Iver Heath

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Religious Education

Iver Heath infant School and Nursery Religious Education Policy

September 2020

Introduction

Article 13: Every child must be free to say what they think and to seek and receive information of any kind as long as it is within the law.

 Article 14: Every child has the right to think and believe what they want and also to practise their religion, as long as they are not stopping other people from enjoying their rights.

 Article 29: Education must develop every child’s personality, talents and abilities to the full. It must encourage the child’s respect for human rights, as well as respect for their parents, their own and other cultures, and the environment.

Religious education teaches children about the nature of religious beliefs and practices. It also teaches children about the importance and influence these religions have. The RE curriculum helps with the development of a child’s spiritual, moral and cultural development. It enables children to learn about some of the major religions; festivals, special books, beliefs and practices as well as encourage children to investigate and reflect on some of the most fundamental questions asked by people. At Iver Heath Infant school and Nursery we help children to learn from religions as well as about religions. 

Legal requirements

RE is required to be taught alongside the National Curriculum which all maintained schools must provide for their pupils. The special status of RE as part of the curriculum, but not the National Curriculum is important. It ensures RE has an equal standing in relation to National Curriculum subjects within a school, but is not subject to statutory prescribed national targets, programmes of study and assessment arrangements. (Education Reform Act 1988). In Iver Heath Infant school and nursery we follow the Bucks Agreed Syllabus for RE.

The curriculum provided must promote the spiritual, moral, cultural, mental and physical development of pupils and prepare pupils for the opportunities, responsibilities and experiences of adult life. 

Intent

Our objectives in the teaching of religious education are:

  • To develop an awareness of spiritual and moral issues in life experiences.
  • To develop a knowledge of some of the major world religions.
  • To be able to reflect on own experiences and to develop a personal approach to questions which may be posed.
  • To develop an understanding of a range of religious traditions and to appreciate the cultural differences in today’s world.
  • To promote the rights of children to understand that they have the right to practise their religion and have their own say.
  • To respect other people’s views and to celebrate the diversity in society.
  • To help children develop personal, moral and cultural values.
  • To develop children’s awareness of the festivals, books, religious beliefs and practice of all major religions.

Implementation

Nursery

Nursery provision (FS1) does not have to follow the Agreed Syllabus, but pupils follow the areas of learning as laid out in the EYFS curriculum. Opportunities for learning, both child-initiated and adult-led, are planned as for any other aspect of learning appropriate to children of this age. As part of the EYFS curriculum the children experience the following:

  • Opportunities to discuss people in their families and how their families are both similar and different to the families of others;
  • Discussions and experiences of special events from a variety of religions and cultures;
  • A growing understanding of other people’s customs and traditions which may be different from their own.

 

Cultures and faiths represented locally are the focus for the children’s learning.

Reception

In Reception (YR), pupils’ learning and progress are structured within the EYFS, and the areas of learning and development. As much learning in EYFS is pupil-initiated, there is no prescription as to the religions included other than that Christianity should predominate.

In order to meet the Early Learning Goals (ELG) and the requirements of the Buckinghamshire Agreed Syllabus, Reception classes do include specific planned activities (e.g. on festivals, special places) for developing children’s knowledge and understanding of religious beliefs (e.g. through circle time, show and tell and story-time, as well as unplanned, child-initiated opportunities and every day routines).

As part of the curriculum the children experience the following:

  • Stories of Jesus and the Bible.
  • Stories from different religions and Sacred Texts.
  • Listening to feelings and ideas from other children.
  • Questioning.
  • Prayers, hymns, festivals and celebrations.
  • Learning about each other’s homes and families.
  • Dance/movement to express ideas to music from different faith traditions.
  • Dance/movement to retell stories.
  • Drawing and writing based on religious stories.
  • Sharing experiences from their home and faith backgrounds.
  • Listen to basic codes of behaviour from different religions (e.g. the Golden Rule) and talk about their own ideas.

Key Stage 1

Curriculum

The school follows the Bucks Agreed Syllabus for RE.

Lessons are timetabled for half an hour a week. There are many cross curricular links that can be made between the PSHE curriculum, the RE curriculum and the articles that make up the United Nations Agreed Rights of the Child. Teachers plan these lessons trying to ensure an equal balance is maintained.

