At Tetherdown School we believe that Religious Education plays an important part in developing our children’s spiritual, moral, social and cultural growth. Through the teaching of R.E. children gain a better understanding of themselves and their values and develop an awareness of the differing beliefs of others. R.E. offers opportunities to understand how other people choose to live and why they choose to live in that way. As well as making a significant contribution to the active promotion of mutual respect and acceptance of others’ faiths and beliefs, a fundamental British value. Developing factual knowledge of a variety of religions, R.E. also encourages children to ask questions about the mysteries of life, develop self-reflection and fosters attitudes of confidence and thoughtfulness about themselves. Children will aspire the ability to make reasoned and informed judgements about religious and moral issues and to have the confidence to voice their views which is an essential skill in our 21st century multicultural society. We aim to encourage children’s curiosity about people of faith and commitment who have changed individual lives, society and culture.
Our teaching of Religious Education follows the guidance given in the latest Agreed Syllabus for Haringey – Awareness Mystery Value (2022). We use the Discovery R.E. programme to support in the delivery of Religious Education. Discovery R.E. helps to engage and enthuse our children through an enquiry approach and focuses on critical thinking skills, on personal reflection into the child’s own thoughts and feelings, on growing subject knowledge and nurturing spiritual development. Children learn to interpret, analyse, evaluate and critically respond to the claims that religious and non-religious world views make and learn to express their insights and to agree or disagree respectfully. It also enables children to explore their own beliefs, ideas, feelings, experiences, and values in the light of what they learn. The enquiry approach has 4 key steps: Engagement, Investigation, Evaluation and Expression with children answering key questions. The key question for the enquiry is such that it demands an answer that weighs up ‘evidence’ and reaches a conclusion based on this. This necessitates children using their subject knowledge and applying it to the enquiry question, rather than this knowledge being an end in itself.
What it Looks Like
By the time our children leave Tetherdown, we would hope that they not only have a love of RE but they:
- Acquire detailed knowledge about the beliefs, teachings and practices of different faiths and religions, and identify links between them.
- Interpret the meaning, significance and impact of religious sources, narratives and teachings of different faiths and religions.
- Appreciate and accept different beliefs, traditions and cultures that explain different ways of life and ways of expressing meaning.
- Develop an understanding of their own values and commitments to shape their sense of identity and belonging.
- Ask questions and partake in discussion and debate in a safe environment.
- Embrace the local and wider community in which they are situated, recognising local places of worship and celebrate Britain’s diversity and rich community.
- Use a wide range of religious vocabulary
- Show high levels of self-awareness and demonstrate respect and empathy for others.
The Right to Withdraw
At Tetherdown we wish to be an inclusive community but recognise that parents, of course, have the legal right to withdraw their children from religious education. However, the right of withdrawal does not extend to other areas of the curriculum when, as may happen on occasion, spontaneous questions on religious matters are raised by pupils or there are issues related to religion that arise in other subjects such as history or geography. We would ask any parent considering this to contact the Headteacher and/or R.E. Lead to discuss any concerns or anxieties about the policy, provision and practice of religious education at Tetherdown. Where parents have requested that their child is withdrawn, it should be made clear whether it is from the whole of the subject or specific parts of it. As a school it is our duty to inform our local Standing Advisory Council on RE regarding the numbers of children being withdrawn.