At Pennington Infant School we believe the intent of RE is to play an educational part in the lives of children as they come to speak, think and act in the world, as well as contributing to their spiritual, moral and cultural development. It entails teachers to bring children to first attend their own experiences and that of others, to engage intellectually with material that is new and to discern with others what is valuable with regard to living a religious life or one informed by a non-religious or other perspective.
This invites children to interpret and respond to a variety of concepts, beliefs and practices within religions and to their own and others’ cultural and life experiences. This takes the form of encountering religious stories, festivals, artefacts, places of worship, rituals and beliefs. We believe that Religious education should acknowledge the diversity of experiences that children will have, so that, over time religious education can make a positive contribution to the ability children can think how this might matter in their own lives. It also provides a key opportunity to celebrate and foster awareness of these differences within our school and the wider world. It is a subject that celebrates diversity and challenges stereotypes.
- To provide a wide range of encounters with religion which will help children form a view of the world that they can apply to their own experiences.
- To encourage and develop children’s interest and opinions about simple concepts that are common to themselves and religions, and recognise and express their own values and beliefs.
- To enable children to consider the effects religion has on people’s lives.
- Promote reflection, empathy, investigation, interpretation and analysis of religious cultures.
- Foster attitudes such as curiosity, open mindedness and respect, as these are fundamental to understanding the religious and spiritual dimensions of human life.
At Pennington infants we promote an inclusive, respectful and collaborative ethos in classrooms and throughout our school environment. We believe that RE creates a safe place for children to share their thoughts and ideas and as such it is always taught by the class teacher and supports inclusivity and achieving our duty towards the Prevent Strategy.
The spiritual, moral, social and cultural development of the child is recognised as being of fundamental importance for the education of all children by our school community. SMSC enables children to interpret and respond to a variety of concepts, beliefs and practices and to their own and others cultural and life experiences. In Pennington Infants we value cultural diversity and work towards a common vision with a sense of belonging by all communities; we value and appreciate the diversity of backgrounds and circumstances. It is recognised that such development will be most successful when the values and attitudes promoted by the staff provide a model of behaviour for the children. We believe it is important to allow an opportunity to pause for reflection and stillness everyday through class, year group and whole school assemblies and that these times also offer the chance to mark and celebrate special occasions and achievements.
Our implementation of RE curriculum is through lessons taught in Pennington every half term in EYFS, Year 1 and Year 2 using the Hampshire ‘Living difference IV’ syllabus. It is often taught as a discrete unit and is always concept driven or using the Golden Thread Concepts. We use a range of teaching and learning styles, which include activities such as exploring artefacts, group and class discussions, role play, games, computing, investigations and problem-solving activities.
We have a daily act of Collective Worship which includes recognition of a Christian belief in God but will also acknowledge other religious groups and beliefs. During this time we gather together as a school and consider important themes and values. In our school we refer to this time as Collective Reflection as it represents for us the opportunity to come together and reflect over things which are important to us individually and as a community.
This ensures time is set aside for daily worship or quiet reflection in the form of whole class and class assemblies and can be led by headteacher, assistant headteacher, teachers, children and sometimes by a visitor.
At Pennington Infant School RE is about Religious Education, not religious instruction. However, parents do have the right to withdraw their children from Religious Education or parts of it. Should this be the case we strongly advise parents speak to the class teacher in the first instance to ensure they are fully aware of what is being taught so they can make an informed decision about the aspects from which they wish their children to be withdrawn.
It is our expectation that while children are withdrawn they will still remain in school and will receive learning opportunities in other curriculum areas or through work provided by their parents which may support their own religious beliefs.
At Pennington Infant School, our children will demonstrate the impact of our curriculum an eagerness to learn, and will strive to show respectful behaviour at all times. Children will speak and act kindly towards others; there will be an ethos of respect for others within the school. Children will be building an understanding of other cultures and beliefs. They will show a mutual respect for and tolerance of those with different faiths and beliefs, and for those without faith. Children and adults in the school will challenge stereotypes and welcome diversity. Children will show an enthusiastic, interested approach to RE lessons and will be eager to communicate and apply their thoughts and ideas about different RE concepts, confidently relating this to their experiences. They will be curious to enquire and ask questions to deepen their thinking. By the end of Key Stage 1, they will show a strong ability to contextualise their thinking in relation to the two key religions we study at Pennington Infant School, Christianity and Hinduism. They will be able to evaluate their understanding of different concepts, explaining why they might be important to themselves or to someone who is a Christian or Hindu. At Pennington Infant School, we use the Living Difference IV Agreed Syllabus age-related expectations to assess and monitor children’s learning across each year group and to ensure that progress is made. Evidence of children’s learning and progress is captured in a variety of ways, for example through speaking and listening, drama, art, dialogue and discussion, as well as through different written activities. Planning and teaching is monitored throughout the year by the subject manager to ensure consistency of approach, coverage of the curriculum and sharing of best practice.