Religious Education has a unique role in the curriculum. As well as providing pupils with the knowledge and understanding of different religions (click on the ‘Curriculum’ tab to learn more about the religions that we study at Churchfields Junior School), it also fosters a deep understanding and respect of others. We may not share the same beliefs, but we can show respect towards others regardless of this difference. This links directly with one of the core British Values taught in schools: mutual respect for and tolerance of those with different world views and beliefs, and for those without faith.
Now, more than ever, it is vital that young people are able to understand themselves within the context of a diverse society so that they are equipped to be active citizens with the confidence to participate with peers whose background can often be different to their own. The Government’s emphasis on understanding, tolerance and integration points to the importance of establishing common ground with a clear sense of shared aspirations and values though this can only come about if we have confidence to learn from those different to ourselves.
As our world becomes more connected, it is ever more important that we strive for increasing harmony between people from different backgrounds and equipping young people within communities to be at the forefront of this. There is a crucial need to comprehend and appreciate our diversity. Religious education is an important curriculum subject in its own right, making a unique contribution to the spiritual, moral, social and cultural growth of children and young people, supporting their personal development and well-being and fostering community cohesion. It is vital that knowledge of belief systems and values is disseminated so that our young people are able to understand the importance of commitment to their own values and beliefs in order to develop a positive approach to life and tolerance and respect for each other.
Redbridge is a progressively diverse borough and we are confident that our teaching and learning in RE appreciates the many aspects of different religions and beliefs. Religious Education is distinctive in being locally agreed within each Local Authority rather than a National Curriculum and closely aligned to the nature of the community itself. RE rightly strives to be relevant to the lives of young people of all faiths and none and draws on the experience of the local faith communities within the London Borough of Redbridge.