The importance of religious education in the curriculum 2014

Religious education provokes 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 develops children’s knowledge and understanding of Christianity (which is taught throughout each key stage of learning) and the other principal religions. In Devon, Plymouth & Torbay these are Buddhism, Hinduism, Islam, Judaism and Sikhism.

RE offers children opportunities for personal reflection and spiritual development. It considers the influence of religion on individuals, families, communities and cultures. In Devon, Plymouth & Torbay R.E. has two central attainment targets.
AT1 Learning about Religion
AT2 Learning from Religion

In Learning about Religion children learn about different beliefs and teachings, practices and ways of life and how religions express themselves in different ways.
In Learning from Religion children reflect on and consider important questions of identity and belonging (e.g. who and what matters to me?) questions of meaning (e.g. what do people believe about how life began?) and values and commitments (e.g. who and what do I value?)

Key Skills in R.E.
R.E. is more than just developing children’s knowledge and understanding. It seeks to develop children’s skills in investigation/enquiry, communication, interpretation, analysis and evaluation. These are important skills for children to develop:
These include:
• Investigation/enquiry (finding out what people believe, how their beliefs affect the way they live and the different ways people express their beliefs).
• Communication (sharing their ideas and those within religions and beliefs in a lively, informed way including different styles of writing, oral contributions and the use of ICT).
• Interpretation (recognising and talking about religious symbols, stories and sacred texts).
• Analysis and evaluation (developing their own views and ideas, recognising the views of others).
Key Attitudes in R.E.
As with skills R.E. has a number of key attitudes it seeks to promote. These include self-esteem (so that every child feels valued and significant), respect (including being sensitive to the beliefs, feelings and values of others), openmindedness (being willing to learn and gain new understanding) and appreciation and wonder (developing children’s imagination and curiosity).
Expectation in RE
In Devon, Plymouth & Torbay R.E. is assessed using level descriptors (just like the subjects of the National Curriculum). The revised syllabus Every Child Matters in Religious Education Devon, Plymouth and Torbay Agreed Syllabus was published in 2007 and contains 8 levels, plus exceptional performance.
By the end of Key Stage 1 most children will be expected to achieve level 2. In R.E. this means that they can use religious words to identify some features of religion and its importance for some people. They show awareness of similarities in religions and can identify how religion is expressed in different ways. They ask and respond sensitively to questions about their own and others experiences and feelings. They recognise their own values and those of others and are aware that some questions cause people to wonder and are difficult to answer.
By the end of Key Stage 2 most children will be expected to achieve level 4.
In R.E. this means children can describe both similarities and differences
They make links between different aspects of religions and can describe the impact of religion on peoples’ lives. They suggest answers to questions of identity and meaning. They apply their ideas to their own and others lives. They can also describe what inspires and influences themselves and others.
Approaches to teaching and learning in R.E.
R.E. is an exciting curriculum subject so we employ a variety of teaching
methods. These include:-
• Visiting local places of worship and receiving visitors from faith communities
• Using art, music, dance and drama
• Children experiencing times of quiet reflection to develop their own thoughts and ideas
• Using story, pictures and photographs
• Using artefacts to help children develop their understanding of religious beliefs and forms of expression
• Discussing religious and philosophical questions giving reasons for their own beliefs and those of others
• Developing the use of ICT (particularly DVDs and the internet) in helping
children’s awareness of religions and beliefs.