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Religious Education


Curriculum design at The Firs

In deciding on the intent behind the design of our curriculum it is our vision and values that are the starting point. See The Firs’ Curriculum Policy.

The key drivers behind the makeup of our curriculum are:

  • What we wanted to develop in a ‘Firs’ Mindset’ (which we defined as the values and approaches to life we wanted our children to live by and hold to).

  • The knowledge and skills we wished to develop in addition to those set out in the National Curriculum.

  • Any gaps in children’s knowledge, skills or awareness that we perceived, associated with the context of our local environment, location or general pupil characteristics.

  • Our understanding of what ‘Cultural Capital’ meant to us at The Firs and in each year group, how we could give children the chance to experience it.

All of the thinking behind these key drivers are set out in The Firs Scheme of Work.

We decided on an additional programme of learning, organised into a number of strands, that would complement the content from the National Curriculum. We have called these additional strands ‘The Firs’ Themes’.

The RE Curriculum at The Firs

Religious Education is a compulsory subject, which every pupil should have access to. It can provide the foundation for many people’s lives and promote acceptance and understanding of other beliefs. 

Through the teaching of RE we aim to promote the spiritual, moral and cultural development of all pupils.

The RE syllabus that we follow is the ‘Bedfordshire Agreed Syllabus for Religious Education’. 

At The Firs, we enable children to develop a sound knowledge of many key aspects of the following major religions; Christianity, Islam, Hinduism, Judaism and Sikhism. Both religious and non-religious world views are covered. 

Children reflect on what it means to have a faith and to develop their own spiritual knowledge and understanding. We help children learn from religions as well as about religions.

In a town where children do not always experience multiple faiths, we see RE at The Firs as a very important vehicle, to help children learn about some of the fundamental aspects of other cultures, as well as promoting the values of tolerance and respect that are so important to our school ethos.


  1. Know about and understand a range of religions and worldviews.

  2. Express ideas and insights about the nature, significance and impact of religions and worldviews.

  3. Gain and deploy the skills needed to engage seriously with religions and worldviews.

The overall aims should enable pupils to:

  • Develop conceptual understanding of religion, religious beliefs and practices – in order that they can begin to engage in informed reflection and discussion about religions and religion. 

  • Develop an informed appreciation of religions – in order that they can explore religions with openness, interest and enjoyment. 

  • Value religious and cultural diversity – in order to enhance their social and cultural development and to contribute to a more just and civil society. 

  • Create meaning from their knowledge and understanding of religions– in order to enhance their spiritual and moral development. 

  • Develop an awareness of the richness of religions and their contributions to society and culture– in order that they can make increasingly mature judgements about the world in which they live. 

  • Recognise commonality and difference within and between religions – in order to develop respect, openness and curiosity. 

  • Develop a sensitive understanding of the significance of religious commitment and practice in the lives of individuals – in order that they might develop respect and tolerance for individuals and their right to hold beliefs that are different from their own.

We aim to develop SMSC through our RE curriculum by:

  • Spiritual: allowing pupils to experience how for people with faith, religious proactises and festivals can have a deep spiritual significance.  For example, Studying the Sikh holy book, the Guru Granth Sahib, children discuss how it is used for special occasions, how it is treated and why this is of such deep significance to Sikhs. (Year 3)

  • Spiritual: encouraging children to reflect on their emotions and how we react emotionally to events in our lives (or for those with faith, to aspects of what we believe deeply) for example, as part of the introductory work to thinking about how Easter is celebrated by Christians,  the children think about times when they have had a chance to rejoice at a special occasion. What did they do to make that occasion memorable and important? The children also consider that unfortunately, there are also times when we come together to weep because something sad has happened. They think of a time like this in their life. (Year 4)

  • Moral: helping children to empathise with the difficult moral choices we all need to make, such as forgiving others, for example, children listen to the story of the Prodigal Son using interactive and reflective storytelling techniques. They draw out and discuss the forgiveness and love shown by the father. (Year 1)

  • Cultural: Looking at how people’s belief systems influence what they do, how they live and the festivals that mark their lives. For example, learning about what Ramadan is, how it is celebrated and why it is such an important part of the cultural identity of Muslims. (Year 2) 


This policy should be read in conjunction with the Firs’ Scheme of Work section on RE, that sets out in detail what children in different year groups will be taught and the expectations at the end of each year.

Our school curriculum sets out the knowledge and skills that pupils will gain at each stage. It is clear what end points the curriculum is building towards each year and what children need to know and be able to do. 

The teaching of RE is based on the County’s recommended study units:


Year 1

Diwali, Hanukkah and Christmas

Birth & Marriage 

Stories / Special People in Christianity, Judaism, Hinduism

Year 2

Families and communities/Feelings and Relationships/Christmas Story

Special Books/Key Stories in the Bible/Torah/Qur’an 

New Life/Baptism and Creation Stories from around the world.

Year 3

How should we live and who can inspire us?  

How and why does a Christian follow Jesus?

What does it mean to be a Jew?

Year 4





It is important in the foundation stage to give children a broad, play based experience of RE in a range of contexts, including outdoor play. Our early years learning environments will feature RE scenarios based on experience in the real world, such as in role play. We will teach RE to all children in the school, including those in the early years. 

As part of the Foundation Stage Curriculum, we relate the RE aspects of the children's work to the objectives set out in the Early Learning Goals, which underpin the curriculum experiences for children up to the age of five.

Three Faiths tour:

In Year 3, children will participate in the ‘Three Faiths Tour’ visit. As part of this event, they will visit a mosque, a Gudwara and a Church. This trip forms a key part of the RE programme and gives children a very valuable experience learning about the importance of three key faiths in the local community. 

Withdrawal from RE Learning:

Parents may request that their child is withdrawn from R.E. Where parents are wishing to exercise this right, the Governing Body would first suggest that the parents first meet with the Headteacher to discuss their concerns. If the matter cannot be resolved, parents need to apply to the Headteacher in writing to withdraw their child from RE lessons. 

The school will make arrangements for the child(ren) to be supervised or engaged in another activity during this time. We are mindful that everyone holds different beliefs and this is taken into consideration in RE lessons.


In order to measure the impact of the RE curriculum, we use a range of formative and summative assessment in all lessons such as:

  • Questioning

  • Observations/learning walks/drop ins

  • Looking at children’s written work

  • Feedback from staff and children

  • Analysis of our assessment tool linked to Scheme of Work objectives/National Curriculum for each year

Assessment information is collected and analysed by the subject leader using the school RE Assessment Template, as part of our monitoring of teaching and learning. This process provides us with an understanding of the quality of education in RE as well as indicating areas for development.

Positive outcomes in RE can be harder to ‘measure’, but are, nevertheless of incalculable benefit in the part they play in our curriculum.

Children show enjoyment, learning about other religions and why people choose to, or choose not to follow a religion. They enjoy learning about the world around them and developing a deeper understanding of religious communities that live in their local area:

  • They make links between their own lives and those of others in their community and in the wider world through visits to local places of worship

  • They develop an understanding of other people’s cultures and ways of life.

  • They develop their knowledge and understanding of key world religions

  • They learn to reflect on spiritual questions, applying their growing insight into the views and practises of others, to develop empathy and respect for those with different beliefs to their own.

  • They explore questions of beliefs and values in relation to contemporary issues in an ever-changing society where children are increasingly being exposed to non-religious viewpoints.

  • They develop the ability to reflect, debate and accept the existence of opposing viewpoints.

  • They are encouraged to feel valued as individuals and that their own beliefs are valued and celebrated by the school.