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Bywell CofE Junior-01745

Subject Intent

At Bywell Junior School, we believe that it is important for all our pupils to learn from and about religion, so that they can understand the world around them. The aim of Religious Education in our school is to help children to acquire and develop knowledge and understanding of Christianity and the other principal religions represented in Great Britain; to appreciate the way that religious beliefs shape life and behaviour, develop the ability to make reasoned and informed judgements about religious and moral issues and enhance their spiritual, moral, social and cultural development.

Religious Education is taught throughout the school in such a way as to reflect the overall aims and values of our school, making links to Friendship, Justice, Compassion, Peace and Endurance through the different religions taught.

It plays an important role, along with all other curriculum areas, particularly PSHCE, in promoting social awareness and understanding in our children. We encourage our pupils to ask questions about the world and to reflect on their own beliefs, values and experiences. RE at Bywell promotes the values and attitudes necessary for citizenship in a multi-faith society through developing understanding of, respect for, and dialogue with people of different beliefs, practices, races and cultures.

Our curriculum is designed to encourage creativity, imagination, enquiry, debate, discussion and independence.

Subject Implementation

  • RE is taught for 45 minutes every week and as a school, we follow the Kirklees Agreed syllabus.
  • Currently, whole school Collective Worship takes place on a Monday morning at 8.40 am. On a Friday morning, this is a celebration assembly every fortnight. On a day when there is no Whole school Collective Worship, a class Collective Worship will take place instead.
  • We celebrate Inter Faith Week, providing children with the opportunity to immerse themselves in different religions. As well as this, we have a close working relationship with Reverend Jonathan Bish, who has visited and led acts of collective worship once every half term.
  • We visit the Church for a Christmas Christingle service and the Year 5 children also visit the church for Rewind to Christmas and Rewind to Easter. School continues to organise visits to different places of worship to enhance the learning experience for children as well as organising visits from different faith leaders to work with children and lead collective worship.
  • A range of activities are planned for lessons which demonstrate different skills and are engaging whilst allowing an in depth look at different religious beliefs. Activities allow children to demonstrate their understanding of the topic and deepen children’s knowledge. Opportunities for Big Questions are planned to discuss current topics as well as religious elements providing children with a chance to explore and discuss their own views and those of others.
  • Progression and the coverage of religions is clear in books and planning. Covering different religions across the years will allow children to draw similarities between religions and reflect upon their own beliefs.
  • We organise pupil voice questionnaires to find out views of children about R.E and how they would like to further develop it.
  • Each class have created a prayer book with prayers written by the pupils. These prayers are used at the end of class collective worship.

July 2023 update

  • A Ramadan club was organised for the children who were fasting in each year group. A different member of staff planned creative activities for the children to take part in. Children had the choice of attending and all opted to attend.
  • We organised a Bywell Iftaar Party. As this was the first time that we held this event, we invited staff members and their families to take part in the traditional opening of the fast as the Bywell community. This had a really big uptake and many people attended and enjoyed the evening. The invitation was extended to Rev. Mark who unfortunately was unable to attend.
  • I accessed a virtual course ‘Pupils Leading Collective Worship’. This was an informative course which gave useful advice on how we can develop pupil leaders. We looked at the different steps that need to be taken in order to develop such leaders. The idea of children seeing themselves as leaders leading collective worship can be transformational.
  • I undertook a classroom reflection area checklist to ensure it was up to date and met the requirements that we had agreed to as a school. Any items that were missing were reported to me and were ordered. All reflection areas were inviting and children were able to explain where they were and why they were used.
  • Our new diocese advisor is Helen Lever. She undertook a visit which involved a learning walk, meeting the children and looking at reflection areas/well-being walls.
  • I made contact with our new Rev. Jonathan Bish. He has conducted two collective worships so far. The first one centered on the theme of identity, while the second focused on change, which coincided nicely with the transitioning period. Additionally, the new reverend took a learning walk around school.

