We believe that religious education (RE) should make a considerable contribution to the education of the children; challenging and personally enriching young minds. We strive to develop their beliefs, British Values and promote SMSC through the qualities of respect and empathy.
Religious Education is a curriculum entitlement for all children and TAB follows the current West Sussex ‘Agreed Syllabus for Religious Education’, which is currently under review. RE does not seek to convert to one expression of beliefs over another, rather to give opportunities to broaden thinking.
At the heart of our teaching we encourage children to:
RE teaching at TAB is about enjoyment, relevance and creativity. The RE curriculum is organised as a progression through the school. The children will research and explore at least one other religion, as well as Christianity, each year throughout TAB.
We also embrace opportunities to enhance the children’s experience and extend their learning in RE by arranging educational visits and visitors. Where possible, RE is linked to the broader curriculum themes. The short term planning of each unit is a process in which all teachers are involved, with the support of the subject leader. Class teachers are then encouraged to adapt their RE lessons to fit the needs of the individual children in their class.
It is important to remember that assessment in RE is a progressive process and is not seen as a pass or fail. Throughout their time at TAB children continually build, reflect and evaluate their RE education whilst learning to understand and empathise with other beliefs and opinions. We use assessment in RE to gauge an understanding of the children’s prior knowledge and then assess their understanding at the end of each unit. Work scrutinies and observations are undertaken in each year group to ensure consistency of teaching standards across the school.
At Thomas a Becket Junior School we feel that it is very important that we play our part to support the needs of the community. As well as many educational visits, we encourage members of local faith communities to visit our school to lead assemblies, share stories and experiences or work with small groups of children to extend their RE learning further.
We have introduced ‘Philosophy for Children’ (P4C) and this inquiry based structure facilitates richly purposeful and focused discussion.
Year 3 visit a mosque and prepare and perform a version of the Nativity to celebrate the festival of the birth of Jesus.
The children in Year 4 visit a Hindu temple and have a Christian visitor to school who shares their personal experience of pilgrimage.
Children in Year 5 explore the meaning of Christingle before leading a service for parents and members of the community at the local church. They participate in workshops in another local church, as they explore the building and basic elements of the Christian faith. A selected group from Year 5 also take part in a project at St. Barnabas House Hospice.
Year 6 have visits from a family worker from a local church, who will share about Holy Week.
There are other opportunities across the year, through choir and art projects, for children to visit local churches to consolidate their understanding of the Christian faith.
Staff and parent volunteers run an extra-curricular club called TGI Friday (Thank God It’s Friday). This active club uses games and challenges, crafts, video and music to promote fun, self-esteem, positive mental health and good relationships using themes from the Christian faith. Every child is welcome. Different 'I am’ statements are used each week - to include, 'I am loved', 'I am safe', I am brave', 'I am resilient' and 'I am me'.
Taken from Pupil Voice:
“I like learning about Hinduism especially the different symbols and their meanings” Year 4
“I really enjoyed researching the meaning of the Christingle and learning about it as I understood what it meant when we did our service.” Year 5
“Thank you for arranging the pilgrimage visitor; he was great. I loved it and so did the children. They came back and had lots to discuss and were very engaged. One of the boy in my class, who can be a reluctant writer, said to me, 'the journey work we've done in RE has really helped me understand the writing - it's much easier now.”