The core purpose of the resource is to provide practitioners with live examples of how a class teacher adapts planning to meet the needs of all, how to teach Biblical text analysis effectively and how listening to the pupils’ voice is essential if we are to really understand a child’s learning journey in RE.

A sincere thank you goes to All Souls Church of England Primary School in Westminster who have provided the material for this resource.

The videos and supporting material have been written by the following people:

Mary Thorne:

Primary adviser with responsibility for Religious Education for the London Diocesan Board for Schools.

Hannah Legg:

RE lead and an experienced class teacher at All Souls Church of England Primary School in Westminster.

All Souls Church of England Primary School:

All Souls is a very diverse school situated in the West End of London.  The school currently has a higher than average percentage of pupils from a disadvantaged background as well as a higher than average percentage of pupils with special educational needs.  There are approximately 30 different languages spoken across the school with the most common home languages being Bengali, Arabic and English.

The school has children from many different faith backgrounds as well as those with no identified faith.  The highest percentage of children are of the Islamic Faith.

Academic standards across the school are high.  Results at the end of Key Stage Two are significantly above the national in terms of outcomes and progress.

The resource consists of the following:

  • Video 1: Adapting the learning to meet the needs of all.

Topics covered:

How to plan a unit of learning
Planning for pupils with SEND
Planning for higher attainers
The importance of questioning

  • Video 2: How to teach Biblical text analysis effectively.

Chapter 1:  Mary and Hannah discuss the preparation that Hannah has undertaken prior to teaching the lesson.
Chapters 2 – 7:  Live lesson.
Chapter 8:  Mary and Hannah reflect together on the lesson.

Topics covered:

Recapping prior knowledge.
Introducing the big question.
Teaching religious vocabulary.
Modelling and scaffolding.
Teaching children the skills of text analysis.
The importance of asking questions in the RE classroom.
Using questioning to move the learning on.
Religious literacy – what does it look like?
The role of talk in the classroom.
Collaborative learning.

  • Video 3: Children from All Souls Church of England Primary School talking with their class teacher about their RE learning.

Topics covered:

How to listen to children.
The role the child’s book plays when children talk about their RE.
Why the voice of the child is essential in the assessment process.

  • Training pack:

Examples of children’s work from the lesson featured in Video 2.
An example of a child’s written outcomes for the whole unit.
Group discussion questions.  Please feel very free to adapt and change these to ensure the training meets the needs of your context.  The questions have been written to prompt reflective discussion, challenge current thinking and practice, affirm where there is good practice and facilitate change and improvement where required.

How the resource can be used:

CPD for RE leads:

  • Knowing the curriculum.
  • Curriculum design.
  • How to effectively monitor and evaluate RE.
  • Writing an action plan linked to whole school improvement priorities.

CPD for class teachers:

  • A one-off session using an extract from one of the videos supported by the group discussion questions.
  • A year-long CPD programme covering a different topic each half term.
  • To support whole school training
  • To support K.S team training
  • To support individual teachers who might like to dip into the videos to see what quality teaching of RE looks like.
  • To support the training of RE leads across the diocese.

Pupil progress in RE:

Pupils make progress in RE as a result of a rich and engaging RE curriculum.  When we talk about whether a pupil is making progress in RE, we are asking two questions.  The first question being – is there evidence that the learning is going into the long-term memory?  The second question being – is the pupil becoming religiously literate appropriate for their age?  In order to answer these two questions, it is essential that teachers draw on a wide evidence base which includes the following: Pupil participation and engagement in lessons, pupil voice, teacher voice and evidence produced in a pupil’s book.  By looking at a broad range of evidence, teachers are able to formatively assess and make a fair and accurate judgement with regards to a pupil’s progress within the subject.

Learning:  A change in the long-term memory.  “If nothing has changed nothing has been learned.”

Definition of religious literacy:  To enable children and young people to hold balanced and well-informed conversations about religion and worldviews. Dr Kathryn Wright.