Our approach to teaching RE in our school is in line with the Devon and Torbay's Syllabus which is designed to support schools in developing and delivering excellence in RE. It responds to national calls for deepening pupils’ knowledge about religions and for developing their ‘religious literacy’. It does this by studying one religion at a time (‘systematic’ units), and then including ‘thematic’ units, which build on learning by comparing the religions, beliefs and practices studied. In order to support teachers in exploring the selected beliefs, this syllabus sets out an underlying teaching and learning approach, whereby pupils encounter core concepts in religions and beliefs in a coherent way, developing their understanding and their ability to handle questions of religion and belief.
The teaching and learning approach has three core elements, which are woven together to provide breadth and balance within teaching and learning about religions and beliefs, underpinning the aims of RE. Teaching and learning in the classroom will encompass all three elements, allowing for overlap between elements as suits the religion, concept and question being explored. These elements set the context for open exploration of religion and belief. They offer a structure through which pupils can encounter diverse religious traditions alongside non-religious worldviews – which reflect the backgrounds of many pupils in our schools. The elements present a broad and flexible strategy that allows for different traditions to be treated with integrity. These elements offer a route through each unit while also allowing for a range of questions reflecting different approaches, for example, from religious studies, philosophy, sociology, ethics and theology.