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National Curriculum

RE, personal development and Every Child Matters

Personal development is a vital part of the key stage 3 curriculum and RE has a distinctive contribution to make in this area. The RE programme of study provides opportunities to plan sequences of work, learning outcomes and teaching approaches that support personal development through the five Every Child Matters outcomes.

Enjoy and achieve

Pupils can be enthused and inspired by RE. They enjoy exploring beliefs and practices and gain satisfaction from engaging with issues of meaning and value. Investigating the place and impact of religion in the modern world develops pupils’ curiosity and imagination. Encountering and making sense of ideas for the first time allows pupils to enjoy their own search for meaning.

Pupils can respond positively to vigorous debates, to the respectful sharing of beliefs and feelings, and to the discovery of places of worship. They enjoy meeting people of different cultures and beliefs. They can rise to the challenge of understanding texts, expressing ideas and dealing with ultimate questions, celebrating their insights and achievements.

Be healthy

Health can be understood on physical, intellectual, emotional, ethical and spiritual levels. When pupils explore the impact of practices and ways of life on how people live their lives, they are helped to make informed choices about ideas and lifestyles. Religions and beliefs can be either life-affirming or damaging in their teaching about the human condition. Evaluating both kinds of beliefs can lead pupils to positive and healthy attitudes.

When pupils confront ethical issues such as relationships, drugs, advertising, genetic research or violence, they learn how to make wise decisions, to help or advise others and to understand moral or emotional pressures. By gaining an understanding of ideas such as temptation, desire and emptiness, pupils strengthen their understanding of spiritual and moral perspectives on health and wellbeing.

Stay safe

Young people often wrestle with questions such as ‘What can I believe in?’ ‘Who is a trustworthy friend?’ ‘Where are the exciting ideas and activities to be found?’ ‘How do I weigh up the integrity of a person or a group?’ RE offers pupils lively opportunities for evaluating the safety of ideas, relationships and practices. By learning about religious and ethical rules governing care of children, respect for friends and neighbours and responsibility for crime, pupils widen their understanding of safe and unsafe situations. By learning from themes such as authority, ethics, relationships, and rights and responsibilities, pupils can deepen their understanding of, and commitment to, safe lifestyle choices.

Make a positive contribution

RE invites pupils to voice their questions and hopes, to engage with major issues affecting their futures and to consider the contributions made by religions and beliefs. RE offers a structured forum for sharing insights and developing an appreciation of different points of view. It encourages pupils to investigate, discuss and build reasoned arguments, giving them experience of dealing with difference respectfully.

By engaging with themes such as justice, authority, interfaith dialogue and the environment through local community involvement, pupils learn they can make a difference. Using ICT to discuss these themes with other schools, in the UK or overseas, helps pupils understand that their generation can contribute to, and shape, the future.

Achieve economic wellbeing

RE offers young people the skills for living prosperously and ethically in an increasingly complex economic world. Pupils can use their understanding of beliefs and teachings to perceive how economic activity can help or harm humanity, other species and the planet as a whole. Pupils can develop their knowledge and understanding of themes such as equality and justice, prejudice and discrimination, human rights, fair trade, the environment and climate change, and religious rules on financial matters. By considering and responding to these issues, pupils develop their awareness of how economic wellbeing connects to beliefs, attitudes and lifestyle choices.

Preparation for the world of work includes understanding the differing needs of others in relation to understanding the nature of a contract and the characteristics of trustworthiness, imagination or empathy. RE can develop pupils’ awareness of the personal attributes that many employers look for. The workplace can also present pupils with specific religious issues such as diet, clothing, use of money, use of time for prayer, or values and attitudes. RE can provide future employees and employers with crucial information on working with a diverse workforce and public and enrich their understanding of economic and social systems.

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