Curriculum - RE
Religious Education (RE) has an important place in the curriculum of our school. It provides a safe space for young people to develop their understanding of people, cultures, faiths and relationships. The principal aim of religious education is to explore what people believe and what difference this makes to how they live so that pupils can gain the knowledge, understanding and skills needed to handle questions raised by religion and belief, reflecting on their own ideas and ways of living.
The agreed syllabus sets out detailed and extensive programmes that will enable pupils to gain a coherent understanding of religions and worldviews, preparing them for life in twenty-first century Britain. It gives teachers clear guidance on how to approach the teaching of RE across all key stages, mapping out progression and deep learning opportunities whilst taking an innovative and rigorous approach that will promote high standards of RE in our school.
Our aim for our children in RE is to provoke challenging questions about the meaning and purpose of life; beliefs about God; issues of right and wrong; and what it means to be human. RE offers children opportunities for personal reflection and spiritual development. The curriculum considers the influence of religion on individuals, families, communities and cultures.
1. 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
• 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
2. 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
3. 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
At Marlborough Primary Academy, we use Plymouth’s Agreed Syllabus 2019-2024 to guide our teaching of RE. - See Long Term Rolling Program
The Plymouth Agreed Syllabus maps out clear progression and deep learning opportunities for Years 1 to 6, whilst taking an innovative and rigorous approach to promoting high standards in Religious Education. The teaching and learning approach focuses on 3 elements: Element 1 is Making Sense of Beliefs; Element 2 is ‘Understanding the Impact’ and Element 3 is ‘Making Connections’. These elements are taught progressively from the Early Years Foundation Stage to Year 6. Teachers may choose to teach concepts on a weekly basis, as drop down days or RE weeks. The 2019 syllabus retains its emphasis on RE contributing to the personal development of pupils. RE is not simply about gaining knowledge and understanding about religions and beliefs. It also helps pupils to develop their own understanding of the world and how to live, in the light of their learning, developing understanding, skills and attitudes. It makes a significant contribution to pupils’ spiritual, moral, social and cultural development, as well as giving important opportunities for exploring British values.
RE Curriculum Time Allocation:
4–5s = 36 hours of RE (e.g. 50 minutes a week or some short sessions implemented through continuous provision)
5–7s = 36 hours of tuition per year (e.g. an hour a week, or less than an hour a week plus a series of RE days)
7–11s = 45 hours of tuition per year (e.g. an hour a week, or a series of RE days or weeks amounting to 45+ hours of RE)
Pupils are to study in depth the religious traditions of the following groups:
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, Jews and Muslims.
7–11s - Key Stage 2 Christians, Muslims, Hindus and Jews.
Consideration of other religions and nonreligious worldviews can occur at any key stage, as appropriate to the school context, which is changeable.
RE in the Early Years
RE sits very firmly within the areas of personal, social and emotional development and understanding the world. This framework enables children to develop a positive sense of themselves, and others, and to learn how to form positive and respectful relationships. They do this through a balance of guided, planned teaching and pursuing their own learning within an enabling environment. They will begin to understand and value the differences of individuals and groups within their own immediate community. Children will have the opportunity to develop their emerging moral and cultural awareness.
Children in EYFS encounter religious and non-religious worldviews through special people, books, times, places and objects and by visiting places of worship. They listen to and talk about stories. Children can be introduced to subject-specific words and use all their senses to explore beliefs, practices and forms of expression. They ask questions and reflect on their own feelings and experiences. They use their imagination and curiosity to develop their appreciation of, and wonder at, the world in which they live.
Religions and worldviews
In Reception class, children encounter Christianity and other faiths as part of their growing sense of self, their own community and their place within it. Three units below focus on Christianity, and the others include opportunities to encounter Christians, Hindus, Jews and Muslims, as well as non-religious responses and ways of living.
Units for Reception (requirement that at least 4 units are taught across the year).
F1 Why is the word ‘God’ so important to Christians?
F2 Why is Christmas special for Christians?
F3 Why is Easter special for Christians?
F4 Being special: where do we belong?
F5 Which places are special and why?
F6 Which stories are special and why?
RE in KS1
During the key stage, pupils are taught knowledge, skills and understanding through learning about Christians, Muslims and Jews. Pupils may also encounter other religions and worldviews in thematic units, where appropriate. Pupils should develop their knowledge and understanding of religions and worldviews, recognising their local, national and global contexts. They should use basic subject-specific
vocabulary. They should raise questions and begin to express their own views in response to the material they learn about and in response to questions about their ideas. Teachers ensure that they can explain where the unit being taught, builds upon prior learning to ensure clear progression in knowledge and skills. The first 5 units relate to Christianity as follows: God, Creation, Incarnation, Gospel and Salvation. The units beyond these are from other religions or a range of religious/nonreligious views being studied.
