Information for Parents and Educators

All maintained (State) schools are required to provide Religious Education according to a locally agreed syllabus. Unlike the National Curriculum, which is imposed by the Government, a locally agreed syllabus takes account of its own schools within its own unique context.

  "The vast and fascinatingly rich panorama of mankind's religious experience must strike any observer, whether or not he is personally committed to a religious faith, as a central feature in the geography of human behaviour... No one can understand mankind without understanding the faiths of humanity."

"The Religious Experience of mankind"
Ninian Smart
The Agreed Syllabus is created and revised regularly by an Agreed Syllabus Conference set up by the Local Education Authority (LEA)ís Standing Advisory Council for Religious Education (SACRE). More about the Redbridge SACRE and the Agreed Syllabus can be found at my Redbridge RE Network site.

The syllabus recognises that the school, home, and faith community have different but complementary rôles:

The school is responsible for providing religious education with specific educational aims.

The home and faith community are responsible for encouraging the religious nurture and the growth of faith.

The Redbridge Agreed Syllabus rests upon three important assumptions:
  • that there is an essential relationship between religion and human experience
  • that RE needs to keep in balance the two processes of exploration (learning about) and response (learning from)
  • that raising questions of a certain kind and quality is fundamental to the nature of the subject

The broad aim of Religious Education in schools is to promote the spiritual, moral, cultural and intellectual development of students by encouraging them to explore and respond to those aspects of religion and human experience which raise fundamental questions of belief and value.

The purpose of religious education in school should not, therefore, be seen as "making pupils good", nor does it have anything to do with preaching or indoctrinating students with particular religious views. These are the tasks of parents or the various religious leaders and their faith communities, not of teachers in maintained schools. It is not, therefore, our function to persuade or dissuade students from religious or non religious views which they or their parents might hold. At Woodford we aim to encourage students to reflect on their own experiences and to formulate their own ideas, beliefs and values.
  As with the spiritual, it is not our task to impose a particular moral view on students other than the shared morality of the school ethos. When discussing moral issues with students we try make it quite clear if a view is expressed which is contrary to the school ethos (see the Aims page on our main school site) or is against the law of the land, and in such cases the teacher is not bound by neutrality. Students are encouraged to explore differing moral views so that they understand why people hold them and can then come to their own informed decisions.

© Mr.B