At Rowlatts Mead Primary Academy, we believe that Religious Education is an integral part of our curriculum as it provides our pupils with opportunities to enhance their spiritual, moral, social and cultural development. To ensure all pupils are offered a broad and balanced curriculum for Religious Education, we follow the Agreed Syllabus designed by the Local Authority (Leicester City).
The units taught are based around a question and cover the key themes outlined in the syllabus, aiming to support pupils to develop positive attitudes of respect towards people of all faiths and none. This allows pupils to share their experiences and learn from one another about the religions and beliefs in our community. To achieve the aforementioned, we aim to invite a variety of religious speakers, from our local community to share their beliefs and traditions with the pupils, and provide opportunities for pupils to ask questions to build on their understanding.
Throughout the key stages, pupils learn about many different faiths including Christianity, Sikhism, Hinduisms and Islam. As we are a school of diverse faiths, we also ensure that we celebrate some of the major festivals that take place throughout the academic year including Diwali, Eid, Christmas, Easter and Vaisakhi. Coinciding with this, every year group across the school visits a place of worship throughout the year to gain a first-hand experience and deepen their knowledge and understanding of each faith.
Our pupils highly benefit from such experiences by developing a sense of respect and understanding for our diverse community which we feel is an important part of our school ethos.
Our Nursery children begin their learning in RE by exploring a unit called ‘Special Times’. Pupils discover through play and engage in conversations about family traditions and celebrations such as birthdays, weddings and religious festivals. The pupils especially enjoy sharing their understanding of such special times through role-play and creative activities that help to stimulate their thinking and oracy.
Our Reception children have the opportunity to visit St Luke’s Church in Thurnby. The children take part in a workshop where they are able to explore the different features of the church using flashcards to find religious symbols and objects. They also enjoy searching for different animals and special people in the stained glass windows. Such experiences as this enable our pupils to develop an understanding of the different cultures in the world around them as well as building on their language skills in relation to their own family traditions. This is a key aspect of the Foundation Stage Curriculum. The photo shows a Thank You card that the children created and sent to the Church for welcoming them and helping them to learn about the religious meaning of Christmas.
As part of the Year 1 curriculum the pupils are given the opportunity to learn about Hinduism. Pupils explore creating beautiful Mehndi designs and engage in Hindu traditions such as dancing and finding out about different Hindu Gods and Goddesses. Year 1 also learn about the religious meaning of the festival of Diwali through the story of ‘Rama and Sita’. Pupils develop their understanding of the meaning of Diwali by learning to retell the story through role play and sequence the key events.
Alongside this, Year 1 are also given the chance to deepen their prior knowledge of Christianity by visiting St Mary’s Church in Humberstone where they discover the meaning of special objects, traditions and the role of the church in a Christian’s life.
Year 2 pupils are given the chance to visit a Gurdwara as part of their learning about Sikh beliefs and traditions as part of their curriculum. One way in which pupils explore a Gurdwara is through a virtual tour where the children engage in discussions around special objects, clothing and food that is prepared in the Gurdwara called ‘Langar’.
In relation to Sikhism pupils also learn about the meaning of the ‘5 K’s’ and the festival of Vaisakhi in which the Sikh community celebrate each year. At Rowlatts we believe it is important to acknowledge each of the many different religious festivals that take place amongst our community and give recognition to such festivals by celebrating as a whole school.
Visits to different places of worship are a vital part of our pupils’ curriculum and reinforces the importance of acknowledging our multi-cultural society. Here you can see Year 3 are able to visit the Leicester Cathedral to explore Christian beliefs and traditions. They enjoy taking part in a workshop that includes exploring the meanings of religious symbols linked to Christianity and the historical features of the Cathedral.
Year 4 pupils deepen their understanding of Hinduism by reflecting on their prior knowledge from KS1. Year 4 are given the opportunity to visit a Mandir in Leicester where they can discover special religious objects such as statues of Gods and Goddesses and ask questions about the role of the Mandir in a Hindu’s life. Year 4 pupils also find out about Hindu festivals, ways in which new life is welcomed and how Hindus worship. In order to challenge and deepen their thinking, pupils compare and contrast their findings with how other religious and non-religious people may lead their lives.
Year 5 pupils are given the opportunity to explore the meaning of the Golden age of Islam as part of one of their RE units. Pupils are able to visit a local Mosque where they explore the meaning of sacred texts, special objects and the five pillars of Islam. Pupils are encouraged to reflect on the meaning of the five pillars for Muslims and make comparisons between how they might find similar commitments in their own lives.
Within another RE Unit focused on peace, Year 5 pupils also explore the religious make up of Leicester, engaging in discussions and reinforcing a sense of respect for the traditions found within our local community and the wider world.
Here in Leicester we are very fortunate to have close links with many different local places of worship. Our Year 6 pupils are fortunate enough to visit a local Synagogue as part of their learning about Judaism. Our pupils are encouraged to ask questions about different Jewish beliefs and traditions and look closely at the special features of a Synagogue. This has a positive impact on their learning and builds upon their earlier understanding of major historical events that happened in the World War.
At Rowlatts all of our pupils are given the opportunity to take part in Collective Worship which is an integral part of our school community and developing pupils’ spirituality. This enables pupils to explore key themes which are of great importance to their religious or world views e.g. showing kindness, being thankful, understanding right from wrong. Each class displays a glowing candle to highlight that Collective Worship has begun which symbolises taking the time to reflect to themselves or send a message to their God as part of focusing on their own values and beliefs.