Welcome to Faith and Philosophy at Wallace Fields Junior School
Religious Education is known as Faith and Philosophy at our school. This embodies a more child-friendly name for the subject. The rebranding was carried out in response to pupil voice and in consultation with the children to adopt a more dynamic approach to the teaching of RE. The ‘Faith’ part of the name refers to the different religions children learn about and the ‘Philosophy’ part of the name suggests how children reflect on their own personal values and beliefs or non-beliefs during and after learning. We strongly believe that our way of teaching the subject is inclusive and does not ‘sell’ any particular faith or religion to children. We do not teach any religion or non-religion as fact, but as knowledge of different faiths and understanding of the people who follow them (Christianity, Islam, Judaism, Sikhism, Hinduism and Buddhism). However, we acknowledge the right of parents to withdraw their children from the learning of Faith and Philosophy (RE) or parts of it. We wish to foster in all our pupils a deeper understanding of our diverse and ever-changing society. We teach Faith and Philosophy as a core subject as part of a basic curriculum and uphold every child’s right to learn it as outlined in the Education Reform Act 1988. We aim to teach RE as a means of enriching our pupils’ cultural experiences and to raise future global citizens who have a demonstrable understanding of some of the faiths and beliefs that exist in the world. We wish to create an atmosphere of acceptance where children from all backgrounds, religious and non-religious, feel valued and share a sense of belonging with each other as human beings.
Below are the concepts explored in each year group but please bear in mind that this is just the learning, not the reflections and values explored through each lesson.
Faith and Philosophy progression map
What is our intent?
Within the Surrey Agreed Syllabus, learning in RE is divided into two distinct but complementary areas: knowledge and understanding and expressing ideas, beliefs and insights. These are explained below and also outline our intent for teaching RE through the use of the Surrey Agreed Syllabus.
Pupils should know about and understand religion (and, where appropriate, non-religious worldviews), so that they can:
- describe, explain and analyse beliefs, teachings and practices, recognising the diversity which exists within and between religious and non-religious communities and amongst individuals
- identify, investigate and respond to questions posed, and responses offered by some of the sources of wisdom found in religions and worldviews (including the key texts, the teachings of key leaders, and key thinkers from different traditions and communities)
- appreciate and appraise the nature, significance and impact of different ways of life and ways of expressing meaning
- Pupils should express ideas and insights about the nature, significance and impact of religion and beliefs, so that they can:
- explain reasonably their ideas about how beliefs, practices and forms of expression influence individuals and communities
- express with increasing discernment their personal reflections and critical responses to questions and teachings about identity, diversity, meaning and value, including ethical issues
- appreciate and appraise varied dimensions of religion or belief
How do we implement this?
Our curriculum is still based on the Surrey Agreed Syllabus, but each lesson is now tailored to start with a personal question to get the children thinking about their own philosophy and values. A religion will then be learned about and the children will reflect on their views about it afterwards and what impact it could have on their philosophy. We enable children to ponder over some of the ‘big’ questions in life. Some of which the children have asked and raised in the past, for example: Who were the very first humans and what did they look like? Who was the first person to speak and how did anyone understand them? What is at the end of the universe, if there is an end? Why do some people not believe in alien species? Who first decided to milk a cow and why? Why do humans wear clothes but animals do not?
The Curriculum is delivered through the following Strands but as stated above, is taught as non-factual, philosophical beliefs and children are encouraged to reflect on what the topic means to them and how they relate to it. We also encourage our non-religious children to express their views about not being able to relate to a faith and what they believe the answers to the ideas or concepts discussed might be. Children can also write these in their FAP books as a reflection.
The Curriculum is delivered through the following Strands but as stated above, is taught as non-factual, philosophical beliefs and children are encouraged to reflect on what the topic means to them and what they can learn personally from it:
• What do Christians believe God is like?
• Who is God?
• Who is Jesus?
• What can we learn from religious books/stories/parables?
• Why do people use symbols in their religion?
• What would be in my prayers and what are they?
• Where would my church (place of worship/reflection be?
• Buddhism Unit
• Comparative Units
• Islam unit
• Judaism unit
• Christmas Unit
• Easter Unit
• Hinduism Unit
What impact has our curriculum had?
Faith and Philosophy as a rebrand has so far, increased the engagement with the subject and encouraged children to see R.E as a reflective tool to help them shape their own views and beliefs and to share and celebrate the ones they already have. Faith and Philosophy also outlines the ideas that those who do not follow a religion, still have morals and codes that they follow and allows them to explore where they come from and why they might exist. It enables children to understand British values, their school values and their personal values against the backdrop of different faiths they learn about. It gives them an opportunity to feel included and valued as part of a diverse and nurturing community. It allows children to celebrate their uniqueness and notice their place in the community and the wider world. It makes children inquisitive, empathic and tolerant of views that are different to theirs. We believe our children are resilient and show respect when learning about other faiths whilst maintaining their own individualities and family values.
As we look forward to a new year in 2022, we are proud of what our children have accomplished and the journey they have undertaken in unchartered circumstances that have unfolded over the last couple of years. Recent events highlight the importance of adopting an innovative approach to RE learning and enriching children’s spiritual, moral, social and cultural values so they may be able to thrive in all areas of their lives.
To find out more about the national curriculum for Religious Education in Key Stage 2 that the school is following click here.