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Religious Education

Our RE curriculum has been carefully developed by working alongside two professional bodies. Training and guidance from the ‘Diocese of Leeds and York’ together with ‘Understanding Christianity’ has enabled St Stephen’s to create and deliver a well sequenced curriculum of study, in a logical order, based on sound educational research so allowing children to build on prior learning. 

We have priced a full document, outlining the details of our coverage, key vocabulary, assessment, half-termly curriculum  booklets for home and useful websites for each of the units of learning. This can be downloaded below.

Aims of Religious Education at St Stephen's

Religious Education in a Church Aided School has a unique position in the curriculum. Whilst it is approached as an academic subject in its own right, it is a means to help children explore the spiritual dimensions of life and to lay the foundations for understanding Christianity as a living faith and as the religion that has most shaped British culture and heritage. RE is organised in accordance with the Church of England’s Statement of Entitlement for RE and with Diocesan recommendations in the Leeds and York Diocesan RE Syllabus 2017. 

RE enables pupils to know and understand about other major world religions and non-religious world views, their impact on society, culture and the wider world. RE offers the opportunity for pupils to deepen their understanding of the religion and world views as lived by believers. It teaches pupils to express ideas and insights and contributes to children’s understanding of British values; to their spiritual, moral, social and cultural development; to a greater appreciation of global issues and other broader educational dimensions.

We believe, at St Stephen’s, that RE both supports and strengthens what we aim to do in every aspect of school life. It allows pupils to explore and enrich their own beliefs and values. Our caring ethos and the value which we place on the development of the whole child is reflected in the RE curriculum. It is central to the ethos of the school. 

Religious Education Curriculum Map

  Autumn 1 Autumn 2 Spring 1 Spring 2 Summer 1 Summer 2
Festivals Harvest Diwali, Hanukkah, Christmas Chinese New Year Shrove Tuesday, Easter, Holi   Eid-al-Fitr
Nursery (festivals only)            
Reception God/creation Incarnation Special places Salvation Story time Being special
Year 1 Creation Incarnation Judaism Salvation Belonging Being special
Year 2 Our world Incarnation Islam Salvation Gospel God
Year 3 Creation/Fall Incarnation Hinduism Salvation Gospel Milestones
Year 4 People of God Festivals Sikhism Salvation Gospel Kingdom of God
Year 5 God Incarnation Kingdom of God Salvation Pilgrimage Faith
Year 6 Islam Gospel Creation Salvation People of God Faith

Agreed Syllabus coverage

RE and the Law (Quoted from the Leeds and York Diocesan Syllabus 2017)

RE is for all pupils 

  • Every pupil has an entitlement to Religious Education. 
  • RE is a necessary part of a ‘broad and balanced curriculum’ and must be provided for all registered pupils in state-funded schools in England. 
  • This requirement does not apply for children below compulsory school age (although there are many examples of good practice of RE in nursery classes). 
  • The ‘basic’ school curriculum includes the National Curriculum, RE and Sex Education. In Church schools RE has the status of a core subject. 

Religious Education in Voluntary Aided (VA) schools 

  • In a Voluntary Aided Church of England school, governors are ultimately responsible for the subject and they must ensure that their Religious Education syllabus and provision is in accordance with ‘the rites, practices and beliefs of the Church of England’ and we strongly recommend that they are based on the Diocesan syllabus. 
  • RE at St Stephen’s is taught for 1 hour a week as a discreet lesson. The curriculum incorporates the use of Understanding Christianity as the primary resource for the teaching of Christianity together with the Leeds York Diocesan Syllabus units of study which focus upon other world religions.

This syllabus sets out an approach to teaching and learning, supporting teachers to help pupils encounter core concepts in religions and beliefs in a coherent way, developing their understanding and their ability to hold balanced and informed conversations about religions and beliefs. The syllabus is underpinned by three core elements: ‘Making Sense of Beliefs, Making Connections and Understanding Impact’, which are woven together to provide breadth and balance within teaching and learning about religions and beliefs.

Religious Education assessment statements

Each of the three elements of the teaching and learning approach is important and pupils should make progress on all of them. The three elements are:

Element one: making sense of the text (purple)

Developing skills of reading and interpretation

understanding how Christians interpret, handle and use biblical texts

making sense of the meaning of texts for Christians.

Element two: understanding the impact (red)

Examining ways in which Christians respond to biblical texts and teachings, and how they put their belief into action in diverse ways within the Christian community and in the world.

Element three: making connections (green)

Evaluating, reflecting on and connecting attacks and concepts studied, and discerning possible connections between these and pupils’ own lives and ways of understanding the world.

End of KS1 Outcomes

A1- Identify the core concepts and beliefs studied and give a simple description of what they mean

B1 - Give examples of how people use stories, texts and teachings to guide their beliefs and actions, individually and as communities

C1 - Think, talk and ask questions about whether there are any lessons for them to learn from the ideas they have been studying, exploring different ideas

A2 - Give examples of how stories show what people believe (e.g. the meaning behind a festival)

B2 - Give examples of ways in which believers put their beliefs into action

C2 - Give a good reason for the views they have and the connections they make

A3 - Give clear, simple accounts of what stories and other texts mean to believers 


C3 - Talk about what they have learned


Lower Key Stage 2 Outcomes

A1 - Identify and described the core beliefs and concepts studied

B1 - Make simple links between stories, teachings and concepts studied and how people live, individually and in communities

C1 - Raise important questions and suggest answers about how far the beliefs and practices studied might make a difference to how pupils think and live

A2 - Make clear links between texts/sources of authority and the key concepts studied

