At Fressingfield, we believe RE has an important role in children’s moral, social, cultural and spiritual growth. RE promotes open-mindedness and tolerance, as well as an understanding of ourselves and other people. We aim to engage children’s appreciation and understanding of the beliefs and practices of people everywhere, from our local community to those in the wider, global community. Our principles are to learn ABOUT religion and belief and to learn FROM religion and belief.
As a Church of England school, RE permeates our school ethos. We have very close contact with the local clergy, two of whom are also school chaplains. Our children visit local churches frequently, both to worship and also as part of their RE curriculum.
We have school themes, eg Friendship, Generosity, Compassion, which are used each half-term and develop children’s understanding in assemblies. Church visitors ensure their assemblies are planned around these themes.
Prayer is an important part of our school day. We have a school prayer, written by children, we say grace daily and we have opportunities throughout the week to pray or reflect. We also have a designated prayer table, which is interactive and where children may write their own prayers, which might be read in assembly. Children also play an active part in assemblies, with older children planning and delivering assemblies in small groups, often using younger children to help them.
To teach RE, we use the Emmanuel Scheme of Work in all classes, including Reception and Nursery. This is detailed and comprehensive, giving teachers clear breadth and depth, which children build on year by year. RE is generally blocked, and taught at the beginning or end of term or on special feast days. As a Christian school, the majority of our blocks are Christian, but we also include blocks on other faiths, including Judaism, Islam and Humanism. Our visitors include local clergy, and also the Open The Book team. We may ask visitors to help us teach blocks, to enhance children’s understanding. We also ensure RE lessons are fun and exciting and meet the needs of all learners. This may include cooking, creative activities, role-play and outdoor learning. We sometimes plan in whole-school days, organised and delivered by outside organisations, eg a Pilgrim Day.
We also organise an annual RE trip, which is open to children in Key Stages 1 and 2. These have included visits to a mosque, a cathedral, a Sikh gurdwara and an orthodox church. On returning, we spend time showing and telling other children what we have learned, so all children can benefit.
By the end of each key stage, we expect pupils to know, understand and apply skills related to learning about religion and belief, and learning from religion and belief.
Staff assess children using the learning grids from the Emmanuel scheme in Key Stages 1 and 2, and by using Tapestry in Early Years using Development Matters statements. We also carry out learning walks, book scrutinies and pupil perception questionnaires as part of our RE assessment.