What do people say?

This is what learners, teachers and assessors are saying about RE and the REQM.

My best learning experience in RE was when my teacher put out some Jewish objects on a table. There was a Torah scroll, a kippah and a Hanukkiah. He also put out some photo, posters and books. We got a sheet and had to draw an object, so I liked this activity as we had choice and then predict what this object was for in Judaism.  After we had predicted we went to find out what the object was and how it was used in Judaism.  I also like this topic as we had a visitors come and talk to us about their Jewish faith.

Primary pupil

Work is often based around ‘Questions of Wonder’ which are introduced at the start of a topic and returned to on a regular basis as well as when the topic is being completed. This has led to some very interesting questions from pupils, leading on to interesting discussion work. Two in particular were recorded in the lesson observation notes I was shown. ‘Who made God?’ and ‘I don’t know how God went into an incarnation and stayed as normal God.’

REQM assessor

RE helps us not to be stereotypical.

Secondary student

Having an extra lesson of RE each week would make RE better.

Primary pupil

I look forward to RE, as the thinking always carries on after the lessons.

Secondary student

We love RE. We can express our own views and opinions without fear of being wrong.

Secondary school student

I like RE because it gives you a chance to learn something new everyday.

Year 3 pupil

The iPads are great! They are really useful for research – it is easier than going to a computer.  They are useful for revision - Sir makes voice recordings for the key topics.  There are apps for phones as well.

Secondary student

It helps you build friends both at school and beyond.

Secondary student

Auschwitz was just a photograph then when I went there, it was different.

Secondary school student

In RE I get a sense of being with everyone else in the class in a way that doesn’t happen in other lessons.

Secondary student

In our RS 'A' Level class we get to compare our essays, which helps to improve our essay writing, but also improve our knowledge and understanding of topics.

A Level student

If we didn’t do RE we would be stuck in our own little bubble.

Secondary student

I love this subject!

Secondary student

The RE Quality Mark has enabled us to evaluate our provision in RE. We have been able to celebrate our strengths and develop a clear action plan for further development. Our school improvement plan is driven by RE. We made the bold decision two years ago that all teachers should deliver RE to their classes and that it become a core subject in our school. Pedagogy in RE has had a direct impact on all curriculum areas as we have developed our questioning strategies.  This  has raised even more awareness across the staff about how it encompasses all that we do and all that we are about.

Silver award winning school

I like heated debates ad discussion in RE as they show me how passionate we can be about topics. In a discussion you listen and accept and then present your view, but a debate is better because you get to analyse and challenge other people’s beliefs, and in the process you get challenged!

Secondary student

We all enjoy class discussions and questions in RE lessons, and it is useful that someone always finds a ‘but…’ in each discussion.

Primary pupils

RE really makes me think about the problems in the world today and I learn about things I never knew.

Secondary student

In RE you get to see the rest of the world.

Secondary school student

RE makes you think of questions which you might never have thought of like ‘should we take religion to another planet?'

Secondary student

It’s nice to touch on real life situations and decide what we would do. Knowing that everyone has the freedom and right to a belief helps us give our opinions.

Year 10 student

I feel safe asking challenging questions.

Key Stage 2 pupil

The whole experience has highlighted the importance of RE within school and the contributions it can make across the curriculum. It has enabled us to measure the progress and attainment of the children and has inspired us to raise the profile of the subject even further, to work towards the next award. It will be used as a celebration to raise staff morale and also to inform the children of their contributions towards the award.

Silver award winning school

In RE we argue and debate in RE but we stay friends!

Year 10 student

We used the RE mark as a tool for our department development plan. In a time where departments are largely judged by outcomes our ‘department development meetings’ have now been re-named ‘department attainment meetings.’ While we recognise the importance of attainment – indeed the RE department at the Ifracombe Academy boasted the best GCSE results in the school and significantly above the national average – we recognise that there are limitations to examination and results cannot tell the whole story. There are always areas for development. The structure of the RE quality mark proved to be a useful tool for development. We worked through it together as a team. For the most part it was an encouragement. Lots of ‘oh yes…we do that…’ as well as suggested areas for development. This document continues to be a point of reference and is useful for setting targets for staff appraisals.

