Religious Education Curriculum Statement
Religious Education is the "core of the core curriculum" in a Catholic school (Pope St John Paul II).
At Christ the King, we place RE at the core of the curriculum to help us to fulfil the mission of the Catholic Church - to help everyone in our community to begin to discern their vocation: the person that God intends them to be.
Our mission statement, “God’s Kingdom we will build for our lives to be fulfilled”, further emphasises our intention to provide everyone in our school community - particularly our pupils - with the fullness of life that God desires.
We do this through providing children with a wide range of opportunities and experiences to enable them to use and develop their God given gifts and talents as well as providing them with the knowledge and cultural capital that will prepare them for the opportunities, responsibilities and experiences of later life (a requirement of the 2002 Education Act).
It is our belief that without Religious Education, pupils would be deprived of an essential element of their formation and personal development, which helps them attain a vital harmony between faith and culture. (Religious Education Curriculum Directory).
Catholic schools, with RE at their core, exist in order to help parents, priests and teachers to pass on faith, in its fullness, to a new generation of young people so that they may come to understand the richness of the Catholic faith, and thereby be drawn into a deeper communion with Christ in his Church.
The Religious Education Curriculum Directory (RECD) makes the aims of Religious Education explicit:
1. To present engagingly a comprehensive content which is the basis of knowledge and understanding of the Catholic faith;
2. To enable pupils continually to deepen their religious and theological understanding and be able to communicate this effectively;
3. To present an authentic vision of the Church's moral and social teaching so that pupils can make a critique of the underlying trends in contemporary culture and society;
4. To raise pupils' awareness of the faith and traditions of other religious communities in order to respect and understand them;
5. To develop the critical faculties of pupils so that they can relate their Catholic faith to daily life;
6. To stimulate pupils' imagination and provoke a desire for personal meaning as revealed in the truth of the Catholic faith;
7. To enable pupils to relate the knowledge gained through Religious Education to their understanding of other subjects in the curriculum;
8. To bring clarity to the relationship between faith and life, and between faith and culture.
The Department of Education and Formation of the Catholic Bishops' Conference of England and Wales sets out general guidelines for the content of the RE curriculum in all Catholic schools in England and Wales in the Religious Education Curriculum Directory.
The content of Religious Education (R.E.) and how it is assessed is determined by our diocesan bishop, His Grace, the Most Reverend Bernard Longley. We are supported in the development of curriculum provision for Religious Education and strengthening of our school’s Catholic Life by the Birmingham Diocesan Education Service (BDES).
The schools of the Archdiocese of Birmingham follow the Diocese’s own curriculum strategy from Reception to Year 6 called ‘Learning and Growing as the People of God.’
The Strategy was written using the Learning Outcomes provided in the Bishop’s Conference document the Curriculum Directory as a basis.
The Strategy provides teachers with a range of suggested cross-curricular activities which can be differentiated to suit the learning needs of the children in their class in order for them to explore the Catholic faith and achieve the learning outcomes. There is a strong emphasis on pupils engaging with and responding to questions of life in the light of religious teaching.
This flexible approach enables teachers to incorporate their own creative teaching ideas into the delivery of the Strategy and ensures that their teaching is tailored to the needs of the pupils in their classes. At Christ the King, teachers visibly encourage discussion and whole-hearted engagement for all pupils.
The Strategy is divided into a number of units for each year group, usually 12, which cover four main areas of study:
The Liturgical Seasons of the Church’s Year: The children find out about the significance of each season, its particular signs and symbols and the different liturgies celebrated in each season.
Scripture: The children study both Old Testament and New Testament Scripture in order to give them familiarity and knowledge of Scripture as well as enabling them to explore and understand how Catholic beliefs are rooted in what Scripture reveals to us.
The Sacraments: There is a strong Sacramental focus in each year group. The Year 3 and Year 6 books fully prepare the children to receive the Sacraments of Reconciliation and Eucharist in Year 3 and Confirmation in Year 6.
Living as Christians including Prayer: The children learn about what it is to live as Christians today, how the Church is organised from global to parish level and also the opportunities which exist for them to participate in the life of the Church.
