Religious Education

The Curriculum for Religious Education

We have developed our own Religious Education (RE) curriculum and schemes of work based on the Essex Agreed Syllabus and adapted it in light of the 2016 Statement of Entitlement published by the Church of England's Education Office. Our curriculum teaches a range of world faiths and world views with the majority of time devoted to Christianity as a global religion.

Curricular aims

The aims of our RE curriculum are  :




Disciplinary strands

Religious education at this school is studied through three key disciplinary strands of theology, philosophy and the human/social sciences. It is through these lenses religious knowledge and wisdom is gained and provides a framework for our children to become religiously literate.

This is achieved through a curriculum and teaching approach based around increasingly complex enquiry questions as children progress through the school. These enquiry questions primarily have a theological or human social science angle through which philosophical questions are raised through the natural course of study and exploration of learning materials provided by the teacher.

Critical thinking skills are encouraged by prompting children to analyse and interpret religious texts, doctrines, and beliefs critically in a non judgemental way to educate about faith. It is not about teaching children to adopt a particular faith although it may lead to children becoming curious about a particular faith or world view. This fosters intellectual curiosity and the ability to evaluate information critically.

Theological lens

Examining religious ideas though the theological lens requires pupils to think like theologians and ask why people believe what they do. This involves examining the source of these beliefs such as scripture and how they are interpreted and have changed overtime.

For example, children study why the creation story is so important to the Christian faith. They interpret scripture and consider if Jesus was referring to an earthly kingdom, heavenly kingdom and consider how Christian beliefs about salvation reflected in Leonardo de Vinci’s alfresco Last Supper located in the church of Santa Maria delle Grazie in Milan.

Theology enables pupils to look at where beliefs and world views come from, how they have changed over time, how they are applied differently in different contexts and how they relate to each other. 

Human and social science lens

Looking through the human and social science lens focuses on the influence of religion and how people live their lives and express their faith and world views.

Pupils investigate the ways in which religions and worldviews have shaped and continue to shape societies around the world. 

For example, children learn how signs and symbols used by Christians to aid their understanding of the mystery of God and why fellowship and courageous advocacy is rooted in the Bible. They also examine similarities across faiths and examine if people from different religions worship and pray in the same way for example.

This strand explores the diverse ways in which people practise their beliefs and considers the major world faiths including Christianity, Judaism, Islam and Hinduism.

Philosophical lens

Looking through a philosophical lens focuses on asking and exploring the big questions theology and human and social science pose. 

For example, in relation to 'the fall', does the existence of evil challenge the existence of God? When considering beliefs about God, is it reasonable to believe in an eternal being that has no beginning or does modern science challenge religious beliefs?

Philosophical questions raise questions around morality, the fundamental nature of knowledge, existence, creation and the universe and how we know what we know, or believe what we believe. It is the process of reasoning that lies at the heart of philosophy. 

It is less about coming up with answers to difficult questions and more about the process of how we try to answer them and using dialogue, logic, discussion and debate

Understanding Christianity

We have based our curriculum and inquiry questions on Understanding Christianity published by the Church of England's Education Office . This approach provides opportunities for theological, philosophical and human/social science inquiry as well as opportunities to make comparisons with other world faiths. 

The core areas of study include:   


The first book of the Bible describes the creation of the universe and God's purpose for humankind. Genesis is the first book of the Bible and describes the creation of Heaven and Earth, the creation of the first humans, Adam and Eve and how Adam and Eve disobeyed God and brought sin into the world. 

Fundamental to Christian belief is the existence of one loving, forgiving and faithful God. The Father, Son and Holy Spirit are one. This is known as the Trinity.  

Children learn about both creation stories found in Genesis and the belief that God created humankind in his image as perfect beings, immortal and free of sin and pain. 

Children also examine creation stories in other world faiths and in the context modern scientific explanations.

The Fall

Children learn that according to the Bible, Adam and Eve disobeyed God's instruction and were tempted to eat the forbidden fruit in the Garden of Eden. This is the point when humankind was believed to have broken the relationship with God. As a consequence, Adam and Eve grew old, felt suffering and were banished from the Garden of Eden. 

Children learn sin was passed down onto the next generation and God's perfect world had been spoiled and the world became increasingly corrupt. The ‘fall’ is  thought to be the root cause of many problems for humanity. Children explore this interpretation as well as studying how other religions grapple with existence of evil.

The People of God

The Old Testament tells the story of God’s plan to reverse the impact of the Fall, to save humanity. It involves God choosing specific people, such as Abraham Moses to attract other people back to God.


God also chooses a nation to carry out this mission and so the history of the Jewish/Hebrew people begins when God promised Abram, and later named Abraham, that he would be the father of a great people if he did as God told him.


The Bible narrative includes the message of the prophets who tried to persuade people to stick with God. The plan appears to end in failure with the people of God exiled, and then returning, awaiting a ‘messiah’ – a rescuer.

