RE and Reflection

‘RE is like an iceberg. As you unpack ideas, you come to understand deeper meaning’ Year 9 pupil


At St Francis we value each child as a gift from God (Our school motto states: ‘Where God’s gifts begin their journey to gain, attain and grow.’


We encourage our pupils to gain spiritual understanding of the world and to this end, provide experiences which enable pupils to develop spiritually.

This aim is achieved through planned and intentional opportunities for the children to explore wonder and awe and to develop a spiritual perspective on life and learning. 

Our RE curriculum, and class circle times, provide opportunities for reflection that are rooted in our school values.


As a church school, we benefit from the dual programme provided by both the New Swindon Agreed Syllabus for RE and the Understanding Christianity scheme of work. Through the progression of this curriculum, pupils attain a broad knowledge of Christianity and Christian doctrine alongside an appreciation and understanding of other major world religions. We compare and contrast different aspects of each religion and pupils are encouraged to share their own beliefs and experiences. We appreciate the diversity of religious beliefs represented within our school community and enjoy celebrating and learning about different religious festivals.


Pupils are able to articulate their own beliefs and develop in their ability to apply these principles practically in their own lives. We encourage pupils to live out our school values and there are often cross-curricular links between our RE and PSHE learning. Pupils can recognise how these principles and values link to the RE curriculum. They demonstrate their spiritual understanding through the value they place upon treating others with compassion, kindness and empathy.    


In KS1 and KS2, RE is taught in blocks which allows pupils to dig deep and explore the overarching question for that unit.

We follow the recommended curriculum; Swindon Agreed Curriculum and Understanding Christianity which has been chosen to allow pupils to deepen their understanding of different beliefs around such questions as ‘Why are celebrations important?’ or ‘How do different people view God?’.

An RE unit will have an overarching question which is then broken down into smaller questions that enable pupils to explore the question in a deeper way. (See table below.)

Lessons are varied in their style depending on the area of study. Pupils will be given the chance to gain knowledge and understanding using stories, acting/role-playing, videos and visitors alongside researching and developing their own thoughts and feelings. We also utilise the units from Understanding Christianity, which are designed to give pupils an overall view of the Christian beliefs, to enable this learning where appropriate.

Progression in RE depends upon the development of the following generic learning skills applied to RE. These skills should be used in developing a range of activities for pupils to demonstrate their capabilities in RE. They ensure that teachers will move pupils on from knowledge accumulation and work that is merely descriptive to higher level thinking and more sophisticated skills.

Reflection – this includes:

Reflecting on feelings, relationships, experience, ultimate questions, beliefs and practices

Empathy – this includes:

  • Considering the thoughts, feelings, experiences, attitudes, beliefs and values of others
  • Developing the ability to identify feelings such as love, wonder, forgiveness and sorrow
  • Seeing the world through the eyes of others, and seeing issues from their point of view

Investigation – this includes:

  • Asking relevant questions
  • Knowing how to gather information from a variety of sources
  • Knowing what may constitute evidence for justifying beliefs in religion

Interpretation – this includes:

  • Drawing meaning from artefacts, works of art, music, poetry and symbolism
  • Interpreting religious language
  • Suggesting meanings of religious texts

Evaluation – this includes:

  • Debating issues of religious significance with reference to evidence and argument

Analysis – this includes:

  • Distinguishing between opinion and fact
  • Distinguishing between the features of different religions

Synthesis – this includes:

  • Linking significant features of religion together in a coherent pattern
  • Connecting different aspects of life into a meaningful whole

Application – this includes:

  • Making the association between religion and individual, community, national and international life

Expression – this includes:

  • Explaining concepts, rituals and practices
  • Expressing religious views, and responding to religious questions through a variety of media

Early Years Foundation Stage

Pupils are introduced to Christianity which is the foundational basis of our Church School and the religion that most influences school and community life. They are taught about traditions, beliefs and world views that are within and outside of their own experiences through exploring other cultures and practices in the wider world.  This falls into ‘Understanding the World’ which is a specific area of development in the EYFS curriculum.

Learning about religion and belief

Pupils should be taught to

  • Talk about religious stories, including Bible stories and the stories behind Christmas and Easter
  • Recognise some religious beliefs or teachings
  • Identify simple features of religious life and practice
  • Recognise some religious words
  • Name and recognise some religious symbols
  • Recognise some Christian religious artefacts, including those in cultural and religious use (e.g. Christmas cards, Easter eggs and hot cross buns)
  • Talk about important festivals from other religions (e.g. Sukkot, Purim, Eid, Chinese New Year)

Learning from religion and belief

Pupils are given opportunities to develop skills from other areas of learning and development and should be taught to:

  • Recognise their own experiences and feelings in religious stories and celebrations and gain confidence to talk about their ideas.
  • Listen attentively and respond to ideas expressed by others in discussion.
  • Recognise there are similarities and differences between theirs and other’s lives
  • Identify what they find interesting about religious events
  • Question what they find puzzling in religious stories
  • Say what matters to them and talk about how to care for others and show sensitivity to others needs.

