SIAMS asks how the teaching of Christianity in RE supports the Christian ethos of a church school.
Here are some suggestions as to what this looks like in practice (and below that what it should not look like in practice).
- The school's teaching of Christianity enhances pupils' understanding of Christian beliefs and practice e.g. diversity, global perspectives, and helps children to meet members of the Christian community.
- Priority is given to Christianity in the curriculum, e.g. displays, and in the way the curriculum is constructed.
- It further explains the beliefs which are encountered in collective worship, e.g. understanding the Trinity.
- RE can act as a driver for whole school improvement e.g. literacy, contributing to SMSC, promoting values through the approach to RE taken.
- Encountering Christianity (and other faiths and beliefs) in an intellectually rigorous way, i.e. more theological in its approach, encourages higher level thinking skills. This can be done through interactive displays which pupils or others have created and which anyone can engage with.
However, these are things which should be avoided - they are poor RE
- Praying in RE lessons or using inclusive language - "we all believe" - this is not appropriate. Personal faith development is not the purpose of RE.
- Only focusing on Bible stories and not the wider Christian story.
- RE being done in collective worship e.g. Divali - this is not appropriate.
- RE being viewed only as values and SMSC, or even as PHSE.
And also note:
- Taking part in prayer spaces is good, but not RE.
- RE displays on their own do not promote Christian character.
Understanding Christianity is a resource to support the teaching of Christianity in religious education in all schools.