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Bitterley C of E  Primary School

Bitterley C of E Primary School

"Be courageous; be strong. Do everything in love" (1 Corinthians 16:13-14)

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Religious Education

At Bitterley CE Primary School the principal aim of religious education is to explore what people believe and what difference this makes to how they live, so that pupils can gain the knowledge, understanding and skills needed to handle questions raised by religion and belief, reflecting on their own ideas and ways of living.


Our intent for Nursery pupils is to deliver experiences which provide the building blocks for later development in RE. For Year Reception to Year 6 pupils, our intent, delivered utilising the Herefordshire Agreed Syllabus and Understanding Christianity resources, is to develop children’s understanding and knowledge of different religions as they progress through the school. Our pupils will also gain a deeper understanding of Christianity through the teaching of Christian concepts. Our RE curriculum offers opportunities for pupils to know and understand about other major religions and world views. Our curriculum will enable children to explore answers to thought-provoking questions and develop a confidence to talk about their own beliefs.


Herefordshire Agreed Syllabus for RE 2020–2025 


Coherent understanding: There is an increased emphasis on helping pupils to develop a coherent understanding of several religions, by studying one religion at a time (systematic study) and bringing together and comparing different traditions (thematic study). The thematic study allows pupils to draw together their learning each year.


Core concepts: Clarity about identifiable core concepts of religions and beliefs helps teachers and pupils to understand how beliefs and practices connect, so that pupils are able to build effectively on prior learning as they progress through the school.


This syllabus incorporates the Understanding Christianity approach, so that schools who are using that resource can be confident that they are meeting the requirements of the agreed syllabus with regard to the teaching of Christianity.


The key purpose of the Understanding Christianity approach is to help all teachers support pupils in developing their own thinking and their understanding of Christianity, as a contribution to their understanding of the world and their own experience within it.


We aim to see pupils leave school with a coherent understanding of Christian belief and practice. Pupils explore the significant theological concepts within Christianity as part of developing their wider religious, theological and cultural literacy.


The curriculum for RE aims to ensure that all pupils make sense of a range of religious and non- religious beliefs, so that they can:


• identify, describe, explain and analyse beliefs and concepts in the context of living religions, using appropriate vocabulary
• explain how and why these beliefs are understood in different ways, by individuals and within communities

• recognise how and why sources of authority (e.g. texts, teachings, traditions, leaders) are used, expressed and interpreted in different ways, developing skills of interpretation


It aims to ensure that all pupils understand the impact and significance of religious and non-religious beliefs, so that they can:


• examine and explain how and why people express their beliefs in diverse ways
• recognise and account for ways in which people put their beliefs into action in diverse ways, in their everyday lives, within their communities and in the wider world
• appreciate and appraise the significance of different ways of life and ways of expressing meaning


It ensures that pupils make connections between religious and non-religious beliefs, concepts, practices and ideas studied, so that they can:


• evaluate, reflect on and enquire into key concepts and questions studied, responding thoughtfully and creatively, giving good reasons for their responses
• challenge the ideas studied, and allow the ideas studied to challenge their own thinking, articulating beliefs, values and commitments clearly in response

• discern possible connections between the ideas studied and their own ways of understanding the world, expressing their critical responses and personal reflections with increasing clarity and understanding



The teaching of RE in Nursery is taught through child-led play and by the provision of experiences which provide the building blocks for later development, starting with things which are familiar to the children, and providing lots of hands-on activities and learning. These experiences are varied and planned to support each cohort and can include dressing up and dancing or acting out scenes from stories, celebrations or festivals, making and eating festival food, talking and listening to each other; hearing and discussing stories of all kinds, including religious and secular stories with themes such as goodness, difference, the inner world of thoughts and feelings, and imagination, exploring authentic religious artefacts, seeing pictures, books and videos of places of worship and meeting believers in class, the introduction of religious vocabulary, work on nature, growing and life cycles or harvest, seizing opportunities spontaneously or linking with topical, local events such as celebrations, festivals, the birth of a new baby, weddings or the death of a pet, starting to talk about the different ways in which people believe and behave, and encouraging children to ask questions.


For Year Reception to Year 6, the teaching of RE explores units from the Herefordshire Agreed Syllabus and Understanding Christianity. Year Reception follow a one-year cycle with KS1 and KS2 following a two-year cycle. Each termly unit creates an opportunity for pupils to explore a Big Question which becomes more in-depth as children progress through the school. Our teaching encourages pupils to develop their questioning skills and add their own views and opinions to religious topics. Opportunities are given for children to express their knowledge and understanding using different methods of presentation i.e. music, art, drama / movement, outdoor learning and use of discussion and debate. As part of their development for understanding other religions our pupils also visit places of worship.


Herefordshire Agreed Syllabus for RE 2020–2025 


Teaching and learning approach: There is a clear teaching and learning approach at the heart of the 2020 syllabus, whereby all units enable pupils to ‘make sense’ of the religions and beliefs studied, 'understand the impact’ of these beliefs in people’s lives, and to ‘make connections’ in their learning and their wider experience of the world.




By the end of Nursery, pupils will display understanding and knowledge of the “Understanding the World” Area of Learning for 3 and 4 year olds.


By the end of each key stage including the Year Reception, pupils are expected to know, understand and apply the concepts, skills and processes specified in the relevant termly unit. Pupils are assessed on their knowledge and understanding of each unit using professional judgement, by looking at work samples, recalling discussions and other responses to teaching and learning. Pupils who are not meeting expectations will be supported in developing their knowledge, understanding and skills in RE.




We have a rigorous schedule of monitoring which includes:

Pupil conferencing
Book Scrutiny
Learning Walks by RE Coordinator, SLT, DHMAT

Moderation with DHMAT schools


The insight from these and other monitoring activities gives the RE Coordinator a clear understanding of the strengths and relative weaknesses of RE. From this analysis, it can be ensured that any professional development is closely matched to teachers’ needs and allows the RE Coordinator to reflect on how effective the curriculum is and whether any changes are needed.   


Herefordshire Agreed Syllabus for RE 2020–2025 


RE and personal development: The syllabus retains its emphasis on RE contributing to the personal development of pupils. RE is not simply about gaining knowledge and understanding about religions and beliefs. It also helps pupils to develop their own understanding of the world and how to live, in the light of their learning, developing understanding, skills and attitudes. It makes a significant contribution to pupils’ spiritual, moral, social and cultural development, as well as important opportunities for exploring British Values.