Purposes of Religious Education
Religious Education and the subjects of the National Curriculum form the basic curriculum. The National Curriculum Handbook (DfES 2000) asserts that:
"Religious Education makes a distinctive contribution to the school curriculum by developing pupils' knowledge and understanding of religion, religious beliefs, practices, language and traditions and their influence on individuals, communities, societies and cultures. It enables pupils to consider and respond to a range of important questions related to their own spiritual development, the development of values and attitudes and fundamental questions concerning the meaning and purpose of life."
Religious Education is an essential component of a broad and balanced education.
Religious Education is concerned with the deep meaning that individuals and groups make of their experiences and how this helps them give purpose to their lives. It provides opportunities to explore, make and respond to the meanings of those experiences in relation to the beliefs and experiences of others as well as to one's own experiences.
RE's place in the curriculum is underpinned by values and purposes (which are specified in the National Curriculum, 2000 alongside the QCA/DfES National RE Framework, 2004).
Along with the other subjects of the curriculum, RE aims:
To provide opportunities for all pupils to learn and to achieve.
To promote pupils' spiritual, moral, social and cultural development and to prepare all pupils for the opportunities, responsibilities and experiences of the present and the future.
The Sandwell Agreed Syllabus for Religious Education has four purposes, which are parallel to the four main purposes of the National Curriculum.
To establish an entitlement. The Agreed Syllabus secures for all pupils, irrespective of social background, culture, race, religion, gender, differences in ability and disabilities, an entitlement to learning in Religious Education. This contributes to their developing knowledge, understanding, skills and attitudes, which are necessary for their personal fulfillment and development as active and responsible citizens.
To establish standards. The Agreed Syllabus makes expectations for learning and attainment explicit to pupils, parents, teachers, governors, employers and the public, and establishes standards for the performance of all pupils in Religious Education. These standards may be used to set targets for improvement and measure progress towards those targets.
To promote continuity and coherence. The Agreed Syllabus for Religious Education contributes to a coherent curriculum that promotes continuity. It facilitates the transition of pupils between schools and phases of education and can provide foundations for further study and lifelong learning.
To promote public understanding. The Agreed Syllabus for Religious Education will increase public understanding of, and confidence in, the work of schools in RE. Through the SACRE, the religious communities of Sandwell have been involved in its development. This is part of the mission of Sandwell SACRE.