At St John’s Highbury Vale, through the support of the LDBS syllabus, we aim for all of our children to become religiously literate. All units of learning are rooted in theological concepts, strong subject knowledge and content. The curriculum is balanced, covering all major world religions, and it allows the children to enquire into worldviews through theology, philosophy and the human and social sciences.
The curriculum also provides an opportunity for children to develop empathy towards people of similar or differing religious views or worldviews to their own. The curriculum also provides an opportunity for children to develop empathy towards people of similar or differing religious views or worldviews to their own. We aim to offer a systematic enquiry-based approach to the teaching of RE so that the following skills can be developed:
- Ability to be critical thinkers
- Ability to engage critically with texts
- Ability to ask deep and meaningful questions
- Ability to make connections within and across religions and worldviews
- Ability to reflect, respond and express their own religious, spiritual and/or philosophical convictions
Within every unit of learning the following steps take place as part of the learning process:
Enquire: Engage with a big and subsidiary questions which focuses on theology. What are the big theological questions you are exploring?
Investigate/explore: What is the religious content and context being explored? How deep can we go? This ‘explore’ stage of the enquiry is where children will be primarily learning about religion and belief. In order for this to be effective there are some strategies that can be used to ‘deepen’ learning:
- Interpreting and analysing sacred texts
- Using challenging and controversial questions
- Extended pieces of writing
- Discussion which continually asks ‘Have we gone deep enough yet?
- Children engage with authentic religious believers (face to face, via webcams, podcasts, video, skype etc)
- Grapple with complex theological concepts, questions and issues
Evaluate/communicate: What is our understanding of the concept? What impact does the concept have on the lives of believers? What difference does this belief/practice make? The aim of this part of the enquiry is to encourage dialogue about the learning. Children should use skills of analysis and evaluation. The focus should be on the impact of the belief or practice on the religious or belief community being studied.
Reflect on/express: What is our understanding and response to the enquiry question when considered from the perspective of the faith and belief traditions that have been encountered? What is our personal response? It should be always based on knowledge and understanding, not values or SMSC development.
Our children will be able to hold a balanced and well-informed conversation about religion and worldviews. They will be able to reflect, respond and express their own religious, spiritual and/or philosophical convictions. They will be able to make their own choices and decisions concerning religion and belief based on a deep knowledge and understanding of religions and worldviews, belief systems, values and practices. Children will have developed a deeper understanding of what it means to live life in all of its fullness.