At Old Clee, our intent is to create curious, open minded and thoughtful young people, with an appreciation for the wider world, its people, religions and cultures. With this in mind, we have carefully approached the RE curriculum with a very open, understanding approach to the learning of major religions, beliefs and values, and how this also intertwines with the everyday lives of people.
Children across the academy will delve into how religions approach areas such as what it means to belong, how people express faith, what justice means and contemporary issues such as how religions teach us to care for our world. We work through thought provoking questions, intended to develop the ability of students to consider ideas from multiple perspectives, and to develop their ability to think in a more open, spiritual way. We approach these areas through dedicated RE lessons in which teachers and teams deliver activities based around their year group focus. As is always the case at Old Clee, we put the children first, and through our commitment to listening to our pupils, we deliver lessons with their preferences in mind. Practical approaches are implemented, with use of our fantastic selection of artefacts, visitors in, as well as planned days out to places of religious significance is all something that we aim to use in order to enhance RE for our pupils and to ensure that the information that they receive is not only processed, but something that they will really remember and hold onto.
In order to give students the opportunity to become fully immersed in the learning that they will be undertaking as theologians, we structure the learning through lessons that take place every two weeks. In this time, pupils develop their knowledge, skills and understanding centred around RE and being a theologian. We use our skills based continuous concepts, as well as using the SACRE to ensure that not only do students simply touch upon the areas of focus, but they also develop their depth of knowledge that they can carry with them as they progress through the academy. Each term, year groups are expected to complete a selection of lessons which compromise of key focus areas, totalling three key areas per year group. An example of this is in Year One where they focus on the following:
Autumn: 1.1 Looking at me, looking at you (what makes us special?)
Spring: 1.2 Caring for the world (How can we keep the world special?)
Summer: 1.3 Worship and festivals (What is worship?)
Through these areas, not only do teachers plan through the SACRE in order to maintain clear progression and clear coverage, but they also use the continuous concepts to ensure that key skills are woven through the heart of the learning taking place. Thanks to the fantastic local links that we are fortunate enough to be close to, the opportunity to take students to key religious places, and to welcome visitors into the academy is also something teachers take fully into consideration when mapping out RE days. In fact, the academy have already welcomed in Father Nick of the local Old Clee church many times, as well as visitors from Grimsby Mosque, and two SACRE members from the local Buddhist community.
The impact of our approach to RE is that our students carry with them a rich wealth of knowledge, appreciation and understanding of the many differences between religions, what makes them unique, and what it is that we can admire and learn from them. In addition to the knowledge behind this, students will have also greatly developed the associated skills with being a Theologian, such as understanding the practices and daily routines involved with various religions, or understanding the key teachings of various religions. The level of reflective learning that will take place throughout their Old Clee careers will ensure that they are extremely well equipped to cope with the demands that they will eventually face as they make the transition to KS2/3.
The very nature of our approach to RE ensures that progression through the subject spiralises, deepens and builds upon prior learning. Not only this, but our students are given regular opportunities to recall prior learning and ensure that learning is not lost. In addition to this, the academy approach to vocabulary and the importance with which we regard rich language throughout all subjects means that students are exposed to, and are encouraged to use this in all year groups and in a way which once more builds upon prior learning.
RE is an area that has the potential to inspire, excite and profoundly impact students in not just an academic way, but also in a spiritual manner. This kind of potential is something that we at Old Clee strive to fulfil, and this why our approach to RE is as it is. We want our children to be analytical thinkers, to be human beings with a spirituality that allows for great compassion and understanding. We want our children to understand and thrive in an environment which encourages thinking like a Theologian, and we want them to take this with them as they continue their journey in life.