Religious Education

At Charles Dickens we believe our RE curriculum should reflect the rich and diverse community here in Southwark, in London, across the UK and across the world. We study six world religions: Buddhism, Sikhism, Hinduism, Islam, Judaism and Christianity and we conduct in-depth studies into the beliefs, practices, ethics and social action of Christianity and Islam.

Across their time with us students will have the opportunity to examine the claims made by religion, to enjoy and understand the powerful stories behind religions, to gain an understanding of the diverse range of religious practices that takes place here in our city and to begin to see how religious beliefs influence social justice, community action and personal choices. How do Islamic teachings about creation influence Muslims to tackle climate change? How does a Christian army chaplain balance the teachings of the Gospel in a war zone? What’s the difference between a Roman Catholic church service and a Pentecostal church service? What are some of the incredible stories found in the Qur’an, the Hadith, the Gospels and the Old Testament? What are the stories behind the Hindu deities or the Sikh Khalsa or the Jewish festival of Hanukkah?

As well as examining the theological, historical and sociological elements of religion we have a focus on the visual culture behind world faiths. What can we learn from Islamic art and architecture about Allah? What do paintings in the National Gallery tell us about the important figures in Christianity? Why does colour feature so heavily in Hindu festivals? What does the architecture of a church, synagogue, mosque, gurdwara or temple tell us about the practices that go on inside?

In Key Stage 1 we introduce children to the basics of Christianity and Islam and encourage them to think about what it means for someone to believe in a God and how someone might be influenced by their religious beliefs. We have a big focus on storytelling with topics looking in-depth at the stories behind Easter, Christmas, the life of Muhammad and figures from the Old Testament.

In Key Stage 2 we build on those foundations to explore some of the ethical issues around religion including religious responses to climate change, war, wealth and poverty. We look at the art and culture around religions, the architecture and art history as well as taking a deeper dive into the diversity and meaning at the heart of religious practices. In each year we take a term to introduce students to a new religion: Judaism in Year 3, Sikhism in Year 4, Hinduism in Year 5 and Buddhism in Year 6. The RE curriculum culminates in a virtual trip at the end of Year 6 to explore Jerusalem and its important position in Judaism, Christianity and Islam.