At King Edward Primary School, we believe that it is vital for all our pupils to learn from and about religion, so that they can understand the world around them. Through Religious Education, pupils develop their knowledge of the world faiths, and their understanding and awareness of the beliefs, values and traditions of other individuals, societies, communities and cultures. We encourage our pupils to ask questions about the world and to reflect on their own beliefs, values and experiences. Our Religious Education curriculum is enhanced further with trips to places of worship in our local area. We use the Nottinghamshire Agreed Syllabus as the basis for our curriculum and record our learning through whole class ‘Reflection books’ alongside written work.
Withdrawal from all or part of Religious Education
We are committed to inclusive Religious Education and always hope that no parent/carer will wish to withdraw their children from all or part of the subject. Nevertheless, it remains the right of parents /carers to withdraw their children from RE (and / or collective worship) if they wish to. To exercise this right, parents are asked to contact/write to the Head Teacher informing them of the desire to have their child/children withdrawn from all or parts of RE. The Head Teacher can discuss any concerns, (although no reasons have to be given for withdrawal or judgements made) clarify the nature of RE provided by the school, and look at the options available to parents.
If parents wish to withdraw their children from RE lessons or any part of the RE curriculum, the school has a duty to supervise them, though not to provide additional teaching or to incur extra cost. Where the pupil has been withdrawn, alternative arrangements are to be made for RE of the kind the parents want the pupil to receive. These arrangements will be made by the parents;- the school is not expected to make these arrangements. It must also be noted that the children MUST do RE. They are not permitted to do other curriculum subjects whilst their peers are undergoing RE Sessions.
The following options could be:
Being educated off site in RE at another school (e.g. if pupils are Roman Catholic) or a setting such as at mosque or undergoing teaching from a priest etc relating to the religion they are affiliated to. This must not however, interfere with the child’s attendance.
If alternative provision cannot be found at another setting related to the parents/child’s religion, then the child may be supervised in school doing RE set by the parents that will seek to further the child’s knowledge of the religion the parent wishes. E.g When a class is learning about Hinduism, then a child may be set work by their parents on Christianity if they have no wish for their child to learn about Hinduism. It is not the responsibility of school to find alternative work.
At times, parents are happy for their child to learn about a particular religion but are not comfortable with their child/children taking part in practical workshops/visits relating to that religion. If this is the case, then alternative provision/ supervision will be sought where possible. Please let the Head teacher know so that children may be given alternative RE provision on these occasions.
The school has due regard to the Nottinghamshire County Council syllabus on RE and Collective Worship and Nottinghamshire County Council SACRE guidance on collective worship in planning the opportunities and experiences we offer children. Collective worship is therefore of a broadly Christian character but encompasses all faith groups providing opportunities to celebrate and reflect on all major religious festivals and holy days.
The purpose of Collective Worship
The main aims of collective worship are as follows:
Collective Worship should:
Our RE Curriculum compliments our SMSC and RSHE curriculum. It includes the promotion of British Values. You can read all about British Values by clicking on the internal link below...
We aim to promote all values not only through RE but in all that we do in school. Children are encouraged through all aspects of school life to become caring, tolerant and responsible adults which will positively contribute to the world and British society.
What does the Nottinghamshire SACRE Document say about British Values?
Respect for All, Global Learning,
British Values and Community Cohesion:
What does RE offer to pupils?
The Nottinghamshire Agreed Syllabus provides many opportunities for RE teaching and learning to challenge stereotypical views and to appreciate difference positively.
Learning for diversity.
Government guidance advises that “every school is responsible for educating children and young people who will live and work in a country which is diverse in terms of cultures, religions or beliefs”. A recurring theme of government and HMI guidance on Religious Education is to “develop a positive attitude towards other people, respecting their right to hold different beliefs from their own, and towards living in a world of diverse religions.” RE guidance also requires schools to enable pupils to examine the consequences of anti-social behaviour such as racism and to develop strategies for dealing with it. Equally, Ofsted (2014) also points to the major contribution that RE makes in promoting British values and enabling learners to develop positive attitudes through “valuing diversity, promoting multicultural understanding and respect.”
