Beechcroft St Paul's CE Primary School
Character Development: The Effectiveness of Religious Education
How we live out this in our school – a celebration of excellence
As a school we use our RE curriculum as a vehicle to allow children to explore big questions and concepts and inspire them to want to enquire and find out more about a range of different faiths, beliefs, and worldviews. Through the exploration of texts and religious evidence sources we endeavour to foster pupils' understanding and appreciation for what individuals and communities practice and how they express their beliefs and the impact on their lives as a result. Interlinked with our school vision statement ‘soaring with compassion’ and our values of hope, respect, and wisdom, our RE curriculum promotes the respect and open-mindedness that we want to encourage, and the children develop an empathy and can articulate the impact this has on their own values and their role within the community, for example the school and the Westham estate. Within RE lessons children are giving the chance to develop a sense of their own identity and belonging in the local, national, and wider global community with opportunities to reflect, evaluate and question their own thoughts and feelings.
How we achieved this
The development of Beechcroft’s RE curriculum was based on the foundations of developing an intent for the subject that ensured as a school we deliver a strong, sequential curriculum that focuses on key concepts and core ideas. Our RE
leader worked closely with our curriculum development lead teacher to ensure that there were pedagogical links to all other areas of our curriculum and our approach in RE mirrors that of other subjects. A clear progression document from EYFS to year 6 was produced focusing on the 3 key areas of exploring beliefs, expression of beliefs and connections to value, community, and self. A key sequence of learning in RE lessons and what we would expect to see over a half term block was created so that there is consistency across the school and all teachers are giving the same amount of weighting to each of the 3 key areas. This has ensured the children are provided with the right level of knowledge and skill to develop their sense of identity and belonging and impact on themselves as individuals.
The difference that it makes
Within RE children are given greater opportunities to think deeper and reflect upon how what others believe and how they express this can impact their own individual values. They are given the opportunity across all faiths, beliefs, and worldviews to learn not only about the religion/viewpoint but also from it. Across the school we now have a stronger RE curriculum with wider consistency across year groups and planned for opportunities for children to build on these skills and knowledge year upon year as they progress through the school. Within other areas of the curriculum, within collective worship and as part of the school community, children are beginning to articulate and reflect upon their own choices and their thinking is stimulated to consider other viewpoints. This can also be seen within restorative justice behavioural discussions when children are reflecting and evaluating not only on their own behavioural choices, but those of others and the impact that this has had.