Disciplinary Knowledge

As an academy, we are working hard to embed disciplinary RE knowledge across our curriculum. These are organised into three areas; philosophy, theology and sociology. We are using three characters to introduce disciplinary topics across our curriculum. These characters have been taken from the Diocese of Lincoln document, ‘In Conversation about Assessment and RE’ (2023). The following images of the three characters we use on our website are copyright ‘Lincoln Diocesan Board of Education 2023.’ Our subject lead has also been in contact with Georgina Foxcroft, from St Peter at Gowts Primary School, who has helped developed a unit introducing these characters across the school. KS1 recently enjoyed an in-school planned disciplinary unit (in T5) in which these characters and the disciplinary skills they represent were launched. KS2 have accessed a similar unit, although theirs has gone deeper into the three areas of disciplinary knowledge. As a consequence, KS2 have accessed their disciplinary unit across T5 and T6 of the 2023/24 academic year.

Theo the Theologian

Theo is a theologian, and encourages children to use the disciplinary skill of theology. He is interested in what people believe, where those beliefs come from and how concepts connect with each other. He helps children to understand that not everyone will believe exactly the same things, even if they consider themselves to follow the same religion. He also helps children to interpret and understand sources of authority, such as religious texts and books, prayers, the Shahadah, different gospel stories, etc. Children are encouraged to recognise that people will interpret the same source of authority in a range of different ways.

Sophie the Philosopher

Sophie is a philosopher, and encourages the children to use the disciplinary skill of philosophy. She is interested in how people think and reason with the world, and why. She asks questions about what people know and how they know it. She allows children an opportunity to interrogate their own thoughts, values and opinions, developing critical thinking skills when asking ‘Why do I think that?’ thus linking to their own personal knowledge. For example, Sophie might ask the children to explore whether they think something is ‘good’ or moral, and then encourage them to unpick why they think that; is it their upbringing, a parent, their environment or a religious worldview that has shaped that opinion? The children can then apply these critical thinking skills when considering the opinions and thoughts of others, and of different worldviews, linking to our British Values of tolerance and mutual respect.

Livvy the Sociologist

Livvy is a sociologist, and encourages children to use the disciplinary skill of sociology. She is interested in how people live, and how the things they believe might influence how they live. The children are encouraged to recognise that this will not be the same for everyone within one worldview, and they are asked to compare and contrast similarities and differences within one worldview. Livvy helps the children to analyse and compare contexts as well; what is appropriate for one worldview in one area might not be appropriate in another, and this influences the ways in which people live. This prevents the children from developing overly generalised and simplistic ideas about ‘all Christians’ or ‘all Muslims; instead allowing them to develop an idea of the richness and variety of different lived worldviews.

Disciplinary questions

Below are a selection of the questions displayed in each classroom, which link to each character. Each character has a specific colour, and these are linked to the question bubbles, dual coding and making it easier for the children to associate a particular question to a disciplinary area. They are encouraged to ask these questions themselves in their lessons as well, to further deepen their understanding. They are not organised into age or stage, with some questions being appropriate and therefore displayed in all classrooms, although some questions are more suited to UKS2 than to KS1. Teachers are encouraged to weave these questions into RE lessons, and we will eventually teach the substantive knowledge through these disciplinary lenses.

'Let your light shine' - Matthew 5, Our values are Friendship, Respect, Happiness, Honesty, Understanding and Responsibility.