As a Church of England (Voluntary Controlled) school we value the place of RE in the school curriculum very highly and we aim to provide a rich and varied RE curriculum that enables learners to acquire a thorough knowledge of the Christian faith. Our School Values, which come from the teachings of Jesus, underpin everything we do. They are used as everyday reminders of how to be the best we can. Our hope and aim is that they are values that the children will live by throughout their lives, whatever their faith.
The main focus of our RE teaching is the Christian faith that shapes the ethos and values of our school community. Holy Trinity CofE Primary School follows the 2023-2028 Agreed Syllabus for Surrey schools which enables the pupils to pose questions and develop skills relevant to the world today whilst exploring the Christian faith more deeply.
Learners also develop knowledge and understanding of other world faiths and beliefs, such as Judaism, Islam, Sikhism, Humanism, and then Hinduism and Buddhism in Year 6. Children today grow up in a multi-faith society and as such we are an inclusive school and we celebrate diversity. We believe that it is important to teach children to understand other world faiths and beliefs and to explore the similarities and differences alongside Christianity. Role-play, discussion, art, visits, visitors, Pause Days and close links with the local Holy Trinity Church to enable children to learn about and learn from Christianity and other religions. The thematic units at the end of the Summer term for KS1 and 2 children explore the religious concepts they have studied across the year, but also give a chance to make links to other important aspects of school life, for example, ‘What makes a good leader?’ links with Leader in Me and ‘Why should we look after our world?’ links with our Eco Warriors and outdoor learning.
Daily collective worship takes place either as a school, key stage or class. This is always of an intrinsically Christian nature and is designed to be relevant, interesting and inspiring. We use prayer and reflection, songs and music, drama and stories to promote a sense of awe and wonder, giving the children opportunities to appreciate the spiritual dimension and to express themselves spiritually.
The RE curriculum taught at Holy Trinity should enable the children to receive the Church of England’s Statement of Entitlement (2019), which outlines that RE in Church schools aims for children to:
- know about and understand Christianity as a diverse global living faith through the exploration of core beliefs using an approach that critically engages with biblical text.
- gain knowledge and understanding of a range of religions and worldviews appreciating diversity, continuity and change within the religions and worldviews being studied.
- engage with challenging questions of meaning and purpose raised by human existence and experience.
- recognise the concept of religion and its continuing influence on Britain’s cultural heritage and in the lives of individuals and societies in different times, cultures and places.
- explore their own religious, spiritual and philosophical ways of living, believing and thinking
The teaching of RE at Holy Trinity school is in keeping with government requirements and the statement of entitlement for children attending church schools. It is taught discreetly for an hour per week, across all year groups and also taught through daily acts of whole school collective Worship and one class Worship per week.
Holy Trinity follow the Surrey Agreed Syllabus for planning. Following the units in the agreed Surrey syllabus closely ensures that the lessons show progression across year groups, that the work is challenging and that the children are also covering a range of different religions. During RE lessons children are taught through the concept of three multi-disciplinary lenses: sociological, theological and philosophical. These follow the idea of golden threads running through the learning so children can make links between the beliefs and teachings of the religion, the impact of a religion on a community, and also questions of identity and what the learning means for the child. Lessons take the form of key questioning as the golden threads are explored, with most units of work beginning with questions about the children’s own experiences. The lessons are mainly taught by class teachers but in some cases HLTAs teach this subject. As appropriate, RE lessons include visitors, and visits to places of worship, either physically or remotely. Children are encouraged to reflect on their own learning with self-assessment/peer assessment. Through the carefully sequenced, detailed planning, staff are aware of the prior knowledge that the children will come to each unit with, and also the end of phase expectations. Each unit of work comes with key ‘sticky’ knowledge that the children are assessed on regularly through retrieval questions.
We have a visit per term from ‘ENGAGE’ Schools Christian Action team who deliver a lively and engaging Worship based on the Christian faith. In addition to this we hold PAUSE days each year as a day of whole school reflection on an area of Christianity such as Easter, or our school values. A WHAM team (We Have A Mission) is in place across KS1 and KS2 which enables children to use pupil voice to communicate positive improvements that could be made to the areas of RE and Worship. For example, the WHAM team have made it their mission to get pupils more involved in leading Worship. Christian values are displayed around the school and each class has a designated ‘Worship and reflection’ area that is often linked to class worship and enables a space for children to say/write prayers or reflect on themes discussed in RE lessons or Worship. Each worship area has a ‘Holy Trinity’s Big Questions Book’ where the children are able to write the big questions they have about faith, beliefs or things they are wondering about. No question is too big, and the children are encouraged to ask them, even if adults are unable to answer them. These questions are explored, and some in some cases, answered by an appropriate faith leader and discussed with the class.
We understand that everyone, both children and adults, will be bringing their own thoughts, ideas and beliefs to their RE lessons. At Holy Trinity, our RE lessons teach tolerance, understanding and respect for people of similar, different and no faiths. The following clip challenges us all to consider why religion and views about the world are an important part of the ever changing world in which we live, and why educating children on the differences in world views is so important.