We live in a multi-faith world where strongly held beliefs – our own and those of others – underpin the way we and those around us live. To understand how our society has developed, our children need to know the principles on which it was founded – and to develop respect and empathy for those who have a different perspective, they need to be familiar with the fundamental creeds and histories of other religions. Further, our RE teaching promotes engagement with, and acceptance of, the fundamental British values of tolerance, mutual respect, individual liberty, democracy and the rule of law. The children develop and demonstrate skills and attitudes that will allow them to participate fully in and contribute positively to life in modern Britain.
We therefore introduce the children to the core beliefs of the world’s six major religions – Christianity, Judaism, Islam, Hinduism, Sikhism and Buddhism. They learn about places of worship; precious texts, such as the Bible, Koran and Torah; major religious festivals and key symbols and their significance. Places visited have included St. Mary’s Church, Saffron Walden, Ely Cathedral and one of Cambridge’s mosques. Visits and visitors alike aim to inspire and encourage the children’s interest.
Our Christmas and Easter end of term services are Christian, but through a wide range of assemblies and events such as collaboration days with the Foundation Schools we learn about important festivals and celebrations such as Diwali or Passover. We also look at the place and implications of faith at key moments in history and in the modern world: the older children will learn about the Holocaust and the abolition of the slave trade, whilst for everyone Harvest Festival is an opportunity to learn about food miles or about sharing what we have with others.