Religious Education is an amazing subject where pupils engage in theological, sociological and philosophical enquiry to explore the key beliefs and practices from the religious and non-religious worldviews. It also provides opportunities for pupils to reflect on their own beliefs and values. In our church schools, where both pupils and staff come from all faiths and none, it is a highly valued academic subject that brings the whole community together through shared dialogue and understanding.
The National Church of England Education Office has produced a ‘Statement of Entitlement’ as guidance for church schools in providing high-quality Religious Education for all pupils.
The RE Curriculum
All schools must provide RE lessons to all pupils from KS1-4, however, there is no national curriculum for the subject.
Each local authority leads Religious Education at a local level through a Standing Advisory Council for Religious Education (SACRE). The Diocese has representatives on the SACREs in Hereford, Shropshire and Telford & Wrekin. One of their key roles is to develop a locally agreed syllabus for RE that reflects the context of the local community.
The rules governing which syllabus schools must follow depend on the type of school:
- All Voluntary Controlled schools must follow the locally agreed syllabus unless the parents opt for a denominational syllabus.
- Voluntary Aided or Academies must choose an appropriate RE syllabus for their school. The majority adopt the locally agreed syllabus as they reflect the local context, plus are locally supported with further training and resources.
Although RE is a statutory part of the National Curriculum for all pupils in schools, parents can request for their children to be withdrawn from the subject. For schools seeking further advice on withdrawal please visit NATRE.
Religious Education Training
The Education Team provide training for teaching staff and governors to help them improve the teaching and learning of RE within their schools, this includes working with other faith leaders to broaden and deepen teacher subject knowledge. Please refer to the Training Schedule for upcoming RE courses.
Resources for RE
Schools can borrow boxed collections of religious objects to use in lessons. These can be borrowed for six weeks and are stored at one of our schools. The list of what is available can be downloaded here. To arrange to borrow them please contact the Education team directly.
Inspection of RE
For all church schools, SIAM is explored as part of the SIAMS inspection process. In a Voluntary Aided school (or former VA academy) SIAMS will also make a judgement on the teaching and learning of RE. In Voluntary Controlled schools (or former VC academies) Ofsted is responsible for grading the teaching and learning of RE and may conduct a deep dive into the subject.
The majority of our schools use the Understanding Christianity resource to support the teaching and learning of Christianity in RE lessons. This approach enables teachers and pupils to explore theological concepts in their classroom, through learning to interpret biblical texts, making sense of the core beliefs, understanding the impact on the lives of believers and making connections between their own beliefs and those they are studying.
We can provide full training for schools and refresher training for teaching staff for the Understanding Christianity Resource.