By Bethan Davies (RE Co-ordinator)
Religious Education is an integral part of life at Ysgol y Lawnt. As a result of self evaluation we have adapted the way that RE is taught throughout the school and feel the pupils have benefited greatly.
In May 2014 I began the process of evaluating Religious Education at Ysgol y Lawnt. I wanted to discover what pupils, staff and parents thought of the subject and to use the data collected to improve the quality of RE taught at the school. I composed 3 different questionnaires to discover what pupils, staff and parents thought of how RE was taught and how it could be improved.
The pupils were asked if they enjoyed RE lessons and assemblies, and if they thought that RE was important to them as children. The result of the pupil questionnaire was that some children enjoyed lessons and assemblies but more thought the quality of lessons needed to improve. Also the majority of children didn’t feel that RE was important to them.
As a result of the data collected, we as a staff decided to hold RE weeks, in addition to their RE lessons throughout the academic year. We hold a Judaism week in September, a Christianity week in March/ April and a Christian celebration for the foundation phase and an Islam week for KS2 in June. In addition to these 3 RE weeks we also celebrate a number of other religious holidays for example: Harvest, Christmas, Easter, Diwali, Chinese New Year, Ramadan and Rosh Hashanah.
We have found that holding an RE week provides enrichment of the RE curriculum. It ensures that the children are taught RE in a fun, cross curricular way and the pupils have learnt a lot during these weeks. They also have begun to understand why RE is an important part of life.
Members of staff were asked about their own RE knowledge and if they were confident in teaching the subject. The data collected showed that staff members were more confident in the moral aspect of the subject and although most were confident in teaching the subject they also wanted more guidance. From the comments and feedback by teachers we used this data collected to update our scheme of work and spoke about RE in a number of staff meetings. All teaching staff enjoy teaching RE in weekly blocks as they feel they can really get their teeth into the religion being taught.
An RE questionnaire was sent home to all parents and we received just over 40% back. The parents were asked about their opinion of RE at Ysgol y Lawnt with regards to lessons, assemblies, and information and feedback from the school that made them aware of what was going on etc. The main points highlighted by the parent questionnaire was that the parents wanted to be more informed about what was going on in the subject at the school and that their children didn’t tend to talk about RE lessons at home.
As a result of the data collected from the parents questionnaire we have decided to send an annual RE newsletter home to parents to inform them of all the exciting events and lessons taught through RE during the year. We also hope that by holding RE weeks and immersing the children in certain religions they will be more likely to talk of exciting and fun RE lessons at home.
The way forward
Self evaluation is only really effective when the information we find out informs us of the best way forward. It is important to act on data collected and being able to assess how well the subject is being delivered by teachers and, most importantly, understood and enjoyed by pupils. As a result of self evaluation we have adapted our schemes of work; supported staff in their understanding of the subject; introduced RE weeks to enrich the curriculum; informed parents of exciting RE events and lessons taking place and most importantly ensured that pupils see RE as exciting and FUN .
We are very excited about RE and the future at Ysgol y Lawnt. We have decided to produce an annual RE newsletter to parents to inform them of what is happening in the school. We also intend to continue working towards the REQM – Bronze Award. And lastly we are working on providing more opportunities for pupils to develop their role as global citizens. (ESTYN 2014)