Our RE curriculum enables pupils to acquire a rich, deep knowledge and understanding of Christian belief and practice. This is done by following the Kent Agreed Syllabus, using the high-quality resources from Understanding Christianity. This approach engages with biblical text and theological ideas. Together, we explore core concepts of faith, asking questions and promoting positive dialogue.
Within the curriculum, a spiral progression builds on both the core concepts of Christianity and major world faiths, including Sikhism, Hinduism, Judaism and Islam. This allows the golden threads of common themes to be interwoven throughout all learning, both in RE and in the wider curriculum.
The RE curriculum is intrinsic to our Christian vision, supporting our Christian Foundations and Learning Values. RE provides a vast wealth of opportunities to explore British values and spiritual moral social and cultural issues and ideas. Within these moments, we are able to challenge stereotypes, prejudice and extremism, whilst providing a balanced and informed dialogue.
Pupils develop a wide range of skills including enquiry, analysis, interpretation, evaluation and reflection. We provide a safe space for them to explore their own religious and spiritual experiences, by holding a mirror to their actions and opening doors to take their learning further.
In order to see RE as a living subject, staff are encouraged to use trips and visitors to enrich the curriculum and offer children experiences which will foster their respect for others.
RE is an academic subject, delivered through theology, sociology and philosophy. As a church school, Christianity has at least 50% of the curriculum time. The teaching of RE is between 5 and 10% of the teaching week, however, the shape that this teaching takes can be wide and varied, drawing on the children’s wider knowledge and experiences in order to give them a hook into the learning.
We work closely with Canterbury Diocese. Staff are encouraged to attend regular training and the RE lead attends network meetings in order to update knowledge and share good practice. We work closely with our neighbouring schools to support staff, share resources, moderate work and offer opportunities for children to explore RE in new and meaningful ways.
The Big Frieze
The Big Frieze is designed to give teachers the opportunity to make pupils aware of the wider context of each concept, unit and text studied in the understanding Christianity materials. Reminding pupils regularly of where a particular text occurs within the 'big story', by pointing it out on the Frieze, helps to build up a coherent understanding of the core concepts and relationship between them.
Teaching & Learning Approach
By addressing key questions, Understanding Christianity encourages pupils to explore core Bible texts, examine the impact for Christians and consider possible implications. Each unit incorporates the three elements:
- Making sense of the text – Developing skills of reading and interpretation; understanding how Christians interpret, handle and use biblical texts; making sense of the meanings of texts for Christians
- Understanding the impact – Examining ways in which Christians respond to biblical texts and teachings, and how they put their beliefs into action in diverse ways within the Christian community and in the world
- Making connections – Evaluating, reflecting on and connecting the texts and concepts studied, and discerning possible connections between these and pupils’ own lives and ways of understanding the world.
Each unit begins with a ‘way in’ and then offers teaching and learning ideas for each element. The teacher chooses how to weave together the elements, from making sense of the text, through looking at the impact on the world of the Christian, and helping to make connections with the world of the pupil, in order to achieve the outcomes.
This model shows that the Understanding Christianity approach is not just getting pupils to learn what Christians think. Instead, it is about developing skills to help them ‘think theologically’ alongside learning lots of knowledge about the Bible, Christian belief and practice. It also shows that these three elements do not represent rigid, distinct steps, but that pupils can ‘make connections’ whilst ‘making sense of the text’, for example.
© Understanding Christianity 2019