Religious Education


In this Church of England Aided School, the Religious Education provided conforms with the rites, practices and doctrines of the Church of England as laid down in the

Trust Deed of February 28th 1873.

The statement of policy in our prospectus is as follows:

St. Helen’s Church of England Aided School aims to provide a secure setting within which children can feel confident to explore the beliefs and practices of the Church of England as well as the beliefs, practices, views and feelings of their fellow human beings in our multicultural and multi-faith society.

 The school aims to help children to reflect on human experience and the meaning of life. It aims to guide them through the maze of demands for decisions on moral and social issues and to help them to establish their own beliefs and attitudes, to share a sense of values and to develop a pattern of upright behaviour so that the values of and within the school reflect its Christian Foundation. Religious Education and Collective Worship have central roles in the work and climate of the school. Our Mission Statement is a declaration of the views that we hold and our vision for our pupils.

 Overton St. Helen’s C.E. Primary School has an opportunity and a duty to present Christian education in a distinctive way. We are concerned with making a contribution to the mission of the Church and we believe that children need to grow up within a stable framework of values and beliefs. We accept that members of other faiths often send their children to Church schools because they know that religion will be taught and practised by committed teachers who can say ‘This is what I believe as a Christian’. This commitment is an acceptance of the Christian tradition and of the moral consequences which the tradition entails.

The Governors of the school have agreed to adopt the R.E. syllabus recommended by the Blackburn Diocesan Board of Education and reflects the National Framework for RE, the National Society Statement of Entitlement and the requirements of SIAMS. It was implemented in September 2013, through a rolling programme formulated by all staff and based on the syllabus for EYFS, KS1 and KS2. Wherever possible, staff  have linked the R.E. curriculum to the whole school matrix in order to give children’s learning more meaning and purpose and to show that R.E. has a real impact on our daily lives.

The main emphasis of Religious Education in this school is on the teaching of Christianity. In line with the Diocesan recommendations, The Governing Body has agreed that Christianity takes up between 70% and 80% of R.E. curriculum time. The other major faiths being studied progressively throughout the school are Judaism and Islam. Buddhism is taught for half a term in Year 6. During the year, all classes have a half term block allocated to teaching a non-Christian unit, but at all times, reference to other faiths and the multicultural aspects of our curriculum are developed.

The school works closely alongside the Parish Church and the vicar and supports the church whenever possible. Part of the Religious Education of the school is to ensure that the children have the opportunity to experience worship and some aspects of the liturgy by regular visits to St. Helen’s Church.

Staff and pupils consider the rites and practices of St. Helen’s Church on special occasions such as Holy Week, Mothering Sunday, Harvest Festival and Christmas and pupils have the opportunity to meet with the Vicar and Junior Church Leaders in school to be prepared for their First Holy Communion. Visits to other local churches form part of the R.E. programme and visits from other clergy, as well as our own, and ministers from other denominations form part of the children’s experience of the Living Church.

The Aims of Religious Education at St. Helen’s C.E. School

The school accepts as its broad aim the following statement, which was agreed after extensive consultation with Church schools in the county.

Within the context of a Church School, R.E. will support children and young people in developing their own beliefs, values and attitudes through an exploration of shared human experience and the place and significance of Christianity and other religions in the contemporary world, with such emphasis on Anglican beliefs and practices as is appropriate to the school situation.

The aims of the R.E. syllabus of this school are

  • to  introduce religion as a living experience and to help pupils to develop their own beliefs, values and attitudes
  • to provide opportunities and experiences which will promote children’s spiritual development
  • to promote children’s knowledge and understanding of the significance of Christianity and the other major religions of the world and to help pupils to develop respect for the beliefs and practices of other cultures.
  • to enable children to experience Christianity as a living faith and develop knowledge about the beliefs and practices of Christianity and to offer nurture into the Christian faith.
  • to help children to develop their self-esteem and to feel valued within the school community so that they may grow in confidence and independence, ready to make their own decisions about beliefs and values which are important to them and others.
  • to enable children to explore shared human experiences and to consider questions concerning the purpose of life, death, evil and suffering.
  • to enable children to develop an awareness of their own place in the world, to develop aesthetic values, observing and appreciating the natural world around them, learning to care for it and appreciate its beauty and wonder and beginning to experience the transcendent and the spiritual aspect of human nature
  • to educate children to relate religious beliefs to their own experiences of life and share thoughts and feelings with others. (This aim is often fulfilled through Collective Worship and Circle Time as well as Religious Education)
  • to help children to develop their ability to be still and reflective and to understand the need for prayer
  • to enable children to consider the needs of others, to demonstrate concern for others, to develop an ability to assess the consequences of their own actions and to consider ways of correcting any wrong decisions they may have made.
  • to help children to perceive the need for some underlying principles such as truth, love, mercy and compassion which help to form a basis for their own actions and behaviour and to consider the values promoted by Christianity and other faiths.
  • to help children to reflect on the relevance of Christianity for themselves as a faith by which to live.


