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R E Policy



1.       Introduction

2.       Audience and Purpose

3.       Aims

4.       Entitlement

5.       In-Service  

6.       Review

7.       Rationale

8.       Subject Curriculum

9.            Relation to Curriculum

10.         Resources

11.     Pupils

            -           Equal Opportunities

            -           Special Educational Needs

12.     Class Teacher

            -           Planning, continuity and progression

            -           Assessment

13.     Co-ordinator's Role

14.     Headteacher

15.     Parents

16.     Governors

17.     Other Schools

18.     Durham Diocesan Board of Education

19.     Other Agencies


“Religion cannot be understood simply from the outside.

It is like stained glass windows in the cathedrals.

You can see them from the outside, and they are nothing,

grey and colourless.  You can see them from the inside,

and they are wonderful, full of life and colour.  Unless they

are understood as seen from the inside, religious dogmas

and rituals seem grey and shapeless, if not absurd.”


The Schools’ Council Working Paper 36.




1.      Introduction

1.1       Religious education in Blue Coat Church of England Aided Junior School is governed by the 1944, 1988 and 1993 Education Acts as well as by the Trust Deeds.


1.2         The content and approaches to religious education has been determined by the Governors and therefore is in accordance with the beliefs and traditions of the Church of England. The school follows the requirements of the Durham Diocesan RE Syllabus for Church Aided Schools.


1.3         Religious education in Blue Coat School is an educational activity with the task of helping children to think about faith, to analyse and reflect on it and to bring their critical faculties to bear on it, it also make a contribution to pupil’s understanding of the world to their spiritual and moral growth and to preparing them for adult life and responsibilities.


1.4         Children in Blue Coat School must be encouraged to demonstrate their faith and values and the centrality of their Christian foundation in the life of the school. Therefore, religious education in our school is seen as an “expression of faith”, part of the nurturing role providing one of the means by which our pupils will see what the Christian faith is about and how it may be relevant to their own lives.


2.      Audience and Purpose

2.1       The policy document is a working document for:

                       discussion and reference by the teachers in the school

                       information to parents

                       discussion by Governors.

2.2       The policy document is a working document to:


·         reflect current practice and thinking on development

·         to show a common purpose amongst staff which may be clearly understood by:

-          Parents

-          Governors

-          Diocese of Durham

-          Inspectors

-          Others


3.           Aims

3.1       We believe there are three broad aims for religious education in Blue

            Coat School.  These are:

·         helping pupils to develop a knowledge and understanding of religion and faith.

·         Furthering pupils’ personal growth and development through the study of the beliefs and values of Christianity and other faiths.

·         Contributing towards pupils’ experience of Christianity as a living faith

3.2       Each of the three broad aims can be spelt out in greater detail.

3.3         Helping pupils to develop a knowledge and understanding of religion and faith:

This aim is concerned with:

·         a general knowledge of the subject matter and key figures of Christianity;

·         a general knowledge and an appropriate understanding of the central beliefs of Christianity;

·         some knowledge about and an appropriate understanding of some of the beliefs of the other major world faiths;

·         an understanding of what it means to think about and interpret experience in a religious way.

·         a recognition and exploration of the spiritual aspects of human experience;

·         an appreciation of the effect religious belief have on the values and behaviour of individuals and communities;

·         an ability to use religious language and imagery appropriately.


3.4       Further pupils’ personal growth and development through the study of the beliefs and values of Christianity and other faiths.

            This aim is concerned with the pupils’:

·         ability to relate religious beliefs to their own experience of life;

·         own search for meaning and purpose in life and the establishment of a set of values by which to live;

·         spiritual development; their awareness of awe, wonder and mystery in life and their ability to be still and reflective;

·         ability to “stand in the place of” and enter imaginatively into the lives, needs and experiences of others;

·         attitudes of care and concern for the needs of others;

·         exploration of religious questions about life;

·         own feelings of self worth;

·         attitudes of respect and tolerance towards others;

·         reflection on the relevance of Christianity for themselves;

·         exploration of their own religious beliefs and insights.


3.4       Contributing towards pupils’ experience of Christianity as a living faith.

            The aim is concerned with:

·         the study of Christianity within a faith setting;

·         the experiencing of a Christian ethos expressed through the attitudes, relationships, values, visual symbols and Christianity observances of the school;

·         the experience of church life through contact with the parish and other local churches;

·         the taking part in and reflection on the yearly cycle of Christian festivals and seasons;

·         the taking part in a daily pattern of prayer and worship.


