Religious Education 2023 - 2024

Religious Education is a subject which enables pupils to explore the faiths and traditions which exist within modern Britain and the wider world.  Children are encouraged to ask big questions and to reflect on how others practice faith, relating this to their own faith and values.  As a distinctively Christian school in a setting of religious diversity, the R.E. curriculum follows the Christianity units from the Diocesan scheme of work and non Christian faith units from the Lancashire Sacre scheme.  Children are taught using practical and online resources, through visits to places of worship and through the use of visitors to school.

The community's predominant faiths are Christianity, Hinduism, Islam, Buddhism and Sikhism.  Over the course of the year, children explore Christian values and the traditions of the Christian faith.  Links are made with equivalent values in wider faiths such as generosity during Ramadan and generosity at Harvest time.   3 Enrichment weeks over the course of the year, take all children into a deeper understanding of particular values which are a key part of our school's distinctiveness. For example, pupils will develop an understanding of humility and forgiveness at Easter, the values of generosity and self discipline during Ramadan and Eid and the value of choosing to walk in the light in challenging times as demonstrated in the Diwali story.  Through enrichment weeks, staff guide children deeper into the concepts and skills as identified in the R.E. units and find ways to enrich the learning through creative opportunities to show their understanding and make links with the wider curriculum. For example, exploring rangoli in Hinduism and artists who have portrayed the Easter story in Christianity. 

Intent

Quality R.E. has the potential, more than any other subject, to have the most powerful and lasting effect on the child’s heart and mind. It is a subject that combines academic rigour with the development of the character and spirit of the child. R.E. provides opportunities for spiritual development and personal reflection. On a quest to discover more about religion and world views pupils will discover more about themselves. As R.E. develops children’s knowledge and understanding of the nature of religion and belief, it provokes challenging questions about meaning and purpose, truth and values, identity and belonging. Pupils will experience, explore and encounter a wide range of creative and challenging multi-sensory activities that will help them to discover the answers to fundamental questions such as these: –

  • Who am I and what does it mean to be me?
  • In what ways do/can I relate to others?
  • How/where can I encounter God?
  • How can I make a positive contribution to the world in which I live?
  • What values, attitudes, beliefs and behaviour are important to me?
  • What does it mean to have faith?
  • Who/what influences and inspires me?

 

A key feature of the R.E. Scheme of work is questioning. The purpose of these questions is to give pupils opportunity to investigate, reflect, evaluate and make meaning. In doing so they will discover more about themselves, their relationships with others, their relationship with the world around them and their relationship with God. The questions set the route through the curriculum content.

The curriculum content is a balance of the three essential disciplines of quality RE, Theology, Philosophy and Social Science. This means pupils will look at concepts through a theological lens, exploring what people of faith believe. Alongside these pupils will explore questions and answers raised in relation to the lived reality and impact of religion and world views on people’s lives. They will also think like philosophers, and be equipped with the skills that will enable them to make sense of life’s experiences.

R.E. prepares children for citizenship in today’s diverse society. It enables them to develop sensitivity to, and respect for others. Through authentic encounters with living faith communities, pupils will develop diversity dexterity and be equipped with the ability to hold an informed conversation about religious beliefs and practices.

The teaching of R.E. is both a huge responsibility and a privilege that must be recognised by those who teach it.

 

Religious education at St Stephen’s School aims to:

 

  • Give children opportunities to apply their understanding of Christianity and  to make reasoned and informed responses to life issues and moral choices.
  • Develop knowledge and understanding of other principal religions especially those represented in our local and school community.
  • Develop sensitivity and respect towards all people no matter what their beliefs.
  • Develop the ability to reflect on and communicate with others about issues of truth, belief and faith.
  • To explore a personal quest for meaning.
  • Develop knowledge and understanding of the Christian faith through a study of the key questions as detailed in our syllabus.

Religions studied:

  • Christianity,  Judaism, Islam, Hinduism and Sikhism

Key Christian Festivals taught throughout the year:

Harvest, Advent, Christmas, Epiphany, Lent, Easter

Multi-faith Festivals and Traditions

Sukkot, Hanukkah and Passover (Judaism)  Eid-ul-Fitr and Ramadan (Islam)  Diwali and Raksah Bandhan (Hinduism)  Chinese New Year and Vaisakhi

Implementation

St Stephen's School uses units from the "Questful RE" resource, produced by Blackburn Diocese and units from the Lancashire Religious Education scheme of work.  As we serve a diverse community we seek to ensure that there is a multi-faith approach and yet we use Christianity units, to deepen children's understanding of the school's Religious foundation.

