Church Cowley St James Church of England Primary School

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Religious Education

At CCSJ, our RE curriculum reflects the rich and diverse community in Cowley.

We follow the Local Authority agreed syllabus for RE (2023), supported by the Oxfordshire Diocese RE Scheme of Work.

We learn about six world religions: Buddhism, Sikhism, Hinduism, Islam, Judaism and Christianity, and we conduct in-depth studies into the beliefs, practices, ethics and social actions of Christianity and Islam.

Pupils 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 take place here in our city and to begin to see how religious beliefs influence social justice, community action and personal choices.

For instance, 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 incredible stories are found in the Qur’an, the Hadith, the Gospels and the Old Testament? What are the stories behind the Hindu deities, the Sikh Khalsa, or the Jewish festival of Hanukkah?

As well as examining religion's theological, historical and sociological elements, we 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 Christian figures? 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?

Like all other subjects, we have devised and developed curriculum books to support teaching in each year group. Samples of these are below. The curriculum books enable us to ensure a consistent approach across classes and year groups and that all children, regardless of year group or class, get the same equitable access to the curriculum.

RE-Books (ID 1106)


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 their religious beliefs might influence someone. 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 ethical issues around religion, including religious responses to climate change, war, wealth and poverty. We look at the art and culture around religions, architecture and art history, and the diversity and meaning at the heart of religious practices. 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. 

This is supported by weekly stories from the bible from the Rev. Geoff and the team at Open the Book, who predominantly uncover the main stories and ideas in the Bible and the teachings of Jesus.