Northamptonshire SACRE and NCC – Growing Together

(SACRE, 2011) Standing Advisory Council for Religious Education – SACRE

As RE is not part of the national curriculum, it is down to the local authority to organise.

The law states:

“Religious Education must be taught in all schools and a SACRE’s role is to advise the local authority (LA) on what needs to be done to improve Religious Education (RE) and Collective Worship for the schools in its area” (NCC, 2013).

Section 3 – teaching and learning in Religions

When studying any religion/unit of work, there is a continuous cycle to support the teaching and learning.

1 – WHAT
Identify questions
Find out facts
Learn concepts
Build understanding
Use media and sources

2 – HOW
Plan lines of enquiry
Gather and compare information
Look for links to provide explanations

Use sources and ideas
Look at the similarities and differences
Communicate and express a range of ideas

Reflect on people
Look at the influences
Analyse situations
Begin to understand
Look at the inspiration

Look at examples
Give explanations
Give reasons for/against
Reflect upon the teaching and learning that has occurred
Look at the specific impact and effect

When these five are put into a continuous process, the teaching and learning of RE can only get better.

Personal learning and thinking skills –
Throughout a unit of work in any subject, but RE especially, child should have opportunities to be a range of learners. Below is a short outline of the six key types of learners:

Independent learners
Learners process and evaluate information throughout their investigations

Creative learners
Learners think creatively by generating and exploring a range of ideas

Team workers
Learners work confidently with others adapting to different contexts when necessary

Reflective learners
Learners evaluate their strengths and limitations and set themselves personal targets to bring up their weaknesses

Self managers
Learners organise themselves, showing personal responsibility

Effective participators
Learners actively engage with issues that affect them and those around them

Section 5 – Assessment

Learning objectives need to be explicit, uncomplicated and based upon skills or knowledge and understanding.
The tasks set need to be related specifically to achieving the learning objectives, be appropriately challenging, include differentiated activities and include a success criteria so the children can self and peer assess against it.

RE can assess – knowledge and understanding and skills
RE cannot assess – attitudes, beliefs, spirituality.
The purpose of the subject is not to make children religious! The idea is to make children aware and have an understanding of world religions, the impact they have upon people and to understand the reasons why people believe what they do. You can only assess their knowledge and understanding of this, not what they personally feel.

Assessment of a child’s work should be based upon the knowledge and understanding displays and the skills used. It should not be based upon the presentation of the work, the use of ICT, or the child’s writing ability skills. Assessments should be done regularly and kept up to date. The information gathered can then be passed onto parents to report on their child’s progress.

The 8 level scale of expectations in RE

KS1 – Levels 1-3
KS2 – Levels 2-5
KS3 – Levels 3-7

Level 1 – Recognising and talking about religion

  • Use religious vocabulary
  • Recall religious stories
  • Recognise religious symbols
  • Express personal opinions

Level 2 – Retelling stories, identifying religious materials and asking questions

  • Use religious vocabulary
  • Show awareness of similarities
  • Retell stories and suggest meanings of them
  • Identify how religion is expressed in different ways
  • Ask and respond to questions
  • Recognise personal values and those of others

Level 3 – Describing religions, making links to their own experiences

  • Use developing vocabulary to describe key features of religions
  • Recognise similarities and differences
  • Make links between beliefs and sources
  • Identify the impact of religion
  • Identify what influences them
  • Ask important questions
  • Make links between values and commitments

Level 4 – Show understanding of religion and applying ideas themselves

  • Use developing religious vocabulary
  • Suggest meaning shown in different forms
  • Describe the impact of religion on lifestyles
  • Raise and suggest awareness to a range of topics
  • Apply ideas to peoples lives
  • Describe what inspires and influences people

Level 5 – Explaining the impact of religion and express their own views of religious questions

  • Use a wide range of vocabulary
  • Describe why people belong to religions
  • Know similarities and differences and suggest reason for these
  • Explain how sources provide answers to questions
  • Pose and answer questions
  • Explain what inspires and influences people

Level 6 – Explain and interpret religions and express their own insights

  • Use religious vocabulary
  • Explain the impact of religions
  • Interpret the significance of religions
  • Interpret sources, arguments and explanations
  • Use reasoning and examples to express meaning
  • Consider the challenges of belonging to a religion
  • Express insight into their own views and those of others

Level 7 – Show coherent understanding of religious questions and accounting for and evaluative responses to questions insightfully

  • Use vocabulary to show understanding
  • Show understanding of a range of issues
  • Account for the influence of history upon religions
  • Evaluate with insight, truth, purpose and issues
  • Evaluate the significance of religious views and others views

Level 8 – Analyse and contextualise understanding of religions and justify views

  • Use vocabulary to analyse beliefs
  • Analyse religious materials
  • Critically evaluate the impact of religions upon society
  • Analyse differing interpretations of religions
  • Justify views on a range of viewpoints
  • Provide comprehensive evaluation into the perspectives of others


Level descriptors can aid teachers in the planning process. Work can be aimed at a particular level to be relevant and appropriate to the children. Oral evidence can be a great help in assessing a childs ability in RE. A mentioned above, RE assessment is not about the child’s ability to write well, so using oral evidence may be better for children who are able to explain their understanding to you, but will struggle to write it down. The SACRE believes that the best form of assessment is the teachers use of professional judgement.

CD of Support Materials

Section 1 -Introduction
This section provides information on the agreed syllabus, how to create long term plans, how to use the exemplified units of work and information for head teachers, governors and RE subject leaders.

Section 2 -The agreed syllabus
This section provides information on RE and the bigger picture, teaching and learning in RE, the programme of study and assessments.

Section 3 -Exemplified units of work
This section provides information on how to use the units of work and provides units of work for the early years, KS1, lower KS2, upper KS2, KS3 and special schools.

Section 4 -Additional guidance
This section provides a range of resources and information, such as useful websites, handling faith sensitivities, concepts in RE, and APP, as well as guidance on visiting places of worship, parental objections to visiting places of worship, RE subject leaders, catering for SEN, SEN in special schools, meeting the needs of gifted and talented children, planning, teaching and assessing the curriculum for children with learning difficulties. It also contains a glossary, useful resource information, a guide to the religion in the syllabus, an exemplification of pedagogy, the ‘I can’ statements of levels and templates of units of work.

SACRE provides the following useful websites:
1. RE Online
2. The BBC’s Religion & Ethics Site
3. Virtual Tours of places of worship
4. Virtual Reality Christian Resource
5. Aspects of Religion CD Rom Virtual Reality
6. National Association of Teachers of Religious Education
7. RE: Quest




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