Meeting the aims of Religious Education

The aims of our R.E. Policy are met through our Religious Education programme, the wider curriculum and the ethos of the school community.

In particular, a study of the place and significance of Christianity and other religions in the contemporary world aims to give the children:

  1. knowledge of the life of Jesus and the key figures of Christianity, including Old and New Testament history, prayer and worship, the life of the church, festivals and rites of passage.
  2. knowledge and an appropriate level of understanding of the central beliefs of Christianity such as the Trinity, prayer, salvation, humanity and eternal life.
  3. knowledge of the lives of people of faith, both past and present
  4. knowledge about and appropriate understanding of some beliefs and practices of Judaism and Islam ( and also all six of the major world faiths) progressed from EYFS to Year 6
  5. an awareness of the variety of belief and practice within faiths and the similarities and differences which exist
  6. an exploration of the nature of commitment and an understanding that Christians and followers of other faiths believe that there are ways of living that develop or hinder growth to humanity and holiness

Christianity as a Living Faith

The study of Christianity takes place within a community of faith where children experience a Christian ethos. This is expressed through the school’s attitudes, relationships, values and Christian observances.

Children see the visual symbols of Christianity throughout the school, for example in our school logo, the cross at the front of the building and on our Worship Table. They gain an awareness of the role of the Church of England in the nation’s life and learn about the world-wide nature of the Christian Church. It is also important that the children gain an awareness of the different Christian denominations and their similarities and differences.

The children’s faith development is nurtured and encouraged through:

  • experience of the yearly cycle of Christian festivals and seasons
  • taking part in a daily pattern of prayer and worship
  • developing Christian responses to creation and life
  • developing a sense of thanksgiving to God, the love of God and Jesus and an awareness of the need for repentance and reconciliation
  • developing a sense of belonging to this school family, this community and this

The Syllabus

The rolling programme of topics for R.E. is based on the new Diocesan Syllabus and covers the seven years of primary schooling through a two year rolling programme. This ensures coverage and progression, especially for classes with split year groups. Class teachers prepare detailed lesson content based on the agreed programme of topics and follow the comprehensive suggestions given by the Blackburn Diocesan Syllabus Units. Each class teacher has an R.E. file for the planning and evaluation of learning and teaching in R.E.

Assessment, Recording and Reporting

Pupils’ understanding, knowledge, attitudes and explicit skills in R.E. are assessed by ongoing teacher and Subject Leader evaluation

The assessments are based on pupils’ written and verbal responses and the ways in which they demonstrate understanding of religious concepts.

To help improve the consistency and effectiveness of assessment in R.E., Q.C.A. has provided non-statutory guidelines of national expectations in R.E

The scale in these guidelines is structured around the two attainment targets from the Model Syllabuses – ‘Learning about Religions’ and ‘Learning from Religion’.  Each attainment target has been given three strands

Attainment target 1 : Learning about religions
  • knowledge and understanding of religious beliefs and teachings;
  • knowledge and understanding of religious practices and lifestyles;
  • knowledge and understanding of ways of expressing meaning
Attainment target 2 : Learning from religion
  • skill of asking and responding to questions of identity and experience;
  • skill of asking and responding to questions of meaning and purpose;
  • skill of asking and responding to questions of values and commitments

The national scale has been adapted so that it can be applied to this Diocesan / District Syllabus

(taken with permission from ‘QCA non-statutory Guidance on R.E.’ page 18, pub. 2000).

Learning from religion is…
Learning from religion is not…
  •  relevant to all pupils, regardless of their religious (or non-religious) background
  •  confined to pupils from a faith   background
  •  inextricably linked with Attainment Target 1, learning about religions
  •  free of religious content
  •  about the concepts in religion (s)
  •  simply thematic teaching
  •  concerned with the active response of pupils to what they are learning about
  •  passive learning
  • about helping pupils to apply the meaning and significance of religious ideas to their own lives
  •  about promoting a religious lifestyle
  •  about valuing pupils’ own ideas and concerns
  •  an invasion of pupils’ privacy
  •  sometimes about challenging pupils’ own ideas and putting forward alternative views for consideration
  •  intended to be an opportunity to practise counselling
  •  about developing skills, e.g. the skill of living in a plural society, and attitudes, e.g. empathy
  •  value- free
  •  raising questions from religious teaching that speak to pupils’ personal experience
  •  about providing ‘pat’ answers
  •  open-ended, allowing pupils to explore ideas
  •  dogmatic
  •  about enabling pupils to draw their own conclusions
  •  about providing set conclusions
  •  assessable in terms of the standards of pupils’ skills in making responses and evaluating
  •  concerned only with measurable learning outcomes


Each unit of the Syllabus gives suggested assessment activities, which use a variety of teaching styles. 

