Religious Education is part of the curriculum, and is planned using the new Hertfordshire Agreed Syllabus 2023-28 and the Diocese of St Albans’ guidance. Religious Education is an academic subject, delivered in an academic and objective manner. The purpose of teaching RE is to enable pupils to become ‘religiously literate’, learning both about and from religion. We define religious literacy as the ability to hold balanced and informed conversations about religions and world views. Through a deeper understanding of ourselves and others we hope to provide the foundations for peaceful and respectful relationships across and within communities. RE is not about converting or evangelising but is about exploring their own and others’ beliefs within the context of humanity’s religious experiences and worldviews.

As a church school, two thirds of our RE curriculum time is spent exploring Christianity (in line with the Church of England’s Statement of Entitlement 2019), with each year group also learning about one or two other key world faiths. This enables the children to explore both differences and similarities, looking at key ideas about God/s and religious texts (theology). We also explore our personal beliefs, and how religious beliefs impact on day to day behaviours and practices (sociology) and how they can help us answer some of the ‘big questions’ in life, such as what is my purpose (philosophy). RE is seen as an essential part of learning to reflect upon life and our relationships in order to live life to its fullest.

Religious Education supports children develop empathy, appreciate diversity, as well as develop the skills of reflecting, questioning, investigating and expressing themselves. They begin to find their own responses to the important questions in life, focus on their own spiritual development, and accept and understand that not everyone will have or should have the same beliefs. RE enables children to explore the unknown and develop a sense of awe and wonder. It promotes inspirational role models who have been guided by their worldview or faith to support and help humans across the world, as part of a global community.

Year R explore a range of festivals and celebrations from across the community and make links to their own lives.

Year 1 explores two terms of Christianity and 1 term of Islam.

Year 2 explores two terms of Christianity and 1 term of Judaism.

Year 3 explores two terms of Christianity and 1 term of Sikhism. Year 4 explores two terms of Christianity and 1 term of Islam and Buddhism.

Collective Worship happens daily at Layston and is separate from RE.

At the beginning of each half term a Christian value is introduced by the head teacher and a values leaflet with tips for parents about exploring this value at home is posted on the school website (Our School – Christian Values). This value is then explored in depth across the half term.

Our Christian Values are as follows:

Year A Autumn 1 – Community (koinonia); Autumn 2 – Friendship; Spring 1 – Courage & resilience; Spring 2 – thankfulness; Summer 1 – Love (agape) & compassion; Summer 2 – Trust.

Year B Autumn 1 – Creation & stewardship; Autumn 2 – Peace & hope; Spring 1 – wisdom; Spring 2 – Reverence; Summer 1 – Humility & forgiveness; Summer 2 – Justice.

On a Monday the head teacher and music teacher lead a whole school singing CW with songs promoting our value.

On a Tuesday the local reverends are invited in to talk to the whole school about our value.

On Wednesday CW takes place in key stage bubbles where the value is explored more deeply with class teachers and children share their learning and talk about what they enjoyed, found tricky, and what helped them move their learning forward.

On a Thursday the deputy head leads a whole school CW on mental health, well-being and emotional literacy. On a Friday the head teacher leads a celebration, giving awards such as Values Awards, Stars of the Week, Diners of the Week, Buddy of the Week & the Attendance Award for the week.