“Religion and beliefs inform our values and are reflected in what we say and how we behave. Religious education provokes challenging questions about the ultimate meaning and purpose of life, beliefs about God, the self and the nature of reality, issues of right and wrong, and what it means to be human. It can develop pupils’ knowledge and understanding of Christianity, of other principal religions, other religious traditions and worldviews that offer answers to questions such as these. RE also contributes to pupils’ personal development and well-being and to community cohesion by promoting mutual respect and tolerance in a diverse society.”
Department for Education
At Willenhall Community Primary School, for a number of years we have been teaching Religious Education alongside a programme of philosophy. Far from being an unachievable or inaccessible subject for primary age pupils, philosophy offers pupils an engaging and exciting curriculum experience, where pupils can tackle big questions, see the relevance of religious ideas to their own beliefs about the world and develop learning and thinking skills.
After extensive trials, and working with other schools and the Philosophy Foundation, we have developed our own bespoke scheme of teaching RE and Philosophy. Each unit of work is focused on a ‘big’ question, such as “Is equality fair?” or “Is peace possible?” and brings in knowledge of different religions to help understand our responses to these questions. The scheme is written to provide an accessible and relevant way in for the pupils to learn about religions and teaches pupils key knowledge of different faiths, but also allows them to tackle some big questions about life. The lessons also provide pupils the opportunity to show progression in their core philosophical ‘learning’ skills - which help develop them as learners for all their subjects.
The units of work for each year group in RE and Philosophy are as follows:
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Identity and Belonging
Prayer and Worship
Stories from the Bible
Introduction to Philosophy
Are religions a guide to life or a set of rules?
Islam, The Qur’an, Ramadan
What’s the best way to live?
Should we choose to be charitable?
What makes a good teacher?
Are sacred stories true?
Stories from other religions
Is equality fair?
What is God?
Christianity, Forgiveness, Easter
Can you express your beliefs through art?
How should you express your beliefs?
Can God be human?
What is the impact of prejudice?
Rites of passage
Alongside RE content, we will also be teaching pupils different skills in listening, questioning, reasoning and explaining which are reinforced throughout the curriculum. Teachers are specially trained to use philosophy skills throughout the curriculum and we are continuing to develop this approach to teaching and learning across the school.
If you have any questions about the teaching of RE and Philosophy at our school, please contact Mr Whitney who will be more than happy to help.