Promoting community cohesion aims to contribute to reducing the corrosive effects of intolerance. It is too simplistic to assume that merely by teaching about the major world religions, RE will automatically contribute to community cohesion. It is even possible for weaker teaching to reinforce stereotypes: e.g. ‘Muslims are from Pakistan’ or ‘Christians are white’. It is valuable to note that, for example, Christians, Jews and Muslims all give great significance to Jesus within their religious tradition, holding some aspects in common and diverging on other fundamental points. There is also, of course, great diversity within religions, where different interpretations can clash sharply. As well as learning about the historical and current relationship between cultures, pupils should study the ways in which one religion has influenced the development of another.
Visits and visitors.
RE is the ideal vehicle for building links with faith communities in the local area of the school. Pupils need opportunities to meet people of different faiths and cultures to develop a respect for those who believe, think and practice differently, without feeling that their own identity or views are threatened. In fact, pupils can deepen and clarify their sense of identity through their encounter with the ‘other’. It is important to set ground rules for discussion when religious differences are explored, in order to create a safe and positive environment. This is particularly relevant where there may be media misrepresentations and commonly held negative stereotypes e.g. Islamophobic ideas, unwarranted negativity to any religion. RE has a place in reducing extremism.
Breadth – cohesion for all. In terms of community cohesion in Nottinghamshire, it is more meaningful to pupils if the religions taught include those of their own families and communities, including smaller faith groups in order to accord equal value and respect. Similarly, children should learn that non-religious perspectives on life, including examples such as Humanism, are also valid and widespread. Large numbers of our pupils come from families where no religion is practised and they must not be made to feel that their lives or families are less worthy as a result.
Planned support for teaching.
At key stages 2 and 3 there are planned units for investigating these important issues. For Key Stage 2, see the unit on ‘Enquiring into places of worship through visits’ and for Years 7-9 ‘How can the towns in Nottinghamshire become more respectful places?’
School inspection, from September 2014, explores and judges the contribution schools make to actively promoting British values. Questions about whether social and moral values are best described as ‘British values’ or seen as more universal human values will continue to be debated but for the purposes of teachers of RE the subject offers opportunities to build an accurate knowledge base about religions and beliefs in relation to values. This in turn supports children and young people so that they are able to move beyond attitudes of tolerance towards increasing respect so that they can celebrate diversity. RE makes a key educational contribution to pupils’ explorations of British values. Teaching the Nottinghamshire Agreed Syllabus for Religious Education will enable pupils to learn to think for themselves about British values. Values, education and moral development are a part of a school’s holistic mission to contribute to the wellbeing of all people within our communities. The RE curriculum focuses learning in some of these areas, but pupils’ moral development is a whole school issue.
• Mutual Tolerance.
Schools do not accept intolerant attitudes to members of the community: attitudes which reject other people on the basis of race, faith, gender, sexual orientation or age are rightly challenged. The baseline for a fair community is that each person’s right to ‘be themselves’ is to be accepted by all. Tolerance may not be enough: RE can challenge children and young people to be increasingly respectful and to celebrate diversity, but tolerance is a starting point. It is much better than intolerance.
• Respectful attitudes.
In the RE curriculum attention focusses on developing mutual respect between those of different faiths and beliefs, promoting an understanding of what a society gains from diversity. Pupils will learn about diversity in religions and worldviews, and will be challenged to respect other persons who see the world differently from themselves. Recognition and celebration of human diversity in many forms can flourish where pupils understand different faiths and beliefs, and are challenged to be broad minded and open hearted.
In RE pupils learn the significance of each person’s ideas and experiences through methods of discussion. In debating the fundamental questions of life, pupils learn to respect a range of perspectives. This contributes to learning about democracy, examining the idea that we all share a responsibility to use our voice and influence for the wellbeing of others.
• The Rule of Law.
In RE pupils examine different examples of codes for human life, including commandments, rules or precepts offered by different religious communities.
They learn to appreciate how individuals choose between good and evil, right and wrong, and they learn to apply these ideas to their own communities. They learn that fairness requires that the law apply equally to all, irrespective of a person’s status or wealth.
• Individual liberty.
In RE, pupils consider questions about identity, belonging and diversity, learning what it means to live a life free from constraints. They study examples of pioneers of human freedom, including those from within different religions, so that they can examine tensions between the value of a stable society and the value of change for human development.