Religious Education is an important part of the curriculum at Merton Infant School. The aim of Religious Education is to support children in the development of their own beliefs, values and attitudes, and also their understanding and knowledge of religious beliefs, practices and non-practices in Britain today.
The National Curriculum (2014) states the legal requirement that:
Every state funded school must offer a curriculum which is balanced and broadly based which:
Promotes the spiritual, moral, cultural, mental and physical development of pupils
Prepares pupils at the school for the opportunities, responsibilities and experiences of later life
R.E is taught through the Hampshire agreed syllabus, 'Living Difference IV and exploring the fundamental British Values. It is an enquiry-based subject which requires a critical thinking approach.
Children are encouraged to ask questions, some of which they will not know the answer. As part of their spiritual development, pupils are encouraged to look at shared human experiences and to post questions.
They begin to recognise diversity in religion, learning about similarities and differences both within and between religions and beliefs and the importance of dialogue between them. There are no presumptions made as to the religious backgrounds and beliefs and values of the children and staff. We value the religious background of all members of the school community and hope this will encourage individuals to share their own experiences with others freely. All religions and their communities are treated with respect and sensitivity and we value the links, which are, and can be made between home and school, and a faith community.
We implement our RE curriculum through the Living Difference IV cycle of enquiry steps: communicate, apply, enquire, contextualise and evaluate. At Merton, we have adapted these steps to suit the children at our school:
R.E. is taught as a block week.
Collective worship takes place daily, either the whole school together in the hall or in classes and we have a celebration assembly on Friday to acknowledge the fantastic learning that has been going on in school. We also have special assemblies throughout the year to link with key festivals or special events with school or at the local church, such as Harvest Festival, Christingle Assembly, Easter Assembly and our annual Nativity performances. We are extremely fortunate that members of the local church, St. Gabriel's, regularly visit our school to carry out assemblies and teach as part of the R.E. curriculum.
We acknowledge that each religion studied can contribute to the education of all our pupils. We promote teaching in R.E. that stresses open enquiry and first-hand experiences wherever possible for both staff and children. We use stories, artefacts, photos, music and drama to explore questions. We focus predominantly on 2 religions - Christianity and Judaism.
The children in school enjoy learning about other religions and why people choose, or choose not to follow a religion.
Through the R.E. learning, the children are able to make links between their own lives and those of others in their community and in the wider world, developing an understanding of other people's cultures and ways of life. As such, R.E. is invaluable in an ever changing and shrinking world.