"At St Anne's, we teach Religious Education so that children can ponder some of life's biggest questions"
RE, at St Anne’s, is a highly valued academic subject that enables understanding of how religion and beliefs affect our lives. At St. Anne’s, we believe that RE has a vital role to play in the development of the whole child. Our aims in teaching RE are to encourage self-awareness, respect for others, open mindedness, appreciation and wonder as we tackle some of life's biggest and deepest questions. Alongside this, we harness the desire to aid pupils in forming their own sense of purpose in life, along with the ability to respond to a range of important questions relating to their personal, spiritual and moral development. At St Anne’s, we have an important role to play in empowering pupils to be courageous advocates for change both now and into adult life. We encourage pupils to think widely and deeply about current issues; empower pupils to understand political processes and their own rights and responsibilities in society; encourage pupils to think of creative solutions to problems; and enable pupils to express themselves confidently and articulately to decision-makers and others.
In RE lessons, we will have informed and compassionate discussions, we will ask big questions and become philosophical thinkers. As we live in a multi-cultural society and with the ever-increasing travel opportunities, it is important that children understand the way people live their lives, for example their clothes, food, belief systems, holidays, festivals and customs. This will help children know and understand more about people from cultures other than their own, and help them to be more tolerant of others.
Our bespoke RE curriculum was developed by the RE lead, the Headteacher and Sue Glover, RE consultant from Chester Diocese and is in line with our school vision and values. The concepts of the curriculum are linked to the cycle of the Church’s year of Incarnation, Salvation, Resurrection and Holy Spirit. Our units also fit in with the whole school curriculum and supports our school values of care, challenge, inspire and respect. The RE lead has lots of opportunities for CPD throughout the year and is Trafford’s Cluster Lead which allows the most current resources and knowledge to be shared.
Approximately three quarters of the RE curriculum taught is specifically related to the Christian faith, exploring Christianity locally and worldwide. However, Christianity is also taught alongside other world faiths, giving children the opportunity to explore and contrast different religions. Approximately a quarter of the RE curriculum is related to other world faiths including Islam, Hinduism and Judaism. This approach provides learners with a greater understanding of the world and society in which they are growing up, developing the important British Value of Tolerance.
The resource ‘Understanding Christianity’ is used to support the delivery of Christian elements of our curriculum, it develops pupils' own thinking and understanding of Christianity; explores the significant theological concepts within Christianity as part of developing pupils wider religious, theological and cultural literacy; and supports teachers in developing their own knowledge and understanding of Christianity theology to be able to teach with confidence The other world faiths are planned using other schemes of work, alongside the RE lead.
As a result of our RE curriculum, we work towards enabling every child to flourish and to live life in all its fullness. (John 10:10). Staff help educate for dignity and respect encouraging all to live well together, preparing pupils for the opportunities, responsibilities and experiences of life in modern Britain. As a result of using UCP as our main resource, we are exposing our pupils to high quality teaching and learning where children engage with biblical text and theological ideas. We are engaging and challenging our pupils through an exploration of core concepts and questions
Through our curriculum, there are opportunities for pupils to understand the role of foundational texts, beliefs, rituals, and practices and how they help form identity in a range of religions and worldviews. Pupils explore how these may change in different times, places and cultures. RE at St Anne’s goes beyond a sociological study of religious phenomena and will introduce pupils to a range of relevant disciplines including theology, philosophy and the human and social sciences. As a result of high-quality teaching and learning, RE enables pupils to develop confident religious literacy.
Our learning in RE lessons is varied and paced, each unit of work begins with a wow moment to enthuse the children. Teachers plan high level questions carefully using Bloom’s Taxonomy question stems to challenge the children’s thinking and understanding. Within a RE lesson, children have the opportunity to handle artefacts, explore sacred texts and Bible stories, use imaginative play and drama, respond to art, music and dance, meet visitors from local religious communities and make visits to religious places of worship such as Chester Cathedral. During sessions, children debate and communicate their religious beliefs, worldviews and philosophical ideas and answer and ask ultimate questions posed by these. Our RE planning ensures that we re-visit key concepts in each Key Stage; we use the ‘digging deeper’ elements of Understanding Christianity to allow for a mastery approach and provide appropriate levels of challenge. We re-tell the ‘big story’ throughout our RE lessons: each class have their own story telling box to remind them of the Big Story throughout the year. Teachers utilise the Big Frieze resource to support learning and assessment. RE lessons are not limited to the classroom: teachers and students take learning outdoors and use the school’s spiritual garden wherever possible and our EYFS partake in their RE sessions at St Anne’s Church. There are opportunities to visit places of worship throughout the curriculum where children have first-hand experiences of sacred places.
Pupils enjoy learning about other religions and why people choose, or choose not to follow a religion. Through their R.E. learning, the 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 cultures and ways of life. Pupils extend their knowledge and understanding of religions and beliefs, develop a religious vocabulary and interpret religious symbolism in a variety of forms, reflect on questions of meaning, offering their own thoughtful and informed insights into religious and secular world-views and they explore ultimate questions of beliefs and values in relation to a range of contemporary issues in an ever-changing society.
