Religious Education

At Arbour Vale School opportunities are created to promote the spiritual, moral, cultural, mental and physical wellbeing of our pupils through the Religious Education curriculum, which is based on the Pan Berkshire Agreed Syllabus ( 2012- 2017).  For many of our pupils the learning experiences will be implicit and stimulated through sensory experiences.  We hope our pupils will learn to understand and respect different religions, beliefs, values and traditions and their influences on individuals, societies, communities and cultures.  Religious Education encourages pupils to develop a sense of belonging and identity and plays an important role in preparing our pupils for adult life.  It enables them to develop the skills of questioning and reflection and that they will learn to show empathy and respect for the religious and cultural beliefs and practices of others.

The teaching of RE is a legal requirement under the Education Act (1996) which requires that:
RE should be taught to all pupils in full-time education in school except for those pupils withdrawn at the request of their parents (details to be found in a DfE publication). It is the intention that all pupils will have access to Religious Education at Arbour Vale that is appropriate to their developmental and chronological stages in life.

RE aims to help pupils to

Learn ABOUT religion by

  • acquiring and developing knowledge and understanding of Christianity and other principal religions represented in Great Britain
  • developing an understanding of the influence of beliefs, values and traditions on individuals, communities, societies and cultures.

Learn FROM religion by

  • developing a positive attitude towards other people, respecting their right to hold beliefs different from their own and towards living in a society of diverse religions
  • developing the ability to make reasoned and informed judgements about religious and moral issues with reference to the teachings of the principal religions represented in Great Britain
  • enhancing their spiritual, moral, social and cultural development by:
    a) developing awareness of the fundamental questions of life raised by human experiences, and how religious teachings can relate to them
    b) responding to such questions with reference to the teachings and practices of religions and to their understanding and experience
    c) reflecting on their own beliefs, values and experiences in the light of their study.


Our youngest pupils follow the EYFS curriculum and although there isn’t a specific area for it, Religious Education runs through all the key areas, most specifically PSED (Personal, Social and Emotional Development) and Understanding the Wider World.  In line with the EYFS guidelines we start where each individual child is with a focus on nurturing a sense of self, belonging and the development of relationships.  Through all activities children are encouraged to share, respect others and take turns.  Festivals and other celebrations are acknowledged and explored for their significance.  Toys, resources, role play and sensory activities and stories are included in the activities undertaken.  We learn to respect others with the knowledge that objects and occasions are important to individuals and families.

The Pan Berkshire Agreed Syllabus provides the basis for all long term and medium term planning. Selected units from the syllabus provide a rolling programme of study in each department.

Key Stage 1 and 2

Pupils in Key Stage 1 and 2 explore world faiths through activities that are exciting and relevant.  Festivals form a central part of the RE curriculum and pupils are involved in exploring them through a range of resources including artefacts, visits, stories, sensory experiences, constructing models and dressing up.

Key Stage 3

At Key Stage 3 pupils study world faiths and festivals in greater depth.  This enables them to explore rituals, clothing, foods, music and stories as well as develop an understanding of the elements at the core of faith – respect, sharing and celebration.  Themes covered in Key Stage 3 include learning from religion; creation stories; how religions have evolved and the impact of religions and beliefs on how communities live their lives.


Religious Education and the spiritual development of each child at Arbour Vale School is supported and encouraged during whole school and phase assemblies with a focus on the RE calendar. This is adapted on a yearly basis in line with the various religious observances and celebrations held around the world. The calendar observes all religions represented at Arbour Vale School as well as other international festivals.

A typical assembly with a religious focus would include the following:

  • The essence of the religion being celebrated: being a good friend, being tolerant, being kind, sharing, being equal.
  • Various religious artefacts which are explored and used
  • Foods particular to different religions and cultures being shared and tasted.
  • Different types of ethnic music is experienced
  • Religious dance and other physical activities are explored and experienced

Stories related to religious celebration are shared and pupils actively participate