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Religious Education

A Statement of Entitlement

The following guidance has been adapted from 'A Statement of Entitlement' issued to all Church of England Schools.

Religious education at St Margaret's Lee should enable every child to flourish and to live life in all its fullness. (John 10:10). It will help educate for dignity and respect encouraging all to live well together.

Such an approach is offered through a commitment to generous hospitality, being true to our underpinning faith, but with a deep respect for the integrity of other religious traditions (and worldviews) and for the religious freedom of each person.

A high-quality sequential religious education (RE) programme is essential to meet the statutory requirement for all state funded schools to teach a full curriculum that prepares pupils for the opportunities, responsibilities and experiences of life in modern Britain. Central to religious education in Church schools is the study of Christianity as a living and diverse faith, focused on the teaching of Jesus and the Church. There is a clear expectation that as inclusive communities, church schools provide sequenced learning about a range of religions and worldviews fostering respect for others. In voluntary aided schools (such as St Margaret's Lee), RE must be taught in accordance with the trust deed: this document will help schools interpret that legal requirement. 

The effectiveness of denominational education in Church schools is evaluated during the statutory inspection of Anglican and Methodist schools (SIAMS) section 48 inspection. That subsequent judgement will reflect the expectations set out in this document. The SIAMS evaluation schedule assesses the way RE contributes to the outworking of church school’s Christian vision. It highlights the responsibility of Church school leaders to ensure that pupils flourish academically through the provision of high-quality RE. In addition, in voluntary aided schools, a judgement on standards in teaching and learning in RE is included in the SIAMS report.

The Entitlement: provision, profile and priority

In our Church school the pupils and their families can expect an RE curriculum that enables pupils to acquire a rich, deep knowledge and understanding of Christian belief and practice, this should include the ways in which it is unique and diverse.

Parents can expect the use of high-quality resources.

Pupils can expect that teaching and learning in Church schools will use an approach that engages with biblical text and theological ideas.

Pupils can expect that a Church school RE curriculum will engage and challenge them through an exploration of core concepts and questions. They can expect Church schools to provide meaningful and informed dialogue with a range of religions and worldviews.

There should be opportunities for them to understand the role of foundational texts, beliefs, rituals, and practices and how they help form identity in a range of religions and worldviews.

Pupils should explore how these may change in different times, places and cultures. RE will go beyond a sociological study of religious phenomena and will introduce pupils to a range of relevant disciplines including theology, philosophy and the human and social sciences.

In our Church school progress in RE should be significant and attainment high enabling pupils to develop confident religious literacy. Parents and pupils can expect that in a Church school RE will have a high profile within the curriculum and will be a priority for senior leaders. The RE curriculum is intrinsic to the outworking of a Church school’s Christian vision in enabling all pupils to flourish.

In addition, the RE curriculum will contribute to British values and spiritual moral social and cultural development Learning activities must provide fully for the needs of all pupils. Pupils should develop a wide range of skills including enquiry, analysis, interpretation, evaluation and reflection. Pupils should have a safe space to explore their own religious, spiritual and/or philosophical ways of seeing, living and thinking, believing and belonging. They should have opportunities to engage in meaningful and informed dialogue with those of all religions and worldviews.

Curriculum statement: challenging, accurate and diverse

In our Church school religious education must be considered an academic subject. All pupils are entitled to religious education that is delivered in an objective, critical and pluralistic manner. Pupils are entitled to a balanced RE curriculum which enquires into religions and worldviews through theology, philosophy and the human and the social sciences. It should be a coherent curriculum that enables progress through ordered and sequential learning developing both knowledge and skills. There should be a clear curriculum vision and intent, a structure for implementation and provision and a process for evaluating impact.

Aims and objectives

• To know about and understand Christianity as a diverse global living faith through the exploration of core beliefs using an approach that critically engages with biblical text.

• To gain knowledge and understanding of a range of religions and worldviews appreciating diversity, continuity and change within the religions and worldviews being studied.

• To engage with challenging questions of meaning and purpose raised by human existence and experience.

• To recognise the concept of religion and its continuing influence on Britain’s cultural heritage and in the lives of individuals and societies in different times, cultures and places.

• To explore their own religious, spiritual and philosophical ways living, believing and thinking.

Curriculum balance and time: sufficient, appropriate and balanced

Reflecting the school’s trust deed parents and pupils are entitled to expect that in Church schools Christianity should be the majority religion studied in each year group and should be at least 50% of curriculum time. Sufficient dedicated curriculum time, meeting explicitly RE objectives, however organised, should be committed to the delivery of RE. This should aim to be close to 10% but must be no less than 5% in key stages 1-2.

Developing staff expertise and knowledge: confidence specialism professionalism

Pupils in Church schools are entitled to be taught by teachers who have a secure subject knowledge and are confident in helping them navigate and challenge cultural and religious stereotypes, prejudice and extremism.

It should be a priority in Church schools to build up staff expertise in RE specifically, but not exclusively, working towards:

• at least one member of staff having RE qualifications or receiving specialist training.

• all staff teaching RE having access to subject specific professional development.

• all staff teaching RE knowing how to create and maintain classrooms in which academic rigour is balanced with respect for different personal beliefs and identities.

• all teaching staff and governors understanding of the distinctive role and purpose of RE within church schools.

• a governing body which is monitoring standards in RE effectively.

The role of the Southwark Diocesan Boards of Education

To promote, or assist in the promotion of, religious education in schools in the diocese. This should be fulfilled by monitoring the quality of religious education in Church schools through taking note of SIAMS inspection reports and by securing high quality training for all schools throughout the diocese. This will help ensure that the provision for religious education is effective and is able to fulfil the expectations of this statement. Support for effective and excellent RE Teachers in Church schools belong to a wider educational and church community.

They are entitled to expect positive support in providing effective and excellent religious education from:

• a named member of staff responsible for religious education and where that person is the headteacher someone who shadows the role

• their senior management team and their governing body, especially foundation governors or academy equivalents

• their local Diocesan Board of Education, including a school’s adviser with an appropriate religious education background

• the Church of England Education Office

• local clergy and other minsters and Christian communities.

The latest school SIAMS inspection report

Our last inspection was in 2020 and we were graded as outstanding. You can read or download the full report at the foot of the page.

RE Quality Mark 

We were delighted to be awarded the RE Quality Mark Gold in 2019 for our RE teaching and learning. A quote from the assessment report:

The school’s RE programme of study carefully blends the best of the old syllabus with the diocesan one. Deep thinking is promoted through excellent use of P4C. As a result, pupils are deeply engaged, make outstanding progress and achieve much higher standards than expected. There is an established culture of RE across the school, expertly managed by a knowledgable and committed subject leader. She ensures that teachers have the skills and knowledge they need and rigorously monitors RE to ensure its consistently high quality. Under her guidance, the school is playing a leading role in supporting RE among neighbouring schools.

Our Curriculum

Our curriculum has been created around key themes and questions. Take a look at the foot of the page (RE@SML)

Courageous Advocacy

Courageous advocacy is a key part of our mission statement.  Its focus is on how, through the outworking of our Christian vision, we encourage and enables pupils to consider and act upon how they can make a difference for the better in their local, national and global communities. It includes charitable giving and other actions such as writing to MPs/local councillors, recycling and conservation, based on and expressing the school’s Christian vision. Courageous advocacy is about how pupils develop positive attitudes to issues of justice and equality, hope and aspiration (for themselves, others and the world).

Our Curriculum in Action

Explore Religious Education across the school by viewing our RE blogs here.

Religious Education