Developing Young Philosophers
Article 14 - Right to freedom of thought, religion and belief
Religious Education at Penponds is based on the Cornwall Agreed Syllabus 2020 - 2025. We are also receiving training in 'Understanding Christianity' and are planning to input these elements into the Christianity teaching of our curriculum later this academic year. We follow a two year rolling plan to ensure coverage is rigid and thorough. The principle aim of religious education at Penponds school 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. All pupils develop their understanding of Christianity in each stage of their learning and in addition, pupils will develop understanding of the principle religions represented in the UK, with a consideration of other religious and non-religious worldviews. Links are also made to Religion in Cornwall and how beliefs and traditions affect the people and landscape around us.
In the Early Years, children explore a wide variety of world religions and explore how faith is lived throughout the year as festivals and celebrations occur.
Our approach to RE lesson sequencing can be seen below.
Following RE Network meetings across the MAT, where RE Leads get together to talk all things RE and share good practice and training, Penponds shared this approach and the rest of the MAT schools were inspired to trial it themselves too.
Agreed teaching approach for RE:
We are philosophers
The Four Step Sequence
The key question for the enquiry is such that it demands an answer that weighs up ‘evidence’ and reaches a conclusion based on this. This necessitates children using their subject knowledge and applying it to the enquiry question, rather than this knowledge being an end in itself. We focus on critical thinking skills, on personal reflection into the child’s own thoughts and feelings, on growing subject knowledge and nurturing spiritual development.
1. Engagement - Lesson 1
The human experience underpinning the key question is explored here within the children’s own experience, whether that includes religion or not e.g. a human experience underpinning the question.
If they can relate to this human experience they will be better able to understand the world of religion into which the enquiry takes them. Their personal resonance with this underpinning human experience acts as the BRIDGE into the world of religion (which may be very much outside of their experience), the BRIDGE concept/experience does not have to include anything explicitly ‘religious’.
2. Investigation - 3-4 lessons
The teacher guides the children through the enquiry, children gaining subject knowledge carefully selected to assist their thinking about the key question.
Some of the enquiries have a lot of relevant content - Depth is more important than content.
The acquisition of the factual information about the religion /belief system being studied is important, but not as an end in itself.
3. Evaluation - Lesson 5
This lesson draws together the children’s learning and their conclusions about the key question of that enquiry. This is an assessment task. The task, teacher observations and children's work and responses over the unit/enquiry form the basis for the assessment.
Children are taken back to Lesson 1, their own experience, to reflect on how this enquiry might have influenced their own starting points and beliefs and what they might take into their own lives to develop their own spirituality.
To be a philosopher I need to –
- Be inquisitive, ask questions, question answers and have lots of philosophical conversations
- Have an open mind to possibilities. You can think one thing one day and something totally different the next.
- Be respectful, polite and tolerant of the views of others.
- Have a wealth of knowledge of the world around me
See below for the RE Curriculum and RE Action Plan.