The Education Act (1988) and the Nottinghamshire Agreed Syllabus (2021) form the roots of Windmill L.E.A.D. Academy’s Religious Education curriculum. The Education Act stipulates that Religious Education is compulsory for all children, including those in the reception class who are less than five years old. Our RE curriculum acknowledges that religious traditions in Great Britain are in the main Christian and, at the same time, takes account of the teachings and practices of other major religions, in line with the stipulations of the Education Act. The National Curriculum states the legal requirement that: “Every state-funded school must offer a curriculum which is balanced and broadly based, and which:
- promotes the spiritual, moral, cultural, mental and physical development of pupils at the school and of society, and
- prepares pupils at the school for the opportunities, responsibilities and experiences of later life.”
Our RE curriculum is underpinned by the Nottinghamshire Agreed Syllabus aim for Religious Education:
The aim of Religious Education in Nottingham City and Nottinghamshire is that pupils will know about and understand a range of religions and worldviews. They will express ideas and insights of their own into the significant human questions which religions address, gaining and deploying the skills needed to study religion.
This, combined with our SMSC provision, ensures the schools meets our Public Sector Equality Duty (PSED) to:
- eliminate unlawful discrimination, harassment and victimisation and other conduct prohibited by the Act;
- advance equality of opportunity between people who share a protected characteristic and those who do not;
- foster good relations between people who share a protected characteristic and those who do not.
Our British Values provision ensures we meet our duty to ‘actively promote’ fundamental British values to enable children to develop the following knowledge and understanding, as stipulated by the Department for Education:
- an understanding of how citizens can influence decision-making through the democratic process;
- an appreciation that living under the rule of law protects individual citizens and is essential for their wellbeing and safety;
- an understanding that there is a separation of power between the executive and the judiciary, and that while some public bodies such as the police and the army can be held to account through Parliament, others such as the courts maintain independence;
- an understanding that the freedom to choose and hold other faiths and beliefs is protected in law;
- an acceptance that other people having different faiths or beliefs to oneself (or having none) should be accepted and tolerated, and should not be the cause of prejudicial or discriminatory behaviour;
- an understanding of the importance of identifying and combatting discrimination.
Religious Education Intent
At Windmill, we understand that religious education equips children to make sense of and understand the diverse world around them. Through a secure knowledge and understanding of religious and world views, children are able to respect and appreciate the contribution made to our society by people of all backgrounds, religions and belief systems.
We adopt an enquiry-based approach to our teaching of religious education, recognising that effective teaching of RE occurs when “enquiry is placed at the heart of learning.” (Ofsted, 2013) and it enables children to “investigate religions and world views for themselves, with the guidance of their teachers.” (Nottinghamshire Agreed Syllabus).
Religious education enables children to investigate and reflect on some of the most fundamental questions asked by people. At Windmill, we develop the children’s knowledge and understanding of the major world faiths, and we address fundamental questions of life. We enable children to develop a sound knowledge of Christianity and other world religions, especially those that are the main faiths of children within our school. Children reflect on what it means to have a faith and to develop their own spiritual knowledge and understanding.
We aim for all Windmill learners to:
- develop their knowledge and understanding of Christianity and other major world religions and value systems found in modern Britain;
- demonstrate respect for others including people with different faiths and beliefs;
- build their sense of identity and belonging, which helps them flourish within their communities and as citizens in a diverse society;
- be reflective about their own life experiences and how this can support them to learn about and from religion;
- demonstrate kindness and teamwork as they consider their responsibilities to themselves and to others, exploring how they might contribute to their communities and to wider society;
- become critical thinkers who are ambitious and courageous, asking challenging questions about the meaning and purpose of life, beliefs, the self, and issues of right and wrong, commitment and belonging;
- engage in dialogue about religion, demonstrating honesty and empathy towards others, whilst articulating their own personal beliefs, ideas and values.
- consider their responsibilities to themselves and to others, encouraging empathy, generosity and compassion.
- develop a sense of awe, wonder and mystery.
Our RE curriculum has been developed from the Discovery RE scheme of work.
Our RE curriculum is divided into three concepts. These concepts are the ‘big ideas’ in RE and travel through the curriculum, being built upon, progressively, year upon year as our children move through the school.
