In Religious Studies children are encouraged to explore religious ideas through reflection, empathy and imagination and to recognise that religious beliefs are often deeply felt. They are encouraged to ask questions and to recognise the rights of others to hold their own views.
By the end of their junior years, children have been introduced to a number of major faiths and are well equipped to live successfully in our multi-faith society, feeling empowered to voice their own reasoned perspective on matters of religious and philosophical importance.
In Year 3 the main emphasis is on understanding what it means to be a Christian, culminating in a visit to a Christian church in the summer term. An awareness of other faiths is also encouraged through the use of creation stories, as well as by comparing birth ceremonies and places of worship.
The focus in Year 4 is on developing children’s willingness to discuss moral and ethical issues through the ‘community of enquiry’ approach used in philosophy sessions. An in-depth study of Buddhism, enhanced by a visit to a Buddhist Centre, also offers pupils the opportunity to understand an approach to life, which (for many children) is very different from their own. Children also spend time considering important aspects of Judaism.
In Year 5 children continue to grapple with moral and ethical problems, through topics such as ‘Poverty and Wealth’ and ‘Life’s Big Questions.’ The topic on ‘Festivals of Light’ provides opportunities to observe similarities and differences between a number of different faiths and leads into a detailed study of Hinduism, enhanced by a visit to a Hindu temple.
Year 6 cover topics on Islam and Sikhism. Christianity is also explored in greater depth through the Miracle Maker and Easter topics. In Year 6, pupils are encouraged to make comparisons between the different faiths they have studied during their junior years, preparing them for more in depth study in Year 7 and beyond.