Religious Education (RE)


The National Association of Teachers of Religious Education (NATRE) state: “learning in RE helps to underpin the development of respect and tolerance and supports school values and the preparation of pupils for life in modern Britain.”

Willowbrook’s intent is for our pupils to gain knowledge and understanding of different religions and cultures, and an empathy with people and their beliefs. Using the Discovery RE enquiry-based scheme we are developing children’s critical thinking skills and increasing their motivation to learn about different religions. The knowledge gained from the study of world religions, and the reflection and evaluation they will take part in, will increase their respect and acceptance of those from diverse cultures and beliefs.

The essence of RE in EYFS is to develop their curiosity, questioning and spirituality. We aim to enable the children to gain knowledge, skills and experience that supports their on-going development in religious education. RE in EYFS can add to all the areas of learning but particularly self-confidence and self-awareness and understanding the world – people and communities and the world.


At Willowbrook, we adapt the Discovery RE scheme and marry it with Acorn pedagogy allowing us to provide a detailed curriculum that allows for granularity, ensures high expectations are met with rich connections between learning. We design carefully sequenced units of work presented in booklets that encompass prior learning, key knowledge, vocabulary, and skills. These booklets are used across the school and ensure consistency. Additionally, our curriculum includes links to reading materials to further enhance the learning experience.

In line with the RE OSFTED review, each Key Stage allows children to:

  1. Build ‘substantive’ knowledge about various religious and non-religious traditions.
  2. Investigate the beliefs and practices of religions and other world views
  3. Investigate how religions and other world views address questions of meaning, purpose, and value
  4. Investigate how religions and other world views influence morality, identity, and diversity.
  5. Learn ‘how to know’ about religion and non-religion.
  6. Build an awareness of their own presuppositions and values about what they study.

At Willowbrook, we are setting children up to make a smooth transition to secondary. Using the Discovery RE enquiry-based scheme and holding children to account for their own active learning, we are enabling children to become analytical thinkers who can apply knowledge and skills, make comparisons and answer enquiries.

Religious Education is taught through Discovery RE units using an enquiry-based model. We chose this scheme of work as the enquiry approach required children to retain their knowledge and apply it to the key question. This allows children’s critical thinking skills to be developed, their motivation to learn increased, and their knowledge and understanding of, and empathy with people and their beliefs, religious or otherwise, will be enhanced. Each term the children learn about one religion. The sequence of lessons ensures subject knowledge, depth and builds on prior learning. Over the term, following the Discovery RE steps, children can build up subject knowledge which they then apply to the enquiry question, rather than this knowledge being an end in itself. In addition to this, teachers start each lesson with WILLOWBROOK’s ‘DO Now’ challenge continuing the expectation that knowledge must be actively retained by pupils. By using Discovery RE, Willowbrook students focus on critical thinking skills, on personal reflection into the child’s own thoughts and feelings, on growing subject knowledge, and nurturing spiritual development.


Willowbrook pupils enjoy RE, and it has a good profile in the curriculum with weekly lessons for all age groups, regular RE assemblies and RE display boards around the school. Children develop a broad and balanced understanding of the main religions at an age-appropriate level. Carefully tailored use of Discovery RE matched with our curriculum booklets means that children are developing longer-term knowledge and understanding. They can make connections in their learning over time, relating what they have learned about different religious beliefs, people, festivals and events within religions, and between different religions.

Willowbrook is situated in a predominantly white, Christian/non-religious area of Trowbridge where there is a lack of diversity so an important impact of RE for our pupils is that they are beginning to develop a knowledge, tolerance and acceptance of people from different religions and beliefs. Children are learning that people of different religions are just like them in many ways. Our pupils are learning about all the positive ways people of different religions impact our world through charity, kind acts and looking after elders to name a few. Our children are beginning to demonstrate respectful behaviour to all, and this is transferable outside of school in the wider community and beyond. This will continue to develop as we follow the systematic scheme over the coming years.