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“Differences were meant not to divide but to enrich.” J.H. Oldham


Religious Education Curriculum Intent


Religious education has a significant contribution to make in our diverse school, with children from many different backgrounds and faith groups. At Essa, we aim to help our children thrive and celebrate being part of a diverse community and world, developing strong bonds of understanding and fellowship. We want to engage, inspire and encourage pupils, equipping them with the knowledge, understanding and skills to understand our multi-cultural society and an educated voice to discuss questions raised by religion and belief. We know that RE explores big questions about life, in order to find out what people believe and what difference this makes to how they live. We want the children to make sense of religion and world views and reflect on how this affects them. Our curriculum is ambitious and engaging, allowing the children to develop their understanding of what it means to be a knowledgeable and tolerant citizen, encouraging empathy, generosity and compassion.

The children deepen their understanding of religious education through learning key facts about religious figures, concepts, events and beliefs (substantive knowledge) and the tools that we use to gather knowledge and study religion (disciplinary knowledge).

When selecting the content of the curriculum, teachers have taken into account what the children need based on their prior knowledge and experiences. This is particularly key in religious education, where children may have significant personal experience of one religion.

To ensure that this progression is embedded, we use 'Big Ideas' as 'golden threads'.

The Big Ideas for Religious Education are:


  • Making sense of belief

  • Understanding the impact

  • Making connections


These golden threads run through each unit of out curriculum planning from Reception to Year 6 and allow children to explore common themes across different units of work. Careful consideration is given to building a schema of substantive and disciplinary knowledge and following a well-sequenced curriculum to allow children to make links over time and between themes. Each unit is driven by a disciplinary question, which allows the children to look at and engage with a concept. Planning reflects the local context and children are given opportunities to see themselves reflected in the curriculum as well as being provided with a window into other faiths and religions, including non-religious beliefs.​


Regular opportunities are built in throughout our religious education curriculum for retrieval practice. This allows the children to make these links and ensure that powerful knowledge is embedded in the children's long term memory. Our religious education curriculum is built on the premise of keep up, not catch up and there are regular opportunities for children to revisit and summarise their learning throughout a unit and over time. We recognise that, in addition to quality first teaching, some children may need adaptations to enable them to access the curriculum. In religious education, this is achieved through:

  • Children are introduced to new vocabulary prior to a lesson, it is revisited afterwards and pictures are used to support understanding.   

  • Children are supported with writing/ recording their ideas by having a scribe or a different way of recording their information. This could be sentences to sequence, or match, rather than writing them, drawing to record ideas or matching pictures to sentences.   

  • Children have more time or work 1:1 with an adult or in a smaller group.

Religious Education Curriculum Implementation

The curriculum is built on the foundation of three 'Es':

Entitlement or core curriculum offer

The development of religious education skills begins in EYFS, where children have the opportunity to learn about key festivals and are given an introduction to a variety of religions. They explore aspects of these religions through whole class sessions, small focus groups and continuous provision.

In KS1 and KS2, religious education is delivered in units of work across the year which allow the children to learn about a variety of religions across their time at our school. Our curriculum is based on the Bolton Sacre scheme of work and is enhanced by accurate and authentic resources.


Children who demonstrate a love of religious education have the opportunity to develop this in a number of ways:

  • Celebration of festivals in school

  • Regular visits to places of worship

  • The opportunity to share information about their own personal beliefs on cultural days



Children who excel in religious education have the opportunity to pursue their talents in a number of ways:

  • Opportunity to lead activities on culture days

  • Being a part of the culture department in Pupil Parliament



All of our school community (staff, senior leaders, governors and children are involved in measuring the impact of our Religious Education curriculum in different ways. This is planned for through the School Development Plan, and using our annual monitoring cycle and termly development plan to map out monitoring and review over the year.


Impact is measured by:

-       Collecting data from formative assessments (whole-class quizzes, assessment cups, exit tickets)

-       Pupil voice to determine what children have remembered over time 

-       Staff voice to determine effectiveness of provided planning and the impact of professional development

-       Parent voice in our annual survey

-       Reviewing learning in RE books

-       Reviewing progress made against steps to success each lesson and across a sequence of lessons

-       Governor visits to evaluate different areas of RE


An impact statement is written each term by subject leaders to assess effectiveness of current provision, progress against objectives on action plans and inform and identify next steps.

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