empathy) but all are necessary for good balanced RE learning and progress. The essential skills taught in RE are:

  • Investigation and Enquiry
  • Interpretation
  • Application
  • Expression
  • Analysis
  • Evaluation
  • Reflection and Response
  • Empathy

We recognise that all children in our school have differing learning styles so RE is taught in an engaging and exciting manner meeting the needs of all children. Learning activities provide fully for the needs of all pupils, so that they develop a wide range of skills. They provide opportunities to engage in meaningful and informed dialogue with those of all religions and worldviews. RE lessons provide a safe space to explore their own religious, spiritual and/or philosophical ways of seeing, living and thinking, believing and belonging.

Teaching of RE is done so weekly and is taught consistently throughout the school first period on a Monday morning to promote RE links through the rest of the curriculum. Visits to local places of worship of different faiths are encouraged so that the children can develop greater understanding of other faiths and cultures. Speakers are also welcomed into our school as a further source of information as appropriate to the development of the RE curriculum.

Children in Early Years Foundation Stage will be introduced to aspects of religions through topics about Belonging and Special, including times of celebration and special objects, people and books. These topics will use examples from Christianity and other religions, as appropriate.

Children in Key Stage 1 will learn about:

  • Christianity – introduction to beliefs and practices and their impact.
  • Buddhism – introduction to beliefs and practices and their impact.
  • Religious diversity – introduction to the diverse religious and non-religious landscape in the local area

In Key Stage 2, children will learn about:

  • Christianity – beliefs and practices across the denominations and the impact of these for individual communities.
  • Hinduism – some beliefs and practices and the impact of these for individuals and communities
  • Judaism – some beliefs and practices and the impact of these for individuals and communities
  • Religious Diversity – the diverse religious and non-religious landscape across the region, including a special study of a local Muslim community
  • Similarities and differences within and between religious and non-religious worldviews through at least one thematic study e.g. about ritual, the environment, care for others.

At the end of Key stage 2, children are taught a ‘bridging unit’ to ensure continuity and progression of learning in Christianity as they enter Key Stage 3.

Our RE Learning 

This academic year, we have focused on implementing the new Durham Agreed Syllabus. This LTP maps out the progression of units, whilst identifying focused vocabulary and suggested texts . Please click on any of the link below to see our ‘RE Learning Journey’:

RE LTP 23-24

Impact

The intended impact of our curriculum is that children build semantic and procedural knowledge. Children will have a wider understanding of the world’s religions, particularly Christianity, and be able to compare and contrast them. Children will have an enriched experience of local and world wide people and places of various religions. They will have developed their own views on world issues. They will be able to speak confidently and they will feel comfortable and confident when debating their own opinions when discussing religion with others.

Useful Websites

Additionally, we recognise technology as a vital tool to support teaching, practise and therefore the  learning of key RE principles. Here are the websites our staff use to support their planning.

 

Visit by the Bishop of Durham – 25 March 2015

We were very honoured to have the Bishop of Durham and his wife watch our Easter Service. He met and talked to the children before sitting down to enjoy the show. The children of Evenwood recreated the Easter story through drama and songs.

The school council had made him a Simnel cake and presented it to him.

After the Easter service he enjoyed a slice of cake and a cup of tea with our families and community members.

A Message of Welcome from the Bishop of Durham, Bishop Paul Butler (2014)

It has been my privilege over many years to visit schools in many different places. This has been across England but also in some of the very poorest countries in the world, like Rwanda, Burundi and Uganda. It does not matter where I see schools at work, I am always impressed by the dedication of teachers and the longing of parents to want the very best for their children. As a parent I know you want the very best for your child. The Church of England is engaged in schools because it too wants the very best for every child.

Every child matters because every child is special. Naturally they are special to you, their parent or carer, and to grandparents. They are also very special to the school. This is particularly true for us in church schools because of what we believe about the value God places on every child.

Jesus’ friends were arguing one day about who was the greatest in God’s kingdom. Jesus took a small child, stood him or her amongst the group and told all the adults that unless they became like this child they could never enter God’s kingdom. I often wonder just how very special that child felt that day. We want that sense of being loved, accepted and valued to be at the very heart of our schools, and of your child’s education.

Education matters because it provides building blocks for life now and into the future. We seek to offer the very best education we can in every school. This is not simply about the important matters of reading, writing, numbers and the like. It is also about the values by which we behave, and the kind of people we want to be. We believe our church schools offer great all round education for every child.

I love being able to visit schools and meet children. They are always enthusiastic, welcoming and brilliant at asking tough questions. Their zeal for learning is inspiring.

So welcome to one of our wonderful church schools. I trust your child will find they grow and develop well throughout their time here.

Reverend Claire – Friday 13 March 2015

Reverend Claire came in to teach Durham Castle Class about the Easter story. She read from the bible and talked to them about Palm Sunday. They then acted out Jesus riding into Jerusalem on a donkey and considered the views of people in the crowd. They then wrote interviews with different crowd members considering how they may have reacted to Jesus entering Jerusalem, for example they thought about children and Roman soldiers.

Godly Play – Thursday 12 March 2015

Each Godly Play session begins with a welcome from Julia or Jean. They welcome us individually into the church hall and ask how we are. When the session begins we all sit in a circle and listen to a story. Props and images are used to help us understand the story. After the story we are given time to reflect and we discuss what the story means to us. We then can choose to do crafts, read stories or play games, always thinking about the story we have heard. At the end of the session we all share a feast and close with a prayer. Everyone is invited to join in the feast and anyone can share a prayer.

Godly Play sessions are fun, exciting and get children to wonder about some of the bigger issues. They involve a bible story and always contain a reflection time to help the children think about what the story means to them.

School Prayer:
Lord today,
Help all the children in Evenwood Primary,
To remember that,
Everything they say,
Everything they do,
Everything they think,
Can make other people happy or unhappy.
Help us all to know,
And understand,
And remember,
What is right and what is wrong,
Amen.

Lunchtime Prayer:
For every cup and plateful,
May the Lord make us truly grateful,
Amen.

Hometime Prayer:
Lord keep us safe this night,
Secure from all our fears,
May angles guard us whilst we sleep,
Till morning light appears,
Amen.

Worship Areas: