Religious Education at Plover

The Doncaster SACRE Agreed Syllabus for RE 2019

World events in the twenty-first century draw attention to the continuing power and significance of religious belief, and other beliefs and philosophies, in shaping human minds and communities. An understanding of different faiths and beliefs has never seemed more relevant. Doncaster’s ‘Growing Together’ prospectus asserts that ‘everyone has a part to play in recognising and valuing the benefits of diverse and inclusive communities’. RE plays a part in this priority.

Many local authorities, Doncaster included, are a microcosm of the wider world, so it’s important that our syllabus for RE should promote understanding between all people.

We are pleased to commend this revised syllabus for RE to all the schools of Doncaster. The syllabus reinforces the importance of RE as an academic discipline. It will enable understanding of concepts and the development of skills and attitudes so that our pupils can explore wider issues of religion and belief in religiously literate ways. This syllabus prepares the children and young people for active citizenship in a diverse and rapidly changing world, exploring some aspects of British Values in relation to religions and worldviews.

Doncaster is a vibrant and unique community in a region of wide diversity of religion and belief. The population of Yorkshire and Humberside includes large communities of Christians, Hindus, Muslims, Jewish people, Buddhists and Sikhs. Many children come from families that hold non-religious life stances such as Humanism. RE taught using this syllabus allows all learners to share their experiences and to learn from one another and the religions and beliefs in our community.

This syllabus makes space for all pupils to explore their own beliefs, values and traditions, and those of others, in engaged and engaging ways. RE taught using the syllabus aims to support children to develop positive attitudes of respect towards people from all religions and worldviews.

The ‘Doncaster Children’s and Young People’s Plan 2017-20’ makes a priority of ‘a broad and balanced curriculum equipping them (all pupils) with the life skills they need to be independent and successful’. This syllabus continues in the tradition of ensuring that RE is responsive to the changing nature of schools and education. The syllabus enables schools to respond effectively to the Government’s Prevent strategy and to the Ofsted framework for inspection, which requires schools to teach a broad and balanced curriculum that will ensure high standards of achievement, learning and behaviour for pupils, as well as contributing to their spiritual, moral, social and cultural development.

We are grateful to the many people who have contributed to this document, especially the members of the Agreed Syllabus Conference – the statutory body charged with the task of reviewing provision of RE in our schools every five years.

Actively promoting values, including British Values

• We want RE in our schools to be challenging, inspiring and engaging.

• We want pupils to develop their levels of religious literacy and conceptual understanding.

• We want them to be able to confidently articulate their ideas about religion, beliefs and spirituality – and then to change their minds if they choose to do so.

• We want learners to understand religious and belief systems’ commitment to morality and social justice, responsible stewardship of the environment and deepening the experience of being human.

• Promoting social and ethnic harmony and awareness of British Values is a moral imperative for schools and RE has a significant contribution to make to this. Through the exploration of multiple identities and local communities, through visits to places of worship and meeting people from religious and belief communities, and through a deepening understanding of beliefs and practices, our aim is for young people to come to an informed and empathetic understanding of different groups which will help promote cohesion and integration. Pupils will explore British Values in relation to religions and beliefs.

• Religion has a major position in public life, so it is crucial that young people are educated to understand and to engage critically with religions and beliefs, and their representation in the media.

• Breadth and balance are essential in RE, as in the whole curriculum. There are greater possibilities in this syllabus and its accompanying materials for creative cross-curricular development, as well as for high standards within RE when taught as a discrete subject.

• We want to encourage teachers to bring academic rigour into the study of religion and beliefs. They are complex and controversial, they demand multi-disciplinary study and they require understanding of difficult language and concepts. Such learning is rewarding at all levels. But this is not just a dispassionate approach to study. Both teachers and learners can develop personally through RE by challenging preconceptions, asking for justification of opinions, re-assessing their own stance on issues and recognising the vast, fascinating and challenging nature of religious study.

• RE is an exciting subject, contributing to learners’ lives and therefore to their communities and to society. We hope that this new syllabus and its accompanying support materials will help teachers to fulfil their pupils’ potential.