RE Subject Leaders: guidance

Agreed Syllabus for Religious Education in Gloucestershire

Launched in spring 2017, this new agreed syllabus sets out very clearly the guidelines for teaching RE in Gloucestershire.  Information about using the syllabus can be found in full on pages 1-19 of the syllabus.   This information includes: the principle aim of religious education; time for RE; religions to be taught; and the teaching and learning approach.

The principal aim

The principal aim of religious education is to explore what people believe and what difference this makes to how they live, so that pupils can gain the knowledge, understanding and skills needed to handle questions raised by religion and belief, reflecting on their own ideas and ways of living.

Time for religious education

In order to deliver the aims and expected standards of the syllabus effectively, the expectation is that there is a minimum allocation of five per cent of curricular time for RE:

  • 4-5s:  36 hours of RE per year
    (e.g. 50 minutes a week or some short sessions implemented through continuous provision)
  • 5-7s : 36 hours of tuition per year
    (e.g. an hour a week, or less than an hour a week plus a series of RE days)
  • 7-11s: 45 hours of tuition per year
    (e.g. an hour a week, or a series of RE days or weeks amounting to 45+ hours of RE)

Important notes

  • RE is legally required for all pupils.
  • RE is different form assembly/collective worship.
  • RE can be delivered flexibly (e.g. an RE themed day or week of study can complement but would not usually replace timetabled lessons).
  • RE should be taught in clearly identifiable time and if taught as part of a creative curriculum, schools must ensure RE objectives are clear.
  • RE should be given sufficient time to demonstrate coherence and progression in the subject.

Which religions are to be taught?

4-5s: Children will encounter Christianity and other faiths, as part of their growing sense of self, their own community and their place within it.
5-7s: Christians, Jews and Muslims
7-11s: Christians, Muslims, Hindus and Jews

Consideration of other religions and non-religious world views can occur at any key stage, as appropriate to the school context.

The teaching and learning approach

Religions are taught one at a time with a focus on understanding core concepts.  These are then complemented by the occasion thematic unit which build on learning by comparing religions and beliefs.  There are three core elements that are woven together to provide breadth and balance in the teaching and learning of the syllabus.  These are: ‘making sense of belief’; ‘understanding the impact’ and ‘making connections’.

Understanding Christianity

The 2016 resource from RE Today is being used by many schools in the county.  The Gloucestershire Agreed Syllabus incorporates the Understanding Christianity approach, so that schools who are using that resource can be confident that they are meeting the requirements of the agreed syllabus with regard to the teaching of Christianity.


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