Reflecting the Trust Deed, the school will preserve and develop its religious character in accordance with the principles of the Church of England and in partnership with the Church at parish and diocesan level. The school will aim to serve its community by providing an education of the highest quality within the context of Christian belief and practice. It encourages an understanding of the meaning and significance of all faiths and promotes Christian values through the experience it offers all pupils.
Religious Education in a Church School should be of the highest standard, always striving for excellence, reflecting the school’s distinctive Christian character. In Voluntary Aided Schools the management of Religious Education is a distinctive role of the Governors and Headteacher.
RE has to be in accordance with the Trust Deed and in accordance with the rites, practices and doctrines of the Church of England. The Governing Body as a whole is responsible for determining the nature of Religious Education provided in its school. Although Religious Education and Collective Worship naturally compliment and enrich one another, they are managed separately. Religious Education in a Church School lies at the very heart of the curriculum and at St Mary’s CE School
Governors agreed to adopt the Diocese of Carlisle Syllabus for RE which reflects the National Framework for RE, the National Society Statement of Entitlement and the requirements of SIAMS at least 5% of curriculum time is devoted to RE. Christianity plays a central role in RE, taking up between two thirds and three quarters of the time available appropriate teaching about other faiths and world views is included.
It is essential that the Religious Education curriculum maintains a balanced approach of Learning about Religion (Attainment Target 1) and Learning from Religion (Attainment Target 2).
This can be expressed distinctively as:
Learning about Religion
We learn about God who reveals the truth about himself and humanity through creation, the giving of the law, his action in history and through the prophets
God who reveals himself ultimately in Jesus his Son, living among us and dying and rising for us
God who reveals himself in his Spirit working in the living faith of the Church experienced through scripture, tradition and reason.
Learning from Religion
We learn from an empathetic response to the examples of Christian living which give priority to the values of unconditional love, forgiveness, reconciliation, justice, compassion and faith.
Aims of Religious Education in our Church School Children and the school community should:
- reflect theologically and explore the ultimate questions and challenges of life in today’s society
- reflect critically on the truth claims of Christian belief
- see how the truth of Christianity is relevant today
- understand the challenge faced by Christians in today’s pluralist and postmodern society
- develop the skills to handle the Bible text
- recognise that faith is based on commitment to a particular way of understanding God and the world
- begin to develop their own commitments, beliefs and values
- develop a sense of themselves as significant, unique and precious
- experience the breadth and variety of the Christian community
- engage in thoughtful dialogue with other faiths and traditions
- become active citizens, serving their neighbour
- find a reason for hope in a troubled world
- understand how religious faith can sustain believers in difficult circumstances and in the face of opposition.
It is entirely appropriate and necessary in today’s world that children should be encouraged to foster a respect for the followers of the other world faiths. It is essential that this respect is based on an accurate and sympathetic understanding of those faiths.
Therefore RE in our school aims also to help pupils to:
- learn about other faiths, their beliefs, traditions and practices and from them through encounter and dialogue
- recognise and respect those of all faiths in their search for God
- recognise areas of common belief and practice between different faiths
- enrich and expand their understanding of truth while remaining faithful to their own tradition
- enrich their own faith through examples of holy living in other traditions.
Opportunities within the Content of RE taught in St Mary’s C of E VA School
- opportunities to explore the experience of the Church’s year
- study of the story of the local Christian community with its saints and martyrs
- visits to places of worship, especially the local parish Church, to develop the understanding of the Church as a living community
- welcoming visitors from the local parish to share their experience of Christian belief and life
- liaison with the local parish to enable these visits and links to occur
- skills to confidently use religious language to express knowledge and opinions.
- a set of Bibles in language that can be understood by the learners and examples of Bibles and prayer books from a variety of contexts
- the facility to listen to Christian ‘psalms, hymns and spiritual songs’ from a wide variety of traditions
- access to Christian artefacts that are used with care, respect and confidence
- a sacred space that can be used as a focus for prayer and silent reflection Religious Education in our school enables:
- pupils and teachers to talk openly and freely about their own personal beliefs and practice without fear of ridicule
- pupils to make excellent and appropriate progress in their knowledge and understanding of Christianity
- pupils from Christian families to talk openly about their beliefs and values in lessons and to grow in their faith
- pupils from other faith backgrounds to understand and be encouraged in their faith
- pupils with no religious background to be given an insight into what it means to be a person of faith
- pupils of all backgrounds to have a safe place to explore the ultimate questions and challenges of life in today’s society
One of the most exciting aspects about St Mary’s is our determination to bring learning alive and to make the experiences rich and authentic. This includes many visits both local and more distant. Inviting visitors to come to school and explore their faith with the children.
The picture below is a Sukkah – made by Year 2 to explore Sukkot recently as part of their Religious Education lesson.
We make various visits to support our Religious Education knowledge including, The Neeli Mosque in Rochdale and the Cathedrals in Liverpool.