Religious Education Curriculum and Assessment
In God's Name’ is an online resource created by Margaret Carswell and used as the basis for our curriculum planning in Religious Education. Drawing on its foundation documents, the Religious Education Curriculum Directory and the Bishop's Conference of England and Wales Levels of Attainment, ‘In God's Name’ presents a Catholic world view through learning about the Traditions of the Church, Human Experience, Creation and Scripture, named as the sources of revelation in Dei Verbum.
In God's Name’ offers a whole school approach to Religious Education, one in which all pupils explore a common theology or practice at an age-appropriate level. Believing that the best resource a pupil can access is an informed, engaged, teacher, Key Information for Teachers (KIT) necessary for the teaching of the content, is provided in every resource. Further, professional learning, through online videos, and staff meetings together with shared planning, resourcing and collegial 'at the water fountain' conversations, are encouraged. Teachers unpick the resource and tailor it to suit the needs of children within their classes, thus creating a bespoke curriculum, personalised for children at St Mary Magdalen’s.
The programme of study is arranged to cycle through the life of Jesus as the Catholic Church does; the resource is framed around the Liturgical Year. Over three years the resource prioritises hearing the Gospels of Matthew, Mark and Luke, while it moves through the seasons of Advent, Lent, Easter, Pentecost and Ordinary Time. Links between resources develop naturally; theologies introduced in one unit are consolidated in another.
Written by Dr Margaret Carswell, the resources bring together contemporary research in Religious Education and Theology. Using the structure of the Composite Model, the resources reference the Catholic story while acknowledging a multi-faith world.
The Composite Model is an educational process which contains three consecutive steps.
- Step 1: Prepare to Hear the Word aims to prepare both the teacher and the pupil, so they are ready to work with the chosen Scripture passage.
- Step 2: Hear and Encounter the Word brings pupils into direct contact with the chosen passage so that they can first learn about it and then, from it.
- Step 3: Respond to the Word completes the process by asking pupils ‘So what?’ This section takes pupils from the realm of education into the realm of invitation, where knowledge of the story of Christian faith transforms and informs our perception of ourselves, the world and the God who is with us.
The Composite Model was designed to ensure:
- Scripture should be taught and not simply used as the instrument of the curriculum topic or theme. It should be presented in a manner which does not limit its interpretation to the theme of the topic.
- The presentation of Scripture should enable pupils to make a valid interpretation. It should be in keeping with the principles articulated in Church documents. Passages should be presented whole, the genre of the passage should be identified, the historical and literary features of a passage should be acknowledged, and respected, individual authors works should be kept distinct, fidelity to the passage should be of paramount importance.
- One of the aims is to educate and skill pupils about Scripture so that they can access it themselves. Pupils should, therefore, have contact with the actual author’s words.
- Examination of a Bible passage should always precede its interpretation.
- Teachers deep understanding of scripture is key.
Assessment and Levels of Attainment
AT 1. (i) Learning About Religion
Knowledge and understanding of beliefs, teachings, and sources
Here pupils will be learning about what people believe, about the faith they hold and how that helps them to make sense of the world; they will learn about the teachings of different religious traditions and the answers those traditions give to questions of meaning and purpose; they also will learn about the sources that different traditions use to guide them in their understanding of faith, belief and practice; they will learn how to engage critically with such source material.
AT 1. (ii) Learning About Religion
Knowledge and understanding of celebration and ritual
In this strand pupils will be looking at the ways in which faith is celebrated; how that takes different forms in different times and for different traditions; they will be able to explore different liturgies (the public worship of the Church) and different rituals (such as the festivals of a different tradition) and the place of actions, words and symbols within them; they will learn about the significance of these celebrations for believers and see how the spiritual life can be analysed and expressed.
AT 1. (iii) Learning About Religion
Knowledge and understanding of social and moral practices and way of life.
Pupils will learn about the ways behaviour is influenced by what people believe, whether that is in religious practice (e.g. actions) or their general way of life, for example the ways in which the Catholic Christian interacts with the world; they will learn about the ways in which religious belief shapes their lives and the way they see and interpret society and the world; they will learn to understand the religious and moral basis for certain belief systems.
AT 2. (i) Learning from Religion
Reflection on Meaning – engagement with own and others’ beliefs and values.
Throughout this strand pupils will be reflecting on beliefs and values; by talking, exploring, discussing, thinking, responding and questioning, pupils will be increasingly able to structure and articulate their thoughts; they will be able to listen attentively to others and come to understand and empathise with others’ views, beliefs and values; they will develop the ability to engage critically with their own and others’ religious beliefs and world views.