Religious Education enables pupils/students to investigate and reflect on some of the fundamental questions asked by people. At Villa Real School we develop the pupils’/students’ knowledge and understanding of the major world faiths, for example, Christianity, Sikhism, Buddhism, Islam, Judaism and Hinduism. We aim to help our pupils learn from religion as well as about religions. This will enable our pupils to understand the World they live in and the community where they live.
The aims of Religious Education are to help pupils:
Develop an awareness of spiritual and moral issues in life experiences
Develop knowledge and understanding of major world religions and value systems found in Britain
Develop an understanding of what it means to be committed to a religious tradition; be able to reflect on their own experiences and to develop a personal response to the major religions
Develop an understanding of religious traditions and to appreciate the cultural difference of others in our world
Develop investigative and research skills and to enable them to make reasoned judgements about religious issues
Have respect for other people’s views and to celebrate the diversity in our society
Our school’s Religious Education curriculum is based on the agreed syllabus for Religious Education in Durham with a commitment to deepening study of 2 religions each year with a focus given to promoting tolerance and understanding. The Education Act 1996 states that an agreed Syllabus must reflect the fact that religious traditions in Great Britain are in the main Christian, whilst taking account of the teachings and practices of the other principle religions represented in Great Britain. However, the requirement also allows parents/carers to withdraw their child from Religious Education lessons if they so wish, although this should only be done once parents/carers have given written notice to the Headteacher.
Teaching and learning styles:
We base our teaching and learning style in Religious Education on the key principle that good teaching allows our pupils/students both to learn about religious traditions and to reflect on what the religious ideas and concepts mean to them. Pupils and students are encouraged to think about their own views and values in relation to the themes and topics covered in the Religious Education curriculum.
Pupils/students carry out research into religious themes and topics and we use their experiences at religious festivals such as Christmas, Easter, Diwali, Passover, and to develop their thinking and understanding. We organise school visits to local places of worship and invite representatives of religious groups to come into school and work alongside the pupils/students. We involve our pupils and students in the planning and delivery of whole school assemblies and invite parents or carers to come and join in with our celebrations.
At Villa Real School we recognise that all classes have pupils/students of widely different abilities, and so we provide suitable learning opportunities and resources to match the challenge of the task to the ability of the individual student. We achieve this in a variety of ways, for example by:
Providing resources of different complexity, adapted to the ability of the individual student.
Using support staff to work closely alongside individual pupils/students or small groups.
Using picture symbols, Makaton signing, PECs book, sensory stories, objects of reference and ICT.
PLANNING AND ASSESSMENT
Villa Real School use the RE National Curriculum and Durham Local Authority’s Agreed Syllabus as a benchmark for our lessons, expanding this to meet the needs of our pupils. Teachers use their professional judgement when planning RE, so that provision allows for continuity and progression and is accessible, meaningful, and meets the varying needs and abilities of all pupils/students irrespective of age.
We ensure that the topics or themes studied build upon prior learning and prepare pupils/students for the next step in their learning. The Religious Education Co-ordinator will provide each key stage Teacher with a 3year Long Term Plan that maps out the topics to be studied in each term. Teachers will use ‘Cornerstones’ for curriculum content and lesson plans for each unit of work for each term. Teachers will differentiate the breadth of study to suit the individual needs of our pupils/students. As we have mixed key stage classes, at the end of each topic the objectives are highlighted to ensure year groups do not repeat topics.
In the Foundation Stage Religious Education objectives are set out in the Early Years Outcomes of developing a pupils’/students’ knowledge and understanding of the world and to develop personal qualities. Work is recorded, monitored and assessed in Early Years Journals and Earwig.
In key stage 1 and 2 pupils/students will build on their prior learning and deepen their factual knowledge of religious beliefs. Pupils’/students’ progress is recorded on ‘Earwig’ and individual work books.
In Key Stage 3 pupils will build an increasingly sophisticated knowledge and depth of understanding of religion and beliefs. Pupils’ progress is recorded on ‘Earwig’ and individual books. Assessments are for B Squared, which is updated and reviewed twice yearly.
In Key Stage 4 and 5 some students are taught Religious Education through accredited qualifications. ASDAN Towards Independence or ASDAN Short Courses in Beliefs and Values. ASDAN provides a framework of activities through which personal, social and independence skills can be developed and accredited. Towards Independence offers formal recognition for small steps of achievement towards a larger goal. Modules can be used separately and accumulated to build a record of personal achievement. ASDAN Sensory qualifications are offered to students studying an informal curriculum.
MONITORING AND REVIEWING
The Religious Education Co-ordinator is responsible for monitoring the standards of pupils’ learning and the quality of the curriculum. This is achieved through monitoring teachers medium term plans, learning visits, work scrutiny, Earwig and observations of whole school events and festivals.
Every year the Religious Education overview, policy and accreditation is reviewed and updated by all school staff.
In Villa Real School we have boxes of artefacts, sensory stories, books, and DVD’s about Judaism, Sikhism, Hinduism, Buddhism, Christianity all teachers have access to ‘Cornerstone on line’ which includes lesson plans, power points and stories.
Assessment at Villa Real School is continuous and of the whole REAL curriculum. Assessment is during and after learning and to ensure and assure progress for all. Assessment starts at each child’s unique starting point. Our assessment schedule focuses on moving our pupils/students onto the next stage of their learning and moving between key stages and pathways; and for life beyond school. Assessment is based on EHCP REAL objectives.
Summative assessments of pupil’s/student’s levels are carried out on a termly basis in order to track attainment and progress at an individual, group, class, year group, Key Stage and whole School level. This information is also used to identify pupils/students who need additional support.
Entry Level exams are assessed by AQA. Every class uses ongoing assessment to identify pupils/students who fall behind. Swift interventions and support is given immediately.