Learning Experiences in R.E.

Learning experiences in R.E. against which pupils are assessed :

  • knowledge of the beliefs, practices, people and stories of Christianity
  • knowledge of other faiths, especially Judaism and Islam
  • a demonstration of the ability to value and care for others
  • acceptance of appropriate values and attitudes
  • learning to use reference materials
  • becoming familiar with the structure and organisation of the Bible
  • using resources such as books and worksheets, audio and visual recordings, pictures, works of art and religious artefacts
  • handling data by presenting the results of surveys, questionnaires and interviews
  • showing empathy with the experience of others
  • developing personal skills such as relating to others, communicating feelings, listening actively and developing self-esteem
  • using symbols and religious language appropriately
  • discussing questions of value, meaning and purpose
  • reflecting on personal experiences and feelings
  • engaging in personal prayer and reflection
  • distinguishing between different sorts of truth
  • recognising the influence of Christian faith and those things in Creation which point to God
  • recognising injustice, evil and prejudice
  • using imagination and the ability to see the world differently
  • reflecting on story, belief and impact

Approaches to the teaching of R.E.

A variety of approaches are used in the teaching of R.E. Much of the work will be explicitly R.E. based but areas such as pupils’ values and attitudes will be implicit in other areas of the curriculum and in the day-to-day life of the school. Teachers aim to make their R.E. teaching as dynamic and imaginative as possible using linguistic, musical, visual/spatial, bodily/kinaesthetic, intra-personal, inter-personal and logical/mathematical styles of teaching and learning.

Some of the following will be evident in the teaching of the syllabus:

  • drama, hot-seating, discussions and role play
  • different types of writing – myths, legends, poetry, stories and parables
  • questioning skills, ‘stilling’ and reflection
  •  the creative arts such as poetry, drawing, painting and music  visits and visitors
  •  religious art and music
  •  artefacts
  •  ICT, video
  •  PSHE and Circle Time

It is not considered sufficient for pupils simply to gather knowledge. They must be given opportunities to use their knowledge in imaginative ways and to express their feelings and responses.

RE makes a significant contribution to pupils’ Spiritual, Moral Social and Cultural development.

Spiritual development within RE in our Church School enriches and encourages the pupils’ discovery of God the creator, of their ‘inmost being’ and of the wonder of the environment. Moral development is based on the teachings of Jesus Christ, which offer pupils a secure foundation stone on which to make decisions and build their lives.

Social development enriches pupils’ understanding of what it means to live in a Christian community where Jesus’ command to love one another is put into practice.  Cultural development provides opportunities to develop an understanding of Christianity as a worldwide, multi-cultural faith that has an impact on the lives of millions of people.

SEN Provision

The staff and governors of this school accept as a principle that every pupil, regardless of sex, race, religion and educational need, should be valued equally and should have access to relevant educational opportunities and a broad and balanced curriculum.  They acknowledge that for all pupils, the purpose of education is the same, the goals are the same, but the help which individual children need in progressing towards those goals will be different.  They therefore demonstrate a commitment to meeting the special educational needs of the whole school population by providing staff, resources and in-service training as appropriate, by responding to the wishes of parents and eliciting the views of the children themselves.

Parental Rights of Withdrawal from R.E. and COLLECTIVE WORSHIP

As a Christian school within the Anglican faith, R.E. and Collective Worship are very important aspects of our curriculum.  Overton St. Helen’s has a daily Act of Worship either as a whole school or in Key Stage groups. Visiting clergy lead some worship, and the children visit St. Helen’s Church regularly throughout the year.

Parents have the right to withdraw their children from denominational R.E. and daily acts of worship.  However, the Governors hope that in choosing a Church of England School, parents are thereby committing themselves to their child’s participation in the religious life of the school and the R.E. which is taught as a subject in its own right. The R.E. curriculum follows the Blackburn Diocesan syllabus, allowing children to explore their spiritual development within a Christian context, whilst developing an awareness that they belong to a multi-faith and multi-cultural society.

Resources for R.E.

Resources are stored centrally in the Group Room.

Artefacts and books for the six world faiths are stored in crates and there are topic boxes of resources for enhancing and enriching the R.E. curriculum. There are books for teachers and children and DVDs (including a whole series of ‘Friends and Heroes’ for KS1 and KS2) to illustrate faith stories and customs.

There is a selection of ‘Godly Play’ boxes with books to accompany the retelling of O.T and N.T stories.

Mrs J. Easthope