St Anne’s holds a variety of religious activities throughout the year, including harvest celebrations, nativities, Easter productions and Education Sunday. The school and the church have good links, with the vicar being an active member of the school, participating in lessons, leading collective worship and is also a member of the board of Governors. We also celebrate festivals from world religions such as Diwali, Eid-al-Fitr and Holi. We actively encourage our families to enhance our learning in RE lessons by sharing photos, artefacts or to come and talk to classes about their faith.
Assessment criteria has been developed in line with the building blocks in the Understanding Christianity Project, to enable teachers to assess the progress of the children as they move through the key stages. End of unit assessments are used to determine the children’s’ understanding and inform teacher’s planning. Children’s views and opinions can also be captured using the app, EvidenceMe. This data is reviewed on a termly basis by the subject leader who also carries out learning walks, floor book scrutinies and lesson observations. Teachers moderate children’s learning journey’s together and an exemplar folder is available for teachers to use as a reference when assessing an end of unit piece. At the end of each unit of work – children will be asked how they have ‘let their light shine,’ in line with the school’s vision, sharing any good work or Christianity in action projects with their class.
RE appears across the curriculum in a variety of learning challenges: we endeavour to make RE cross-curricular and study people of faith and their impact throughout our foundation subjects. Our learning challenge overviews include scripture from the Bible to ensure that God’s word is at the heart of what we do and learn at St Anne’s. At St Anne’s, we show our Christian distinctiveness throughout our curriculum, not just in our RE lessons (see whole school curriculum distinctiveness document). Children in Year 2 and Year 4 have the opportunity to achieve a Young Leaders Award whereby they take on extra responsibility for their community and become good stewards of the earth, showing courageous advocacy as they champion a cause which is special and meaningful to them.
As a result of our launch day focused on The Big Story, children are confident in re-telling the key events from the Bible. Children confidently know the eight core concepts of our RE curriculum: the display in the hall created on the launch day is also used as a teaching tool in the classrooms.
As a result of RE at St Anne’s, children know that we have lots of children from different faiths in our school. Children are able to share their learning, delivered by their peers in RE lessons and have the opportunity to experience their friends’ religious festivals and cultures such as Chinese New Year and Holi. As a result of being a Christian school, children are able to become courageous advocates for change by partaking part in the Young Leaders Award and other Christian charity events throughout the year. Children in Year Three were able to recall the impact they made through completing the YLA award in support of refugees from Ukraine.
Our recent book look showed that spirituality across the school is spontaneous; children have opportunity to pray during and outside of their RE lessons; the spiritual garden is used to take learning outdoors; and children are able to use the window, mirror, door analogy to reflect on contemporary issues and themselves. Children at St Anne’s feel that RE is an important area of study as it brings them closer to God and teaches them how to pray. Children express that it is a time where they can share their own thoughts and beliefs in a safe space, and where they can listen to their friends and ask questions. Children think that RE is fun and enjoy the variety of activities completed in RE lessons, especially when art links are made. A recent pupil interview showed that children think that RE lessons are more challenging than most other subjects, they see it as a highly academic subject where their thinking skills are developed and understand that religions are complex and there is lots of new vocabulary to study. Staff value the subject and can see the impact RE has on our pupils. An example of this is a recent Year Five unit of work where children explored life after death and how views differ between religions. Pupils reported how interesting they found this unit as it gave them the space to ask questions about their own beliefs, something they didn’t feel comfortable in doing outside of RE lessons.
Religious Education Policy
Whole School Overview
Progression of Skills in Religious Education
Understanding Christianity Project
The resource ‘Understanding Christianity’ is used to support and compliment the delivery of our RE curriculum. The resource supports the teaching of Christianity in RE and aims to:
➢ Develop pupils' own thinking and understanding of Christianity.
➢ Explore the significant theological concepts within Christianity as part of developing pupils wider religious, theological and cultural literacy.
➢ Support teachers in developing their own knowledge and understanding of Christianity theology to be able to teach with confidence.
Through understanding Christianity, pupils will learn how to retell the core eight concepts of ‘The Big Story.’ It uses a ‘spiral’ curriculum, where pupils revisit these core concepts in different contexts as they move through the school. These varied encounters deepen pupils’ understanding of the meaning of these concepts within the overall ‘big story’ of the Bible whilst allowing all children to access the ’digging deeper’ materials to promote higher level thinking skills and opportunities for teachers and pupils to ask higher order questions.
For more information, please see the launch video below.
Knowledge Organisers in Religious Education
Knowledge organisers identify the key information that your child will need to have learned by the end of their learning challenge.
How do they help children?
They provide the essential knowledge that children need to cover in their learning challenges and can be used as a reminder prompt during lessons or revision tools.
How do they help parents?
They give you a clear understanding of what your child will be learning about each term and allow you to support and further their knowledge at home if you wish to.
We have developed our own Knowledge Organisers to support the delivery of the curriculum which contains a list of technical vocabulary with definitions.
Take a look at our recent entries for the 'Letters For Creation' exhibition at Chester Cathedral.
Religious Education in action!
Examples of work
At St Anne's we use floor books to store all of our evidence from RE sessions. This allows us to be more creative in our approach to Religious Education. Take a look at some examples of high quality RE which happened in all of our classrooms...
Festivals and celebrations from all over the world!