Gold award winning school

RE has made me think about my own vocation.

Year 9 pupil

RE helps to figure out our views and what other people may believe.

Secondary student

When you offend against a religion you really attack your own.

Year 7 boy

RE is 'refreshing'!!

Secondary student

RE is like an iceberg – as you unpack things you come to understand deeper meaning as in the parables or considering what truth means.

Secondary student

I like the way RE broadens my understanding of the world and its culture to alter my perspective and make me a more rounded, better person.

Secondary student

I loved the way that the RE coordinator involved the pupils and staff in the planning of the RE days.

REQM assessor

It was great to have time to think about RE and wonderful to be able to discuss our department. The opportunity for this kind of professional dialogue about RE was a rare treat for me and it was a pleasure to be able to spend time thinking about our practice with you.

Gold award winning school

The process has challenged us further; we have already put in place a number of new ideas, such as the pupils planning and even teaching lessons. We have also renewed some ideas which had been allowed to slip for a year or two, such as developing closer community links and there are some exciting things happening as a result. You have made us take a fresh look at ourselves, through a different lens. Although we have gained a gold award, the criteria still provide lots of creative pointers to move ourselves forward even further.

Gold award winning school

I think RE is a good and helpful way to understand what other people believe and respect.

Secondary student

I really enjoy the on-going debate that I have with my teacher who poses questions while marking my books. There is a real sense of how I can further challenge my understanding.

Secondary student

RE helps you to deal with problems in your life because you see different viewpoints.

Secondary school student

I love the connection between RS and the wider world.

Secondary student

RE has really helped me understand other points of view e.g. I have cousins who are Muslim and we can understand and discuss together what it means to be a Muslim.

Secondary student

Pupils told me they liked it in RE when there was time to think about and then discuss their BIG questions – they brought up lots they are thinking of at the moment: Why was Jesus born when he was,  why not earlier or later? Are heaven and hell real? When will Jesus come back again? How can heaven never end? Key Stage 2 children really liked that they got to write questions down when they think of them, and at certain time discuss them. Key Stage 1 would really like to do this as well!

REQM assessor

Going out to visit places of worship – going to the mosque was fun. Going to visit Westminster Abbey tour was great. We had a workshop that taught us more about Christian beliefs.  By going to a place of worship you get the experience of seeing and feeling what it is like.  You get professionals to talk to you about the religion, even better than a teacher.

Year 5 and 6 pupils

In RE lessons, we reflect on our work in class and note our mistakes. We use phrases like ‘on the one hand… on the other hand'.

Secondary student

RE is a fun subject which is very educational and is very different to any other subject as it allows us to see what is going on in others people’s lives and why they do this, allowing for us to understand other people when we get older.

Secondary student

RE helps you to grow in maturity. Seeing the bigger picture helps you to understand things.

Secondary student

I like learning about RE. There’s no right or wrong answer. People respect your opinions. 

Year 4 pupil

RE contributes a huge amount to the school ethos.

RE Head of Department

The School Evidence form was very easy to complete. We did it in stages and as part of staff meetings.

Primary RE subject leader

My favourite thing about RE is the fact that we as a class can learn in an unbiased environment, where everyone's opinion counts as equal. We learn about different beliefs a lot. This is very interesting because these beliefs can help us understand our environment.

Secondary student

There were a number of good ideas which challenged us, e.g. the idea of pupils planning lessons. Although our pupils have always been involved in our planning and our schemes of work contained many of their suggestions, e.g. using film clips and music, we have never formally asked pupils to plan lessons before. We asked a class of Year 10 pupils to plan lessons on Christmas for Year 7 pupils and they also delivered a small part of the lessons. This was a very rewarding experience for all concerned and we added new lessons to our scheme of work as a result. We will continue to develop this idea. 

