RE provokes challenging questions about the ultimate meaning and purpose of life and the issues of right and wrong. It will develop pupil’s knowledge and understanding of different religions through learning about different traditions, beliefs and how festivals are celebrated. RE plays an important role in preparing pupils for adult life, employment and lifelong learning. It helps children and young people become successful learners, confident individuals and responsible citizens.
At Shepherd Primary our interest in religion begins in Early Years in both Nursery and Reception classes where, as part of Understanding the World, we look at a range of different festivals throughout the year which reflect both the members of our school community and the wider world. We learn about different cultures and how their significant events are celebrated and what that means to the followers of each religion.
In Key Stage 1 and 2, we follow the Herts agreed Syllabus, supplemented by the Discovery RE scheme which has an enquiry-based approach and enables the children to have a fuller understanding of a range of religions and how the followers of that religion live their lives. By focussing on comparing Christianity with a focus religion in each year group, our pupils are able to learn about religions in context.
In Year 1, children learn about Christianity and Judaism, beginning with creation stories before learning about the key concepts of incarnation and salvation within the familiar contexts of Easter and Christmas. In the summer term we focus on Judaism and learn about how and why Shabbat and the festivals of Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur are important to Jewish children.
Year 2 sees the children focus on the religions of Islam and Christianity. We begin the year by learning about Jesus’ teachings and thinking about if it is possible to be kind all the time. Be then build upon our previous learning by thinking about how prayer and reflection can help us to live a good life and how visiting places of worship can foster a sense of belonging amongst the followers of a religion. We also learn about the concepts of salvation through the lens of both religions by exploring both the crucifixion and Hajj.
As the Children enter Year 3 and Key Stage 2, our focus moves beyond the Abrahamic religions and the children begin to study Sikhism alongside their further exploration of the Christian concepts of Christmas, Miracles and Easter. By learning about the importance of Amrit and Khalsa within the Sikh religion we can consider what it means to be a Sikh if these practices help followers lead a better life.
In Year 4, we broaden the range of religions studied even further, by looking at Buddhism and the teachings of Buddha alongside our exploration of Christianity. We learn about the 8-Fold path and consider whether Buddha’s teachings can make the world a better place. We also think about prayer and worship, how this differs across religions and whether it is important to visit a place of worship to show a commitment to God.
As the children enter Upper Key Stage 2, the focus religion in Year 5 is Hinduism. Building on our study of Sikhism in Year 3 we are able to compare the difference between the two religions and their interpretations of belief and explore how monotheistic and polytheistic religions differ. We also explore the concepts of Karma, Moksha and Samsara and consider what happens after death and how this affects how followers of different religions live their lives.
At the end of Key Stage 2, in addition to continuing to broaden their knowledge of Christianity, the children return to looking at Islam and how beliefs and practices differ across religions and how they can enable followers of each religion can show their commitment to God. Building on our studies of reincarnation in Year 5, the children will explore how the Muslim belief in Akhirah helps followers of Islam to lead good lives.