Religious Education (RE)

In Church of England schools where pupils and staff come from all faiths and none, Religious Education (RE) is a highly valued academic subject that enables understanding of how religion and belief affect our lives. 

At the heart of RE in church schools is the teaching of Christianity with pupils also learning about other faiths and worldviews. 

The Diocese of Chelmsford Board of Education believes that RE enables pupils to develop religious and theological literacy.  We recommend all Church of England Schools/Academies to offer a broad and balanced RE curriculum that provides a balance between three disciplines.

These are:

Theology – this is about believing. It looks at where beliefs come from, how they have changed over time, how they are applied differently in different contexts and how they relate to each other.

Philosophy – this is about thinking. It is about finding out how and whether things make sense.  It deals with questions of morality and ethics. It takes seriously the nature of reality, knowledge and existence.

Human/Social sciences – this is about living.  It explores the diverse ways in which people practice their beliefs. It engages with the impact of beliefs on individuals, communities and societies.

Further information available in the document Key principles of a balanced curriculum in RE’ March 2018

Religious Education in Church of England Schools A Statement of Entitlement February 2019

‘Religious education in a Church school should enable every child to flourish and to live life in all its fullness.  (John 10:10).

It will help educate for dignity and respect encouraging all to live well together’.

More information

Syllabus Information

In Voluntary Controlled (VC) schools and Foundation schools RE must be taught in accordance with the Local Agreed Syllabus

Within the Diocese of Chelmsford the following syllabuses are used:- 


Statutory Inspection of Anglican and Methodist Schools (SIAMS) April 2018

Strand 1: Vision and Leadership

In developing vision and leadership in a church school, the school must evaluate:

b) To what extent does the school’s Christian vision shape school policies and Church school development plans?  How is priority given to collective worship and to religious education (RE)?

Strand 7:  The effectiveness of religious education

In a Church of England or Methodist school, religious education (RE) should be non-confessional and is considered an academic subject.  Inspectors will consider the expectations of the locally agreed syllabus in VC schools and academies that were former VC schools.

In this strand the following must be explored:

How effective the school is in ensuring pupils flourish through the provision of high quality religious education reflecting the Church of England Statement of Entitlement.

How effective the school is in ensuring that religious education expresses the school’s Christian vision.

In developing effective religious education, a school, must evaluate the extent to which:

Through effective curriculum planning, RE provision reflects the Church of England Statement of Entitlement, or Methodist equivalent, develops religious literacy and meets statutory obligations.

How well does RE help pupils to know about and understand Christianity as a living world faith through the exploration of core theological concepts using an approach that critically engages with text?  How well does RE help pupils to consider the impact and connection that Christianity has on Britain’s cultural heritage and the lives of people worldwide?

How well does RE enable all pupils to develop knowledge and understanding of other major world religions and world views and their impact on society and culture?

How well does RE give pupils a safe space to critically reflect on their own religious, spiritual and/or philosophical convictions?

Do teachers share effective practice locally and regionally and engage in professional development?  Does RE have in place rigorous systems of assessment?

Voluntary Aided ONLY

How effective is RE teaching and learning in the school?

For further information please refer to ‘An Evaluation Schedule for Schools and Inspectors’ April 2018 Page 15

SIAMS Schedule

For more information please see the SIAMS webpages:



Making a Difference? A Review of Religious Education in Church of England Schools – published September 2014

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If you would like advice, support or training on RE please contact Ruth Everett on 01245 294441 or e-mail at