For a detailed overview of the units covered within each year group, please visit the R.E. page within the Curriculum section of our school website where a ‘Long Term Plan’ can be found.
In each unit, there are additional planned opportunities to pray and time to reflect. R.E. at Christ the King is not solely focused on the R.E. Curriculum or taught discretely. It is an intrinsic part of the Catholic Life of our school which is further enhanced through Collective Worship opportunities.
We teach the Catholic Schools Pupil Profile, focusing on a different virtue pair each half term, to further encourage our pupils' spiritual, moral, vocational, social and cultural development. Alongside this we consistently teach and develop our children’s understanding of the fundamental British Values that are essential for and underpin our society. We strive to prepare our pupils for life in modern Britain by instilling in them a sense of self- belief, reminding them that they have been given a specific task to do by God -that nobody else can fulfil but them - to help build his kingdom on Earth. For more detailed information on the implementation of the Catholic Schools Pupil Profile (Gospel Virtues) and British Values at Christ the King, please visit the ‘Catholic Life’ subpage of our website.
Catholic schools are also required to teach about other religions as part of the Religious Education curriculum. At Christ the King we do this during the summer term, particularly during Mission Week. Each year group is allocated a particular religion that they will study (involving visiting a place of worship):
Year 1: Sikhism
Year 2: Judaism
Year 3: Christianity
Year 4: Islam
Year 5: Hinduism
Year 6: Buddhism
We also offer opportunities for students at Christ the King and members of our local community who are practicing members of other faiths to share information about their culture and traditions. Whilst we do not compare religions, this enables us to make links and reflect on what unites us as people of faith.
The outcome of the outstanding Religious Education provided at Christ the King is religiously literate and engaged young people who have the knowledge, understanding and skills – appropriate to their age and capacity – to reflect spiritually, and think ethically and theologically. They are able to ask and answer questions about their own and other people’s experiences as well as the world around them and they are aware of the demands of religious commitment in everyday life.
As part of our assessment of children’s learning in R.E. we follow the assessment cycle set out by the BDES. The data collected is moderated at all levels: internally by staff, SLT and governors and externally by R.E. leads from schools within our Diocesan cluster group and other schools that we have formed close working partnerships with. This data demonstrates that for the past ten years 90+% of pupils at Christ the King (including those with SEND) make expected or better than expected progress in their R.E. learning.
In our Section 48 Inspection of June 2019, the quality of Religious Education at Christ the King was judged to be ‘Outstanding’. The report states that: “As pupils progress through the school, they develop the skills required to engage in examination of and reflection upon religious belief and practice. Teaching consistently make links between life and faith and focuses on how pupils can apply what they are learning in Religious Education to their own lives and thus live out the school mission statement...Teachers place an emphasis on deeper discussions and behaviour in lessons is outstanding because teachers make the work interesting.”
Through the deliverance of our R.E. Curriculum and the Catholic Life of our school, by the time they are ready to move on from Christ the King, our students have been consistently taught that they are unique and important and have thus developed their self-knowledge, self-esteem and self-confidence.
We have strong bonds with the families who make up our school community and consistently receive reports about past-pupils detailing their successes - often given first-hand when pupils come back to visit their Christ the King family.
Our students know the difference between right and wrong because of what they have been taught in their time at Christ the King, particularly through learning about the life and example of Jesus Christ through the R.E. Strategy - this is demonstrated in our extremely low exclusion rate.
Our students show an initiative and desire to contribute positively to the lives of those living and working in the locality of the school and to society more widely. We have an extremely strong sense of charitable outreach and as such our children actively pursue fundraising opportunities and families of the school wholeheartedly support us in this mission. This is demonstrated by the fact that we consistently raise in advance of £3000 annually during the season of Lent for those less fortunate. This is particularly impressive when our school demographics are considered.
Through the Catholic Life of our school (of which the curriculum teaching of R.E. and Collective Worship both play a part) our children are instilled with an appreciation and respect for their own and other cultures. We consistently receive letters from the places of worship that our children visit complimenting us on the respect and, not only tolerance but love, shown by our children. Our multicultural education prepares the pupils in our school for life in modern Britain, giving them an understanding of and respect for the beliefs of others.