A Year 5 pupil in a diocesan primary school once said 'In Religious Education it is great because it helps me think about my own religion, Christianity, the similarities and differences between it and other religions and God'.
Religious Education (RE) is not just an academic subject, but lies at the very heart of the curriculum and has an important role in reflecting and conveying the distinctively Christian character of the school.
RE enables pupils to think theologically and explore the great questions of life and death, meaning and purpose; reflect critically on the truth claims of Christian belief; see how the truth of Christianity is relevant today and face the challenge of Jesus' teaching in a pluralist and post modern society; experience the breadth and variety of the Christian community and become active citizens, serving their neighbour. In addition to exploring Christianity, students in Church of England schools are given the opportunity to study other major world religions and consider what it means to be a practising member of that faith. All Church of England Secondary Schools offer the opportunity for students to study examinations in Religious Studies both at GCSE and, if the school has post-16 provision, an A level in Religious Studies.
Southwark Diocesan Board of Education (SDBE) recognises the legal position that in a Voluntary Aided Church of England school the governing body is responsible for the syllabus for RE. The headteacher and staff work with and under the direction of the Governing Body. It is the governing Body's responsibility to ensure that the RE is provided for all registered pupils including those in the sixth form, in accordance with the Trust Deed and the RE Statement of Entitlement. The governors should work within the Board's policy for RE in Church of England schools and in consultation with the Headteacher and RE Subject Leader.
The Board's RE Advisers provide advice and support to RE Subject Leaders, Heads of Department and RE teams. Available to our Voluntary Aided Primary schools is the Diocesan Syllabus for Religious Education. The RE curriculum teaches pupils about faith in accordance with two attainment targets, Learning About Religion (AT1) and Learning From Religion (AT2). These set out the knowledge, skills and understanding that pupils at different stages of their learning are expected to have.
In Church Schools, RE should enable pupils to:
- develop a strong foundation of the Christian faith through knowledge and understanding that includes Christian Beliefs and Values, The Bible, Old Testament Characters, the Life and Teachings of Jesus, Prayer and Worship, Saints, The Local Church, The Christian Community, Living out the Faith, Rites of Passage and Christian Festivals
- apply an understanding of Christianity to make reasoned and informed responses to life issues and moral choices
- develop some knowledge and understanding of the other main world faiths represented in the United Kingdom, applying an understanding of religion to develop respect, empathy and sensitivity towards all people
- enhance their spiritual, moral, social and cultural development
- develop the ability to reflect on their own beliefs, values and experiences and communicate issues of faith and truth
- develop skills of critical analysis and evaluation and the promotion of understanding of people from different faith backgrounds and none.
Religious Education Policy Guidance
The Religious Education policy can be downloaded from the Policies section of the Board's website.
Support for Religious Education Subject Leaders and Heads of Department
Primary School Support
Twice a year, conferences are held for Diocesan Primary Religious Education Subject Leaders. Both of these gatherings offer a chance for our Religious Education teachers to share ideas and information and to discuss matters of interest. The gatherings are organised by Shaun Burns (Primary Religious Education Adviser).
Secondary School Support
Regular contact and support is offered by the Secondary RE Adviser, Fiona Foreman. Support includes Fiona making termly school visits, providing training and coordinating network meetings. The network meetings, held for all RE teachers, are a chance to stop, share and discuss subject specific questions and current challenges as well as areas of pedagogy and practice.
The Board's advisers are also able to provide INSET.
To keep RE colleagues abreast of events, regular email updates to Secondary Heads of Department and termly newsletters to Primary RE Subject Leaders are published for schools. The latest copies of the Primary REflections newsletter are available to download from the login area.
Continuous Professional Development Training for All Staff
Training is provided for teachers and RE subject leaders in church schools. Please visit the Training Page of our website.