Why is RE important in the 21st Century ?
"Because it's about people and the world. And if you're not interested in people and the world, you're really missing out! " Y5 child
As a Church of England School, St Peter’s follows the Guildford Diocesan RE Guidelines together with the national resource Understanding Christianity. Christian values are at the heart of everything we teach at St Peter’s and in their weekly RE lessons, pupils will explore the deeper meanings and relevance of scripture, both for the people at the time and for today's world. Pupils enjoy the opportunity to ask questions and explore the development and teachings of the Christian faith. They learn that Christianity (as is the case with all religions) has a broad spectrum and that cultural practice and location (both at home and globally) influence the way that people interpret The Bible and Christian narrative. Christianity is studied as a living and diverse global faith, focused on the Gospel teachings. Our units on Christianity progress through the Big Christian Story, beginning with God's Creation and ending with The Kingdom of God. As pupils develop their knowledge and skills, they learn to make links across Christianity and across other religions.
A section of the Big Christian Story frieze on display in our reception area and all classrooms.
How is RE taught?
RE is taught as a rigorous, academic subject and has the status of a core subject. In RE lessons children learn to ask the 'big questions' and understand that adults don't always have the answers. RE is not taught with the assumption that everyone is coming from a Christian starting point - pupils are encouraged to ask questions and challenge. It is through these discussions that they develop their own views and learn to listen to others whose opinions may differ radically from their own. The curriculum is designed and delivered to be fully inclusive. A child who struggles in more formal areas of the curriculum, may demonstrate a deep understanding and go on to achieve high levels in RE. Pupils' attainment and progress is tracked regularly and planning is adapted to suit learners' needs.
As they progress through school, pupils will become familiar with stories from the Bible which they reference frequently in class. As well as reading and discussing the impact on the people at the time and the relevance for Christians around the world today, pupils may also work in groups to explore the gospel teachings and its relevance both for people at the time and Christians around the world today. The RE curriculum has links across other subject areas and is also supported by Pause Days, when a topic is explored in depth and designed to be as creative as possible, often including art, dance, drama and music. We encourage discussion and support children to explore the similarities and differences across religions. Global issues such as sustainability, justice and fair trade also feature in the RE curriculum.
Major Religions and World Views
Pupils today grow up in a multi-faith society and many will have little or no experience of religion in their homes. As such, we believe that it is important to teach children to appreciate different religions; the basic beliefs, the rituals and celebrations.
During their time at St Peter's, all pupils will have explored the beliefs and practices of: Islam, Judaism, Hinduism, Sikhism and Buddhism. We have an established programme of visitors from different faiths so that pupils can ask questions and learn from members of the local and wider community.
From Y1 up, the second half of the summer term is spent studying a different major religion. Over their time at St Peter's, all children will have covered at least one unit on each of: Islam, Judaism, Sikhism, Hinduism and Buddhism. We are well resourced with artefacts from major faiths and welcome visitors who can answer questions and put the learning into context. Parents are welcome to see the programme of study if they have questions.
Visitors from the Jewish, Sikh and Muslim faiths
Y6 Pause Day work on Persecution (linked to Pentecost)
What impact does RE have on pupils going forward?
We believe that a child should leave St Peter's knowing the origins, teachings and principles of Christianity. As they mature and form their own opinions, they will have the knowledge to be able to participate in discussions on topics around religion and moral benchmarks in society. Their knowledge should also help them to make informed decisions about their own life choices.
An understanding of the Christian faith (or indeed all faiths) can give a person cultural advantages as they recognise many commonly used phrases which originate in the Bible or visit an art gallery to see how many world renowned artists have focused their work on famous stories from scripture. As well as acquiring knowledge, our pupils can apply what they learn in RE lessons to real world situations. The current world climate crisis, modern day slavery and trade inequality are all be part of our stimulating RE curriculum. Our pupils also make many links to the school values of: Courage, Inclusiveness and Active Citizen in RE lessons. Pupils see the relevance of RE and enjoy the variety of ways that they can access the learning. As such pupil feedback is always very positive.
As one child replied to the question: "What could we do better in RE?" - "We could do more!"
Parents will sometimes remember dreary RE lessons from their own childhood and wonder why it is relevant today. We would urge you to watch the short clip below: Nobody Stands Nowhere: It's a couple of minutes long and may challenge you to consider why religion and World Views are an important aspect of a modern and challenging curriculum. 'World Views' is a term which is used to refer to a person's way of understanding, experiencing and responding to the world.
Please read in conjunction with RE policy, statement of British Values, SMSC policy, Worship policy, Teaching and Learning policy,