The Duke of Norfolk CofE Primary School

Home Page
Home Page

The Duke of Norfolk CofE Primary School


Policy on Religious Education (RE)

1          Aims and objectives

1.1       Religious education enables children to investigate and reflect on some of the most fundamental questions asked by people. At Duke of Norfolk School, we develop the children’s knowledge and understanding of the major world faiths, and address fundamental questions concerning, for example, the meaning of life and the existence of a divine spirit. We enable children to develop a knowledge, not only of Christianity but also of other world religions. Children reflect on what it means to have a faith and to develop their own spiritual knowledge and understanding. We help the children to learn from religions as well as about religions.

1.2       Our objectives in the teaching of RE are, for all of our children:

  • to develop an awareness of spiritual and moral issues arising in their lives;
  • to develop knowledge and understanding of Christianity and other major world religions or value systems adhered to in the UK;
  • to develop an understanding of what it means to be committed to a religious tradition;
  • to be capable of reflecting on their own experiences, and of developing a personal response to the fundamental questions of life;
  • to develop an understanding of religious traditions, and an appreciation of cultural differences in the UK today;
  • to develop their investigative and research skills, in order to hold reasoned opinions on religious issues;
  • to have respect for other people’s views, and hence to celebrate diversity in society.

2          The legal position of religious education

2.1       Our school curriculum for RE meets the requirements of the 1988 Education Reform Act (ERA). The ERA stipulates that religious education is compulsory for all children, including those in the reception class who are less than five years old. The ERA allows parents and carers to withdraw their child from religious education classes if they so wish, although only after they have given written notice to the school governors. The ERA also allows teachers to refuse to teach religious education, but only after they have given due notice of their intention to the school governors. The religious education curriculum forms an important part of our school’s spiritual, moral and social teaching. It also promotes education for citizenship. Our school RE curriculum is based on the LEA’s Agreed Syllabus, and it meets all the requirements set out in that document. The ERA states that the RE syllabus should reflect the fact that religious traditions in Great Britain are, in the main, Christian, and that it should, at the same time, take account of the teachings and practices of other major religions.

3          Teaching and learning style

3.1       We base our teaching and learning style in RE on the key principle that good teaching in RE allows children both to learn about religious traditions and to reflect on what the religious ideas and concepts mean to them. Our teaching enables children to extend their own sense of values, and promotes their spiritual growth and development. We encourage children to think about their own views and values in relation to the themes and topics studied in the RE curriculum.

3.2       Our teaching and learning styles in RE enable children to build on their own experiences and to extend their knowledge and understanding of religious traditions. We use their experiences at religious festivals such as Easter, Eid etc. to develop their religious thinking. We organise visits to local places of worship, and invite representatives of local religious groups to come into school and talk to the children.

3.3       Children carry out research into religious topics. They study particular religious faiths and also compare the religious views of different faith groups on a range of topics. Children investigate religious and moral issues either individually or in groups. Sometimes, they prepare presentations on a computer and share these in class.

3.4       We recognise the fact that all classes in our school have children of widely differing abilities, so we provide suitable learning opportunities for all children by matching the challenge of the task to the ability of the child. We achieve this in a variety of ways, e.g. by:

  • setting tasks which are open-ended and can have a variety of responses;
  • setting tasks of increasing difficulty (we do not expect all children to complete all tasks);
  • using classroom assistants to support the work of individuals or groups of children.

4          RE curriculum planning

4.1       RE is a foundation subject in the National Curriculum. We plan our RE curriculum in accordance with the LEA’s Agreed Syllabus.  We use the Understanding Christianity resource to help deliver the teaching of the Christian faith. We ensure that the topics studied in RE build on prior learning. We offer opportunities for children of all abilities to develop their skills and knowledge in each unit, and we ensure that the progression planned into the scheme of work offers the children an increasing challenge as they move through the school.

4.2       We carry out the curriculum planning in RE in three phases (long-term, medium-term and short-term). The long-term plan maps the RE topics studied in each term during each key stage. The RE subject leader devises this plan in collaboration with teaching colleagues in each year group. Where possible, we teach RE topics in conjunction with other subjects, especially at Key Stage 1. In Key Stage 2, we place an increasing emphasis on the study of religious themes and topics in their own right.

4.3       Our medium-term plans give details of each unit of work for each term. The RE subject leader keeps and reviews these plans on a regular basis. As we have some mixed-age classes, we carry out the medium-term planning on a two-year rotation cycle. By so doing, we ensure that children have complete coverage of the Agreed Syllabus, but do not have to repeat topics.

4.4       The class teacher writes the plans for each lesson and lists the specific learning objectives and expected outcomes.

5          The Foundation Stage

5.1       We teach RE to all children in the school, including those in the reception class.

5.2       In reception classes, RE is an integral part of the topic work covered during the year. As the reception class is part of the Foundation Stage of the National Curriculum, we relate the RE aspects of the children’s work to the objectives set out in the Early Learning Goals which underpin the curriculum planning for children aged three to five.

6          Contribution of RE to the teaching in other curriculum areas

6.1       English

            RE contributes significantly to the teaching of English in our school by actively promoting the skills of reading, writing, speaking and listening. Some of the texts that we use have religious themes or content, which encourages discussion, and this is RE’s way of promoting the skills of speaking and listening. We also encourage the children to write letters and record information, in order to develop their writing ability. Each half-term we do a link to literacy where the children consolidate their learning by doing a recount, newspaper report etc.

