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Religious Education


Religious Education is part of the basic educational entitlement for all pupils. It is statutory for ALL schools but is not part of the National Curriculum.


It is widely acknowledged that the primary purpose of RE is to develop ‘religious literacy’, a skill much needed given the vast range of religious and secular worldviews in our global society. Religious literacy may be defined as the ability to ‘hold balanced and well-informed conversations about religion and belief’


Following the new agreed syllabus (2023) for Suffolk at Barnham means that we will aim to develop religiously literate citizens who:


• possess rich knowledge of the beliefs of different religions and worldviews, including how these may be differently interpreted or change over time.


• recognise that the ‘lived reality’ of different religions and worldviews is complex and diverse, and that generalities and assumptions must be treated with care.


• contribute constructively to debate about religious questions and shared human concerns, using their understanding of religion and belief


In order to achieve these central aims, our RE lessons will seek to:

  • provoke challenging questions about the ultimate meaning and purpose of life, beliefs about God, the nature of reality, issues of right and wrong, and what it means to be human.
  • develop pupils’ understanding of the beliefs and teachings of Christianity and other principal religions and worldviews in Britain, and their influence on the lives and decisions of individuals, families, and communities.
  • stimulate pupils’ curiosity about the diversity and impact of worldviews, religions, beliefs, values and traditions, and develop their ability to learn from these.
  • challenge pupils to reflect on, analyse, interpret and evaluate issues of truth, belief, faith and ethics, and to communicate their own ideas and responses clearly, while being sensitive to the worldviews of others.
  • encourage pupils to develop their own sense of identity and belonging, and clarify their own worldview, enabling them to flourish individually as responsible citizens in a plural society, and in a wider global community.
  • prepare pupils for adult life and employment, encouraging sensitivity to those whose beliefs differ, and seeking to combat prejudice and negative discrimination.


Ensuring a balanced approach to Religious Education

At Barnham, we aim to ensure we have a balanced approach to RE and therefore as recommended by the new syllabus, we present it as a blend of these academic disciplines:

  • Theology
  • Philosophy
  • Human and Social Science

When these are applied to learning in RE, these provide a balanced picture of religions and worldviews, which in turn leads to better religious literacy.

Developing Positive Attitudes in Religious Education

Acquiring knowledge of religious and secular worldviews is central to religious education, but it is also vital that pupils develop positive attitudes if they are to ‘hold balanced and well-informed conversations about religion and belief’. Pupils also need practice in responding positively to those, in class and in wider society, who have differing views and backgrounds. Teachers in every key stage should encourage, model and actively seek opportunities to develop the following:




Respect for all




Appreciation and wonder


We teach RE well to enable our children to be good citizens of a multicultural and diverse society. 



Children at Barnham school will access a minimum of the time allowance allocated for RE which is EYFS- Equivalent of 30 minutes a week

KS1 – 36 hours per year which equates to approximately 55 minutes week.

KS2– 45 hours per year which equates to approximately 70 minutes per week.


Our Long-Term Plans have been drawn up together with advice from our local SACRE, RE Advisor and RE Subject Leaders county-wide.


We teach a balance of religions across all year groups and ensure there is Christianity in each year group and that no other religion is taught more in a year group than Christianity.


Our personalised two-year rolling programme is an efficient way of organising the different religions and introducing them gradually. This also works well at Barnham where children are in mixed-age classes. Teaching in this way also allows staff an opportunity to do joint planning, moderate work and share resources more effectively.


Throughout their RE education at Barnham our children will experience and benefit from a cumulative curriculum approach, their knowledge and skills will build on and expand previous learning.


RE is mostly taught in weekly RE sessions across the school although on occasions may be taught as a block unit of work. We follow the Suffolk agreed syllabus for RE and use the multi-faith scheme called 'The Emmanuel Project' to support our delivery of the learning themes and key concepts for all major world faiths.


This scheme of work was published by the Diocese of St Edmundsbury and Ipswich and our RE Subject Leader was involved in some of the writing and piloting of these programmes. These units engage the children in creative, exciting activities with a high level of challenge.


These units allow the following religions to be studied: 

Christianity, Islam, Judaism, Hinduism, Sikhism and Humanism


Here is the cycle of learning of RE at Barnham:



The Cycle of Learning of RE at Barnham CEVC Primary School




In addition to this:

  • Children will explore some big questions alongside this cycle of learning.
  • Key vocabulary will be selected from each Emmanuel Project unit, revisited and extended as children progress through the year groups
  • Explicit links between St Gregory’s Church, Barnham and other local churches will be made where appropriate to support the teaching of Christianity
  • Links will also be explored with people and places connected to other faiths
  • Access to religious artefacts and faith books in particular The Bible will be available.


Big Questions

As mentioned above, the new syllabus asks children to reflect on some big questions as part of their learning in RE.

Opportunities to talk about these are provided through RE lessons and beyond.


The table below shows the questions and when they will be explored:


Class / Year Group

Big Questions covered within the two-year rolling programme


Reception and Year 1

What does the word God mean?

Is it always easy to help someone?

What is really important to do?

Why are some people revered?

Does everyone need some help?

Is every one of us special?


Year 1 and Year 2

Is it important to belong?

Why do people celebrate?

Should everyone learn to pray?

What do people believe is important?

Who is it right to follow?

Can books and stories be good teachers?


Year 3 and Year 4

Do beliefs make any difference to someone’s life?

What beliefs drive people to make a difference in the world?

What makes some people an inspiration to others?

What beliefs bind a community together?


Year 5 and Year 6

Where do people look for answers to life and living?

Are some things more sacred than others?

Why are there so many different ideas about God?

What are the best ways to think about death and dying?


You may find these questions in the classrooms with some thoughts recorded on post-it notes as children explore and reflect on these questions throughout the school year.


Colours and Symbols in RE

In our teaching and learning will ‘colour-code’ the different religions to enable the children to make sense of their learning by adding an associated colour. We will also have a symbol for each religion too.

The table below shows these, teachers will use these colours and symbols in their planning and presentation slides for example.


Yellow representing Jesus the Light of the world.


Blue is an important colour often used in Judaism, it is often used to decorate their homes.


Green said to be Muhammad’s (pbuh) favourite colour


Red – a Hindu bride often wears red.


Orange – the colour of the Nishan Sahib flag







We believe that RE teaching is thorough, methodical and well evidenced. Pupils enjoy RE at Barnham and value the importance of this subject. They achieve well and assessment systems are well established.


The children at Barnham enjoy learning lots about other religions and why people choose, or choose not to follow a religion.


Through their RE learning, the children are able to make links between their own lives and those of others in their community and in the wider world. RE acts as a hub, therefore, between social aspects of learning, science and geography.


Through our RE curriculum, our children are developing an understanding of other people’s cultures and ways of life, which they are then able to communicate to the wider community.


Our hope is to raise up a generation of life-long learners that will take our key learning attitudes from the RE curriculum and continue to demonstrate these throughout their lives to model community cohesion and respect for all through their ability to be open-minded and self-aware, we want them to always appreciate and wonder as they live in this wonderful world, make decisions and navigate life.