Through an investigative and enquiry approach, the pupils will be given the sense of being on a quest of discovery so that they have the opportunity to investigate, reflect, evaluate and make meaning. The curriculum content is sequenced and develops key concepts within Christianity and a variety of world faiths from nursery through to year 6.

Religious education begins in the nursery, where children study the key festivals explored within the community as part of "knowledge and understanding of the world".  In Reception, children go deeper into the age appropriate expectations within "knowledge and understanding of the world" by exploring the Christian elements of the Diocesan scheme (harvest, christmas, Easter) and special people and buildings within other faith traditions. As learning progresses throughout school, children learn the language, substantive and disciplinary knowledge to explain how faith is practiced.  Visits, visiting speakers and a range of visual, physical and literary resources are used to develop knowledge and understanding within the subject. It is recommended that children have access to a minimum of 30 minutes per week of Religious Education in Nursery, building to 45 minutes in Reception and KS1 and 1 hour in KS2. 

Impact

Our R.E. curriculum aims to give children the knowledge and skills to interact positively within their community and to feel proud of their place in the world.  The curriculum reflects the values of the school and, within the values statement, "ASPIRE to Greatness", which incorporate R for Respect withing the word "ASPIRE". We believe that honing a desire to understand one another and to respect difference, diversity and similarity will develop well adjusted children with the personal and social skills to live harmoniously within the world. The Diocesan units also develop a deep and appreciative understanding of Christianity, its values and traditions, which enable children to explore big questions and develop an understanding of their place within the heritage of the country. Spriituality is developed through opportunities to consider awe and wonder within faith traditions, stories and places of worship.

Equality and diversity

Equality is a core value within many faiths and traditions and we seek to demonstrate that all are equal in the sight of God.  We believe that the resources used in Religious Education should reflect the world as it exists and that pupils should see themselves and others reflected in the materials which are used.  Therefore, resources used reflect diversity and the school is committed to acquiring new resources to continually update that which is presented to pupils. 

Access and inclusion

Religious Education is a core subject within our Church of England Primary School and all pupils have access to learning within this subject.  To enable all pupils to succeed, resources are tailored to enable pupils to access the subject. For children with SEND, the Senco advises staff on the provision needed for pupils who require an adapted curriculum. 

Assessment

Substantive and disciplinary knowledge is identified within each unit and these are written into assessment ladders. Teachers use formative assessment, in dialogue with children and in feedback to pupils.  Staff identify on the marking laddies which pupils have progressed through the unit with accurate understanding of the skills, concepts and knowledge identified. At the end of each phase (EYFS, KS1, Lower KS2 and Upper KS2) teachers record the proportions of children who are working at age-appropriate standards according to long term outcomes.

 

Deepening Spirituality

Religious Education lessons develop the children's spirituality as we question our place in the world and the values and teachings from the faiths represented in the community and country at large.  We are a diverse school and are able to learn from one another as we share our understanding and experiences, growing into a deeper understanding of what it means to have a faith.  We encourage children to generate their own big questions and to ask themselves what they believe and understand.  We encourage children to make connections and to understand the benefit of community, going deeper into what it means to develop a relationship with others as well as to deepen their own personal beliefs. 

Shared values of generosity, peace, thankfulness and perseverance are further explored as we learn more about what it means to have a faith and to hear from those who value the faith which gives meaning to life.  Children are encouraged to ask big questions and to use resources, visits and visitors to learn more about faith and religious belief - developing spirituality through the sense of awe and wonder inspired by good teaching. 

 

Christmas 2023

We all learned about advent, Christmas and Epiphany through worship and many of us explored Christianity in R.E. lessons.  EYFS and KS1 were invited to church for an Christmas experience. Here they met characters from the Christmas story and completed a passport as they travelled through Bethlehem.  Our Infant and EYFS nativities were another huge success this year!

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Diwali 2023

We had a wonderful time celebrating Diwali and going deeper into the values of Sita.  After learning the story, each class focussed on Dharma and learned how Sita not only did her duty in remaining faithful, honest and loyal. She resisted temptation, even in very challenging circumstances.  We also learned about amazing Hindu women who have put their values into their everyday lives and achieved great things.  This inspired us to think of other great women who have overcome obstacles or aspired to greatness, staying true to strong values.

