At Adderley Primary School we believe that Religious Education should provide a holistic view of religious traditions, preparing children for life in Modern Britain. Our RMSE (Religious, Moral & Spiritual Education) curriculum is based on The Birmingham Agreed Syllabus. The school considers that the British Isles is a multi-cultural nation which has Christianity as the main religion of the indigenous population. Hence, through our RMSE curriculum, Christianity receives the appropriate weighting. Due consideration within this framework is given to other faiths through adopting the Discovery RE Schemes of Work. Respect, tolerance and understanding for the beliefs of other faiths is promoted as part of our RMSE programme and children are given the experience of understanding all the main religious festivals across the faiths throughout the year.
Religious Education has a significant role for the development of pupils’ spiritual, moral, social and cultural (SMSC) development. It promotes respect and open-mindedness towards others with different faiths and beliefs and encourages pupils to develop their sense of identity and belonging through self-awareness and reflection. The principle aim of RMSE is to engage pupils in an enquiry-based approach where they can develop an understanding and appreciation for the expression of beliefs, cultural practices and influence of principle religions and world views in the local, national and wider global community.
Through RMSE, pupils develop their knowledge of the world faiths and their understanding and awareness of the beliefs, values and traditions of other individuals, societies, communities and cultures. We encourage our pupils to ask questions about the world and to reflect on their own beliefs, values and experiences. Our RMSE curriculum is enhanced further with trips to places of worship, which allows the pupils to deepen and enhance their knowledge and understanding. Pupils also have access to a range of resources in lessons to enrich their learning.
Our intent is to support our pupils in developing a secure level of religious understanding and knowledge. We want our pupils to ask significant and highly reflective questions about religion and demonstrate an excellent understanding of issues related to the truth and value of religion. Using Discovery RE, which is an enquiry-based scheme, pupils’ 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.
Above all, we want our pupils to develop a respect for other beliefs and religions and appreciate and celebrate the diverse world in which they live. We want to equip pupils with not only the minimum statutory requirements of the Religious Education National Curriculum but to prepare them for the opportunities, responsibilities and experiences of later life, being able to acclimatise with the ever-changing wider world.
RMSE plays an important role, along with all other curriculum areas, particularly PSHEC, in promoting social awareness and understanding in our pupils. We include and promote British values, which are mapped out throughout the Discovery RE scheme of work, ensuring that pupils are aware of their rights and responsibilities as UK citizens. SMSC opportunities are identified in each enquiry/unit and are mapped on the overview grid for each year group.
Through our RMSE curriculum, we aim:
- To engage pupils in enquiring into and exploring questions arising from the study of religion and belief, so as to promote their SMSC development.
- To provide pupils with knowledge and understanding of Christianity and other principal religious traditions and beliefs represented in Great Britain.
- To develop their understanding of the ways in which beliefs influence people in their behaviour, practices and outlook.
- To enable pupils to apply the insights of the principal religious traditions to their own search for identity and significance.
- To ensure that our pupils are safe from extreme or radical religious views (Prevent Strategy – June 2011)
- To ensure that our pupils develop a positive attitude towards other people who hold religious beliefs different from their own so that they leave Adderley Primary School with a deep understanding and respect for other religions; cultivating the skills needed to live harmoniously within the diverse society of modern, democratic Britain.
RMSE is taught using the Discovery RE scheme, an enquiry-based approach. The scheme covers the Birmingham Agreed Syllabus alongside the 24 Dispositions. The aim of the enquiry-based approach is to teach a progression of lessons. 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 pupils 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, which in turn develops and enhances their speaking and listening skills.
Through the Discovery RE scheme, by the end of Year 6, pupils will have studied religious as well as non-religious worldviews including:
Adderley Primary School do the following:
- RMSE is taught 1 hour per week (5% of the curriculum timetable)
- Effective use of educational visits to places of worship are planned, to enrich and enhance the pupil’s learning experiences within the RMSE curriculum.
- VR’s have been used for pupils to virtually visit a place of worship.
