The Religious Education (RE) curriculum at Burghfield St Mary’s is designed as part of a broad and balanced education which meets the needs of all children. As a Church of England school, our vision is underpinned by Christian values and the teaching of RE plays an important role in in promoting the spiritual, moral, social, and cultural development of our children.
At Burghfield St Mary’s we recognise the unique role that RE plays within the curriculum. We share the belief that RE “provides a space for learning about people, about cultures and faiths and also relationships, tolerance, understanding and appreciation of others’ beliefs and values.” (Pan-Berkshire Agreed Syllabus for Religious Education, 2018-2023.)
The aims of Religious Education are to help children:
- develop an awareness of spiritual and moral issues in life experiences;
- develop knowledge and understanding of Christianity and other major world religions and value systems found in Britain;
- develop an understanding of what it means to be committed to a religious tradition;
- be able to reflect on their own experiences and to develop a personal response to the fundamental questions of life;
- develop an understanding of religious traditions and to appreciate the cultural differences in Britain today;
- develop investigative and research skills and to enable them to make reasoned judgements about religious issues;
- have respect for other peoples’ views and to celebrate the diversity in society.
Religious Education at Burghfield St Mary’s follows the Pan-Berkshire agreed syllabus for RE in conjunction with Diocesan guidelines. We have chosen to use an enquiry-based approach to the teaching of RE, supported by the Discovery RE scheme of work. Each unit of work begins with a ‘Key Question’, encouraging children to think about their own views and values in relation to the themes and topics studied in the RE curriculum. “This approach takes very seriously the philosophy that children are free to make their own choices and decisions concerning religion and belief. RE does not try to persuade but rather to inform and develop the skills with which evaluation can take place.” (Discovery RE, 2020.)
At Burghfield St Mary’s School we develop the children’s knowledge and understanding of the major world faiths, and we address the fundamental questions in life, for example, the meaning of life and the existence of a divine spirit.
We recognise the fact that all classes in our school have children of widely differing abilities, and so we provide suitable learning opportunities for all children by matching the challenge of the task to the ability of the child.
Knowledge and skills acquired in RE lessons are supported by first-hand experiences, including visits to local places of worship and visits from faith communities, helping to embed mutual respect and tolerance for those of different faiths and beliefs.
We believe that through effective RE teaching we enable children to investigate and reflect on some of the most fundamental questions asked by people of many different faiths and cultures. We enable children to develop a sound knowledge not only of Christianity but also of other world religions, especially those that are the main faiths of children within our school. Children reflect on what it means to have a faith and to develop their own spiritual knowledge and understanding. We help the children learn from religions as well as about religions. Our teaching enables children to extend their own sense of values and promotes their spiritual growth and development.