Religious Education is at the heart of our school ethos. We are a Church of England School and achieved an 'Outstanding' inspection grade in 2010 from the Salisbury Diocese.
As a Voluntary Aided Church of England School, Religious Education is taught according to the Wiltshire Agreed Syllabus, which is agreed between the Local Authority, teacher representatives and the Salisbury Diocese. This gives children the opportunity of exploring, in a secure environment, the religious dimension of life – the place and significance of religion in human life.
The basic moral and social attitudes of the children are strongly linked with Christianity,and through our school values, we try to encourage attitudes of caring, tolerance, respect for others and a sense of concern and wonder for the environment. It is one of the aims of this area of the curriculum to show how in terms of Christianity, these qualities have been in the past and still can be used for the benefit of all.
Most attention is given to Christianity but the curriculum also includes opportunities for the children to gain insight into Judaism, Sikhism, Hinduism and Islam and to develop respect for those who belong to them. Our R.E. curriculum map sets out the key questions pupils will investigate. There are planned visits to a range of holy buildings over the course of KS1 and 2. There are two main focus areas in R.E: learning about a religion and learning from a religion.
It is expected that all children will take part in Religious Education lessons and acts of Collective Worship. However we respect the right of parents to withdraw their children. Parents wishing to do so are asked to discuss the matter with the Headteacher.
Collective Worship at The New Forest School is central to our school ethos and values (see home page of website).
Teachers, pupils and visitors lead a Collective Worship everyday in our school halls or in our classes. The children are actively involved in their worship and we use some of the Church of England liturgy in our worship and services. Older children work on the 'Lighting the candle' spirituality course and our younger children enjoy the 'Open the Book' storytelling sessions which follow a three-year rolling programme of stories from the Old Testament.
Pupils are able to voice their thoughts through an annual Collective Worship Pupil Survey, which is analysed by the subject leader and ideas implemented through the Action Plan.
We have strong links with our local vicar, who leads regular Collective Worship sessions based on our three-year rolling programme of values. We also have regular visits from Testwood Baptist Church and Southampton City Mission. They are going to help us set up a prayer space at KS2. We use the Values for Life scheme as our core planning tool. Each site has a spiritual garden and all KS2 pupils have a Reflection Diary, which is a private place where they can record their thoughts. We have Y6 Spiritual Prefects who help plan worship and take an active role in leading the spirituality of the school. They help plan and prepare some of the interactive Reflection displays in the school corridor.
Our Christmas and Easter services take place at our local churches.The choir and many of our children attend the Parish Christingle service in December.
We celebrate as a whole-school community, inviting parents and governors to our Harvest Festival and End of Year Celebration Service in the local village hall.
Here are Y5 and 6 leading our Pentecost Service at St.Peter's Church Bramshaw in May 2015: