At Berkswich CE, we believe that religious education (RE) plays an important role in defining the school’s distinctive Christian character. The SIAMS schedule 2018 (Strand 7) makes it clear that RE should reflect the school’s Christian vision. We aim to make RE a unique contribution to the ethos of our school and is reflected in our motto, ‘Believe, Achieve and Care’. All members of Berkswich CE experience Christianity through the life of the school, as well as taught through the curriculum. The skills, values and attitudes developed in RE are at the heart of a cohesive community where the children are encouraged to have a positive sense of identity and belonging.
We place value on developing the children’s awareness of the traditions and beliefs of Christianity, particularly in relation to the Anglican Church. Christian morals and values are central to the ethos of our schools and we aim to give children a firm foundation of social values based on Christian principles. The encounter must be an open one which stems from and instils respect for different views and interpretations.
It is our intent that RE is regarded as a core subject within the school’s curriculum. It has a vital role in developing religious literacy and deepening pupils understanding of Christianity, in all its forms, and fostering appreciation and understanding of other faith traditions. RE is non-confessional and is treated as an academic subject in its own right. We aim to ensure that the RE curriculum is challenging, dynamic and relevant to pupils of all ages and encourage the children to ask questions to develop their critical thinking and understanding of the religions and beliefs which form our society, whilst promoting respect and diversity. Within our curriculum, RE has a high profile across the school and learning activities provide fully for the needs of all learners, including SEND.
Furthermore, we believe that it is important that RE contributes to other areas of education and experiences and plays an important part of the wider programme of spiritual, moral, social and cultural development:
Spiritually, by exploring and growing their beliefs, experiences and understanding of others’ views.
Morally, by enabling children to develop their own informed values.
Socially, by widening children’s understanding of their place within society and providing them with the tools to make positive changes and influences.
Culturally, by enabling children to explore and appreciate Britain’s culture and systems, and develop positive attitudes towards diversity.
The values we promote are paramount within the school community and are values which will be important throughout life. In all that we do we strive to share, encourage and demonstrate positive values with our children; in order that they understand them and strive to live by them.
RE teaching is in line with the national curriculum and the recommendations of the Statement of Entitlement for Church Schools, 2019. As a Church of England school, we also follow the guidance from Lichfield Diocese, who fully endorses ‘Understanding Christianity’ as a means of delivering Christianity. Therefore, at Berkswich CE, we use the Staffordshire Agreed Syllabus and the resources from the diocese to enhance teaching and learning. While the majority of our curriculum is based on Christianity, it also plans for development in relation to other world religions. Years One, Three and Five complete an in depth study into Islam and Years Two, Four and Six complete an in depth study into Hinduism.
RE is taught discretely each week; our aim is to ensure that learners are inspired by the subject and develop a wide range of higher level skills such as enquiry, analysis, interpretation, evaluation and reflection to deepen their understanding of the impact of religion on the world. Thus, allowing children to investigate their own beliefs and values and develop respect and sensitivity to those whose faiths and beliefs are different from their own. A fundamental element to our RE curriculum is ensuring that all children learn both about and from religion, through providing hands on experiences such as visiting places of worship, interacting with leaders of other faiths or handling religious artefacts we aim to ensure our RE is exciting and engaging.
Within worship, we aim to promote the spiritual, moral, cultural and social development of the children. A whole school Act of Worship takes place daily, led by the head, deputy, or other members of staff. Bob Gilson (church elder), leads worship once a month and Father Graham (The Vicar), leads worship on the remaining Wednesdays of the month, and are regularly involved in the teaching of specific aspects of the Christian faith and special days, people and celebrations in the Church’s year. Kevin Bales (Methodist school link worker), leads worship fortnightly with a focus on stories from the bible.
Worship in and with the community is vital to enhancing our RE curriculum. Special services to celebrate important times and festivals in the Christian Church’s year, that the children are actively involved in producing and leading, take place at our local Church. Everyone in the school family, community and other friends and relatives are very welcome to join with us at these special times: Eucharist, Harvest, Christingle, Christmas, Easter and also at the Leavers’ Service at the end of the summer term.
Across our school we aim to promote opportunities for personal reflection and spiritual development, this is encouraged across the curriculum specifically in our acts of worship and provides a safe environment for children to develop their own values and beliefs. Within the acts of worship, the children are actively involved both with discussions, stories, questions and prayers. Berkswich CE encourages active engagement through developing the children as worship leaders, allowing them to plan and deliver worship to the whole school. In addition our worships are based around different Christian values and school values. These underpin our whole ethos, curriculum and school life and aim to ensure our pupils leave Berkswich CE as happy, secure, confident, caring and responsible citizens.