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Religion and World Views

Principles of the Religion and World Views Curriculum

Intent: Why do we teach what we teach?

The United Curriculum for Religion & World views provides all children, regardless of their background, with:

  • Coherent and sequenced substantive knowledge of religion and world views represented in Britain and the wider world, selected to build pupils’ understanding through three vertical concepts. These vertical concepts build a thematic narrative and provide context across diverse world views, as well as using small steps to help pupils gain a deep understanding of complex, abstract ideas:
    • Sacrifice-Giving something up for the benefit of someone else is a recurring concept across religious & non-religious world views and takes many different forms. What motivates human action and what are the societal and personal consequences?
    • Knowledge & Meaning-One of the unique qualities of human intelligence through time has been our quest for knowledge and meaning. How have religion and belief impacted on humanity’s search for “Truth”? How do beliefs impact human behaviour? What is it reasonable to believe?
    • Human Context-Human beings exist in, and are influenced by, their place in time and their geographical, political and social context (Person, Time & Place). Everyone is different, so how have our diversities been influenced by our personal context? What influences a personal world view?
  • A World views approach provides opportunities for all pupils to see themselves reflected in the curriculum, but also to be taken beyond their own experiences. The Religion & World views curriculum teaches pupils about diversity within and between beliefs, cultures and world views from across the world, and seeks to teach the skills and knowledge to hold respectful and informed conversations about religion and belief; to be religiously literate.
  • A conscious inclusion of vocabulary and substantive content that recognises the need to decolonise teaching materials in a meaningful and accessible way.
  • A scholarly approach to the core disciplinary knowledge of theology, philosophy and social sciences, developing pupils’ ability to hold the types of conversation and to apply the methods and processes of theologians, philosophers and social scientists.

A curiosity and openminded approach to the world views of others and a reflective consciousness of their own world view.

Why Religion & World views?

The world views approach to Religious Education has a number of benefits:

  • It starts with people, seeking to put the significance of lived experience at the heart of pupils' learning.
  • Everyone can recognise themselves in the curriculum, as we all inhabit a world view whether we identify as religious or not.
  • It opens-up our understanding of the lived diversity within religious and non-religious world views, rather than seeing a group as homogenous whole.
  • Pupils approach substantive knowledge through the development of scholarly, disciplinary skills.
  • If we learn to understand what influences a religious world view, we can apply that understanding in our interpretation of religious text or belief in action; we can seek to see through a believer’s eyes.
  • As pupils develop an awareness of what influences their personal world view, they can begin to accept challenges to their preconceptions and understand both themselves and others better. This is important in developing personal knowledge in the curriculum.

Disciplinary Knowledge: Ways of Knowing

Religion & World views is a multidisciplinary subject touching on many academic disciplines. In the United Curriculum for Religion & World views, we focus on developing our disciplinary skills through the types of conversation and methods and processes required to be scholarly in the studies of Theology, Philosophy and Social Sciences. The statements below are developed at progressive depth throughout the year groups. The curriculum has been sequenced so that the disciplinary content is also reviewed in subsequent units and developed as scholarly tools to access a wide range of substantive content.

Vertical Concepts

Vertical concepts build a thematic narrative and provide context across diverse worldviews, as well as using small steps to help pupils gain a deep understanding of complex, abstract ideas:


    • Giving something up for the benefit of someone else is a recurring concept across religious & non-religious world views.
    • Sacrifices can be for the benefit of people close to us or people we have never met.
    • Sacrifices can be everyday commitments of time, money, material objects or service to others.
    • Some world views see sacrifices as a way of pleasing God and may involve the motivation of future reward.
    • Some people see sacrifices for the sake of others as altruistic acts, with no personal reward.
    • Sacrifices can be on a higher level and involve risking or giving up a life for the sake of others.
    • In Christianity, the Ultimate Sacrifice of Jesus – giving up his life for the people he loved – is a principal belief.

Knowledge & Meaning

    • Beliefs impact how people make sense of the world: humanity’s ideas of right & wrong; truth, meaning & purpose.
    • Beliefs impact human behaviour in diverse ways including how people and organisations exercise power.
    • Some people seek to question how reasonable it is to believe certain aspects of religious and non-religious teachings.

Human Context

    • Human beings exist in, and are influenced by, their place in time and their geographical, political and social context (Person, Time & Place).
    • Everyone is different; our diversities are influenced by our personal context which influences our personal world view.

Curriculum Road Map Spring to Summer 2024

Curriculum Road Map for 2024 – 2025 Academic Year

Curriculum Overview Grid Spring to Summer 2024-(Please see class pages for information on Autumn 1-Spring 1).