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Eid 2023

This year, our Early Years pupils and families made a special trip to the mosque. They explored the shapes represented in the patterns there and learned more about the mosque.  Key Stage 1 pupils used turkish marbling techniques, with the help of parents, to decorate special books where they reflected on the values of Islam with regards to respecting the earth. Children learned about Malala and were inspired to use their books and pencils to inspire others to protect the earth.  Lower KS2 pupils learned about Mosque architecture and its development over time. Ismail Rawat, an architect, showed us various buildings and the children developed the skills of observation to draw and print architectural shapes. They also learned about Zaha Hadid, a muslim architect who has inspired the world with her buildings.  Upper Key Stage 2 were able to listen to Saleha Lokhat and a brilliant explanation about the qu'ran. Children then explored art, through calligraphy. 

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Easter 2023

This year, our classes went deeper into the Easter Story by studying the work of artists and to replicate art work which tells the Easter story.  Each class had a specific part of the story to tell through art work and reflections upon how their art work can create the mood for that particular aspect of the Easter story. You can see a video of the art work and the artists here

Our KS1 children also took part in an Easter Workshop experience at St Stephen's church. The children learned the sequence of events and more about the meaning of Easter within our Christian community. 

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Christmas 2022

It was a very icy December this year but there was plenty of warmth in school as we celebrated the values of hope, love, joy and peace during advent. We lived out these values by, again, collecting gifts for Preston refugees and donated these to the Red Cross. Our nativities were another huge success (Wriggly nativity and the Big Little Nativity) and, as is tradition, we made Christingles to reflect on the love of God through sending Jesus to the world.  

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Diwali 2022

On Friday 22nd October, we celebrated the Diwali festival making diwa lamps and exploring Rangoli patterns as well as learning more about Hindu Dharma and the Diwali story.  Mrs Parekh, Mrs Patel and other members of our Hindu community, including the priest from the GHS temple, visited school to tell us more about how the festival is celebrated in their homes and how important the values of goodness are in the Hindu faith.  On Friday 4th November, a mountain of food, created by children, was  presented in the hall and shared amongst the community.  Religious education lessons focussed on the teachings within the Hindu faith and the developing understanding of duty as part of having a faith.  Here is a link to the celebration of the Diwali food and crafts made as we explored the meaning of light in the Hindu faith:  https://youtu.be/W19BI4VfAoc

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Harvest 2022

Our Lower Juniors led the Harvest assembly well this year and we, again, collected for the Salvation Army Food banks.  We are also sharing our wealth by donating funds to the Bishop's Harvest Appeal. This will support the Mothers' Union Charity working in Burundi.  Children have created Conker Hero characters to celebrate the conker harvest and the sale of modelling materials will go to the charity.

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Mosque Visit May 2022

We were so thrilled to be given the opportunity to visit the new mosque on Grafton Street.  The Masjid-e-Saliheen allowed the whole of main school to visit to see the washing area for Wudu,  the main prayer areas and to receive a quick talk on the purpose of the mosque and it's benefit to worshippers in the community.  Children who attend the Madrassah were able to share some of their learning and they are clearly very proud of their new place of worship.

We are very grateful to the Imams who allowed us to visit and look forward to encouraging other schools to visit the new mosque too.

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Eid 2022

We have been able to learn more Islam through our Eid enrichment day. Mr Timol and Mrs Tigari and Mrs Tigari's son gave special talks to each school phase to explain more about the units of Islam they have studied.  During the enrichment day, children used food technology and artistic skills to create crafts as part of the celebrations for Eid ul Fitr.  We are so grateful to have the opportunity to use community members to enrich our learning.  We will also visit the new mosque on Grafton Street to find out more about how this place of prayer is used.

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Easter 2022

Our classes studied the Easter units in their classes and were able to produce short extracts of drama and to create artefacts using art and design skills so that after a few days, we could collectively share in an Easter act of worship. KS2 pupils visited church for a special session of creative and practical sessions so that pupils could understand the story of Easter and its meaning. The worship leaders led worship and placed artefacts before the cross as we told the story of Jesus - his humility, love and sacrifice.  God's forgiveness of our sins and our gratitude for forgiveness was celebrated. We decorated the hall with the learning from our classes as a reminder of the Christ's core purpose for coming to the world.

 

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The Easter Story is retold by our pupils here:

https://youtu.be/EZQqI947OZk

 

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