Throughout KS1 children will explore Christianity and one other principal religion in some depth.

For Christianity and the other main faith Sikhism, children will learn:

  • What people believe about God, humanity and the natural world;
  • How and why some stories are sacred and important in religion;
  • The main celebrations and how and why these are important;
  • How and why symbols express religious meaning;
  • Figures who have an influence on others locally, nationally and globally in religion;
  • Where and how people belong and why belonging is important.

In exploring these aspects of the religions, the children will also reflect on:

  • Their own sense of who they are and their uniqueness as a person in a family and community;
  • What they believe, why what they think is important and how these influence their day-to-day lives.

In Year One we:

  • Consider what makes me special, groups that I belong to, who is important to me and why.
  • Celebrate events in the children’s own lives eg the birth of a sibling, birthdays, family weddings etc. How do we celebrate? Special clothes and food and the giving of presents and cards.
  • Learn about the Harvest Festival. What is it? Why do we celebrate harvest? Learn special songs to sing in a whole school celebration. Why should we give food to those who need it?
  • Learn the Hindu/Sikh story of Diwali. Share the story of Rama and Sita, act it out and make masks. Talk about good overcoming evil and light shining through darkness to bring hope.
  • Learn about the Christmas story and that for Christians Jesus is thought of as the light of the world.
  • Discuss and learn about the traditions of Christmas including lighting the advent candles, opening an advent calendar and the making, giving and receiving of cards
  • Learn about the Chinese New Year, the naming of the year after a different animal, how it is celebrated, the lion and dragon dances and the making of a red purse.
  • Visit the local church and learn the names for some of the important features eg the pulpit and the font;
  • Think of questions to ask Father Andrew about the church and what happens in the church.
  • Visit a contrasting place of worship for example a Gurdwara and learn how it is similar and different from the local church;
  • Read and discuss the Christian story of ‘The Good Samaritan’. Why is it good to help others? What can we do to help?
  • Learn about the Sikh festival of Vaisakhi. How is it celebrated? Learn about the special foods and parades.
  • Learn about the five Ks and why these are important to Sikhs;
    discuss books that are special to the children. Look at a bible and the Guru Granth Sahib. Why are these special books?

 In Year Two we:

  • Discuss what makes a home a special place (people, things, feelings, activities) and what makes some places important in religions (home, churches, mosques, gurdwara) Extend by discussing what can special places tell us about people? (beliefs, feelings, practices and values);
  • Discuss who is important to us and why (family, friends, teachers, celebrities, Jesus, vicar, God etc). Extend by discussing how special people influence the way we behave (setting an example, respect and influence);
  • Revisit prior learning from Year One about groups that we belong to and how they make us feel (family, school, clubs, faith). We relate this to considering whether belonging to groups makes a difference to who we are (rules, activities, values, feelings);
  • Think about what it means to be us (likes, dislikes, hobbies, interests, family and friends). Extend by discussing what we think the perfect person would be like. Can we agree? (beliefs, behavior, values and feelings)
  • Consider how we are the same but different (in the context of families, homes, possessions, relationships, special needs etc).
  • Read a range of special stories with a meaning and religious stories in the context of important religious people, beliefs and how the world began. Extend by discussing how we should look after our world and each other. (stories may be read during treasure time, literacy lessons, assemblies, foundation subject lessons and or RE lessons);
  • Build upon the prior learning from Year One about special times that we celebrate with our families and friends and why/ (eg birthdays, festival etc). There will be a special focus on Diwali, Chinese New Year, Christmas, Easter, Vaisahki and Eid centering on the religious stories and what each religious group does to celebrate;
  • Discuss what special occasions show us about what is important to people (beliefs, feelings and values);
  • Revisit prior learning from Year One about the meaning of harvest and the importance of giving;
  • Encourage visitors of Christian and Sikh faith to share their knowledge and their beliefs;
  • Visit a contrasting place of worship eg a gurdwara or mosque and learn about how this is similar and different to the local church (this visit is planned after careful liaison with Year One teachers to ensure experiences are built on rather than repeated);
  • Refer back to prior learning from Year One and embed and extend the understanding of the importance of the five Ks in the Sikh religion and special objects eg cross in the Christian religion

Resources

Books in the library representing various of the main religions.