4.      Entitlement

4.1         All pupils are entitled to a curriculum, which is broad and balanced.

4.2         All pupils are entitled to a curriculum in which religious education has

equal standing in relation to the core and foundation subjects.

4.3         All pupils are entitled to a curriculum in religious education which

embodies a concern to prepare pupils for adult life, particularly in its

affective discussion.

·         by raising and reflecting on ultimate questions

·         by developing skills related to forming opinions, values and attitudes;

·         by examining belief systems and stances for living;

·         to relate a knowledge of, and insight into, religion to a personal search for meaning and purpose in life.

4.4         All pupils are entitled to a curriculum in which religious education aims to meet their needs and enables them to realise their potential.

4.5         Parents have the right to withdraw their children from R.E. as in any school but it is hoped that the majority of parents choosing a Church Aided School would adhere to the R.E. Curriculum too.  Teachers in Church Aided Schools do not have the safeguard of the 1944 Act Section 30 to withdraw from teaching R.E.

4.6         As a Church Aided School at least 80% of R.E. teaching time is to be devoted to Christianity.  The Durham Diocesan Syllabus suggests studying two world faiths.  Aspects of other faiths will be brought into R.E. when deemed appropriate but not studied as main topics.

The allocation of time for R.E. is a minimum of 70 minutes per week (or equivalent over school year).  This is recommended by the Board of Education and excludes collective worship.  This works out as 5% of curriculum time and is in line with the General Synod Board of Education of County Schools (see Durham Diocesan R.E. Syllabus).


5.           In-Service

5.1         Each member of staff will be given the opportunity to engage in meaningful INSET according to their needs.  Teachers will be encouraged to participate in INSET activities.

5.2       INSET activities may be:

·         school based

·         working with teachers from local schools

·         LEA led

·         Diocesan Board of Education led.

5.2         Professional development and support and development days will be available for each member of staff to use according to their needs and the needs of the school.

5.4       Teachers involved in INSET will report back all staff will benefit.


6.      Review

6.1       This policy will be subject to continuous monitoring.

6.2       All staff will contribute to discussions on how to review and develop the policy in the light of their classroom experiences.

6.3         By regular review the policy will remain an up-to-date and coherent document.


7.      Rationale

7.1         Durham Blue Coat School is a Christian foundation and as such its purpose is to promote Christian values and an orderly, caring and secure environment.  The Christian faith underpins the school’s relationship with its staff, its pupils and their families.

7.2         Religion is a major influence in the lives of many people, motivating their behaviour.  It is essential, therefore, that children are introduced to religion and are helped towards an understanding of it as a force in people’s lives

7.3         Religious education and the experience of faith


We encourage our pupils to develop and extend their religious thinking and attitudes.  Therefore, at the very least we want our pupils to:

·         take religion seriously;

·         see its importance for life;

·         find the questions it raises about life, important and exciting;

·         develop spiritually;

·         develop in themselves the values and standards of behaviour affirmed by Christianity and other faiths.

7.4         We believe that our pupils will benefit from religious education being

taught in an environment where a religious view of life is affirmed, where their own religious sensibilities are fed and where their religious experiences can be voiced rather than denied. Our pupils’ are given opportunities for religious growth.


7.5       Learning Creatively

Religious education in our school in not only concerned with knowledge, it must include:

·         exercising of the imagination

·         exploring spirituality

·         exploring commitment

·         experiencing awe and wonder

·         sensing mystery

·         reflecting on feelings

·         facing the pains and joys of life.

7.6         Religious education will be taught and learned as a discrete cross-curricular subject.

7.7         Religious education will be taught in class, as a whole-class activity with children working individually or in groups within the class, or to the whole school.


8.           Subject Curriculum  

8.1         The curriculum will enable children to:

·         evolve concepts of deity, universality of religion, worship, ritual, sacrifice, symbolism, prayer, religious language, belief, faith, and commitment, appreciation of the wonder and mystery of the natural world created by God, in the context of the Christian Faith.

·         have some understanding of ideas of self, relationships and corporate identity.

·         develop understanding of religious practices and their relationships to, and effect upon, major life events.

·         evolve towards an awareness of other major world faiths regarding beliefs, customs, festivals, geographical distribution and personalities.

