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Religious Education (RE)

Religious Education at Thornhill Primary School follows the Portsmouth, Southampton, Hampshire and IOW Agreed Syllabus for RE, which is entitled ‘Living Difference IV’. The agreed syllabus follows the legal requirement for religious education to reflect the fact that the religious traditions in Great Britain are in the main Christian, while taking account of the teachings and practices of the other principal religions represented in Great Britain.


'Living Difference IV' affirms our commitment to an education that takes seriously the importance of children and young people exploring their own lives in relation to what it can mean to live with a religious orientation on life, as well as other ways of life including those informed by a non-religious perspective. It gives guidance to teachers regarding what religious education should aim to achieve during their time in school so that children and young people come to speak, think and act in the world. (Living Difference IV)


RE curriculum design


Living Difference IV uses three broad, and at times overlapping, groups of concepts/words which assist with the making and organising of a spiral curriculum.  This is so that the material encountered and studied by young people through the teaching activities is well-sequenced, connected and revisited over time.  End of year expectations (EYEs) are included in the syllabus and are used to inform curriculum making; both in terms of what should be taught, as well as to ensure appropriate challenge over time. 


Rather than being a precise prescription, Living Difference IV offers a set of principles for teachers to design their curriculum to ensure religious education is open to the plurality of ways in which people live in our local, national and international communities.


In Year R, RE is taught with the Living Difference IV agreed syllabus alongside the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) curriculum, to support the children’s “Understanding the world” element of their development.


Living Differences IV’s approach to RE enquiry has five key steps (which don’t have to be followed in a strict order):

  • Communicate – What does this concept mean to me?
  • Apply – How does this apply to my own life or other people’s lives?
  • Enquire – Find out about the concept.
  • Contextualise – Link the concept to a particular religion or faith.
  • Evaluate – What does the concept mean in that particular religion or faith?