Primary

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Perhaps the greatest advantage to busy, non-specialist, teachers in primary schools is that the syllabus offers access to schemes of work and a wealth of tried and tested lesson plans with associated lesson resources. These resources include films, stories, on-line games and sheets to photocopy. For many lessons, there are alternative starting points that might appeal to teachers in schools where the majority of children are other than Christian. There is a planning tool that coordinators or teachers can use including a pre-determined route that will ensure that children cover the whole syllabus during their primary school phase.

Colette Arthur from Somerville Primary School, a school with an intake of mainly Muslim children, told us:

“Previously Religious Education was very factually based whereas now it has changed with children really exploring their own faith and other faiths.”

Samreena Kamran, the RE Coordinator at the same school commented:

“The way we are planning, and using the Syllabus is very much more engaging for teachers; before it seemed it was just me saying to teachers this is what you are to do and how you will do it. Now, teachers understand why and how they can deliver their lessons more deeply in terms of religion.”

There is a Continuing Professional Development film in the website, which was recorded in two contrasting schools, one inner and one outer city. It introduces the aims of the syllabus and shows how Religious Education is built into everyday practice of schools.

Claire Finkel, RE Coordinator at Glenmead Primary School believes that the dispositions have brought Religious Education into line with everything else that is happening in primary schools. She said:

“It’s about my life, our lives, in a multicultural society. It makes Religious Education relevant and makes children understand it against what is happening now.”

Her headteacher, Maggie Jones, expanded:

“In the past [teaching about religion] caused us some problems. Most of our pupils are either of no faith or from a broadly Christian background, so the approach through the dispositions frees us to do more engaging work. We have found that parents welcome the [new] syllabus also.