Available in the resource cupboard:

There is a box of resources for each of the main religions e.g. Christianity, Sikhism, Hinduism, Muslim and Jewish. Included in these boxes are stories and artefacts pertinent to each of the religions.

 

Equal Opportunities

We provide equity of opportunity throughout our curriculum to ensure that all pupils are able to both contribute to and develop from the learning experiences Iver Heath Infant School and nursery offers. Where possible we want all of our pupils to have opportunities to encounter local faith communities through visits to local places of worship or visits from members of local faith communities.

Withdrawal

Parents of pupils at a maintained school may personally request that their child may be excused from religious education and/or attendance of collective worship. If a parent does request for their child to be withdrawn they will need to meet with the relevant teachers and the head teacher in order to discuss the specific religious issues which the parent objects to and to discuss the practical implications of their child being withdrawn.

Inclusion and Diversity

In whole class teaching differentiation for all pupils occurs through:

  • discussion;
  • well-focused and challenging questioning;
  • praise of individual contributions;
  • high expectations encouraging pupils to elaborate, suggest, make observations, reflect and speculate;
  • thinking time.

In individual, paired or group work differentiation will take place by resources, variety of tasks, response and support.

More able children are identified by the class teacher and their learning is enhanced through targeted questioning and/or extending written output.

Children with special educational needs (SEN) and English as an additional language (EAL) are supported using a variety of support materials suggested by class teachers, SENCO, The Specialist Teaching Service and other outside agencies. For children with physical disabilities, we endeavour to secure appropriate apparatus in order for them to access the curriculum and we consult with relevant outside agencies.

We ensure that we show children positive images of the gender groups in society.  We celebrate the contribution that other ethnic groups and cultures make across the curriculum. 

We identify those children for whom the school receives pupil premium funds and we ensure that support is given to these children as appropriate. The school may on occasion also offer financial support to these children, for example in the form of a payment for a trip. For further information on the school’s use of pupil premium funding please see the ‘Pupil Premium Strategy Form’ available on the school website.

 Homework

Whilst the school believes that our young children work hard during the day and therefore need some relaxation time after school, we are always interested in research and information gathering that our children are often keen to report on to their classmates.

When children have time in another country they are encouraged to report back on their experiences and to discuss similarities and differences.

Health and Safety

All staff ensure that Health and Safety regulations are adhered to when using equipment such as interactive whiteboards and CD players etc.

 

Impact

  • Teachers assess pupils’ progress both formally and informally. (There are some aspects, which are important to RE, that it is not appropriate to assess objectively e.g. a child’s own personal beliefs.)
  • In Early Years each child is assessed in relation to criteria given by Development Matters statements from the Foundation Stage Curriculum and the Foundation Stage Profile. This and our own Creative Curriculum form the basis for the individual year group R.E. Learning Ladders.
  • We use our R.E. Learning Ladders in each year group to assess what pupils have achieved and from this plan what they need to revisit.
  • Our Marking Policy reflects the importance we place on immediate assessment and feedback.

 

 The R.E. Learning Ladders can be seen on the school website at www.iverheathing.org.uk.

Above all, teaching and learning R.E. should provide children with challenge and enjoyment. It should teach them about the Christian religion and one other in some depth and about aspects of other religions relevant to the local area. It should encourage them to ask questions and to begin to express their own views in response to what they have been taught.

 Monitoring and evaluation

The monitoring of the teaching and learning in R.E. is carried out by the humanities team and the senior leadership team. This can be done via learning walks, book looks, data information and discussion with both children and teachers.

Reporting to Parents

We hold two parents’ consultation evenings during the year, one in the Autumn term and the other in the Spring term. Written reports are given to parents at the end of the Summer term and parents have the opportunity to discuss these with the class teacher if they choose.

We have an open-door policy to discuss strengths and strategies to support learning in all areas of the curriculum.

 The Governing Body

The Governors monitor the teaching and learning of Religious Education throughout the school via the governor responsible for the curriculum who reports to the Pupil Progress and Curriculum Committee.

 

This policy will be reviewed every three years or earlier if appropriate