B2 - Describe how people show their beliefs in how they worship and in the way they live

C2 - Make links between some of the beliefs and practices studied and life in the world today, expressing some ideas of their own clearly

A3 - Offer informed suggestions about what texts/sources of authority might mean and give examples of what these sources mean to believers

B3 - Identify some differences in how people put their beliefs into practice

C3 - Give good reasons for the views they have and the connections they make

C4 - Talk about what they have learned and if they have changed their thinking

Upper Key Stage 2 Outcomes

A1 - Identify and explain the core beliefs and concepts studied, using examples from texts/sources of authority in religions

B1 - Make clear connections between what people believe and how they live, individually and in communities

C1 - Make connections between the beliefs and practices studied, evaluating and explaining their importance to different people (e.g. believers and atheists) 

A2 - Describe examples of ways in which people use texts/sources of authority to make sense of core beliefs and concepts

B2 - Using evidence and examples, show how and why people put their beliefs into practice in different ways, e.g. in different communities, denominations or cultures

C2 - Reflect on and articulate lessons people might gain from the beliefs/practices studied, including their own responses, recognising that others may think differently  

A3 - Taking account of the context(s), suggest meanings for texts/ sources of authority studied, comparing their ideas with ways in which believers interpret them, showing awareness of different interpretations.  


C3 - Consider and weigh up how ideas studied in this unit relate to their own experiences and experiences of the world today, developing insights of their own and giving good reasons for the views they have and the connections they make



C4 - Talk about what they have learned, how their thinking may have changed and why

Development of vocabulary in Religious Education

At St Stephen’s it is a spiralling vocabulary for Christianity where children will revisit and extend language relating to each unit of study. Independent of this, other faiths have language specific to the religion studied in addition to Christianity in that year group. 

Details of the language to be taught in each topic are outlined on each topic page.

What knowledge pupils need to learn in Religious Education 

Each topic has the knowledge to be learnt and retained specified. eatils of these are outlined on each topic page. 

Half-termly curriculum booklet articles

Each half-term, pupils and home are provided with a booklet outlining what pupils are learning, how home can help, useful websites and the vocabulary we will be using. To see the religious education examples of these, click here or on the picture below


Useful websites

Within each of our units of learning, there will be details of websites that can support home and further learning beyond the classroom.

How Religious Education supports British values

RE can make a key educational contribution to pupils’ explorations of British values, and excellent teaching of RE can enable pupils to learn to think for themselves about them.

Questions about whether social and moral values are best described as ‘British values’ or seen as more universal human values will continue to be debated (not least in the RE classroom!), but for the purposes of teachers of RE, the subject offers opportunities to build an accurate knowledge-base about religions and beliefs in relation to values. This in turn supports children and young people so that they are able to move beyond attitudes of tolerance towards increasing respect, so that they can celebrate diversity.

Values education and moral development are a part of a school’s holistic mission to contribute to the wellbeing of each pupil and of all people within our communities. The RE curriculum focuses learning in some of these areas, but pupils’ moral development is a whole-school issue.

Mutual tolerance

Schools do not accept intolerant attitudes to members of the community: attitudes which reject other people on the basis of race, faith, gender, sexual orientation or age are rightly challenged. A baseline for a fair community is that each person’s right to ‘be themselves’ is to be accepted by all. Tolerance may not be enough: RE can challenge children and young people to be increasingly respectful and to celebrate diversity, but tolerance is a starting point. It is much better than intolerance.

Respectful attitudes

In the RE curriculum, attention focuses on developing mutual respect between those of different faiths and beliefs, promoting an understanding of what a society gains from diversity. Pupils will learn about diversity in religions and worldviews, and will be challenged to respect other persons who see the world differently to themselves. Recognition and celebration of human diversity in many forms can flourish where pupils understand different faiths and beliefs, and are challenged to be broad-minded and open-hearted.


In RE, pupils learn the significance of each person’s ideas and experiences through methods of discussion. In debating the fundamental questions of life, pupils learn to respect a range of perspectives. This contributes to learning about democracy, examining the idea that we all share a responsibility to use our voice and influence for the wellbeing of others.

The rule of law

In RE, pupils examine different examples of codes for human life, including commandments, rules or precepts offered by different religious communities. They learn to appreciate how individuals choose between good and evil, right and wrong, and they learn to apply these ideas to their own communities. They learn that fairness requires that the law apply equally to all, irrespective – for example – of a person’s status or wealth. They have the opportunity to examine the idea that the ‘rule of law’ focuses specifically on the relationship between citizens (or subjects) and the state, and to how far this reflects or runs counter to wider moral codes and precepts.

Individual liberty

In RE, pupils consider questions about identity, belonging and diversity, learning what it means to live a life free from constraints. They study examples of pioneers of human freedom, including those from within different religions, so that they can examine tensions between the value of a stable society and the value of change for human development.

Additional school activities to Religious Education 

At Stephen’s we offer a Christian afterschool club run by our local church. This incorporates fun singing, games and activities led with a Christian ethos. 

Links to Developing English and Maths

Through Religious Education, children are exposed to rich and varied vocabulary which they learn to use in speaking and writing activities. Speaking and listening is a key part to learning in RE as we encourage discussion and the sharing of ideas and beliefs. This enhances the ability of our pupils to communicate and express themselves confidently. During written RE, high expectations are also expected to be maintained with presentation, spelling, punctuation and grammar

List of books and resources for each topic

Each topic has its own set of books and resources to support learning. Within each unit, these books and resources are listed and updated and developed each year,

Our subject booklets give a detailed breakdown of all the information above. This can be downloaded below