This is achieved through long, medium and short term planning which ensure all pupils have experience in the following “Areas of Experience”:

·         primary human experiences; social; moral, relationships, other faiths; response to God through nature; the Bible, Old Testament and New Testament; spirituality; Christian studies.


Each of the “Areas” is concerned with knowledge, concepts, attitudes, understanding, skills and experiences.

8.2         All year groups study some aspects of the major festivals.

8.3         The curriculum will ensure continuity of progression throughout the school for children of every age and stage of their development.


9.      Relation to the rest of the Curriculum

9.1         Religious feelings and ideas are best explored in the expressive aspects of the curriculum:

·         languages

·         music

·         art

·         drama

·         poetry

·         story telling

9.2         Religious education is often integrated in a meaningful way within much of the curriculum work undertaken in our school.

9.3         Pupils are given the opportunity to use ICT to apply and develop their skills in the use of ICT as a tool and to support and enhance work in R.E.


10.    Resources

10.1      Blue Coat is committed to providing a stimulating environment, which includes displays.

10.2      Resources will be under constant review.

These will include:

·         books, magazines, publications for teacher use

·         books, pictures, charts, posters, maps for pupil use in the classroom

·         pictures, charts, posters, maps for pupil use and display

·         videos, films, film strips

·         online resources

·         artefacts for pupil use and display.

The amount of funding allocated to R.E. varies each year.

10.3      Resources are presently stored in the staff room.  Each classroom has its own stock of Bibles and year groups share some resources particularly appropriate to them.  There is a section in the school library entitled ‘Our Faith’.  All Saints Church is used for human and material resources, as are other local churches.  We also subscribe to and use the Durham Resource Centre.


11.    Pupils

11.1      Equal Opportunities

All children in Blue Coat will be given equal opportunity to study Religious Education.

Issues relating to equal opportunities ie gender/ equal access/ colour will be addressed by all staff.

R.E. has a large part to play in helping to remove prejudice and misunderstanding and to combat stereotyping, discrimination, sexism and racism.

11.2      Special Educational Needs

·         All children will be given the opportunity to achieve their full potential.

·         Children with special educational needs will work on the same content, but at different rates and levels of ability.

·         Children with special educational needs will have tasks broken down when necessary, to give them achievable goals.


12.    Class Teacher

12.1      Each teacher needs to ensure that the religious education offered to each child is carefully planned and matched to the child’s ability and level of understanding.  It should raise the child’s awareness of and understanding of the nature of faith and help develop attitudes of respect and tolerance towards others.


Our pupils must begin to learn the importance of religion in the world and in society.  This, together with their own personal exploration of religious belief, is the essence of religious education.


It is the responsibility of all teachers in Durham Blue Coat to guide their pupils towards such greater awareness and reflection.


12.2      Planning will be done in consultation with teachers in the parallel class and the religious education co-ordinator.  Long term planning is based on the requirements of the ‘Questful RE’ scheme from the Diocese of Durham Board of Education and Newcastle Diocesan Education Board in consultation with the Blackburn Diocesan Board of Education  and an understanding of the needs and abilities of our pupils.  Medium term plans outline the programme for the forthcoming term for each year group and are based on the Units from the scheme.  Short-term (weekly) plans are prepared by the class teacher and show clearly how the teacher is to meet the objectives that are the focus of that week.


12.3      When planning, teachers have a responsibility to consider the balance of opportunities in the subject and differentiation.


12.4      Assessment

Class teachers will be responsible for on-going assessment.


Religious Education is not subject to nationally prescribed attainment targets, programmes of study and assessment arrangements.  However, there are good reasons for a system of assessment in Religious Education to:

¨      Monitor pupil progress

¨      Monitor the effectiveness of teaching

¨      Provide feedback to pupils on the quality of their work

¨      Enable pupils to reflect on their work

¨      Help pupils to acknowledge their achievements

¨      Povide a basis for giving parents an account of their child’s learning and development

¨      Give an idea of levels of achievement in RE


Above all, assessment is an integral part of the planning process.  The form of assessment is chosen to ensure the fulfilling of the teaching objectives listed in the Diocesan Syllabus.  The teaching outcomes, together with the learning outcomes, which indicate what pupils might be able to do as a result of their work in R.E., form the basis of the assessment of the pupils.


