Religious Education is a core subject at St Mary’s and contributes to the spiritual, moral, social and cultural development of our children. It is rooted in theological concepts and strong subject knowledge. Lessons are designed to be motivating and engaging for all children, and provide opportunities for children to develop empathy towards people of similar or contrasting religious views to their own. Through a classroom culture rooted in our values of love and respect, Religious Education at St Mary’s will enhance the values we seek to instil in our children.
Children will develop a deep knowledge and understanding of Christianity as a diverse global faith through exploring core beliefs using an approach that encourages thoughtful engagement with biblical text. Children also gain knowledge and understanding of a range of other religious worldviews, including Judaism, Islam, Hinduism, Sikhism and Buddhism.
Children learn about religions and worldviews through the lens of theology (what people believe), philosophy (asking questions about belief) and sociology (how belief affects people’s lives). They are encouraged to explore their own religious, spiritual and philosophical ways of living, believing and thinking, engaging with challenging questions of meaning and purpose created by human experience. They develop their skills as critical thinkers, ask meaningful questions and make connections within and across religions. Children are also given the opportunity to reflect, respond and express their own religious, spiritual and philosophical beliefs, and develop their ability to make their own choices and decisions about religion and belief based on deep knowledge and understanding of religious values and practices.
At St Mary’s, each unit of learning begins with a Big Question, which provides a starting point for theological exploration. The children also use knowledge organisers to identify the key concepts and vocabulary they will be learning. Throughout the unit, children are given opportunities to deepen their knowledge through interpreting and analysing sacred texts, grappling with challenging concepts and questions, engaging in discussion with peers and religious believers and visiting places of worship. All children have visit a mosque, synagogue, mandir, gurdwara and Buddhist temple during their time at St Mary's.
Children demonstrate their understanding and personal response to the Big Question when considered from the perspective of the faith and belief traditions that have been encountered and their own personal view point. Teachers promote a supportive environment, giving children every opportunity to be honest and authentic in their responses.
At the end of each unit, children are given the opportunity to write an essay demonstrating their knowledge and understanding of the key concepts they have been taught. The children’s learning in R.E. is assessed at the end of each unit by teachers, informed by contributions to class discussions, work in R.E. books and final essay.