The concepts are as follows:
- A: Personal Resonance
- B: Knowledge and Understanding
- C: Evaluation and Critical Thinking
Spiritual, moral, social and cultural development (SMSC) is a dimension of the whole school experience which makes the curriculum relevant, stimulating, creative and fun. It enriches each subject and the ethos of Windmill and is an essential ingredient of school success.
Ofsted (2015) have defined the SMSC development of pupils as the following:
Pupils’ spiritual development is shown by their:
- ability to be reflective about their own beliefs, religious or otherwise, that inform their perspective on life and their interest in and respect for different people’s faiths, feelings and values;
- sense of enjoyment and fascination in learning about themselves, others and the world around them;
- use of imagination and creativity in their learning; willingness to reflect on their experiences.
Pupils’ moral development is shown by their:
- ability to recognise the difference between right and wrong, readily apply this understanding in their own lives and, in so doing, respect the civil and criminal law of England;
- understanding of the consequences of their behaviour and actions;
- interest in investigating and offering reasoned views about moral and ethical issues, and being able to understand and appreciate the viewpoints of others on these issues.
Pupils’ social development is shown by their:
- use of a range of social skills in different contexts, including working and socialising with pupils from different religious, ethnic and socio-economic backgrounds;
- willingness to participate in a variety of communities and social settings, including by volunteering, cooperating well with others and being able to resolve conflicts effectively;
- acceptance and engagement with the fundamental British values of democracy, the rule of law, individual liberty and mutual respect and tolerance of those with different faiths and beliefs; the pupils develop and demonstrate skills and attitudes that will allow them to participate fully in and contribute positively to life in modern Britain.
Pupils’ cultural development is shown by their:
- understanding and appreciation of the wide range of cultural influences that have shaped their own heritage and that of others;
- understanding and appreciation of the range of different cultures within school and further afield as an essential element of their preparation for life in modern Britain;
- knowledge of Britain’s democratic parliamentary system and its central role in shaping our history and values, and in continuing to develop Britain;
- willingness to participate in and respond positively to artistic, sporting and cultural opportunities;
- interest in exploring, improving understanding of and showing respect for different faiths and cultural diversity, and the extent to which they understand, accept, respect and celebrate diversity, as shown by their tolerance and attitudes towards different religious, ethnic and socio-economic groups in the local, national and global communities;
- understanding and appreciation of the wide range of cultural influences that have shaped their own heritage and that of others.
At Windmill, we recognise that the personal development of SMSC plays a significant part in children’s ability to learn and achieve. By integrating SMSC into the life of our school, we aim to provide an education that provides pupils with opportunities to explore and develop:
- their own values and beliefs;
- spiritual awareness;
- high standards of personal behaviour;
- a positive, caring attitude towards other people;
- an understanding of and respect for social and cultural traditions of others;
- an appreciation of the diversity and richness of the cultures;
- creativity and imagination in their learning;
- a sense of society, tolerance and teamwork that develops the courage to tackle prejudice and promote equality.
British Values Intent
All schools have a duty to ‘actively promote’ the fundamental British values of democracy, the rule of law, individual liberty, and mutual respect and tolerance of those with different faiths and beliefs. At Windmill, these British values are integral to the vision and values we wish to instil within our pupils.
The British values we espouse are not unique to Britain. We acknowledge that they differ in no way from the values of the many countries and the cultural backgrounds represented by families at Windmill Academy.
As well as actively promoting British values, the opposite also applies: we would actively challenge children, staff or parents expressing opinions contrary to fundamental British values, including ‘extremist’ views.
Our general duty is to:
- eliminate unlawful discrimination, victimisation and harassment;
- advance equality of opportunity between those with protected characteristics and those without;
- foster positive relationships between people with protected characteristics and those without.
As a school we intend to be proactive by:
- promoting our whole school ethos;
- reflecting British values in all areas of the curriculum;
- focusing on prevention;
- understanding the community we serve.
We aim for all Windmill learners to:
- have an understanding of, and respect for, the democratic process of this nation;
- have regular opportunities to have their voice heard and hear the voices of others, appreciating and celebrating diversity;
- take responsibility for their own actions, acting with honesty and integrity;
- distinguish between right and wrong;
- understand that they have rights and personal freedoms, and know how to exercise these safely and courageously;
- show empathy, understanding and kindness towards people from different backgrounds;
- understand and respect values different from their own.
If you would like any further information on our RE, SMSC or British values curriculum, please contact the school and ask to speak to Hannah Mahmood, our RE, SMSC and British values subject leader.