Gold award winning school

RE starts things and we think 'this is fantastic' lets take this across the school!

Member of SLT

RE is everywhere in our school, well more than that really.... in RE there are no walls....

Year 7 student

In numeracy it’s right or wrong – in RE you can express what’s inside. 

Year 6 pupil

Every lesson is a question.

From student questionnaire

In RE I like the open discussions that we have about big questions.

Secondary student

I would like deeper and harder questions that the teachers cannot answer, an opportunity to research and develop our knowledge and beliefs.

Primary pupil

‘In RE, Ilike that we are free to give any opinion that we want to give, that we are not pressured into feeling a certain way which is good when discussing such personal topics.

Secondary student

Can people really forgive and forget?

Secondary student

The REQM made us realise the importance of the role we can play in the local community, both in terms of developing dialogue and promoting the value of RE. These are all things we have done in the past, but the REQM served as a timely reminder that these aspects of an excellent RE department also ultimately result in an improved experience for our pupils.

Gold award winning school

We respect and ask questions that don’t make fun of other people’s religions.

Year 4 pupil

RE is relevant to the present as we make links between current affairs and faith scriptures.

Year 12 student

Most RE lessons consist of debates and discussions: much more interesting than just writing in a book!

Secondary student

We ask such difficult questions in RE that even our teacher can't answer them!

Year 6 pupil

A big question stays with you until you find the answer.

Year 4 pupil

At the end of year 9 I was set to fail the GCSE. The RS department has helped me and now I’m set for an A*.

GCSE RS student

I like the way RE helps us show respect for others.

Primary pupil

I feel it is important to know to improve my RE because I want to take GCSE RE and hope to get an A.

Year 6 pupil

RE really makes me think about the problems in the world today and I learn about things I never knew.

Secondary student

RE contributes to the wider curriculum, developing critical thinking skills. It affects the way in which pupils see the world and so enriches pupils' learning, for example in history and PSHE. It means that students are able to engage with British values in a much more meaningful way.

Headteacher on the importance of RE in the curriculum

RE is one of the few lessons when we can say what we think.

Primary pupil

In RE, we discuss, come back to things and then we always think of something else we hadn’t thought of before.

Secondary student

It’s fun learning about different religions and beliefs. It helps you to learn respect. 

Year 6 pupil

All the teachers I’ve had for RE have always helped me to improve.

Year 10 student

This has been a valuable experience for our department.  We are classed as an outstanding department by SIAS* and we are regularly challenged by the management of our school.  However, the breadth of the criteria provided a new range of challenges and required us to look sharply at ourselves. The experience was challenging but also a celebration of the hard work of the department and a validation of the commitment of all members of the team.

*Statutory Inspection of Anglican Schools - Ofsted Section 48: inspection of schools with a religious character

Gold award winning school

The RE Mark has raised the profile of all that we do. We are already very RE centred but is has raised even more awareness across the staff about how it encompasses all that we do and all that we are about. 

Primary RE subject leader

We realise that people aren’t really different at all.

Year 11 boy

The philosophical side of RE allows us to explore ideas and expand our knowledge which is based on religious traditions and opinions.

Secondary student

When we learn from the text book that’s one thing but when you visit you really get to know, you picture their feelings...

Year 7 boy

RE is a time when everyone is equal because there might not be a right answer.

Primary pupil

The RE coordinator is keen to develop the teaching of RE and to set up a network (national or global) with different faith communities.

REQM assessor

I just wanted to write to say what a positive experience our Quality Mark assessment was. It was really good to spend some time explaining all the great things that we have been doing. My colleague and I have only been heading up RE for the last three years and reviewing the progress we've made in that time has been such a rewarding experience. It has also allowed us to refocus on our priorities for the next few years and think of how we can move our department forward.

