Religious Education

“Schooling deprived of religious education is wretched education.”   

Russell Risk


At St. Michael’s C of E Primary School, children are taught to understand and respect the importance of religious beliefs in the world around them.  We encourage children to use and develop their skills in RE and to participate in critical thinking. We aim to ensure that the RE curriculum is challenging, dynamic and relevant to pupils of all ages giving them a better understanding of the world that they live in.


At St Michael’s we believe that learning is a change in long term memory. We believe children learn best by having opportunities to revisit previous learning. We teach RE at the start of every week so that the children can fully immerse themselves and have opportunities to reflect upon religion throughout everyday life and events.

Religious Education and a ‘Christian Ethos’ is embedded throughout the school curriculum and everyday life at St Michael’s with the focus upon six main Christian values: koinonia, hope, wisdom, endurance, justice and creation.

The aims of R.E. include:

  • To develop an awareness of how Christianity impacts the lives of millions of people today
  • To enable pupils to learn about the other major religions.
  • To develop understanding of a religious faith as the search for and expression of truth
  • To contribute to the development of pupils own spiritual/philosophical beliefs.

Cultural Capital

As aforementioned, at St Michael’s we value the purpose in learning and the opportunity to develop a broad and rich awareness of the world around us. We recognise the importance and the strength of RE as a subject in order to do this. Here is an example of how our RE teaching contributes to the development of our learner’s Cultural Capital: –


Our RE curriculum design is based on principles derived from evidence through cognitive science:

  • Learning is most effective with spaced repetition.
  • Retrieval of previously learnt content is frequent and regular, which increases both storage and retrieval strength.

In addition to the principles, we also understand that learning is invisible in the short term and that sustained mastery takes time.

We use a combination of the Diocese syllabus and core concepts of Christian Belief in ‘Understanding Christianity’ across the school to teach RE. We place great importance on providing opportunities for everyone within the school community to continue their personal faith journey. During the school year there are many opportunities for the children to take part in school worship through collective worship and other religious celebrations. This is a time for the children to share their learning with our school community. They are given the opportunity to participate in worship as part of the wider community due to our strong relationship with our local church – St Michael’s.

Our RE teaching addresses key questions,. The Understanding Christianity curriculum encourages pupils to explore core Bible texts, examine the impact for Christians and consider possible implications. Each unit incorporates the three elements:

  • Making sense of the text – Where learners develop skills of reading and interpretation; understanding how Christians interpret, handle and use biblical texts; whilst making sense of the meanings of texts for Christians
  • Understanding the impact – Where pupils examine ways in which Christians respond to biblical texts and teachings, and how they put their beliefs into action in diverse ways within the Christian community and in the world
  • Making connections – Where pupils evaluate, reflect on and connect the texts and concepts studied, and discern possible connections between these and pupils’ own lives and ways of understanding the world.

The children are exposed to key RE  elements, from making sense of the text, through looking at the impact on the world of the Christian, and helping to make connections with the world of the pupil.


This model shows that the Understanding Christianity approach is not just getting pupils to learn what Christians think. Instead, it is about developing skills to help them ‘think theologically’ alongside learning lots of knowledge about the Bible, Christian belief and practice. It also shows that these three elements do not represent rigid, distinct steps, but that pupils can ‘make connections’ whilst ‘making sense of the text’.

Additionally, the Diocesan curriculum explores additional units which consider Thematic teachings, Secularism and Multi-Faith teachings.  These question driven units are carefully intertwined throughout the curriculum providing the learners with a broad and balanced curriculum, that explores the viewpoints, beliefs and practices of  many.

In Early Years Foundation Stage, the children develop their understanding of the world, through practical activities,  by learning about religion by doing, talking, listening, acting out and experiencing through their senses. All children are encouraged to make sense of their world by being given opportunities to explore and observe three of the core concepts of ‘The Big Story’ – creation, salvation and incarnation.

In Key Stage One, the children continue to develop their knowledge and understanding of religions whilst identifying features of religion and becoming more familiar with religions influence on their own community.  They are beginning to identify features of religion and how these may influence themselves and others through five of the core concepts of ‘The Big Story’ – creation, incarnation, salvation, God and gospel.

In Key Stage Two, the children aim to extend their knowledge and understanding of religions locally and worldwide. All children are encouraged to use specific vocabulary when exploring their curiosity and must create increasingly challenging higher-order questions about religious beliefs, values and human life. They make links between values and commitments, and their own attitudes and behaviour, as well as making links between religions and describe some similarities and differences both within and between religions. They are given the opportunity to express their own ideas and opinions in the response to the religious materials they come across. The ability to ‘dig deep’ and give reasons for their beliefs and opinions is vital at this stage of learning to ensure all children are challenged through six of the core concepts of ‘The Big Story’ – creation, incarnation, salvation, God of Kingdom, People of God and gospel.

Our commitment to providing our children with a diverse outlook on the world they live in, is enforced with each class having another religion to focus their comparisons to. This Multi-Faith coverage is shown below

  • EYFS and Key Stage 1– Judaism
  • Lower Key Stage 2 – Hinduism
  • Upper Key Stage 2 – Islam

All children partake in whole school RE days where we will be joined by visitors or go on visits to broaden our experiences and support our comparisons between Christianity and the other religions.

The knowledge and skills required to excel in this subject are set out in the Understanding Christianity and the Durham and Newcastle curriculum documentation.  Each member of teaching staff have received training and continue to have access to these documents as a supportive tool when planning in order to review previous learning; ensure a coherent curriculum outlining essential knowledge and skill development; and an accurate assessment tool.

The Governors are required to remind parents of their right to withdraw pupils from religious worship and education. However, parents are also reminded that the school exists to give a Christian education to its pupils and therefore parents are expected to be in sympathy with the aims and objectives of the school. It should be noted that parents who choose to exercise their right of withdrawal are responsible for the supervision of their children during these periods of withdrawal.

Our RE Learning 

Each class has their own Long-term plan (LTP). This LTP maps out the progression of units over a two year cycle, whilst identifying focused vocabulary and suggested texts . Please click on any of the links below to see our ‘RE Learning Journey’:

Early Years RE Long Term Plan 2020-21
Year One and Two RE Long Term Plan 2020-21 (Cycle B)
Year Three and Four RE Long Term Plan 2020-21 (Cycle B)
Year Five and Six RE Long Term Plan 2020-21 (Cycle B)


The intended impact of our curriculum is that children build semantic and procedural knowledge. Children will have a wider understanding of the world’s religions, particularly Christianity, and be able to compare and contrast them. Children will have an enriched experience of local and world wide people and places of various religions. They will have developed their own views on world issues. They will be able to speak confidently and they will feel comfortable and confident when debating their own opinions when discussing religion with others.


Useful Websites

Additionally, we recognise technology as a vital tool to support teaching, practise and therefore the  learning of key RE principles. Here are the websites our staff use to support their planning.