Religious Education

RE Whole school overview

Aims and Purpose of Religious Education in School

RE provides opportunities for children to:

  • develop their knowledge and understanding of, and their ability to respond to, Christianity and the other principal religions represented in Great Britain;
  •  explore issues within and between faiths to help them understand and respect different religions, beliefs, values and traditions (including ethical life stories), and understand the influence of these on individuals, societies, communities and cultures;
  •  consider questions of meaning and purpose in life;
  •  learn about religious and ethical teaching, enabling them to make reasoned and informed judgements on religious and moral issues;
  •  develop their sense of identity and belonging, preparing them for life as citizens in a plural society;
  • develop enquiry and response skills through the use of distinctive language, listening and empathy;
  • reflect on, analyse and evaluate their beliefs, values and practices and communicate their responses.

RE does not seek to urge religious beliefs on children nor to compromise the integrity of their own beliefs by promoting one religion over another. It is not the same as collective worship, which has its own place within school life.

What do children study in RE at key stages 1 and 2?

During RE in key stages 1 and 2 children acquire and apply knowledge and understanding of:

  • Christianity, Buddhism, Hinduism, Islam, Judaism and Sikhism;
  • how these religions influence individuals, communities, society and the world.

As well as learning about religions, children also develop their ability to respond to what they have learnt.

Language and communication

Children develop language skills through:

  • talking about their work and presenting their own ideas using sustained and systematic writing of different kinds;
  • studying sacred texts and stories;
  • extracting information from sources such as reference books, CD-ROMs, e-mails and the internet.

Values and attitudes


  • work with others, listening to each other’s ideas, and treat others with respect;
  • have opportunities to consider their own experiences, attitudes and values, and those of other people;
  • develop respect for evidence and critically evaluate ideas that may or may not fit the evidence available;
  • identify puzzling questions and suggest answers; develop their understanding of why certain things are held to be right or wrong;
  • relate to moral and religious issues.

Building on children’s earlier experiences

In foundation stage children will have had opportunities to find out and learn about the world they live in. These experiences are likely to have included:

  • learning about the beliefs and cultures of others;
  • sharing the celebration of different festivals;
  • hearing stories from a variety of cultural and religious traditions.


RE is required to be taught to all registered children in schools. Parents may request that their child be exempt from RE lessons, assemblies and celebrations on religious grounds – permission must be sought from the Headteacher in writing.

RE Agreed Syllabus 2011