At Bellingham Middle School, R.E lessons are enquiry-based and focus on gaining knowledge, increasing understanding, instilling respect and nurturing curiosity. KS2 learning is organised into unit blocks of time which alternate with history and geography, whilst KS3 receives one hour of R.E teaching per week, the content of which is derived from the Agreed Syllabus for schools based in Northumberland. All year groups study Christianity alongside other world religions which include: Judaism, Hinduism, Islam, Sikhism and Humanism.
In R.E, we enhance learning by appealing to a variety of different learning styles. Consequently, learning activities include: discussion and debate, exploring a variety of religious artefacts, watching video clips related to the topics being covered, reading and discussing stories, creating poetry, investigative worksheets and teacher prepared tasks.
The units we explore look at beliefs about God, sacred texts, founders and leaders, acts of worship, daily life and key moral principles. The aim of our approach to R.E is to ensure that it is inclusive so that all pupils (regardless of their personal beliefs) can take part in meaningful lessons which consistently engage and challenge them. The Agreed Syllabus states the following, which we aim to keep at the heart of all of our R.E lessons:
‘By respecting, valuing and celebrating diversity; by encouraging pupils and students to develop positive values and attitudes; by encouraging pupils and students to engage responsibly with others locally, regionally, nationally and internationally; and by enhancing pupil and student self-esteem and self-respect, RE can play a key role in ensuring that these aspirations are met.’
The way in which we teach R.E at Bellingham ensures that there are no assumptions made in relation to the religious beliefs of our pupils. We encourage pupils to share their thoughts and opinions on different religious beliefs whilst also teaching them how to express their ideas in a respectful, thoughtful and appropriate way. R.E contributes to the development of pupils’ personal and social understanding, helping them to understand their own morals and beliefs whilst valuing the views held by those around them and in wider society.