- Pupils take part in whole school events- (multi-faith days, Harvest Festival, school performances)
- Pupils participate in moments of quiet reflection for collective worship.
- ICT and other resources are used to further explore religion.
- Imaginative play or drama is used within lesson to express ideas.
- Religions and world views are compared through discussion and debates.
- Pupils are exposed to and analyse religious texts to enhance their reading, comprehension and inference skills.
- The Community Area of the Discovery RE website supports teachers by providing a bank of creative ideas coupled with appropriately challenging higher-order-thinking questions and discussion activities.
- Teachers use highly effective AFL at different points in each lesson to ensure misconceptions are highlighted and addressed.
- Connectivity maps are used at the start of every RMSE lesson to review and reinforce the depth of prior learning.
- Evaluation sheets/statements are completed by pupils at the end of each unit to assess their ability on answering the key question using their subject knowledge.
- Key Stages 1 and 2 study Christianity plus one other religion in each year group, meaning that both religions have multiple enquiries per year. This ensures that the pupils revisit prior learning for both religions throughout the year to build on the previous enquiries. Christmas and Easter enquiries are built upon year-on-year throughout the child’s primary school journey.
- The RMSE curriculum is sequenced so that new knowledge and skills build on what has been taught previously. Each year group learns about Christianity and one other world religion. As the pupils move into the next year, a different world religion is taught alongside Christianity so that by the end of a pupil’s primary school learning journey, they have received in-depth knowledge of a variety of religions.
- Progress in RMSE is reported annually to parents and has a prominent position in the end of year report.
The Early Years Foundation Stage Curriculum supports pupils’ understanding of RMSE through the planning and teaching of ‘Understanding the World’ and ‘Personal, Social and Emotional Development’. Pupils are encouraged to use their imagination and curiosity to develop their appreciation of, and wonder at, the world in which they live. They will explore some similarities and differences between different religious and cultural communities in this country, drawing on their experiences and what has been taught in their class. In finding out about others, young pupils are encouraged to reflect on belief, culture and practice and explore faith through observing festivals and celebrations, sharing stories, visuals, toys and puppets, handling real artefacts, role play, books and discussion. EYFS pupils are initially introduced to a range of religions through themes such as ‘What makes people special?’ and ‘What can we learn from stories?’
At Adderley Primary School, we envision our RMSE curriculum to impact the pupils in the following ways:
- Develop a religious vocabulary and interpret religious symbolism in a variety of forms.
- Extend their knowledge and understanding of different religions, beliefs, values and traditions while exploring questions of meaning and their own beliefs.
- Explore questions of beliefs and values in relation to a range of contemporary issues in an ever-changing society.
- Understand the influence of religion on individuals, families, communities and cultures.
- Develop their sense of identity and belonging, preparing them for life as citizens in a plural, global society.
- Develop respect for and sensitivity to others, in particular those whose faiths and beliefs are different from their own.
- The Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) follows the ‘Statutory Framework for The Early Years Foundation Stage’ which aims for all pupils in Reception to have an ‘Understanding of the World’, people and communities by the end of the academic year.
The curriculum design will lead to outstanding progress over time across key stages relative to a child’s individual starting point and their progression of skills. Pupils will therefore be expected to leave Adderley Primary School reaching at least age-related expectations for RMSE. Our RMSE curriculum will also lead pupils to be enthusiastic RMSE pupils, evidenced in a range of ways, including pupil voice and through their RMSE portfolios.
Through their RMSE learning, pupils are able to make links between their own lives and those of others in their community and in the wider world, developing an understanding of other people’s cultures and ways of life. As such, RMSE is invaluable in an ever changing and shrinking world.
Parental Right to Withdraw
Parents have the right to withdraw their child from religious education and the daily act of collective worship as set out in the DfE Non-Statutory Guidance. However, it must be understood that such activities contribute to cross-curricular objectives pursued during the course of the school week. The school ensures that parents and carers are informed of this right to withdraw through our website and school prospectus and parents are also made aware of the objectives and content set out in the RMSE planning through half-termly curriculum overviews. In this way a more informed decision can be made.