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Churchfield Church School and Nursery

Learn to love, Love to learn

RE Teaching

  • The R.E. long term plan was compiled, and all staff now have clear guidance as to what they should be teaching in R.E.   

  • It was compiled in such a way as to facilitate each year group having a deeper study of Christianity and just one other religion – rather than children dipping in and out of several different religions.  In order to promote this deeper study, we also agreed to limit our focus to Buddhism, Hinduism, Islam and Judaism. (We do not have a focus on Sikhism.) 

  • It also makes it clear that the expectation is that approximately 2/3 of R.E. lessons will be focused on Christianity and the other 1/3 will be studying other world religions: 

  • Since 2016, the school has been using Understanding Christianity in all year groups, in order to do the following: 

  • To enable pupils to know about and understand Christianity as a living world faith, by exploring core theological concepts 

  • To enable pupils to develop knowledge and skills in making sense of biblical texts and understanding their impact in the lives of Christians.  The 10 week plan addresses this. 

  • To develop pupils’ abilities to connect, critically reflect upon, evaluate and apply their learning to their own growing understanding of religion and belief (particularly Christianity), of themselves, the world and human experience. 

  • We were studying similar R.E. units of work before we adopted this scheme.  However, the main impact of adopting Understanding Christianity on our teaching has been twofold the very specific focus on biblical texts the emphasis on knowing how a particular study unit fits within the bigger picture of the whole bible.    

  • The ‘Big Frieze’ display has been very useful in aiding this.  Children can see and conceptually grasp the whole timeline and yet still take parts of the frieze into a classroom for closer scrutiny. 

  • As well as following the Understanding Christianity units of work, we are keen to enrich learning by making the most of opportunities such as the interactive, multi-sensory trail, ‘The Story of Christmas’ at Bristol Cathedral.  In Dec 2019, our Yr. 2 class explored this key Christian festival in a unique way by immersing themselves in the story in a style, which is not usually possible in the classroom. They were invited to look into the homes of the nativity characters and to collect clues about the character whose home it is.  In this way, they gathered information about each character and gradually built a picture of how each one became involved in this amazing series of events, surrounding a tiny baby.  All classes visit the place of worship associated with their names.  We have an active choir who sing in the church each month for the family service. 

  • At the same time as we adopted Understanding Christianity, we also adopted the use of ‘Discovery R.E.’ This has enabled us to ensure that the children are developing knowledge and understanding of four other major world religions: Buddhism, Hinduism, Islam and Judaism.  

  • At the moment, we have very few children/families who profess to be anything other than Christian.  Where there are opportunities within our R.E. teaching to link with believers from other religions, we try to do this.  E.g. In Autumn 2019, each of our KS2 classes participated in a series of workshops exploring Hindu dance.  The children vividly imagined and physically embodied the different roles, dramatic situations and actions of the main characters in the Ramayana as they retold elements of this epic story through dance.  Important cross-cultural concepts like the power of good over evil, knowledge over ignorance, freedom over oppression, and hope over despair were all touched upon.  More recently a year 5 teacher taught the key concepts of Islam through a relay race, making learning active and fun, therefore the children recalled the facts well. 

  • “It was such fun!  Mrs Barnard was the quiz master and we had to run to say the answers.  It’s really helped me remember it.”  Year 5 child. 

  • We often prompt the children to imagine that there is a believer of whichever religion we are studying, in the classroom.  It is fine if we hold different opinions and beliefs, but we would never want another person to think we were making fun of their beliefs or discussing in a disrespectful way.  We encourage the children to reflect critically on their own religious, spiritual and /or philosophical convictions.  We emphasise that we are teaching about religions so that we understand and have respect for them, we are not teaching someone to be a follower of a religion.   

  • R.E. meetings and training sessions have had a significant impact.  It was because of an R.E. hub meeting that we explored and adopted parts of the ‘Discovery R.E.’ scheme of work.   

  • R.E. lead has had training on Understanding Christianity, spirituality, collective worship and disseminated key points to staff. 

  • There are clear opportunities for assessment within both Understanding Christianity and Discovery R.E.   

  • The staff, R.E. lead and foundation governor have worked closely together to look at a sample of children’s books and learning from each class.  They looked at the RE and English work of a child who was working at ‘greater depth’ in English and a ‘middle’ child’s RE and English work.  One of the questions asked was, are the skills of a GD English writer evident in their RE work?  In addition, more generally, is their evidence of coverage of the scheme of work?  Sometimes the R.E. work sampling has shown exactly what we would hope to see; sometimes there have been general points to follow up on.  E.g. In summer 2019, the governor’s learning walk and work sampling found that it was usually but not always true that the skills of a GD English writer were evident in their RE work.  Moreover, there were sometimes gaps of several weeks where there was no recorded evidence of RE. Consequently, the R.E. lead followed up with staff on these points, to ensure that expectations were clear. 

  • If a lot of discussion has taken place, there may be a couple of RE lessons where nothing has been recorded or recording is more a summary of the activity.  In such cases, the expectation is that when the children do record something, it would reflect the depth of understanding they have gathered from the previous discussions.  See evidence folders – year 3 example. 

  • Cross-curricular opportunities to use R.E. context for English writing – poetry, prayers.  Art – we have 2 cross curricular art/RE weeks a year and produce a whole school piece of work each time.  We were involved in the Regeneration art installation led by an artist and placed in St John’s Church. 

Limited impact during 2020 and early 2021 for the following reasons: 

  • Due to staff absence, the proposed role of the RE lead was changed to that of class teacher.  Now resolved.   

  • Covid 19 – the school went into lockdown in March 

  • Planning based on the Agreed Syllabus using high quality resources – develops children's understanding and provides continuity 

  • Engagement of children increased and less able academically able to access the work and demonstrate understanding 

  • Clear idea of where the school is currently and areas for further development in order to move the school forward 

  • Continuity as PS knows the scheme and has had the relevant training  

  • This will enable links to be made with other curriculum areas more effectively and teachers can ensure that the same high expectations regarding work/presentation apply in RE as in core subjects.  Teachers to encourage and give space for individual reflection and spirituality. 

  • ZP has remodelled the nursery and foundation stage curriculum to meet the needs of our children. Find it here  

  • Focus now on the quality of the learning each week and the development of children’s knowledge and understanding of Christianity and other world religions; it will also allow for development of individual spirituality.  Children encouraged to produce their best at all times – best examples included in floor book, use of PRAISE points, etc.  

  • RE subject leader monitors teaching and learning/work in books effectively, providing support where needed  

  • Children (and staff) enabled to make explicit links between church/worship and learning about/from religions in class  

  • Over the course of their time at Churchfield children will study, in addition to Christianity: Hinduism, Judaism and Islam. Although not studied in depth, children will also be made aware of some key aspects of Sikhism. 


We currently have spaces available for 2 and 3 years olds in our OUTSTANDING nursery. Please phone or see the Nursery section for more detail