Next steps for 2023/24

  • Evaluate Lesson 1 of RE (The Parable of the Mustard Seed) and ensure clear progression is shown through the year groups.
  • Ensure prayer books are completed by the first week and ready to use for class collective worship.
  • Recruit class collective worship leaders.
  • Organise collective worship sessions led by Rev. Jonathan, aiming to schedule them once every half term.
  • Support new members of staff with RE syllabus and give guidance for topics for class collective worship sessions.

October 2023 Review

  • Lesson 1 of RE (The Parable of the Mustard Seed) has been evaluated and a clear progression document was shared with all year groups. Each year group have used this work for display work in the hall.
  • Each class have created a prayer book with prayers written by the pupils. These prayers are used at the end of class collective worship.
  • Class collective worship leaders will be recruited by the end of the Autumn term.
  • This half term, Rev. Jonathan led a collective worship related to harvest. The aim is to invite Rev. Jonathan to lead collective worship once every half term with a clear focus in mind.
  • Staff were given information regarding the RE syllabus and were given guidance for topics for class collective worship sessions.
  • Plan for Inter Faith Week which is in November.

December 2023 Review

  • Beginning the week of November 13, there was an Interfaith Week. During this week, the children investigated several faiths. A religion was assigned to each class to research further. Furthermore, inquiry sheets were distributed so that teachers had a starting point and could customise their classes based on different inquiries. Every year group presented their learning in a showcase assembly at the conclusion of the week. This had a significant effect since it gave children the chance to encounter some elements of several religions.
  • Trips to the church were organised for Rewind to Christmas, Christingle Service and Year 6 Carol Concert. The first trip involved Year 5 who took part in a session called ‘Rewind to Christmas’ – this session involved Christmas crafts and celebrations which the children took part in at the Church. The second trip was a Christingle Service which involved every child in the school. All planning and resources were shared with the team during a staff meeting. Children made Christingles and explored the significance of this during RE sessions. It was clear that children enjoyed making their Christingles and using them during the service. The Year 6 Carol Concert was organised with the Reverend – parents were invited to this after school.
  • The reverend led 2 collective worships this half term. The theme of the first collective worship was Interfaith Week and how we live in a religiously diverse society. The second collective worship had an Advent theme. These provided children with more information about some of the topics discussed in their RE sessions and connected nicely with what they were already studying.
  • Christmas planning was shared with the whole team. This included points of questioning and some ideas on activities which teachers could use.
  • A reflection area audit was completed – some classes were missing some items which were then ordered and given out.

March 2024 Review

  • Ms Adam did a collective worship on Ramadan and following this, Reverend Jonathan did a collective worship on Lent and linked it back to Ramadan. The children could see the similarities and differences between Ramadan and Lent.
  • Collective Worship Leaders were appointed from each class. A meeting was held with the group which discussed the role and future goals of the group.
  • Collective Worship leaders completed an online training session on ‘Pupils Leading Collective Worship’. The young leaders explored the purpose of collective worship and skills needed to lead a successful collective worship.
  • After Easter, the structure of Class Collective Worship will change slightly – one week will focus on bible stories and the following week will focus on Picture News and this will alternate each week. Collective Worship Leaders will support the class teacher every Wednesday during this. During a staff meeting, class teachers were given guidance on how to access Picture News planning and PowerPoints.
  • Each year group organised a ‘Ramadan Club’ for those children fasting and wanted to stay indoors during break and lunchtime. Children completed creative activities during this time.
  • Bywell Big Iftaar event was a huge success – staff and their family members were invited to join in with the breaking of the fast.
  • Year 4, 5 and 6 joined an online training session on Protected Characteristics. Children now understand the 9 protected characteristics and the significance of each one.
  • Easter planning was shared with all staff.
  • As part of the next steps, I will check the curriculum map against the newly released Kirklees Agreed RE syllabus.