Religious Education

In all Church schools, religious education must be considered an academic subject. All pupils are entitled to religious education that is delivered in an objective, critical and pluralistic manner. Pupils are entitled to a balanced RE curriculum which enquires into religions and worldviews 3 through theology, philosophy and the human and the social sciences. It should be a coherent curriculum that enables progress through ordered and sequential learning developing both knowledge and skills. There should be a clear curriculum vision and intent, a structure for implementation and provision and a process for evaluating impact.

Aims and objectives of RE:

• To know about and understand Christianity as a diverse global living faith through the exploration of core beliefs using an approach that critically engages with biblical text.

• To gain knowledge and understanding of a range of religions and worldviews appreciating diversity, continuity and change within the religions and worldviews being studied.

• To engage with challenging questions of meaning and purpose raised by human existence and experience.

• To recognise the concept of religion and its continuing influence on Britain’s cultural heritage and in the lives of individuals and societies in different times, cultures and places.

• To explore their own religious, spiritual and philosophical ways living, believing and thinking.

(Religious Education in Church of England Schools: A Statement of Entitlement 2019)


Balanced RE

The purpose of RE is religious literacy. This means, helping children and young people to hold balanced and well-informed conversations about religion and belief.

A balanced RE curriculum needs to provide a balance between three disciplines. These are:

Theology: This is about believing. It looks at where beliefs come from, how they have changed over time, how they are applied differently in different contexts and how they relate to each other.

Philosophy: This is about thinking. It is about finding out how and whether things make sense. It deals with questions of morality and ethics. It takes seriously the nature of reality, knowledge and existence.

Human/Social Sciences: This is about living. It explores the diverse ways in which people practise their beliefs. It engages with the impact of beliefs on individuals, communities and societies.

An animation explaining these three disciplines is available to view here.

This work has been developed with support from the Church of England Education Office and in collaboration with teachers and subject experts and published in 2018. The RE advisers were: Jane Chipperton (Diocese of St Albans), Gillian Georgiou (Diocese of Lincoln), Olivia Seymour (Diocese of York) and Kathryn Wright (Diocese of Norwich).

Further support can be found in the following documents:

A conversation about balance: key principles

Key principles of a balanced curriculum in RE


Religious Education in different school types

In voluntary aided schools, RE must be taught in accordance with the trust deed: this document will help schools interpret that legal requirement.

In foundation and voluntary controlled schools with a religious character, RE must be taught according to the locally agreed syllabus for RE unless parents request RE in accordance with the trust deed of the school.

In academies and free schools RE must be taught in accordance with the funding agreement.

The Diocesan Board of Education recommends the Diocesan RE Syllabus for adoption in VA schools and formerly VA schools that have become academies.

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