Unit key questions
1.1 What do Christians believe God is like?
1.2 Who do Christians say made the world?
1.3 Why does Christmas matter to Christians?
1.4 What is the ‘good news’ Christians believe Jesus brings?
1.5 Why does Easter matter to Christians?
1.6 Who is a Muslim and how do they live? [Double unit]
1.7 Who is Jewish and how do they live? [Double unit]
1.8 What makes some places sacred to believers? -Christians and Muslims
1.9 How should we care for others and for the world, and why does it matter? - Christians, Jews and non-religious worldviews
1.10 What does it mean to belong to a faith community? - Christians, Jews, Muslims and non-religious worldviews
RE in KS2
During the key stage, pupils are taught, knowledge, skills and understanding through learning about Christians, Muslims, Hindus and Jews. Pupils may also encounter other religions and worldviews (including non-religious worldviews) in thematic units. Pupils should extend their knowledge and understanding of religions and worldviews, recognising their local, national and global contexts. They are introduced, to an extended range of sources and subject-specific vocabulary. They are encouraged to be curious and to ask increasingly challenging questions about religion, belief, values and human life.
Pupils should 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.
Teachers ensure that they can explain where the unit being taught, builds upon prior learning, to ensure clear progression in knowledge and skills. KS2 RE teaching key questions are presented as Lower KS2 and Upper KS2 units.
The first 6 units relate to Christianity as follows: Creation, People of God, Incarnation/God, Gospel, Salvation and the Kingdom of God. The units beyond these are from other religions or a range of religious/nonreligious beliefs.
Unit key questions
Lower Key Stage 2 & Upper Key Stage 2
L2.1 What do Christians learn from the Creation story? U2.1 What does it mean if Christians believe God is holy and loving?
L2.2 What is it like for someone to follow God? U2.2 Creation and science: conflicting or complementary?
L2.3 What is the ‘Trinity’ and why is it important for Christians? U2.3 Why do Christians believe Jesus was the Messiah?
L2.4 What kind of world did Jesus want? U2.4 How do Christians decide how to live? ‘What would Jesus do?’
L2.5 Why do Christians call the day Jesus died ‘Good Friday’? U2.5 What do Christians believe Jesus did to ‘save’ people?
L2.6 For Christians, what was the impact of Pentecost? U2.6 For Christians, what kind of king is Jesus?
L2.7 What do Hindus believe God is like? U2.7 Why do Hindus want to be good?
L2.8 What does it mean to be Hindu in Britain today? U2.8 What does it mean to be a Muslim in Britain today?
L2.9 How do festivals and worship show what matters to Muslims? U2.9 Why is the Torah so important to Jewish people?
L2.10 How do festivals and family life show what matters to Jewish people? U2.10 What matters most to Humanists, Christians? Christians and non-religious, with opportunities to
include other faiths studied
L2.11 How and why do people mark the significant events of life? Christians, Hindus, Muslims, non-religious U2.11 Why do some people believe in God and some people not? Christians, non-religious
L2.12 How and why do people try to make the world a better place? Christians, Muslims, non-religious U2.12 How does faith help people when life gets hard? Christians, Muslims and/or Jews and/or Hindus, non-religious
Coherent understanding: there is an increased emphasis on helping pupils to develop a coherent understanding of several religions, by studying one religion at a time (systematic study) before bringing together and comparing different traditions (thematic study). The thematic study allows pupils to draw together their learning each year. All RE units taught are introduced as key questions.
Core concepts: clarity about identifiable core concepts of religions and beliefs helps teachers and pupils to understand how beliefs and practices connect, so that pupils are able to build effectively on prior learning as they progress through the school.
Teaching and learning approach: there is a clear teaching and learning approach at the heart of the 2019 syllabus, whereby all units enable pupils to ‘make sense’ of the religions and beliefs studied, ‘understand the impact’ of these beliefs in people’s lives, and to ‘make connections’ in their learning and their wider experience of the world. Using the learning outcomes for each key question is also essential when planning learning activities for pupils. Classroom activities should enable pupils to build up knowledge and understanding, in a variety of ways, allowing pupils plenty of opportunities to achieve the outcomes. Through the unit, teachers should be aware of how far pupils achieve the outcomes, to guide their next steps in teaching.
The teaching of RE focuses on teaching children through literacy rich lessons that enable them to apply their reading skills and develop subject specific vocabulary. Knowledge organisers are displayed in classrooms and in books to support children’s acquisition and use of vocabulary.
Assessment: assessment are focused on end-of-phase outcomes, linked to the teaching and learning approach. Each unit has specific outcomes that help pupils to achieve the end-of-phase outcomes. Teachers use the end of unit assessments and written evidence and revisited mind maps to help identify progress children have made. In Key Stage Two, children also create a glossary of the vocabulary (taken from the knowledge organiser).