At Dunalley Primary School we use the Discovery RE scheme alongside the Gloucestershire syllabus to provide an exciting enquiry based RE curriculum. This enables us to offer an engaging curriculum that prepares our pupils for life within our school and the wider community.
Through our curriculum, pupils learn RE in sufficient depth so that they remember what they have learnt and can apply this to different religions and practices, especially in Britain today. Planning is detailed and sequenced to ensure pupils develop secure long-term understanding, building on what they have learnt before.
The Gloucestershire agreed syllabus for RE states that,
‘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.’
The syllabus includes units framed by key questions to deliver RE and enquiry is structured around three aims which reflect the principal aim already mentioned. The three aims endeavour to…
- make sense of a range of religious and non-religious beliefs
- understand the impact and significance of religious and non-religious beliefs
- make connections between religious and non-religious beliefs, concepts, practices and ideas studied
Discovery RE has a different enquiry for every half-term focusing on one religion at a time. The aim is to deepen children’s critical thinking skills through greater subject knowledge and also to allow their own spiritual development.
Each enquiry has a big enquiry question which is explored with a 4-step process:
Step 1 Engagement How can I relate to the underpinning concept in my own world?
During step 1, the children at Dunalley start from their own experience to ensure understanding of the concept being studied before moving into investigating that concept in depth from the point of view of the chosen religion.
Step 2 Investigation What do I need to learn about the religion in order to answer the big question?
At this stage the children gain the subject knowledge needed to assist their thinking about the key question. The acquisition of the factual information about the religion /belief system being studied is important, but not as an end in itself.
Step 3 Evaluation How well can I apply this knowledge to the big question using critical thinking/evaluation skills?
In Step 3 of every topic, children complete an assessment activity to evaluate the question again in light of their new knowledge. In some lessons this is written and in some it is oral.
Step 4 Expression Can I express what difference this enquiry has made to me, my thinking and my starting point?
Children are taken back to Step 1, their own experience, to reflect on how this enquiry might have influenced their own starting points and beliefs.
This 4 step process links well with the enquiry process outlined in the Gloucestershire Agreed Syllabus
The Discovery RE model for Key Stages 1 and 2, of studying Christianity plus one other religion in each year group, means both religions have multiple enquiries per year. This ensures that children revisit prior learning for both religions throughout the year to build on the previous enquiries, and Christmas and Easter enquiries are built on year-on-year. Each unit has clear links to SMSC development and British Values.
For full details please read the agreed syllabus RE-Syllabus 2017.