As Church schools, our Christian ethos run through the heart of everything we do at East Cowton and Kirkby Fleetham. Consequently, RE is a core subject and all children spend part of their school week learning about Christianity and other major world religions or non-religious world views. Children learn how to think, how to question and even how to disagree effectively through interesting and stimulating RE lessons.
We follow the Leeds and York Diocesan Syllabus for Religious Education.
“Good RE equips pupils for life, by helping them to engage in balanced and informed conversations about religion and belief, which touch areas of everyday life on a personal, local and global level. It also enables them to develop critical analytical skills alongside religious and theological literacy, as well as supporting the thoughtful and reflective development of pupils’ own beliefs and values.”
Rt Revd Jonathan Gibbs, Chair of the Diocesan Board of Education, Bishop of Huddersfield
In-keeping with our learning question approach throughout all subjects, each half term there is a different BIG QUESTION which informs the RE focus for the lessons that follow. These are taken from the Diocesan Syllabus and Understanding Christianity. Class 1 questions include “Why do Christians perform Nativity plays?”, “Who is Jewish and how do they live?” or “Who made the world?”. Class 2 questions become increasingly challenging such as “What is the Trinity?”, “Creation and science: conflicting or complimentary?” or “What does it mean for Muslims to follow God?”.
The children spend approximately 2/3 of their RE time on Christianity but we also recognise the importance of developing a cultural awareness and understanding of other major world faiths. Alternating every two years, the younger children learn about either Islam or Judaism. In Class 2 the children have a four year rolling focus on either Islam, Judaism, Hinduism or Sikhism.
Children in Class 1 dip apples in honey as part of the Jewish Rosh Hashanah festival
The importance of RE across the whole curriculum.
RE is taught as a distinct subject but its influences are felt in every aspect of school life. The RE Big Questions are, where possible, linked to the wider termly topics. Through a deep understanding of how faith and spirituality are important aspects of our humanity, our children are challenged to ask searching questions and develop their own passions through courageous advocacy. Looking beyond world faiths, RE lessons also allow children to explore broad ethical and social questions which encompass diversity, British values and the cultural challenges of growing up in our modern world.
We have a long established connection with a large primary school in The Gambia and the children had the opportunity to talk about what it means to be Muslim and what a mosque is like when the school’s head teacher came to visit in June 2018. Class 1’s Mrs Arrowsmith visited Bakau Newtown Lower Basic school in February 2019 and then shared her experiences of the trip with the children at both Kirkby Fleetham and East Cowton.