Our vision for R.E is based on the national guidance issued by Walsall council in 2016 and follows the agreed Walsall Syllabus for Religious Education 2016 – 2021.
Walsall is a vibrant and diverse Borough. Our population includes significant communities of Christians, Hindus, Muslims and Sikhs and smaller groups of other significant faith communities including Jews, Jains, Buddhists and members of the Baha’i faith. Many children in Walsall come from families that hold non-religious life stances. Our RE syllabus allows all learners to share their experiences and to learn from one another and the religions and beliefs in our community.
In line with the law, Walsall’s Agreed Syllabus for Religious Education expects that schools will enable pupils to explore Judaism, Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism, and Sikhism, as well as Christianity. It also enables the consideration of secular life stances. RE makes a major contribution to pupils’ awareness, appreciation and exploration of the British Values, as required by Her Majesty’s Inspectorate. This syllabus shows teachers how to connect RE in appropriate and suitable ways to the promotion of British Values and of opportunities for pupils’ spiritual, moral, social and cultural development. RE is not coercive: none of the aims of RE encourage pupils to adopt or reject particular religious beliefs and practices. Instead, RE encourages all learners to be thoughtful about their own beliefs and worldviews in the light of the religions and beliefs they study. RE is not about making pupils into believers but tries to help them become literate and articulate about religions and beliefs, and to be thoughtful members of a plural society, so that in learning from religion they are able to make informed choices about how they want to live their lives whilst also understanding more about the faiths and beliefs of other people they meet. As such, it is relevant to every pupil and every citizen of Walsall.
A minimum 5% of curriculum time is required for teaching RE.
This means in practice that schools are expected to allocate:
· Reception and Key Stage 1: 36 hours of tuition per year (e.g. 50 minutes a week or some short sessions implemented through continuous provision)
· Key Stage 2:45 hours of tuition per year (e.g. an hour a week, or less than an hour a week plus a series of RE days)
The curriculum for religious education aims to ensure that all pupils:
A. Know about and understand a range of religions and world views, so that they can:
Describe, explain and analyse beliefs and practices, recognising the diversity which exists within and between communities;
Identify, investigate and respond to questions posed by, and responses offered by some of the sources of wisdom1 found in religions and world views;
Appreciate and appraise the nature, significance and impact of different ways of life and ways of expressing meaning.
B. Express ideas and insights about the nature, significance and impact of religions and world views, so that they can:
Explain reasonably their ideas about how beliefs, practices and forms of expression influence individuals and communities;
Express with increasing discernment their personal reflections and critical responses to questions and teachings about identity, diversity, meaning and value.
Appreciate and appraise varied dimensions of religion2.
C. Gain and deploy the skills needed to engage seriously with religions and world views, so that they can:
Find out about and investigate key concepts and questions of belonging, meaning, purpose and truth, responding creatively;
Enquire into what enables different communities to live together respectfully for the wellbeing of all;
Articulate beliefs, values and commitments clearly in order to explain reasons why they may be important in their own and other people’s lives.
Right of withdrawal
This was first granted in 1944 when RE was actually religious instruction and carried with it connotations of induction into the Christian faith. RE is very different now – open, broad, exploring a range of religious and non-religious worldviews. However, in the UK, parents still have the right to withdraw their children from RE/RME on the grounds that they wish to provide their own religious education. (School Standards and Framework Act 1998 S71 (3)). This will be the parents’ responsibility. However, it is good practice to talk to parents to ensure that they understand the aims and value of RE before honouring this right. Students aged 18 or over have the right to withdraw themselves from RE.