Religious Education: Teaching, Learning and Assessment

SIAMS Inspection, March 2020 

"Religious education (RE) is well-led and the school has developed a curriculum that is inspiring pupils to think deeply and to critically reflect on how their learning helps them to live out the school’s Christian vision."
"RE is highly effective in enabling pupils to show dignity and respect to all. Even though pupils are very young, teachers expect pupils to think deeply about some tricky questions. Pupils relish debate, seeing it as a ‘good’ argument. Visits and visitors are opening pupils’ eyes to the world further afield."


At St Mary’s we want our children to make sense of what they have learnt in RE and gain religious literacy through shared experiences, reasoning and reflection. Our intent is for our children to understand differences and live among our diverse communities as considerate and responsible individuals. Through our RE programme our children:

Learn about religions by:

  • gaining a secure knowledge and understanding of the beliefs, practices and history of Christianity, starting from an Anglican perspective
  • beginning to explore other faiths and perspectives

Learn from religions by developing the ability to:

  • express curiosity about fundamental questions of life
  • understand and use religious language
  • reflect on belief, practice, values and tradition in order to understand their influence on the individual, on community life and on culture and to include spiritual, moral, social and cultural aspects of life)
  • understand that for some questions there are no right or wrong answers
  • make informed responses to religious and moral issues
  • identify the relationship between religious beliefs, human responsibility, global issues and the natural world


religious education 1

An enquiry-based approach to teaching and learning is used in RE at St Mary’s. Each ‘Discovery RE’ unit begins with a ‘Big Question’ which the children can instantly engage with, regardless of their own beliefs and worldviews. Throughout the course of the unit, an enquiry takes place as a class to explore the ‘Big Question’, in which the children are co-travellers on the journey rather than followers. Each RE lesson will provide an opportunity to explore, build knowledge or understanding, and reflect on the subject of the enquiry. By the end of the unit, each child reflects on what they have learned throughout the enquiry to reach their own conclusion based on evidence.

Impact and assessment

Teachers plan carefully to ensure that children make progress with their learning in RE and each enquiry has a built-in assessment. The assessment task is the formal opportunity for teacher assessment of the children’s knowledge of that religion, depth of critical thinking, and ability to answer the enquiry question. This stand-alone evidence is used in conjunction with other evidence such as records of discussions and annotations from other lessons within the enquiry to assist the teacher in assessing whether a child is working at the expected level or towards or beyond it. Children are assessed over three aspects of learning:

  • a personal resonance with or reflection on the material/religion being studied to answer the enquiry question.
  • knowledge and understanding of the material/religion being studied to answer the enquiry question.
  • evaluation/critical thinking in relation to the enquiry question

Recording and tracking progress

To support the teacher in tracking each child’s progress throughout the year, there is an overview sheet for each enquiry on which to record the progress of the whole class. This supports teacher overview and facilitates subject leader monitoring and moderation.

Further information

As a voluntary controlled school, RE is taught in accordance with the Oxfordshire Agreed Syllabus.

RE also reflects the requirements of the Statement of Entitlement for Religious Education published by the Education Office of the Church of England in February 2019.

This document states:

‘In all Church schools religious education must be considered an academic subject. All pupils are entitled to religious education that is delivered in an objective, critical and pluralistic manner. Pupils are entitled to a balanced RE curriculum which enquires into religions and worldviews through theology, philosophy and the human and the social sciences. It should be a coherent curriculum that enables progress through ordered and sequential learning developing both knowledge and skills. There should be a clear curriculum vision and intent, a structure for implementation and provision and a process for evaluating impact.'

Download Religious Education (RE) Policy

Download Religious Education (RE) Curriculum Map