Subject Lead: Mrs McNicolas
RE is an important curriculum subject. It is important in its own right and also makes a unique contribution to the spiritual, moral, social and cultural development of students and supports wider community cohesion.
At Solway Community School RE is taught as part of our Humanities curriculum and consists of a series of cross-curricular themed days based on the major religions (Buddhism, Hinduism, Christianity, Sikhism, Islam and Judaism) as well as themes such as identity, empathy and community.
So far our themes have been:
- December 2019 – Home – This included…
- March 2019? – One World Day – This included..
- December 2020 – A simple Christmas – This included…
Whilst normal lessons provide the basis for the much of the theoretical side of the subject, delivered in advance of the cross-curricular themed days, the latter allow students to explore beliefs through a series of fun, creative and engaging workshops which celebrate religion and promote understanding and tolerance through the arts, music and dance, cooking and drama. Other areas of the curriculum also overtly deliver RE where appropriate, for example Judasim as part of the History curriculum involving the Holocaust.
Cross-curricular dimensions such as identity, cultural diversity and community cohesion provide important unifying themes that help young people make sense of the world and give education relevance. They reflect the major ideas and challenges that face individuals and society and can provide a focus for work within and between subjects and across the curriculum as a whole.
To further strengthen students’ understanding of other religions we frequently invite members of our local church to speak during assemblies and in Personal Development lessons. In 2019-20 we developed links with Carlisle Cathedral and Canon Missioner Michael Manley delivering a series of assemblies to support the school’s values. In addition, Yvette Ladds, the Network Youth Church Minister for Solway regularly sets up reflection rooms where students have the opportunity to be reflective, share their thoughts in creative and atmospheric environments; previous reflection rooms at our Federation School Beacon Hill have included a Narnia setting, for example.
The wider context for RE
The UK has a rich heritage of culture and diversity. This is continuing today in an era of globalisation and an increasingly interdependent world. Religion and belief for many people forms a crucial part of their culture and identity. Religion and beliefs have become more visible in public life locally, nationally and internationally. The impact of religion on society and public life is constantly brought to public attention through extensive media coverage and it is crucial that these are discussed sensitively with students. The rapid pace of development in scientific and medical technologies and the environmental debate continue to present new issues which raise religious, moral and social questions. Creative a safe space, without judgement, to discuss such questions is really important to us here at Solway School.
How RE enriches student’s learning
Religious education for children and young people provokes challenging questions about the meaning and purpose of life, beliefs, the self, issues of right and wrong, and what it means to be human. It develops students’ knowledge and understanding of key religions and traditions that examine these questions, encouraging personal reflection and spiritual development. It encourages students to explore their own beliefs (whether they are religious or non-religious), in the light of what they learn, as they examine issues of religious belief and faith and how these impact in society. Students can build their sense of identity and belonging, which helps them flourish within their communities and develops respect for others, including people with different faiths and beliefs. This helps to challenge prejudice and stereotypes, prompting students to consider their responsibilities to themselves and to others. It encourages empathy, generosity and compassion.