Children also explore the importance of significant people in the context of other world faith such as Abraham being attributed to the belief of a monotheistic God in both Judaism and Islam.


The concept of incarnation refers to the moment when God became human in the form of the man known called Jesus Christ. This is when God is believed to have come to live among humankind as prophesied in the Old Testament.


The New Testament presents Jesus as the answer: the Messiah and Saviour, who will repair the effects of sin and the Fall and offer a way for humans to be at one with God again.


Children learn incarnation is specific to Christianity and crucial to the understanding of the continued existence of Judaism.


Gospel literally means 'Good news'. Christians believe Jesus' incarnation for all people is Good news'. Children learn the important stories and events from Jesus' life, his teaching and ministry and how Christianity and the message has spread across the world.

In their study of Jesus' life, the children study important events and the things Jesus said. They learn about the miracles and parables and his disciples. The events of Holy Week are studied in great depth and its connections with Palm Sunday, Maundy Thursday, Good Friday and Easter day. 


The Old Testament plots the ups and downs of God's divine plan to restore the broken relationship with mankind after Adam and Eve introduced sin into the world. 

Ultimately God sent his own son. Children learn the importance of redemption and salvation in terms of God sending Jesus, God in human form, to pay the penalty for mankind's sin in return for salvation through his own death and resurrection.

The Kingdom of God

Children learn about the challenges in relation to references to God's Kingdom in the New Testament. They consider if this is a heavenly or earthly kingdom and whether it exists in human hearts through Jesus. The idea of the Kingdom of God reflects God's ideal for human life in the world. Christians look forward to a time when God's rule is fulfilled at some future point, in a restored, transformed heaven and earth.


The children study the parable of the mustard seed and other parables and examine Jesus' references to the kingdom.

The global dimension

Christianity is one of the world's major religions, based on the life and teachings of Jesus Christ. It emerged in the 1st century CE in the Middle East and has since spread globally

Christianity is diverse, with numerous denominations and its influence extends beyond spiritual life, impacting cultures, laws, education, and arts worldwide. 

We have carefully considered Global Christianity as part of our RE Curriculum by including the global and diverse dimensions of Christianity. These dimensions are explored through our enquiry questions such as why is a cross important to Christians around the world? How do Christians around the world worship and respond to the Good News? How do Christians around the remember the events of Holy week starting with Palm Sunday.

Progression through enquiry

At the heart of our teaching approach is enquiry. Below you will find a sample selection of questions we use as starting points for religious enquiry.


Understanding Christianity

God and Creation

How can we care for our wonderful world? 

(‘God’s world make me feel so little’ by H. Caswell) 

What was God’s plan for Adam and Eve?

Why is the creation story so important to the Christian faith? 

How might believers resolve the two different versions of the creation story?

The Fall

What happened in God’s special garden?

(‘This is the bear’ by S.Hayes and H.Craig)

How does the story of Adam and Eve spoil God’s creation? 

Who is to blame for the existence of evil : Adam, Eve or the Serpent? 

How do Christians around the world deal with creation story in the Bible with modern scientific explanations for the universe?

People of God

Who is special to God?

(‘The very worried sparrow’ by M.Doney)

How is the story of Noah connected with the story of Adam and Eve? 

 What could Moses tell his children that is relevant to Judaism?

What important events happened between the death of Moses and the birth of Jesus?


Who is the most important person in the nativity story? 

(‘Janine and the new baby’ by I Thomas) 

Why did baby Jesus receive  gifts of Gold, Frankincense and Myrrh?

How might Christians around the world explain the different versions of the nativity?

Was Jesus the Messiah and the Son of God?


What do we know about the man they call Jesus?

(‘Guess how much I love you’ by S. McBraty)

What Good News did Jesus bring to the  world? 

How do Christians around the world worship and respond to the Good News?

Is Christianity around the world today as strong as it was 2000 years ago?


How can we help others when they need it?

(‘Lucy’s rabbit’ by J.Northway

What have easter eggs (Y1) and hot cross buns got to do with Easter? 

Was an empty tomb Good News for the followers of Jesus?

How are Christian beliefs about salvation reflected in Leonardo de Vinci’s Last Supper?

Kingdom of God

What kind of king was Jesus?

(‘Kiss that missed’ by D. Melling)

Why does Jesus say the Kingdom of God is like a mustard seed? 

What mysterious things did Jesus say about the Kingdom of God? 

Did Jesus mean an earthly kingdom, heavenly kingdom or both?


                                      Faith in Action

Beliefs and Faith

What do I know about a man they call Jesus?

Do Christians believe Jesus was a baby, a man or God?

How do Christians around the world use stories from the New Testament 

to guide their faith? 

 How might Christians resolve inconsistencies and potential conflicts between different parts of the Bible? 

Worship and Prayer

Does God listen?

(‘Journey learns to pray’ by D. Lancaster)

  How do Christians worship and pray?

How do signs and symbols help Christians around the world understand God?

How do Christians around the world remember the events of Holy week starting with Palm Sunday?  

