Religious Education (RE)
At Russell Lower School, we value Religious Education. Religious Education contributes dynamically to children and young people’s education in schools by provoking big challenging questions and exploring different answers about meaning and purpose in life, beliefs about God, ultimate reality, issues of right and wrong and what it means to be human. Children at Russell love the big questions that RE allows them to discuss. For example, in Year 1 children explore what they think God is like?
We want our children to remember their RE lessons in our school, to cherish these memories and embrace the opportunities they are presented with! Bringing RE alive is important and during their time at Russell every child has the opportunity to visit different places of worship from churches to mosques and temples. These visits help with our children’s learning about local religions leading to a better understanding of world views in local, national and global contexts. Here in Ampthill we have strong links with local churches as well as a project called Open the Book which offers our children an opportunity to hear key Bible stories, from a team of Christians from local churches. This supports all year groups from Year 1 where they need to understand how stories show what people believe to Year 4 where make clear links between texts/sources of wisdom and authority and the core concepts studied.
At Russell we are aware that our local area does not expose our children to a wider range of cultures and religions. Therefore, during Year 3 our pupils have the opportunity to visit three different places of worship that many would never experience within their own life experience. The visit offers first-hand experience of communities and faith groups, through places that are important to them and people who value them. This supports the curriculum in year 3 and 4 where children are expected to be able to describe how people show their beliefs in how they worship and in the ways they live. Going to three different places of worship also allows the children to identify differences in how people put their beliefs into practice. Reflecting on this visit, most pupils agree that RE helps you in being more accepting and respectful for example around why some people may have a different dress code such as wearing a hijab or why some people may not celebrate Christmas.
We want to provide our children with not only the minimum statutory requirements but to prepare them for the opportunities, responsibilities and experiences of later life. Therefore, our teaching not only equips our children with systematic knowledge but gives them understanding of a range of religions and world views that they may not have the opportunity to meet in their own community. Lessons allow children to learn to weigh up the value of wisdom from different sources, to develop and express their insights in response and to agree or disagree respectfully. Children at Russell quickly makes links between our school values and those that they learn about from religions. A year 4 pupil suggested that learning about RE has allowed them to understand that it doesn’t matter what religion you are or even if you have no religion everyone should be treated equally. That RE will help them when they meet people of different beliefs. Therefore, our RE provides children with an aptitude for dialogue so that they can participate positively in our society with its diverse religions and world views. Children learn to articulate clearly and coherently their personal beliefs, ideas, values and experiences while respecting the right of others to differ.
The religious education curriculum promotes curiosity and a love and thirst for learning. It is ambitious and empowers our children to become independent and resilient – like all curriculum areas.