Discovery RE is a comprehensive enquiry-based, teaching programme for Religious Education for Years F1-6 (4-11-year-olds). Our belief is that by using this model well, children’s critical thinking skills can be developed, their motivation to learn increased, and their knowledge and understanding of, and empathy with people and their beliefs, religious or otherwise, will be enhanced. This approach takes very seriously the philosophy that children are free to make their own choices and decisions concerning religion and belief.
Discovery RE promotes an enquiry approach because it had become evident from teachers and children’s work across hundreds of schools in England, that this motivates in-depth exploration of RE content/subject knowledge in order to answer the big enquiry question. Knowledge is no longer an end in itself, it is now important as the means with which to explore potential answers to the big questions posed in each Discovery RE enquiry e.g. Is it true Jesus came back to life again? Does joining a Khalsa make a person a better Sikh? Does belief in Akhirah (life after death) help Muslims lead good lives?
The four steps are:
- Step 1: Engagement: the children’s own human experience is explored to act as bridge from their world (which may or may not include religion) into the world of the religion being studied.
- Step 2: Investigation: over approximately 3 lessons the teacher will guide the children to explore and investigate appropriate subject knowledge relevant to that question of enquiry.
- Step 3: Evaluation: An assessment activity enables each child to show their thinking and the depth of critical evaluation.
- Step 4: Expression: This refers the children back to the starting point of their own experience and allows them to reflect on whether their findings have influenced their own thinking.
How can I find out more information about Discovery RE in my child’s school?
Talk to your child’s teacher, the school RE leader or Assistant Headteacher for Curriculum about how Discovery RE is taught in school and which religions/ belief systems are studied. They will provide you with a curriculum overview and answer any questions you may have. Alternatively, you can talk to the school’s head teacher, particularly if you are considering withdrawing your child from Religious Education. If there are some very specific questions that the head teacher or class teacher thinks would be answered best by the Discovery RE team, the school can contact the team directly. Parents and carers are very welcome to visit the Discovery RE website at www.discoveryschemeofwork.com where there is further information including video clips explaining in more detail the ethos and content of Discovery RE.