Continuity and Change

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It was clear from the questionnaire completed by many schools that teachers did not want to see a totally new syllabus being produced. On the whole, there was strong support for the syllabus itself and teachers’ main concerns were assessment and support materials to strengthen planning and boost teacher confidence. The Agreed Syllabus Conference found this encouraging and requested that the writing panel of teachers should take this on board, which they have done.

In addition, some minor amendments have been made. The introductory sections have been sharpened and made clearer. The section on personal development has been revised and linked to current Ofsted requirements.

The four aims of the Agreed Syllabus remain, but

  • the wording of the first aim includes ‘worldviews’ to take account of recent developments in RE (Commission on Religious Education Report 2018); and
  • the second aim has changed from ‘pursue quest for meaning, purpose and value’ to ‘reflect on questions of meaning, purpose and value’

The skills progression through the learning process has been sharpened. Progression through Key Stage two has been enhanced by the inclusion of statements and descriptors of expectations to support teacher planning for Lower Key Stage two (years 3-4) and Upper Key Stage two (years 5-6).

The syllabus clarifies the importance of concepts in developing pupil knowledge and understanding of religions and worldviews and support materials will be included in the non-statutory appendices to guide Subject Leaders/Heads of Department in their curriculum planning.

Text in blue is non-statutory guidance / suggestion.

Changes in Content
  • The syllabus continues to recommend the same religions to be studied at Key Stage 1, 2 and 3 as per the previous Agreed Syllabus, but extends the choice in Key Stage 2 so that teachers can plan a curriculum that is more appropriate to their school and pupils
  • Humanism has been introduced explicitly in Upper Key Stage 2, Key Stage 3 and Key Stage 4 to reflect the changes in RE on the basis of the Commission on RE Report 2018 and Human Rights legislation.
  • Context and core questions have been refined and made clearer at each key stage.
  • The new agreed syllabus provides a set of ‘enquiries’ for each key stage which Subject Leaders/Heads of Departments use as the basis for their curriculum planning. The non-statutory appendices will include additional support materials to help in this process.
  • ‘Disciplinary Approaches’ have been added to Appendix 1: ‘Different approaches to learning and teaching in RE’, to reflect recent developments in RE and enable Subject Leaders/Heads of Department with their planning.

In addition, the SACRE, through the writing panel, will be providing more detailed guidance on planning for Subject Leaders/Heads of Department in the form of a Subject Leader’s Handbook and for teachers there will be more information on religious and non-religious worldviews.

In these ways, SACRE is confident that subject leaders will be better able to plan an appropriate sequential and ambitious curriculum for the pupils in the school, and to support their teachers in the delivery of quality RE.

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