6.2       Maths

            Maths skills should be applied in RE wherever possible. This can take place in a number of

            ways such as calculating Zakat donations during Islam topics or finding the difference in

            years during different time periods of the ‘Big Story’ of the Bible.

6.3       Geography

            Geography skills such as map reading and knowledge of the locations of different places in  

            the Bible are used regularly.


            Music skills are developed through children learning hymns and religious songs.


            History skills are used frequently through most RE topics, especially as we go through the

            Old and New Testaments.


6.4       Personal, social and health education (PSHE) and citizenship

            Through our RE lessons, we teach the children about the values and moral beliefs that underpin individual choices of behaviour. So, for example, we contribute to the discussion of topics such as smoking, drugs and health education. We also promote the values and attitudes required for citizenship in a democracy by teaching respect for others and the need for personal responsibility. In general, by promoting tolerance and understanding of other people, we enable children to appreciate what it means to be positive members of our pluralistic society.

6.5       The school’s half-termly attributes: Resilience, morality and social justice, critical thinking, healthy body and mind, confidence and communication, joy and hope can be fulfilled through teaching RE in a creative way that creates curious and excited children who can develop their understanding of RE through creative and engaging lessons.

7          RE and ICT

7.1       ICT enhances RE, wherever appropriate, in all key stages. The children have opportunities to select and analyse information, using the Internet and CD-ROMs. They can also use ICT to review, modify and evaluate their work, and to improve its presentation. Older children may use presentation software for various topics. Younger children can take photographs of the class acting out a Bible story. They can then make a class storybook of it, by adding in speech bubbles and a narrative text. A digital video camera can record a visit to a place of worship, and pupils can also find the various artefacts in churches by doing virtual tours on church websites. The RE coordinator ensures that the staff have a list of software available in school and suggested uses for it.

8          RE and inclusion

8.1       At our school, we teach RE to all children, whatever their ability and individual needs. RE forms part of the school’s curriculum policy to provide a broad and balanced education to all children. Through our RE teaching, we provide learning opportunities that enable all pupils to make good progress. We strive hard to meet the needs of those pupils with special educational needs, those with disabilities, those with special gifts and talents, and those learning English as an additional language, and we take all reasonable steps to achieve this. For further details, see separate policies: Special Educational Needs; Disability Discrimination; Gifted and Talented Children; English as an Additional Language (EAL).

8.2       When progress falls significantly outside the expected range, the child may have special educational needs. Our assessment process looks at a range of factors – classroom organisation, teaching materials, teaching style, differentiation – so that we can take some additional or different action to enable the child to learn more effectively. This ensures that our teaching is matched to the child’s needs.

8.3       Intervention through School Action and School Action Plus will lead to the creation of an Individual Education Plan (IEP) for children with special educational needs. Children with IEPs may have additional support during RE lessons if appropriate.

8.4       We enable all pupils to have access to the full range of activities involved in RE. Where children are to participate in activities outside the classroom (a visit to the Jewish Museum for example, that involves a journey), we carry out a risk assessment prior to the activity, to ensure that the activity is safe and appropriate for all pupils.

9          Assessment for learning

9.1       Children demonstrate their ability in RE through a variety of different ways. Younger children might, for example, act out a famous story from the Bible, whilst older pupils might produce a PowerPoint presentation based on their investigation of sacred texts. Teachers will assess children’s work in RE by making informal judgements as they observe them during lessons. On completion of a piece of work, the teacher assesses the work and gives the child written or verbal feedback to help guide progress. This information is used to assess the progress of each child and for passing information on to the next teacher at the end of the year.

9.2       In line with the new assessment levels set out by the government children are now assessed in RE as working towards, working at or working at greater depth.  Assessment sheets for each year group, for each RE topic covered can be found on the server.

9.3       The RE subject leader keeps samples of children’s work in a portfolio. This demonstrates the expected level of achievement in RE in each year of the school.

10        Resources

10.1     We have sufficient resources in our school to be able to teach all our RE teaching units. We keep resources for RE in a central store, where there is a box of equipment for each religion studied. There is a set of Bibles for both Key Stages, and a collection of religious artefacts which we use to enrich teaching in RE. The school library has a good supply of RE topic books and a list of websites is available to support the children’s individual research. The understanding Christianity main file is kept in the RE Coordinators classroom which includes ideas for lessons, teachers background information for bible stories and smaller friezes of ‘The Bigger Picture’ artwork.

11        Monitoring and review

11.1     The coordination and planning of the RE curriculum are the responsibility of the subject leader, who also:

  • supports colleagues in their teaching, by keeping informed about current developments in RE and providing a strategic lead and direction for this subject;
  • gives the headteacher and governors an annual summary report in which s/he evaluates the most recent developments in RE and indicates areas for further improvement;
  • uses specially allocated management time to review evidence of the children’s work, and to observe RE lessons within the school.


11.2     This policy will be reviewed at least every two years.

Signed:  Y Whitehead

Date: November 2019

'From tiny acorns, great forests grow.'