Some aspects of R.E. are more easily assessed than others.  These include:


¨      Whether pupils have gained the relevant knowledge

¨      Whether pupils have understood the required concepts and ideas

¨      Whether pupils can use the religious terminology accurately and appropriately

¨      Whether pupils are beginning to be able to use religious and metaphorical language, and apply it to their own experience

¨      Whether pupils are developing an interest in and positive attitudes towards religious and faith concerns and issues


There are also aspects of R.E. which are more difficult to assess, but which should be attempted.  These might include:

¨      The pupil’s ability to show concern and understanding

¨      The pupil’s ability to be sensitive to the needs of others or to their point of view

¨      The pupil’s respect for God’s creation

¨      The pupil’s acceptance of values compatible with Christian beliefs

¨      The pupil’s own attitudes and beliefs


Much of what is important in R.E. is even more difficult to assess, and in many cases it will be the experience which is important, rather than any attempt to assess what the pupil gained from it.  For instance, experiences of beauty, wonder or transcendence might be intensely private to the pupil, or the pupil may not possess the language skills necessary to articulate the experience.  Similarly, asking the pupils to comment on a period of reflective silence, might involve the invasion of privacy and there may be things the pupil wishes to keep private.


An appropriate way of assessing such sensitive areas might be through pupils’ own self-assessment.  It may also be possible to draw some inferences through the evaluation of creative responses and through discussion.


At Blue Coat we are not testing every objective or learning outcome, we will concentrate assessment on learning which teacher, parent or pupil treasure and value.  We use our own records based on the 8 Level Scale from RE Today as advised by the Diocese.


We use the end of key stage statements in conjunction with work produced by the pupil to make a judgement about each pupil’s progress.


A variety of assessment techniques are used including visual, oral, written and diagrammatic tasks as suggested in the Medium Term Planning.


Each teacher will be responsible for keeping a record of progress made by pupils in his/her class.  Progress in R.E. is reported to parents on an annual basis in a written report and orally at Parents’ Evenings.


12.5      A difficulty with assessment is in ensuring that the response obtained from a pupil is genuine and not what he/she thinks the teachers expects.  This is particularly true in discussion or written work on values and behaviour.  The use of drama lessens this risk, as pupils engaged in these activities are more likely to be expressing themselves than seeking to conform.


13.    Co-ordinator’s Rol

13.1      To monitor the R.E. Policy and programme, updating as appropriate, in consultation with staff, Governors and Durham Diocesan Board of Education.

13.2      To guide and support teachers in this subject.

13.3      To co-ordinate classroom practices and planning across the curriculum to ensure the development of subject skills.

13.4      To monitor the development of the subject throughout the school and inform the Headteacher.

13.5      To audit and monitor resources throughout the school.

13.6      To ensure staff are continually aware of new developments in the subject.


14.       Headteacher

14.1      The Headteacher will be ultimately responsible for the implementation of this policy.

14.2      The Headteacher will ensure delivery and process.

14.3      The Headteacher will monitor and evaluate the teaching of the subject throughout the school.




14.4      Blue Coat welcomes the involvement of parents both in school and with their support at home.

14.5      Parents may withdraw their children from religious education.  However, in choosing a Church school the Governors expect that parents are thereby committing themselves to their child’s full participation in the Christian life of the school, including religious education.


15.       Governors

15.1      The Governing body is responsible for determining the nature of religious education provided in Durham Blue Coat School.

15.2      A copy of the policy will be made available to each Governor.

15.3      Governors will be responsible for ensuring that the policy will be delivered according to the statutory framework and within confines of the school budget.

15.4      The school will ensure that Governors are kept informed of school developments.


16.       Other Schools

16.1      Blue Coat works closely with Newton Hall Infant School to ensure continuity and progression between Y2 and Y3, as well as communicating with other feeder schools. We are working towards developing our relationship with the RE Department of Framwellgate School Durham in order to improve transition arrangements between Y6 and Y7 for RE.

16.2      The school will continue to foster links with St Godric’s School in order for the children to share experiences and worship.


17.       Durham Diocesan Board of Education


17.1      In its commitment to provide a full range of resources, Blue Coat will use the services of the Durham Diocesan Board of Education who are happy to provide advice and guidance and assist schools in religious education.


19.    Other Agencies


19.1      In its commitment to provide a full range of resources, Blue Coat will use the services of the Local Authority and Learning Resources.