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Religious Education

Religious Education contributes dynamically to children and young people’s education in schools by provoking challenging questions about meaning and purpose in life, beliefs about God, ultimate reality, issues of right and wrong and what it means to be human.


Waltham Forest Agreed Syllabus 2021


What is Religious Education?

In religious education (RE), pupils enter into a rich discourse about the religious and non-religious traditions that have shaped Great Britain and the world.

Ofsted Research Review Series, May 2021


Why do we study Religious Education?

Religious Education enables pupils to take their place within a diverse multi-religious and multi-secular society. At its best it is intellectually challenging and personally enriching. It affords pupils both the opportunity to see the religion and non-religion in the world, and the opportunity to make sense of their own place in that world.  (Ofsted Research Series May 2021)


Effective RE has a key role to play in our schools and communities. Waltham Forest is rich in diversity of faith, belief, language and lifestyle. RE supports pupils to explore and understand their own values and beliefs and those of others in their immediate community and beyond. A depth of knowledge, understanding and acceptance is important for personal growth and for development of a broader education. It is also crucial for the development of cohesive, tolerant and caring communities. In a London borough such as Waltham Forest, with its wide diversity of faith, culture and ethnicity, and a Town motto of ‘Fellowship is Life’, it is essential to have a comprehensive RE syllabus that promotes and supports these values.  (WF Agreed Syllabus 2021).


Legislation in England determines:

RE is for all pupils – it is a necessary part of a ‘broad and balanced curriculum’

RE is determined locally, not nationally – a locally agree syllabus is recommended

RE is plural – the curriculum drawn up by SACRE ‘shall reflect the fact that the religious traditions in Great Britain are in the main Christian while taking account of the teaching and practices of the other principal religions represented in Great Britain’.

Parental right of withdrawal on the grounds they wish to provide their own religious education. This will be parents’ responsibility. Parents who wish to withdraw their child from all or parts of the Religious Education curriculum must contact the Head of School in writing - please note we do not accept email correspondence from parents.


Through their study of the Opossum RE curriculum we intend that pupils will:

Explore the big questions about life, in order to find out what people believe and what difference this makes to how they live, so that pupils can make sense of religion and worldviews, and reflect on their own ideas and ways of living.


  1. Know about and understand a range of religions and worldviews, so that they can:
  • Describe, explain and analyse beliefs and practices, recognising the diversity which exists within and between communities and amongst individuals.
  • Identif, investigate and respond to the questions posed, and responses offered, by some of the sources of wisdom found in religions and world views
  • Appreciate and appraise the nature, significance and impact of different ways of life and ways of expressing meaning.


2. Express ideas and insights about the nature, significance and impact of religions and worldviews, so that they can:

  • Explain, using reasoned arguments, their ideas about how beliefs, practices and forms of expression influence individuals and communities
  • Express with increasing discernment their personal reflections and critical responses to questions and teaching about identity, diversity, meaning and value, including ethical issues
  • Appreciate and appraise varied dimensions of religion


3. Gain and deploy the skills needed to engage seriously with religions and worldviews, so that they can:

  • Investigate key concepts and questions of belonging, meaning purpose and truth, responding creatively
  • Enquire into what enables different individuals and communities to live together respectfully for the wellbeing of all
  • Articulate clearly beliefs, values and commitments in order to explain why they may be important in their own and other people’s lives


Waltham Forest Agreed Syllabus 2021


4. .Acquire domain specific vocabulary

  • Learn and use vocabulary relating to both specific elements of individual traditions (substantive content) and that which can help them to engage in reasoned discussion about religion (ways of knowing).


5. Become inspired

  • Through their study of the Opossum curriculum, we intend that pupils experience excitement and develop interest in learning about religious traditions and worldviews. We intend that this will inspire pupils to want to continue their Religious Education as they move to the next phase of their education.


Opossum Values

Through their study of religious and non-religious traditions, Opossum values are realised


Being respectful – demonstrating respect for views and traditions which are different to their own


Being aspirational – expectation that pupils engage in scholarly study, engage critically with ideas, understand religions and worldviews and how these shape and are shaped by societies


Being caring – demonstrating empathy and concern for others


Having integrity – reinforcing ‘doing the right thing’ which features strongly in many religious traditions


Being Creative – Responding to learning and express their ideas wide-ranging ways


Being Community minded – developing a shared understanding of each other’s values, beliefs and life choices



Scope and Sequence

The Opossum curriculum fulfils the requirements of the locally agreed syllabus (2021).

Religious Education begins in the EYFS with learning introduced explicitly, through direct instruction and incidentally through explorative play opportunities. Stories and real life experiences are the foundational resources in curriculum delivery. An emphasis on vocabulary and personal and social development supports learning in this curriculum area.


In KS1 pupils learn about a range of religious perspectives in three strands of study:


Believing (religious beliefs, teaching sources, questions about meaning, purpose and truth)


Expressing (religious and spiritual forms of expression, questions about identity and diversity)


Living (religious practices and ways of living, questions about values and commitments)


They study, in depth, the religious traditions of Christian, Muslim and Jewish people



In KS2 pupils learn about a range of religious perspectives in three strands of study:


Believing (religious beliefs, teaching sources, questions about meaning, purpose and truth)


Expressing (religious and spiritual forms of expression, questions about identity and diversity)


Living (religious practices and ways of living, questions about values and commitments)


During the key stage, pupils gain knowledge, skills and understanding through learning about

Christians, Muslims, Hindus and Jewish people. Pupils also encounter other religions and worldviews e.g. Humanists in thematic units.