The church year

Why is Christmas so special?

Why does an advent wreath  have 5 candles? 

What do the different colours in Christian church year represent? 

How important is Pentecost and Jesus’ ascension in the concept of the Trinity? 

Sacred Places

Why do our Easter Garden’s have three crosses?

(The very Hungry Caterpillar by E. Carle)

What would we find inside our local Christian church?  

Where inside our local Christian church can we find signs of salvation and eternal life? 

Why are holy sites for Christian pilgrimage important?

Holy books and artifacts

What are our favourite stories from the Bible?

Why is a cross important to Christians from around the world? 

Who is the author of the Bible?

How might Christians respond to the different   way God is portrayed in the Old Testament compared with the New Testament?

Community and people

How can we show we care for  other people?

(‘The lost Sheep’ by Butterworth and Ink)

What do religious people say God is like? 

How do Christians around the world celebrate Christmas/Easter? 

How and why have different denominations of Christianity come to evolve?


How do followers of Jesus celebrate God?

(‘Owl Babies by M.Waddell)

What happens at a Christening/baptism? 

What might Jesus think about how Christmas is celebrated around the world today?)

Why is Pentecost considered the birthday of the Christian church?


World Faith Perspective

Beliefs and Faith

How are people from around the world special? 

‘All the colours of the earth’ by S.Hamanaka

What is the Hindu version of creation? 

What are the similarities and differences between the Christian and Jewish beliefs about God and creation? 

How do humanists makes sense of the world?

Worship and Prayer

How is Chinese New Year and other religious festivals celebrated?

How do Sikhs worship and pray?

Do people from different religions worship and pray in the same way?

Are there any similarities between the 5 pillars of Islam and beliefs in Judaism, Hinduism and Christianity ?

Holy days and celebrations

How does Gita celebrate festival of lights?  

(‘Lights for Gita’ by R.Gilmore)

What special days do Hindus celebrate?

How is the Jewish Passover connected to Jesus and the Easter story? 

How do Christian festivals, traditions and Holy days compare with those from other faiths?

Sacred Places

What will I see in a church?

(‘Lucy’s Sunday’ by M.Barratt)

What will I see inside a Hindu temple?

What will find in a Jewish synagogue?

What will I see in a Mosque?

Holy books and artifacts

What is special to me? 

(‘The Red woolen Blanket’ by B.Graham)

What would I see in a shrine in a Hindu home?

What do Jewish religious artefacts tell us about the central beliefs of Judaism?  

How does the Muslim faith explain the presence of evilness and sin?

Community and people

How are babies welcomed around the world? 

(‘Welcoming babies’ by M.B Knight) [Aut]

Who was Guru Nanak and what did he believe?

What does it mean to be a follower of Judaism? 

What can we learn about the world from the great philosophers?

Signs and symbols

How do I know someone loves me?

(‘Loving’ by A.Morris) [Autumn]

What is Hinduism? 

 What do  the signs and symbols associated with Judaism mean ?  

How do the symbols representing the major world faiths represent their beliefs?


                               Philosophical enquiry

Key Stage 1

Why do people give gifts? 

What's the difference between something you want and something you need?

Is there news that would make everyone in the world happy?

If a tree is a living thing, is  a seed alive?  

How can a tiny seed can grow into a big tree? 

Can small actions  make a big difference?

How can one person make a big difference in the world?

If you do something bad, does it stay with you forever?

Can helping others make us happier?

How do we know if God exists?

Should you expect to get paid/rewarded for showing love and kindness?

Why do some people believe in God while others don't?

Lower Key Stage 2

If God created the universe, who created God?

Can something be true even if we have not seen it?

Should all bad actions be punished?

Should you punish someone even if they did not realise it was wrong?

Is it possible to believe something without being there?

Do miracles exist?

Is it possible that good news for one person is bad news for someone else?

Are we born knowing good from bad?

Can something last forever?

What is the difference between liking something and worshipping something?

Can you pray if you don’t believe in God?

Are all animals equal?

Upper Key Stage 2

If the universe was created by a big bang, what caused it?

Does time have a beginning and end and if not, does this make the idea of God more likely?

What is the most courageous thing a human being can do?

Is it better to be clever or wise?

Is there a place for art in today's society when there are more pressing issues people’s time should go into such as homelessness?

Do we have soul?

Will the world be a better place in 1000 years time?

If you heard two different versions of a story, how would you decide which one to believe?

Do you think it's possible for two conflicting stories to both be true?

Is it possible for two people with different opinions to both be right?

What is the greatest sacrifice humankind can make?

What makes a place special to one person but not another?

Does God intervene in human affairs, or is the universe governed by natural laws?

Can religious beliefs be justified through rational arguments, or do they require a leap of faith?

Can the existence of God be proved?

If something can’t be proved, does it mean it is not true?

Does hardship bring someone closer to God?

Can a place retain its sacredness if its original purpose or context is lost?

Is it possible to find or create new sacred places in modern times?