How is Religious Education taught at Rumboldswhyke School?

St George logo

'Love life, love learning'

Ethos Statement

Rumboldswhyke is a Church of England Voluntary Controlled School.
It was founded
by the parish of St George’s Whyke and continues to
play an important part in the wider life of the parish.

We aim to provide education of the highest quality in a caring Christian environment in
which the whole community of the school can continue to grow into well-rounded

people, who will fully develop spiritually, emotionally, physically,
creatively and intellectually.

At Rumboldswhyke we feel that Religious Education is a very important part of the curriculum.  It is vital in developing a well-rounded, happy, educated child.  To be aware of the feelings and beliefs of others is very important, and greater still is the ability to be able to have respect and empathise with other people.

Our school is situated in an area which is not rich in cultural diversity, and we feel it is therefore very important that our children are given opportunities to learn and understand about the wide ranging groups they may encounter at some time in their lives.  Our curriculum provision generally is planned to provide opportunities for children to learn about people from a variety of races, cultures and faiths.  Specific teaching on these aspects is included in our R.E. curriculum, where it is developed alongside an ongoing awareness and understanding of the Christian Church as decreed in the Trust Deed of the School’s Foundation.  This states that “Religious Instruction shall be in conformity with the principles of the Church of England as by Law established.”

For our work in R.E. we follow the West Sussex Agreed Syllabus which identifies what children should be taught at different stages of their education.

The scheme of work for Year One and Two covers all the required areas of the West Sussex Agreed Syllabus, and seeks to revisit aspects and provide extension for those who need it.
Operating on a 2 year cycle, we have been able develop the children’s knowledge of R.E. as well as focussing separately on different religions, through half termly topics.  At the beginning of Year A, we begin an introduction to Christianity, focusing on God and His role in the lives of Christians.  During Year A we also introduce the children to Hinduism and during the year the children have the opportunity to learn about some Hindu festivals and make comparisons with Christian festivals.  In Year B we return to an introduction to Christianity, but focus on God’s Son, Jesus, and His role.  During Year B we then introduce the children to Judaism and the children are able to learn about some Jewish festivals and make comparisons.

We have found that the children gain a deeper understanding when they become familiar with Christian beliefs before being asked to consider and compare their own experiences with Judaism or Hinduism.  (During the Reception year children learn about Christian festivals and stories of Jesus.) 

We were delighted to receive a Bishop’s Commendation in July 2000 for our R.E. Provision and it’s centrality to the curriculum.  We again received a Bishop’s Commendation in July 2003 for making a centenary wall hanging for the new St George’s Church centre to help pupils celebrate their parish and local community.

School Worship

Our worship takes place within the context of a whole school act of collective worship four times each week.  Everyone comes into the hall in silence to listen to a piece of music which has been chosen from the ‘worship music cycle’, a special table is placed in front of the children with a candle, and possibly, an artefact which supports the assembly theme.  With this at the centre the children are encouraged to focus their thoughts in a calm, reflective manner.  The lighting of the candle by two chosen children signals the beginning of the act of worship.  We also have a lectern which was given to the school following our participation in the parish Millennium exhibition in St George’s.  Two children are also invited to extinguish the candle to signify the end of worship.

There is a termly plan of suggested themes prepared by the R.E. co-ordinator to ensure progression and awareness of events within the church calendar.  Our worship link with R.E.  is a central part of the ethos of our school.  We also sing grace at the beginning of lunch everyday and have a class prayer at the end of the day.

The school enjoys strong links with our Rector.  Father Stuart leads collective worship in school every week and we maximise the opportunity of using our local church throughout the year for whole school acts of worship on significant days, and celebrations we share with our families and members of St George’s.

Special Person’s Assembly

One act of worship a week takes place in the classroom.  This is the ‘Special Person’s Assembly’.  This is a time when each class seeks to celebrate and enjoy individuals.  The assembly content is carefully planned by two or three children at the beginning of each week.  The ‘special people’ take turns to talk about their items (photographs, hobbies etc.)  The children respond by asking questions.  The children explain why these things are important to them.  The ‘special people’ invite the children to pray and ask God to bless and look after their friends.  The children show in their prayers that they value each other.  The assembly is then drawn to a close by the teacher as the children get ready to go home, sometimes music plays them out.

As a school we have found that the children have gained in confidence and pride as they plan and deliver their assembly.  The children have demonstrated through their prayers the value of friendship and security they feel within their classroom. 

We were also awarded a Bishop’s Commendation for our ‘Special Person’s Assembly’ in the same year as our award for our R.E. curriculum.  Apparently it is unusual to be awarded two commendations in the same year!

In 2011, we introduced our whole School Celebration Worship.  All adults in school are invited to award an achievement certificate to any child who has worked especially hard, has been very kind, thoughtful or caring.  In addition to our certificates, we like to hear about any specific achievements the children gain outside school for example: football, drama, swimming etc.  The children bring in their awards and we celebrate them in this special worship.

We have policies for R.E. and Worship, and very detailed plans for the R.E. curriculum. We also maintain portfolios of examples of work arising from the topics and events in school.  If any parent would like to see these, they are welcome to do so – please contact Sue Flint to arrange a time.

We hope this information is helpful.