Religious education has a unique place as a central subject in the curriculum of Plympton St Mary Infant School and Old Priory Junior Academy (St. Mary’s Priory Schools). It is neither a core nor a foundation subject; the 1988 Education Act states that ‘Religious Education has equal standing in relation to core subjects of the National Curriculum in that it is compulsory for all registered pupils.
The principal aim of Religious Education is to explore what people believe and what difference this makes to how they live, so that pupils can gain the knowledge, understanding and skills needed to handle questions raised by religion and belief, reflecting on their own ideas and ways of living.
In line with the 2019-2024 non-statutory guidance for Religious Education, Plymouth SACRE (Standing Advisory Council for Religious Education) promotes, supports and encourages outstanding practice in the teaching of Religious Education (RE). The agreed syllabus aims to ensure that all children:
1. Make sense of a range of religious and non-religious beliefs, so that they can:
• identify, describe, explain and analyse beliefs and concepts in the context of living religious, using appropriate vocabulary
• explain how and why these beliefs are understood in different ways, by individuals and within communities
• recognise how and why sources of authority (e.g. texts, teachings, traditions, leaders) are used, expressed
and interpreted in different ways, developing skills of interpretation
2. Understand the impact and significance of religious and non-religious beliefs, so that they can:
• examine and explain how and why people express their beliefs in diverse ways
• recognise and account for ways in which people put their beliefs into action in diverse ways, in their everyday
lives, within their communities and in the wider world
• appreciate and appraise the significance of different ways of life and ways of expressing meaning
3. Make connections between religious and non-religious beliefs, concepts, practices and ideas studied, so that they can:
• evaluate, reflect on and enquire into key concepts and questions studied, responding thoughtfully and
creatively, giving good reasons for their responses
• challenge the ideas studied, and allow the ideas studied to challenge their own thinking, articulating beliefs, #
values and commitments clearly in response
• discern possible connections between the ideas studied and their own ways of understanding the world,
expressing their critical responses and personal reflections with increasing clarity and understanding
Legal requirements for Religious Education:
Religious Education is a statutory subject of the curriculum for all pupils in each year group and ‘should be provided for all registered pupils except those withdrawn at the request of their parents.’ (s 71 SSFA 1998)
Parents have the right to request that their son or daughter be excused from all or part of the RE provided at school.
The syllabus should ‘reflect the fact that the religious traditions in Great Britain are in the main Christian, while taking account of the teaching and practices of the other principal religions represented in Great Britain.’ (s375 (3) Education Act 1996)
We ensure that we comply with the legal requirements by following the 2019-2024 non-statutory guidance for Religious Education, Plymouth SACRE (Standing Advisory Council for Religious Education.
Religious Education is generally taught on a weekly basis, but is sometimes delivered through a class topic or as a whole-school RE day. Teachers may develop their own key questions linked to the themes in the syllabus, allowing links with other subject areas where appropriate. RE is taught by studying one religious at a time (systemic units) and then including thematic units, which build on learning by comparing the religions, beliefs and practices studied.
Pupils will have the opportunity during their time at St. Mary’s Priory Schools to visit different places of worship and, to further deepen learning, religious visitors are organised to talk to the children about their faith, festivals and beliefs.
Lessons are planned and delivered in a variety of ways ensuring that all children can access and participate in lessons. Interactive, practical activities encourage the children to discuss their ideas and extend their understanding of difficult concepts and challenging questions.
Pupils’ progress in RE is based on the expected outcomes outlined in the Agreed Syllabus and in Understanding Christianity, which in turn have been developed in line with guidance produced nationally. These outcomes are assessed at the end of each unit.
We track individual pupil’s progress in this way, whilst also bearing in mind that the statements do not cover all aspects of teaching and learning in RE. For example, pupil’s personal views and ideas are not subject to formal assessment, and yet are central to good RE.
Progress in RE is reported annually to parents in the end of year report.
Religious Education develops pupils’:
• knowledge and understanding of, and their ability to respond to, Christianity, other principal world religions,
other religious traditions and world views;
• understanding and respect for different religions, beliefs, values and traditions (including ethical life stances),
through exploring issues within and between faiths;
• understanding of the influence of faith and belief on individuals, societies, communities and cultures;
• skills of enquiry and response through the use of religious vocabulary, questioning and empathy;
• skills of reflection, expression, application, analysis and evaluation of beliefs, values and practices, and the
communication of personal responses to these.
Religious Education encourages pupils to:
• consider challenging questions of the meaning and purpose of life; beliefs about God, the self and the nature of
reality, issues of right and wrong and what it means to be human;
• understand the influence of religion on individuals, families, communities and cultures;
• learn from different religions, beliefs, values and traditions while exploring questions of meaning and their own
• learn about religious and ethical teaching, enabling them to make reasoned and informed responses to
religious, moral and social issues;
• 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
Religious Education enhances pupils’:
• awareness and understanding of religions and beliefs, teachings, practices and forms of expression;
• ability to reflect on, consider, analyse, interpret and evaluate issues of truth, belief, faith and ethics and to
communicate their responses.
Religious Education offers:
• opportunities for personal reflection and spiritual development.