Religious education at St Michael’s is firmly rooted in the belief that each person, uniquely made in God’s image, merits the best that we can give (from Genesis 1:27). We believe that every person is unique and comes with their own unique set of beliefs and views about the world. In RE, our aim is to intellectually challenge pupils to enable them to be outward looking and to develop an understanding of different religions and worldviews so that they can flourish through personal enrichment and develop core values that include empathy and compassion. At the heart of RE at St Michael’s is the teaching of Christianity through the life and work of Jesus Christ. By understanding that we live in a diverse world and that each person is entitled to their own beliefs, we can be respectful of those different beliefs and views and can better interact with the world around us.
Through visits, visitors, discussion drama, and use of literacy and a wide range of resources, the department aims to provide vibrant, and thought-provoking lessons which will explore opportunities to extend and deepen children’s spiritual, moral, social and cultural understanding. We encourage questioning and debate, in a way that shows respect but deepens our understanding that we each see things from different perspectives and that having a different opinion from others is natural.
We aspire to develop our understanding of the world and the people who live in it; we will embark on a journey to develop our own beliefs and views, whilst being respectful of others; and we are creative in the way we explore and endeavour to understand religions and worldviews.
RE at St Michael’s is a central part of the development of each pupil; it is a subject that allows pupils to explore faiths across the world, establishing their core beliefs and practices and examining their relevance in everyday life. RE forms an integral part of our community and pupils are given opportunities to reflect thoughtfully on theological and philosophical issues and to explore and reflect on spirituality and world views. Pupils are taught to understand that there is a need for change and are inspired by those who have made a difference in the world. Skills and knowledge are nurtured over time that enable them to have academic and practical tools that will enhance their learning further in RE – continuing on to Upper School and beyond.
Pupils build their understanding of world religions and worldviews across the four year journey at St Michael’s alongside examining the central beliefs and knowledge of the Christian faith and how to live a Christian life. At the centre of teaching RE is remembering our school’s Christian mission statement that every person is uniquely made in God’s image and that pupils deserve the very best we can give them.
RE builds ASPIRATION by:
Aiming high and inspiring pupils to achieve their very best; it enables pupils to be sure of their knowledge as they encounter other faiths and world views in the wider world.
This knowledge will enhance their tolerance and acceptance of other faiths during their whole life.
Having a wide knowledge of world faiths will ensure their personal development in exercising tolerance in later life.
The skills taught in RE enable students to reach their highest potential and can be used across all areas of the curriculum to improve their learning.
RE builds BELIEF by:
Enhancing acceptance of different beliefs and faiths and understanding that they exist even though they may not have any direct experience.
For others, belief will give them confidence in their own search for faith and therefore will sustain and empower them for the future.
We are investing in the future of the subject by preparing them for GCSE and A Level. This knowledge will sustain them when challenged about religion. Their interaction with learning about other faiths and cultures will ensure their tolerance of all faiths in the wider world.
RE builds CREATIVITY by:
Offering different experiences that are linked with other creative subjects across the curriculum.
Imaginative opportunities are used to exercise their different creative abilities within the RE curriculum using Art, Drama, Music and poetry within different topics. Other activities that enhance creativity are the Easter Experience workshops, Spirited Arts Competition, stained-glass window designs, poetry, Art in Heaven project and the Holocaust Day.
Wider British Values
St Michael’s is a Church of England school that believes that supporting children’s development of character and values, including the core British values of democracy, mutual respect, liberty and the rule of law, is an essential part of equipping young people to thrive as citizens in the world of the future. RE actively supports this by:-
Ensuring that pupils with their own beliefs have the right within RE to “think and believe what they want and to practise their religion, as long as they are not stopping other people from enjoying those rights” (from Unicef Rights of the child). The values and beliefs that they personally hold should be nurtured and developed in RE lessons without fear of ridicule. Article 13 from the Unicef Rights of the child states that pupils “must be free to say what they think and to seek and receive all kinds of information, as long as it is within the law.”
Encouraging respect of different faiths and beliefs through a good understanding of the belief, what matters to believers from that faith. We also identify aspects of faith which believers from the same faith may hold different views and therefore need respect and tolerance within a faith. In particular we look at Christianity, Islam, Buddhism, Judaism, Hinduism/Sanatana dharma, Sikhism and Humanism as important world religions and world views.
Once a wider knowledge of world beliefs/world issues has been established – pupils will be equipped to state their opinions with evidence to back up their point. Even if others disagree “every child has the right to have a say in ALL matters affecting them and to have their views taken seriously”. (Article 12 of Unicef Rights of the child). In return, others should respect differing opinions to their own and therefore RE education overall should “encourage the child’s respect for human rights … their own and other cultures and the environment.” (Article 29 of Unicef Rights of the child). This should help develop the child’s character values and abilities to the full – enabling them to thrive as British citizens in the future.
Where it all fits in
If you are working well in this subject these are the skills you are learning:
Analysing and evaluating different faiths.
Researching to gather knowledge.
Comparing and contrasting concepts and ideas.
Reflecting on other points of view and counteracting their opinion.
Using critical thinking when using sources to gather correct information.
Empathising with other viewpoints and beliefs.
Communicating their ideas to others with a balanced outlook
If you like this subject then these are some of the jobs you can go on to:
Religious Education is all about understanding and valuing all people so a good grounding in this subject prepares you for all jobs.
Lecturer in Philosophy and Ethics
Working within Faith communities in Reconciliation
Working for the UN
Archbishop of Canterbury!