Religious Education should begin in a child’s earliest years. At Stormont, through RE lessons, we aim to foster an appreciation of the rich cultural and religious variety that we are surrounded by in Britain today. We study a range of religions, with the primary goal of developing respect for all beliefs and encouraging the girls to explore their own ideas and questions about their purpose in life, their beliefs about God and what it means to co-exist with others in a peaceful environment.
We provide a programme of study beginning in Reception class and progressing all the way through to Year 6. In every year, the children have one 40-minute lesson of RE each week and in addition, wherever possible, some key religious festivals are celebrated in assemblies. These whole school meeting times are also an opportunity to hear adults speak about their faith and we welcome all members of our school community to share their beliefs and experiences in lessons or assemblies if they would like to.
We deliver engaging lessons using a variety of strategies, through which the children learn using an enquiry-based model, where the children’s critical thinking skills can be developed, their motivation to learn increased, and their knowledge and understanding of, and empathy with people and their beliefs, religious or otherwise, will be enhanced. In addition, we endeavor to organize trips out to explore religious places and invite religious people to come in and speak or lead sessions. We provide opportunities for children to express their learning in a variety of ways, including through drama.
The scheme explores some of main religions found in the UK today. Christianity is taught in every year group, with Christmas and Easter given new treatment each year, developing the learning in a progressive way. Buddhism, Hinduism, Islam, Judaism and Sikhism are also covered. Humanist perspectives are added when appropriate in some enquiries.
Spiritual, Moral, Social and Cultural education has recently become very high priority in all schools and we recognise that RE is a key contributor to this area of children’s development. Therefore, opportunities are identified in each enquiry, and are mapped on an overview grid for each year group.
Teaching British Values has also become an essential part of the curriculum in all schools and at Stormont we feel Religious Education is a key player in engendering knowledge and understanding which can lead to tolerance and respect for others and their beliefs. Our RE lessons do not, however, teach children to passively accept, but rather encourage evaluation and critical thinking, equipping them to consider belief positions they encounter. The curriculum that we deliver contributes significantly to the British Values agenda.