At Bathford Church School we believe the Religious Education curriculum should enable every child to flourish and to live life in all its fullness. (John 10:10)
We believe that it is important for all our pupils to learn from and about religion, so that they can understand the world and people around them and become caring, responsible global citizens. The aim of Religious Education in our school is to enable children to know about and understand Christianity as a living faith that influences the lives of people worldwide and as the religion that has most shaped British culture and heritage. It is also to enable pupils to know and understand other world religions; to appreciate the way that religious beliefs shape life and behaviour; to develop the ability to make reasoned and informed judgements about religious and moral issues and to enhance their spiritual, moral, social and cultural development.
As a Church of England school, Religious Education plays an important role in promoting the spiritual, moral, social, and cultural development of our children and is taught throughout the school in such a way as to reflect our overall aims, values, and philosophy. Strong links are made with our school Vision of ‘Grow, Care, Serve, Share’, alongside the 18 values that are the bedrock of our Christian Collective Worship.
Religious Education plays a vital role, along with all other curriculum areas, particularly PSHE, in promoting social awareness and understanding in our children. We encourage our pupils to ask questions about the world and its people and to reflect on their own beliefs, values and experiences. We include and promote British values, ensuring that children are aware of their rights and responsibilities as UK citizens.
Our curriculum is designed to encourage creativity, imagination, enquiry, debate, discussion and independence.
We use Awareness Mystery Value (AMV) 2016 as the locally agreed syllabus for Religious Education for Bath, Bristol and North Somerset as a basis for our curriculum. We use Understanding Christianity to support the teaching of Christianity. The religions that have been selected for study are:
As Christianity is the predominant religion in the school’s pupil population and in the community surrounding the school, Christianity is the main faith studied each year with a minimum of 50% of the RE curriculum devoted to it. However, all children will experience at least four other major world faiths over their years in school.
In the Early Years Foundation Stage, children begin to explore the world of religion and belief in terms of special people, books, times, places and objects, visiting places of worship and through celebration. Children listen to and talk about stories. They are introduced to specialist words and use their senses in exploring religious beliefs, practices and forms of expression. They reflect upon their own feelings and experiences. They use their imagination and curiosity to develop their appreciation and wonder of the world in which they live. Religious Education is taught through planned purposeful play and through a mix of adult-led and child-initiated activity.
In Keys Stages 1 and 2 children’s learning is structured around 6 areas of enquiry. Pupils revisit each are of enquiry during their studies, which provides the opportunity for them to deepen their knowledge and understanding of religious and non-religious world views over each key stage. There is a balance in learning ABOUT religious and non-religious world views and FROM religious and non-religious world views.
· Beliefs, Teachings and Sources – Interpreting beliefs, teachings and sources of wisdom and authority in order to understand religions and beliefs and understanding and responding critically to beliefs and attitudes.
· Practices and Ways of Life – Exploring the impact of religions and beliefs on how people live their lives and understanding and responding critically to beliefs and attitudes.
· Forms of Expressing Meaning – Appreciating that individuals and cultures express their beliefs and values through many different forms
· Identity, Diversity and Belonging – Understanding how individuals develop a sense of identity and belonging through faith or belief and exploring the variety, difference and relationships that exist within and between religions, values and beliefs.
· Meaning, Purpose and Truth – Exploring some of the ultimate questions that confront humanity, and responding imaginatively to them.
· Values and Commitments – Understanding how moral values and a sense of obligation can come from beliefs and experience and evaluating their own and others’ values in order to make informed, rational and imaginative choices.
Awareness, Mystery and Value (AMV) 2016 contains a statutory programme of study for each key stage. Each programme of study consists of between nine and twelve units, framed as core questions, with between three and five supplementary questions for each unit. Each of these units is linked to TWO of the SIX focus areas of enquiry, as described above.
By the end of each key stage, students are expected to know, apply and understand the matters, skills and processes specified in the relevant programme of study.
There are no presumptions made as to the religious backgrounds and beliefs and values of the children and the staff. We value the religious background of all members of the school community and hope that this will encourage individuals to share their own experiences with others. All religions and their communities are treated with respect and sensitivity and we value the links, which can and are forged between home, school and a faith community. We are extremely lucky that members of the local church, St Swithun’s, regularly visit our school to carry out assemblies.
We acknowledge that each religion studied can contribute to the education of all our pupils. We promote teaching in Religious Education that stresses open enquiry and first-hand experiences wherever possible for both staff and children.
The children at Bathford Church School enjoy learning about Christianity and other religions and why people have faith and choose, or choose not, to follow a religion. Progress in Religious Education is significant and attainment is high, enabling pupils to develop confident religious literacy. Through their learning in Religious Education, children are able to make links between their own lives and those of others in their community and in the wider world, developing an understanding of other people’s beliefs, cultures and ways of life. They are able to develop their own spiritual and philosophical convictions, exploring and enhancing their own beliefs and values. As such, R.E. is invaluable in an ever changing and shrinking world.