Key Stage One

During this key stage, pupils are taught the knowledge, skills and understanding through religion and belief as well as wider learning themes. They are introduced to other principle religions and can reflect on prior learning as they progress through the units.

Learning about religion and belief

Pupils should be taught to:

  • Explore a range of religious stories and religious texts and talk about their meaning
  • Explore a range of celebrations, teachings and traditions in religions, noting similarities and differences
  • Recognise how belonging to a religion is important to people and the impact it has on their lives
  • Explore how religious beliefs and ideas are expressed
  • Begin to establish a religious vocabulary and suggests meanings for religious symbols

Learning from religion and belief

Pupils should be taught to:

  • Reflect on what matters to them and others who hold religious views
  • Reflect on moral values of right and wrong
  • Recognise there are similarities and differences between theirs and others lives
  • Communicate their ideas and ask and respond to questions
  • Recognise how religious ideas and beliefs impact people’s lives personally and socially

Key Stage Two

During this key stage, pupils are taught the knowledge, skills and understanding through deeper enquiry into known religions and in Year 6, encounter secular world views. Pupils in Year 5 and Year 6 consider the impact of beliefs and practices in greater detail and respond to more philosophical questions.

Learning about religion and belief

Pupils should be taught to:

  • Explore and comment on the key aspects of religions, believer’s lives, their stories and traditions and their influence
  • Explore how practices are related to beliefs and teachings
  • Interpret information about religion and religious beliefs through a range of sources
  • Recognise similarities and differences within and between religions
  • Consider how religious and spiritual ideas are expressed
  • Describe and begin to encounter religious and other responses to ultimate questions and ethical or moral issues
  • Use a developed religious vocabulary when discussing and expressing their knowledge and understanding

Learning from religion and belief

Pupils should be taught to:

  • Reflect on what it means to belong to a faith community and how this relates to them and others’ lives
  • Recognise how religious practice is conducted in a variety of ways
  • Discuss their own and other’s views of religious truth and belief
  • Reflect on morality and how people respond to decisions they are faced with
  • Reflect on sources of information and what they find value in in their own and other’s lives


At the end of each block, teachers assess pupils against the enquiry question.  Pupils are assessed to be emerging, expected or exceeding, in the key performance indicators for RE.  

Pupils outcomes are measured against ‘I Can…’ statements which relate to their level of understanding of the ‘Big Question’ for that block.

These statements are integrated into the weekly teaching and so there is no need for a separate end of unit assessment.

Pupils who are ‘Emerging’ can retell stories and give examples. Pupils graded ‘Expected’ can make links between different faiths and identify similarities and differences between them.

Pupils who are gradedExceeding’ can express a reasoned response to questions and what the stories might mean to a believer within that faith. These learners can make connections between their own beliefs and those of others.

The teacher’s assessments are recorded electronically and shared centrally, so that progress can be monitored by the RE coordinators. This data is reviewed on a termly basis by the subject leads, who also carries out learning walks, book scrutinies and lesson observations. The impact our RE curriculum is also sought directly from the pupils, as surveys and questionnaires are used to gather pupils’ voice.

Ongoing assessment is used to inform teaching and learning, extending and supporting individual pupils learning.

We envision our RE curriculum impacting the pupils in the following ways:

  • extend their knowledge and understanding of religions and beliefs
  • develop a religious vocabulary and interpret religious symbolism in a variety of forms
  • reflect on questions of meaning, offering their own thoughtful and informed insights into religious and secular world-views
  • explore ultimate questions of beliefs and values in relation to a range of contemporary issues in an ever-changing society

Experiences and enrichment opportunities at St Francis CE Primary

  • handling artefacts
  • exploring sacred texts
  • using imaginative play or drama to express feelings and ideas
  • responding to images, games, stories, art, music and dance
  • meeting visitors from local religious communities
  • visiting religious places of worship where possible, for example, Year 1 visit a local church and Year 6 visit a Sikh temple. We also go on virtual tours of mosques, temples and other sacred sites, using the internet.
  • taking part in whole school events- (Encounter days for different religious festivals, Harvest Festival, school performances.)
  • participating in moments of quiet reflection in circle times, class reflection areas and the School Prayer and Reflection corner.
  • participating and leading our acts of worship/ celebration assemblies
  • following the church calendar, different groups plan, and lead our whole school celebrations for Harvest, Easter and Christmas.
  • using ICT to further explore religion and belief globally
  • comparing religions and worldviews through discussion.
  • reflecting on our learning and ‘Big Questions’ about belief using debating and ‘Philosophy for Children.’

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