Head of RE describing the REQM assessment process

We get many opportunities to do activities about Religious Studies, like I went on Hope FM radio to have a debate ‘If there was a God why is there suffering in the world?' We also talked about what we like in RS and do we like it.

Year 9 student

RE is spectacular here because religion causes wars, but here we see peace and just like to learn.

Year 5 pupil

RE has an expectation of respect in lessons – this extends outside the classroom.

Secondary student

This is the one subject that helps me in other subjects – for example analysis in History.

Secondary student

In RE, there’s always another question to ask!

Year 6 pupil

I like that we are free to give any opinion that we want to give, that we are not pressured into feeling a certain way which is good when discussing such personal topics.

Secondary student

It lets you make up your mind about what you think about life.

Secondary student

They do not have statues or pictures in mosques so they don’t become distracted. It hard to imagine in your mind and to put yourself in their shoes because you are a Christian but you try.

Year 4 pupil

In RE we challenge ourselves by thinking outside the box.

 

Secondary student

I liked it when we get creative. I liked when we wrote on leaves our wishes, what we wish for, and what we might like to wash away from the world. I like learning things about God.

Year 2 pupil

RE is more interesting if you’re not religious because you find out about different religions and you don’t feel as if you’re betraying your own religion.

Year 8 student

RE is essential for learning, it helps us become broad-minded about life, rather than staying closed minded.

Secondary student

I learn new things about God and different religions so you know how to respect people. 

Year 4 pupil

Learning about other religions is important because you find out how they are different and how they are the same.

Primary pupil

Religion is important to our peaceful school because we need to understand that every human being is unique in their beliefs but everyone has equal value.

Year 6 pupils

RE is about thinking hard as you have to really think about other peoples’ thoughts, and then help them to think even more about it – and that’s not easy!

Year 6 pupil

RE makes us ask questions in other subjects too- like science. It's important to consider other views

Secondary student

RS is so important for understanding life and our part in it.

Secondary student

I like acting things out. It makes it more interactive. I get to do it. I like talking and seeing other points of view.

Primary pupil

Where we live there is little opportunity to gain first hand experience of other cultures and religious beliefs but RE brings this alive in the lessons.

Secondary student

When we are learning in RE we ask questions such as, "The Eightfold Path – can we actually follow this?" And "Is God real? Is this real?" 

Year 8 student

We had a Skype call to a school in Thailand and they told us all about Buddhism and showed us their Buddha statue.

Year 6 pupil, small rural school

I want to help the subject leader to move forward in RE and the REQM was a way of doing that.

Headteacher

I thoroughly enjoyed our educational visits such as to the Crumlin Road Gaol, and our trip to Poland…RE focuses on topics that are relevant to issues today. It helps us to have an open mind and respect other people’s opinions.

Secondary student

RE has been the forerunner of whole school initiatives... RE innovates... and we follow!

Member of SLT

I don’t have a faith so it is good that I learn about faiths and then later on in life I could choose to follow a faith if I want to.

Year 5 pupil

Unless RE is at the front, it is forgotten about.

RE teacher explaining his drive for excellence in RE

I loved the fact that when an example of evidence from the REQM criteria was unknown to this teacher she looked it up and is already piloting Labyrinths and other methods. 

REQM assessor

RE helps us get involved with other things outside of school.

Year 8 pupil

RE is the most influential subject, it helps us with other subjects and how we live our lives.

Year 9 pupil

I like the philosophical aspects of RE – you can apply the thinking to what’s happening now.

Secondary student

It is challenging to put yourself into the position of someone else.

Secondary school student

RE has made the school better – we learn more, we are tolerant of others. We are not just learning for exams – we have fun and it is interesting. It makes us think!

 

Secondary student

Through RE I have learned more about my faith – I’m a Jew.

Year 6 pupil

I like the atmosphere of the lesson. I feel I can say my opinion on serious topics without worrying people will judge me.

Secondary student

The issues we discuss in RE go beyond the classroom. Even in the quad, groups of students will discuss whatever we have been discussing in RE. At home I often have discussions with my Dad about we have talked about in RE.

