At St James & St John Church of England School we believe that pupils should be provided with opportunities to encounter a philosophical and sometimes spiritual approach to life, by the study of religions and relationships. They should also be encouraged to acknowledge feelings as an important part of life and will encounter the ethos and atmosphere of a Church of England School.
The Place of Religious Education in the School
RE is taught as a curriculum subject for 36 hours a year in Key Stage 1, and 45 hours a year in Key Stage 2 (this is 5% of curriculum time). It is integrated with other subjects as part of an overall theme or as a discrete RE topic. Its definition is separate from the daily act of worship. We use the Oxford Diocese Syllabus for planning and teaching of RE.
The aims of Religious Education in church schools are:
To enable pupils to encounter Christianity as the religion that shaped British culture and heritage and influences the lives of millions of people today
To enable pupils to learn about the other major religions, their impact on culture and politics, art and history, and on the lives of their adherent
To develop an understanding of religious faith as the search for and expression of truth
To contribute to the development of pupils’ own spiritual/philosophical convictions, exploring and enriching their own faith and beliefs.
We aim to contribute to the development of pupils as individuals and members of society by fostering a reflective attitude to life, in the context of a growing understanding of the experiences, attitudes, beliefs, relationships and religious practices of the human race.
To teach these aims we encourage children to reflect and question what it means to be human through exploration of shared experiences, personal search of life’s big questions (questions of origin, identity, purpose, morality, value, meaning) and relating these to insights into the world faiths.
Religious Education also aims to develop the skills to make sense of what has been learnt and apply this to ones’ own life. Legally parents have the right to request their child is excused wholly from religious education. Parents can make this request in writing in order to arrange further discussion with the Headteacher.
We aim to foster spiritual development in RE by encouraging the whole child to flourish within our Christian ethos. This includes developing the most distinctive and desirable capacities of the human person based on the Christian principles of faith, hop and love.
We aim to foster Community Cohesions by helping pupils to:
Understand what faith means today for the majority of people on this planet, their significant beliefs and practices, their histories and their stories;
Develop understanding of the distinctive beliefs of different faiths and to debate areas of common interest;
Develop an understanding of the influence of beliefs, values and traditions on individuals, communities and cultures;
Develop an ability to make a reasoned and informed judgement about religious and moral issues with reference to religion;
Develop a positive attitude towards people and respecting their right to hold different beliefs from their own and towards living in a society of diverse religions;
Explore and understand faith based roots of laws, traditions and teachings designed to bind a community together;
Connect with some aspects of their own local community’s faith heritage and how this has characterised these islands for centuries in order to make sense of how this country came to be the way it is today.
Enhance their own spiritual, moral, cultural and social development by;
Developing awareness of the fundamental questions of life and how religious teachings relate to them;
Responding to such questions with reference to the teachings and practices of religions and to their own understanding and experience;
Reflecting on their own beliefs, values and experiences in the light of their study.
Religious Education Curriculum Organisation
St James & St John Church of England School follows “The Oxford Diocese Religious Education Scheme of Work”. This scheme is based largely on the Pan-Berkshire Agreed Syllabus 2012-2017, but covers the requirements of the Milton Keynes, Buckinghamshire and Oxfordshire Syllabi.
Each unit has a “Big Question” which has been created to allow children to experience AT1 and AT2 in every unit. The assumption is that Christianity will be the main religion taught, in accordance with the national guidelines. In addition Judaism will be taught in KS1 and Hinduism and Sikhism covered in KS2. Many of the questions are adapted to cover other faiths as required by the demands of the Buckinghamshire syllabus.
Each unit consists of an outline plan and assessment sheet. These are used in conjunction by the class teacher in planning the unit of work. Neither is exhaustive or exclusive, but are used as a starting point.
There is a unit for each half term, for each year group. Units do not have to be taught weekly, but can be blocked into special weeks or special days; hence the mid-term plans are not split into weekly lessons. This is particularly the case with the Year 5 and 6 Christmas and Easter term units. In Years 5 & 6 there are some alternative units to suit the requirements of the different Locally Agreed Syllabuses. The units featuring Islam are recommended for schools following the Buckinghamshire & Milton Keynes syllabuses are used by St James & St John School.
Acts of daily worship are predominantly Christin to allow the school to meet as a group to reflect and consider our lives and responsibilities to each other. Reverend Gussie Walsh is a weekly provider of worship at the Chackmore site for the pupils in KS2, as are members of the Maids Moreton Clergy for the pupils at the Akeley site. All children have the opportunity to attend services at all the parish churches that the school serves.
All pupils are actively involved in a variety of religious services and acts of worship throughout their time at St James & St John including; Harvest Festivals, Christingles, Easter services, Mothering Sunday services, Christmas Services and Leaver’s celebrations.