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 ten years, I have found particularly since the new curriculum came out, school life to be so fast-paced and target driven, that there is little time for children to just pause, think and reflect. In many ways it can seem that the development of the ‘whole child’, which was such a focus of the ‘Every Child Matters’ campaign from 2003, has been somewhat forgotten about.
I decided that developing deeper thinking skills would be best coming from a whole school approach, ideally beginning to give children experience of this from the bottom of the school upwards. The most achievable way of doing this that I could find was introducing this through Collective Worship and came up with the idea of planning a four year cycle of assemblies based around big questions.