TT437: Developing Children’s Spirituality and Thinking Skills

With my Farmington Scholarship I have aimed to find ways to explore “Big Questions” in RE to encourage children to think creatively and spiritually.   I have been drawn to this topic as there is so much time spent in schools focused on the academic subjects, with the pressures of SATS in Key Stage One and Two and now even the National Phonics Screening Test for children in Year One. Many teachers comment about this culture of “teaching to the test” and this saddens me as, like most teachers, this was not why I came to the profession. Having taught for the past […]

TT436: RE in the Sticks

Our Farmington Project was based around providing support to RE Secondary School teachers across Suffolk.  As a county we have many great RE teachers doing their best but we also have some issues:  many single-staffed departments, a lack of specialist RE teachers, gaps in subject knowledge and little local CPD.  Geographical limitations hamper collaborations between schools and so our focus was to try and stop teachers from feeling isolated and support them as and when it was required, through a variety of means. We worked together as a group of four; all of us Secondary RE teachers working in schools […]

TT435: Where’s The Wow?

As a rather lost and confused RE lead in a large community primary school, I needed to find a way forward. Luckily for me, I started to attend my local LTLRE hub meetings. There, I gained a huge support network overnight and made friends for life. Through the hub, I was introduced to Farmington. Little did I know at the time what a fantastic, life-changing opportunity this was going to be. Moving forward to now, I am proud of what I have achieved and produced – 6 lesson plans covering the first year 1 RE unit from the Wirral scheme […]

TT434: Meet Jamila – My Muslim Friend

I teach RE in a two-form entry Church of England primary school in a small town situated between Liverpool and Manchester in the borough of St Helens in Merseyside. Approximately 97% of the 420 children in our school are white British. I noticed that the year 2 children I taught, whilst interested in learning about faiths other than Christianity, had few, if any, experience of mixing with other faith or cultural groups and had many misconceptions, seeming to perceive Muslim children as ‘foreign’ and very different from them.  My aim for the project was for our children to understand that […]

TT433: Eduqas – Support for Students to Help Improve Access to the Exam

Due to the curriculum changes that are being undertaken in school and starting the GCSE in year 9, and after engaging with the new specification, a challenge that we face is the students’ ability to formulate judgments in their extended writing and AO2. In particular, this was a challenge for our weaker students.  As the GCSE is taught to the majority of the cohort, we do have a wide ability group that is accessing the exam. I wanted to research and look at strategies that could be implemented in the classroom and allow students to achieve and access the higher […]

TT431- Developing a Creative Approach to Religious Education in Primary Schools Through Visits and Visitors

Little Leigh Primary School is a one form entry village school with approximately 156 pupils and a creative ethos of topic-based learning through the arts. RE, however, is predominantly taught by HLTAs during teachers’ PPA, and although it has taught a broad and balanced curriculum, I felt the lessons lacked enthusiasm, excitement and a deeper moral meaning.  I wished our children to experience religion in its 3D form, with visits and visitors from a diversity of faiths, to make religion ‘real’ with experiences they could relate to.  Visits to  Chester and Liverpool Cathedrals were transformational and led to a series of curriculum days, where children worked collaboratively […]

TT431: More Than Just Words

The new GCSE course demands a heightened expertise of religious literacy. With recognition of the controversy regarding the use of this term, my research initially sought to create a range of teaching strategies and learning resources to develop pupils’ religious literacy for the GCSE Islam specification. This included developing resources to support pupils’ use and understanding of key vocabulary, such as knowledge checker activities. However, as my research progressed, I became increasingly aware that being religiously literate meant more than just pupils recalling and using the correct vocabulary. Crucially it involves equipping pupils with the knowledge, understanding and skills to […]

TT430: Moving Away from the Same Old ‘Sequence the Story’

  When I became RE lead at my school, I quickly realised that there is very little support for RE teachers in Wirral, particularly in primary schools. As my school is a non-faith school, there was even less support. My school has a different catchment area from many parts of the Wirral with one third of the children being Muslim and 126 children from 14 different backgrounds. From my research and discussions, it has been important to ensure my outcomes were suitable for my pupils. A lot of the ideas out there are ‘old hat’ and focus on sequencing the story […]

TT429: Rules of Serious Engagement

Two major recent initiatives in the subject, Understanding Christianity, a teaching and learning approach developed by the Church of England, and The Commission on RE (CoRE), which reported its findings on September 12th, 2018, are shaping current thinking about RE. Both call for a renewed focus on depth of understanding and academic rigour, in short, ‘serious engagement’, as Understanding Christianity puts it, with the subject matter. In recent years, rigorous and academically stretching RE has often been associated with the critical realist approach, which treats RE as a quest for ‘ultimate truth’, competing claimants in a debate in the ultimate […]