Secondary school student

RE brings religion to life.

Primary pupil

I find the topics this year more interesting than in younger years as the topics we cover affect us more in daily life. For example: the first topic we studied was War and Peace which is always present so it’s useful to know things such as the ‘just war’ conditions so you can evaluate whether present wars meet these conditions.

Year 10 student

RE is challenging- in a good way!

Secondary student

Because of RE, when I hear something on TV about attacks I know that not all Muslims are bad.

Primary pupil

I like the open questions we think about and get asked. When I listen to others they help me change my views on things. I like acting it’s much easier to learn.

Year 6 pupil

I have read the quality mark criteria and they are very good. Well done to you and whoever else worked on them.

Liz Depper, Executive Member of the Association of Achievement and Improvement through Assessment

In RE I like the open discussions that we have about big questions.

Secondary student

We learn skills for life…

Primary pupil

The skills based approach allows us to develop our leadership skills through promoting class discussions and presentations.

Secondary student

I learn in RE through stories – they make me think and use my imagination.

Year 3 pupil

RE is thinking outside of the box.

Key Stage 2 pupil

Tom told us how to make a logical argument and philosophise about the steady state and big bang theories and how future generations rely on us.

(The school has made links with a local Sixth College and Tom, an A Level Philosophy student, came in to teach an RE lesson.)

Year 6 pupil

I like the way in RE, a question often leads to a question.

Primary pupil

RS is really interesting when we learn about things that are going on now instead of things just from the past.

Secondary student

RE is very useful for the development of children’s literacy skills.  It gives them additional opportunities for speaking and listening, reading and writing.  Some of the drama is particularly useful for our EAL children and the RE writing gives them an opportunity to express opinions about another part of their school life.

Primary School Literacy Lead

The assessor was very professional and used his time very efficiently. He made me feel very at ease and reinforced it was more a ‘celebration’ of work rather than an inspection!

Primary RE subject leader

In RE, the aspect I love most is that you never get bored. Each lesson is different and interactive which makes it so much easier to learn and then use it in an exam.

Secondary student

I like RE because if I’m stressed at the start of the lesson I lose my stress in RE because it’s calm and we can share beliefs.

Year 9 student

This school puts RE at the very heart of its planning across the curriculum with cross curricular based around religious, cultural and ethical themes on a regular basis. The pupils enjoy the subject and make a positive contribution towards whole school planning via the School Council. Pupils are highly motivated by the positive ethos of the school and everyone is clear about how they can improve in RE.

REQM assessor

We do projects for homework in RE. We can be really creative and often we write lots because we want to as we have so many thoughts and it’s our chance to express them. 

Year 9 student

We have found out about what it is important to other people and that makes us think what is important to us.

Primary pupil

I like RE because of the way it broadens my understanding of the world and its culture to alter my perspective and make me a more rounded, better person.

Secondary student

The REQM made us realise the importance of the role we can play in the local community, both in terms of developing dialogue and promoting the value of RE. These are all things we have done in the past, but the REQM served as a timely reminder that these aspects of an excellent RE department also ultimately result in an improved experience for our pupils.

Gold award winning school

A big "thank you very much” ... for initiating and administering the Award Scheme ... exactly what the subject needs!

RE Subject leader

I've learnt to be able to think through really important stuff, you know things in daily life that might affect me ... I feel I can work through anything now because of RE even when I leave school ...

Year 11 student

If someone is not your religion it is nice for them to have a taste of your religion and celebrate what you do.

Year 6 pupil

I like asking people questions such as why do they believe in it because I want to know more about believing.

Year 4 pupil

Sometimes big questions don’t have answers and you are just left with your opinions.

Year 5 pupil

It is fun and the homework is interesting … even my dad finds it interesting!

Secondary student

RE helps you to see things from a different perspective.

Secondary student

I’ve learned more in RE than any other subject, especially about things that matter like ethical issues.

Secondary student
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