At St James and St John Church of England Primary School we believe that Religious Education aims to give children the knowledge, critical thinking skills, open minded and respectful attitude with which to investigate the world of religion and beliefs, and make their own decisions about what this means to them, whilst empathising with what it means to those who hold those beliefs. It also aims to enable children to grow spiritually by developing their awareness and skills of reflection, their experience of awe and wonder and their appreciation of stillness and silence.
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. RE is a statutory subject in all schools in England, except for those children withdrawn at the request of their parents. (Education Act 2002, section 80). It is parents’ legal right to withdraw their children from Religious Education and parents can request this in writing after 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, hope and love.
We aim to foster Community Cohesion 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
RE is taught as a curriculum subject for Key Stage 1 and Key Stage 2 pupils. Children in Reception learn about religious festivals throughout the year. Some aspects of Religious Education are also taught through daily collective worship.
St James and St John Church of England Primary School follows the Discovery RE scheme. Pupils will learn about the six principal religions of Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism, Islam , Judaism and Sikhism and other belief systems.
Discovery RE promotes a philosophical enquiry approach of in-depth exploration of RE content/subject knowledge in order to answer the big enquiry question. Discovery RE uses a four step enquiry approach to a big enquiry question.
The four steps are:
•Step 1: Engagement: the children’s own human experience is explored to act as bridge from their world (which may or may not include religion) into the world of the religion being studied.
•Step 2: Investigation: over approximately 3 lessons the teacher will guide the children to explore and investigate appropriate subject knowledge relevant to that question of enquiry.
•Step 3: Evaluation: An assessment activity enables each child to show their thinking and the depth of critical evaluation.
•Step 4: Expression: This refers the children back to the starting point of their own experience and allows them to reflect on whether their findings have influenced their own thinking.
Discovery RE focuses on critical thinking skills, on personal reflection into the child’s own thoughts and feelings, on growing subject knowledge and nurturing spiritual development.
Acts of collective worship are predominantly Christian to allow the school to meet as a group to reflect and consider our lives and responsibilities to each other. Some acts of collective worship focus on different faiths and cultures of the world we live in.
Curate Kate Pellereau from Buckingham Parish Church take collective worship weekly at the Chackmore site for the pupils in KS2. Here are some words from her: "Hi, I'm Kate Pellereau and I live in Buckingham. I got ordained in 2020 and am currently doing my curacy at Buckingham Parish church. We have been working on building a relationship between the school and church and since November 2021I have come in every week and done a Monday morning assembly. I love coming - we have made bread together, explored lots of different bible stories and learnt the meanings of the candles in the advent wreath. In the next few weeks we are going to look at the story of Jonah together."
Members of the Maids Moreton Clergy take collective worship weekly at the Akeley site enabling our younger children to understand stories from the Bible.
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 and St John Church of England Primary School including; Harvest Festivals, Christingles, Easter services, Mothering Sunday services, Christmas Services and Leaver’s celebrations.