Curriculum Overview Grid for 2024-2025 Academic Year

Religion & World views in Our Local Context

Religion & World views is taught in 6-lesson units, over a half term.

The United Curriculum is sequenced so that meaningful links are made between subjects, and the order of units allows these connections to be made. For example, pupils are taught about the Romans in European in History in Year 5 Autumn and Spring, so that they can review and build upon knowledge of the spread of the Roman Empire while considering the impact of the conversion of Emperor Constantine on the rapid spread of Christianity across Europe in Religion & World views in Spring 2.

The United Curriculum for Religion & World views has been adapted for Victoria Road by bringing in the religious demographics of our local area and considering the context of our pupils and the community.

For example:

  • In Year 2, we consider the evidence of lived religion in our local area by visiting our local church
  • When learning about the Christian worship/ celebration of Christmas in Year 1, we have a visit from our local vicar
  • When learning about Hindu worship in Year 2, Islamic beliefs in Year 3, Christian diversity in in Year 5, learning about Hindu Dharma in Year 5, and Hindu community Year 6, we visit/extend pupils’ understanding with visitors/additional information from the Plymouth Faiths and cultural Diversity  Centre                                                                                                                                  

Implementation: What do we teach and when?

The implementation of the United Curriculum for Religion & World views reflects our broader teaching and learning principles.

For Religion & World views in particular:

  • Substantive knowledge (‘what we know’) is always carefully situated within existing schemas. Where prior learning is being built-upon in a unit, that knowledge is reviewed and contextualised, so that pupils can situate new knowledge in their broader understanding of different worldviews.
  • Disciplinary knowledge (‘how we know’) is introduced in steps, beginning as implicit lenses of study and building to explicit introduction of key terminology and opportunities to engage in the types of conversation, and to apply the methods and processes, of the three disciplines. For example, in KS1 pupils are explicitly introduced to the ‘puzzling questions’ asked by a philosopher in relation to the concepts of creation and freedom; in Year 3, pupils explicitly learn to apply the methods of a theologian when considering the reliability of Biblical text; in Year 4, pupils explicitly practise the methods of a social scientist to analyse Census data.
  • Personal knowledge (a pupil’s awareness of their own worldview) is developed through regular opportunities for paired and class discussion, modelled, reasoned oracy practice, as well as explicit examination and challenge of misconceptions through substantive knowledge. For example, in Year 3, pupils learn about the words of the Qur’an on modesty of dress and see examples of how this is interpreted in different ways by many Muslim women. Pupils learn about both the challenges and empowering experiences of different Muslim women and consider how they might support a pupil who chooses to wear a hijab in school.
  • Vertical concepts are implicit thematic threads used within overall curriculum design to connect significant aspects of religious and non-religious world views. These are not explicitly shared with pupils to avoid cognitive overload as pupils are already managing complex substantive and disciplinary knowledge.

Opportunities for extended, scholarly writing appear throughout the curriculum. These have a clear purpose and, crucially, allow pupils to write as a theologian, philosopher or social scientist. For example, in Year 4, after considering the complex philosophical nature of truth, doubt and reality, pupils write a balanced argument and explain whether they agree or not with the statement, People should always tell the truth

Impact: How children show that they know and remember more

The careful sequencing of the curriculum – and how concepts are gradually built over time – is the progression model. If pupils are keeping up with the curriculum, they are making progress. Formative assessment is prioritised and is focused on whether pupils are keeping up with the curriculum.

In general, this is done through:

  • Questioning in lessons. Teachers check understanding so they can fill gaps and address misconceptions as required.
  • Pupil conferencing with books. Subject leads and SLT talk to pupils about what they have learnt – both substantive and disciplinary knowledge – and how this connects to learning in previous years and other subjects. For example, pupils in year 4 may be asked to talk about examples of sacrifice and ways it may be significant to different Christians, Muslims and Humanists.
  • Post-learning quizzes at the end of each unit. These give teachers an understanding of the knowledge that pupils can recall at the end of the unit, and can be used to identify any remaining gaps to be filled. These are generally simple recall questions, such as the meaning of key terms or symbolism, or some of the reasons why people, places, events, artefacts, stories and practices may be seen as significant.
  • Pre-learning quizzes at the start of each unit. These assess pupils’ understanding of the prior knowledge that is required to access the new content in the unit. These are used to identify gaps to be filled prior to teaching the new unit. For example, in a unit about the significance of the resurrection to Christians, pupils need to recall Christian teachings about the significance of the life and person of Jesus as well as the concept of sin. This knowledge is assessed in the Pre-Learning Quiz, and teachers can plan to fill any identified gaps.