Religious Education (RE)
At The Avenue Primary School we follow the Discovery RE scheme of work to teach our RE curriculum. Our belief is that, through the effective use of an enquiry-based RE curriculum model, our children’s critical thinking skills can be developed, their motivation to learn increased, and their knowledge and understanding of, and empathy with people and their beliefs, religious or otherwise, will be enhanced. This approach takes very seriously the philosophy that children are free to make their own choices and decisions concerning religion and belief. We believe it important that RE does not try to persuade, but rather to inform and develop the skills with which evaluation can take place. Throughout our RE curriculum, we also embed British Values too, which run alongside the learning seamlessly.
Discovery RE advocates an enquiry model with a 4-step approach as the basis for implementation.
- Step 1 - Engagement: Explore the core concept/underpinning experience within the child's own world.
- Step 2 - Investigation: Step into the world of religion and learn about it and the application of beliefs.
- Step 3 - Evaluation (Impersonal): Apply critical and evaluative thinking skills to the key question and weigh up evidence.
- Step 4 - Expression (Personal): Express personal impact and opinions.
Every unit (enquiry) is based around a key question. The key question for the enquiry is such that it demands an answer that weighs up ‘evidence’ (subject knowledge) and reaches a conclusion based on this. This necessitates children using their subject knowledge and applying it to the enquiry question, rather than this knowledge being an end in itself. Discovery RE focuses on critical thinking skills, on personal reflection into the child’s own thoughts and feelings, on growing subject knowledge and nurturing spiritual development.
The children start from their own experience to ensure understanding of the concept being studied then move into investigating that concept in depth from the point of view of the chosen religion. This continues over lessons of investigation and discussion throughout Step 2, which embeds subject knowledge. These lessons not only support the children with embedding their RE knowledge, but also contribute to their oracy and critical thinking skills. Exposure to and analysis of religious texts can also enhance their reading, comprehension and inference skills. In Step 3, they complete an assessment activity to evaluate the question again in light of their new knowledge, and have further opportunities to embed their own reflections on the learning in Step 4.
The recommended Discovery RE model for Key Stages 1 and 2, of studying Christianity plus one other religion in each year group, means both religions have multiple enquiries (or 6 week units) per year. This ensures that the children revisit prior learning for both religions throughout the year to build on the previous enquiries, and Christmas and Easter enquiries are built on year-on-year throughout the child’s primary school journey.
In addition to this, the medium-term nature of the Discovery RE planning allows teachers the freedom to plan with detail and attention to their individual children. Learners can be scaffolded, and any individual needs can be supported where necessary. Greater depth children can be challenged to ensure that they are being given the opportunities to enrich their learning further.
When our children leave our school, they will be well informed and empathetic young people, who have developed an inquisitive mind.
In order to be confident in the impact of RE, we monitor the subject effectively using scrutiny and moderation of outcomes. We also carry out discussions with pupils as this is the only way of knowing exactly what the children feel is the impact on them of their learning. Teacher's views are also taken into account. This can ensure that impact matches intent across the whole school community. Assessment is a major contributor in evidencing the impact and this is tracked to ensure that pupils are building on their skills and knowledge over time. It can then show progression and also uniformity between parallel classes ensuring that in-school gaps or anomalies are dealt with.