Religious Education

RE should provoke challenging questions about the ultimate meaning and purpose of life, beliefs about God, the self, the nature of reality, issues of right and wrong and what it means to be human. RE develops pupils’ knowledge and understanding of principal world religions and offers pupils the opportunity to examine the significance of religion in relation to themselves and others, as they consider how religion and beliefs have an impact on individuals and groups in local, national and global contexts.

At Hunwick Primary School, children are taught to understand and respect the importance of religious beliefs in the world around them.  We encourage children to use and develop their skills in RE and to participate in critical thinking. We aim to ensure that the RE curriculum is challenging, dynamic and relevant to pupils of all ages. Our aim at Hunwick Primary School is to encourage a respect for all attitude towards those with differing faiths and beliefs, as we help our pupils develop understanding and appreciation of our diverse society and world.  We firmly believe that the teaching of RE helps equip our pupils and can be used as a vehicle to challenge prejudice, discrimination and racism.

The teaching of RE at Hunwick Primary School also offer opportunities for personal reflection and spiritual development, enabling pupils to develop their own sense of identity and belonging whilst encouraging empathy and respect for other ideals and faiths by listening to others, hearing and analysing conflicting viewpoints. RE contributes to the aims of the whole school curriculum in providing spiritual, moral, cultural, mental and physical development.

In the Foundation Stage, RE is taught through topics based upon children’s own lives and their own experiences. During Key Stage 1, the study of Christianity is introduced and aspects of Buddhism and Islam are taught.  There is also consideration for non-religious beliefs.

In Key Stage 2, the study of Christianity is developed and religious beliefs within Hinduism, Sikhism, Judaism and Islam are explored. We see Religious Education as a key part in our role of ensuring our children are able to function well within a modern, multicultural and democratic Britain.

Religious Education must be provided for all registered pupils in maintained schools, including those in Reception classes, however parents have the right to withdraw their children from all or part of Religious Education lessons.

Religious Education is a component of the basic curriculum, to be taught alongside the National Curriculum in all maintained schools.  Children at Hunwick Primary School are taught according to a locally Agreed Syllabus, (which is a statutory order) as set out by Durham County Council.


Further information: The Three Elements of Religious Education

RE is based on:

  • Knowledge and Understanding of Religion
  • Critical Thinking
  • Personal Reflection

These are interlinked and enable pupils to make good progress in RE.

Knowledge and Understanding of Religion
This is about what religion is and the impact it has for individuals and communities.  It involves investigation of and enquiry into the nature of religion and beliefs through the four RE concepts:

  • Belief
  • Authority
  • Expressions of Belief
  • Impact of Belief

Pupils will develop their knowledge and understanding of individual religions and distinctive religious traditions, and apply this to considering ways in which religions are similar to and different from each other. Older students will be able to connect significant features of religion together in a coherent pattern. All pupils will enquire into ultimate questions and ethical issues through their study of religious traditions.

Critical Thinking
Critical thinking requires pupils to use reason to analyse and evaluate the claims that religions make.  Through learning in this way pupils have the opportunity to give opinions, support their ideas with reason, consider alternative arguments, weigh up evidence and listen to and respond to the views of others, so developing the ability to articulate their own views and form their own opinions.

Critical thinking requires pupils to be open minded and to value different types of reasoning including intuition e.g. the many differing reasons why people might hold onto a religious faith.

Critical thinking in RE is accessible to pupils of all ages and can be formally assessed. Pupils can demonstrate progress through the quality of their ability to analyse various viewpoints, explain or justify their opinion and evaluate the opinions of others.  It is not the opinion itself which is assessable, but the process of developing and justifying opinions. 

Personal Reflection
This develops pupils’ ability to reflect on religion in relation to their own beliefs, values and experiences and the influence of these on their daily life, attitudes and actions.

Personal evaluation is introspective, subjective and private.  Pupils can make personal progress through reflection, empathy, developing respect and appreciation of others but this should not be assessed.

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