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- Religious Education
RE in the Church School: Excellent and Distinctive
RE is an academic subject but also provides opportunity for children to understand what it means to be a religious believer in the world today and to encounter the values of the Christian community of the school that they are a part of. RE in the Church school should support children to recognise and act on the insights, principles, beliefs, attitudes and values that should influence, inspire or guide them in life.
purpose of RE is religious literacy. This means, helping children and young
people to hold balanced and well-informed conversations about religion and
balanced RE needs to provide a balance between three disciplines. These are:
This is about believing. It looks at where beliefs come from, how they have
changed over time, how they are applied differently in different contexts and
how they relate to each other.
This is about thinking. It is about finding out how and whether things make
sense. It deals with questions of morality and ethics. It takes seriously the
nature of reality, knowledge and existence.
Sciences: This is about living. It explores the diverse ways in which people
practise their beliefs. It engages with the impact of beliefs on individuals,
communities and societies.
animation explaining these three disciplines is available to view here:
work has been developed with support from the Church of England Education
Office and in collaboration with teachers and subject experts over the last
RE advisers are: Jane Chipperton (Diocese of St Albans), Gillian Georgiou
(Diocese of Lincoln), Olivia Seymour (Diocese of York) and Kathryn Wright
(Diocese of Norwich).
support can be found in the following documents.
"What opportunities do children get from RE in the Church of England school?"
Pupils will have opportunities to
- Learn about and from the life, teaching and example of Jesus Christ through the gospels
- Explore and discover Christianity locally, nationally and globally
- Recognise and learn from diversity within Christianity
- See the Christian faith in the context of
religious diversity, learning about and from other major religions and
beliefs in the UK
- Face the challenges of diversity with respect
Religious Education in Different School Types
Religious Education in Voluntary Aided (VA) schools
For Voluntary Aided Schools with a religious character Religious
Education is the responsibility of the governing body. The Diocesan
Board of Education recommends its syllabus for adoption as it has been
written to reflect the religious foundation of a Voluntary Aided school
in York Diocese.
Religious Education in Voluntary Controlled (VC) and Foundation schools
Voluntary Controlled schools with a religious character should follow
the Local Authority Agreed Syllabus unless parents request a
denominational one. There is much in the diocesan syllabus to support
schools to achieve Christian distinctiveness and the diocese strongly
suggests that schools use the support materials in the syllabus as they
will complement the Locally Agreed Syllabus.
Religious Education in an Academy
The requirements for Religious Education at an academy with a
religious foundation are specified in the funding agreement for that
For a VA school that converts to academy status the model funding
agreement specifies that an academy with a religious designation must
provide RE in accordance with the tenets of the particular faith
specified in the designation. The diocesan syllabus is written to
support academies within the Diocese of York to meet the requirements of
their funding agreement.
Foundation or Voluntary Controlled schools with a religious
designation that convert to academy status must arrange for RE in
accordance with the requirements for agreed syllabuses (in the main
Christian whilst taking account of the other principal religions
represented in Great Britain) unless any parents request that their
children receive RE in accordance with the tenets of the school’s faith.
If any parents do request this, the academy must make arrangements for
those children to receive such RE unless, because of special
circumstances, it would be unreasonable to do so. The funding agreement
sets this out (by applying the relevant provisions of the Education Act
1996 and the School Standards and Framework Act 1998). In practice these
academies generally choose to follow the locally agreed syllabus. The
Diocese of York would commend this.
Schools that are sponsored by the Diocese as Church of England
academies will have a funding agreement that is most likely to reflect
the funding agreement for a VA school. These schools are therefore most
likely to be required to deliver RE in accordance with the tenets of the
Anglican Church. The diocesan syllabus is written to support academies
within the Diocese of York to meet the requirements of their funding
Religious Education in Community Schools
Community schools must follow their Locally Agreed Syllabus. The York
Diocesan Board of Education’s syllabus for Religious Education has a
flexibility allowing for a balanced selection of material to be made
reflecting the local context. The Diocesan Syllabus could be used
alongside its counterpart from the Local Authority to provide extra
support materials. It is intended to be a support to community schools
in their teaching of Christianity as well as the foundation for
religious education in church schools.
If you would like a copy of the Diocesan Syllabus (for Primary and Secondary Schools) please contact Olivia Seymour firstname.lastname@example.org