Religious Education


At Marlborough, we aim to develop children’s respect and tolerance of a range of cultures and religions to enable them to live in a diverse and ever changing world.  Our children will be given opportunities to investigate, question, enquire and respond within meaningful religious contexts.

Following a logical progression, their knowledge about religion will be developed, building on their own experiences, making links to prior knowledge and introducing new ideas and information; thus deepening their understanding of world religions.

In order to engage and enthuse children, quality stimulus and artefacts will be used, and where possible, visits and visitors, in order to provide the children with hands on, real life experiences to provide a context for learning about religion.   We will capitalise on the local area but also explore wider areas to ensure diversity.




At Marlborough, our journey in religious education begins with a child’s own journey of self-awareness. During the first term of their school education, our reception children will develop the confidence to try new activities and say why they like some activities more than others. Purposeful play will allow children to develop confidence speaking within a group, articulating their likes and dislikes, as well as learning how to show sensitivity to the needs of others.

As this self-awareness develops, similarities and differences between themselves and others will be explored as well as those among families, communities and traditions. Through studying the Christian faith, we will teach our children the importance of showing respect for other people, their special places and things. They will develop an understanding of the Church as a special place for Christians and be able to identify some of its features.

Through stories and role play, children will learn about special times for Christians including Harvest, Christmas and Easter. They will be encouraged to share their own experiences of these special times and to listen to the experiences of others. Curiosity tables set up in provision will provide the opportunity to explore different religious artefacts, whilst images and puppets will encourage discussion, new vocabulary, and the retelling of religious stories. Stories and experiences from other faiths are always shared and explored.


Year 1

In year 1, the focus is on developing an understanding of the Christian religion, including learning about some of the festivals and celebrations that Christians take part in. The children will be introduced to other religious beliefs, festivals and practices, including Hinduism and Judaism and they will begin to identify some similarities and differences.

The Hindu festival Diwali that was introduced in reception will also be revisited, and to further their understanding, they will begin to consider why it is important to the Sikh and Hindu faiths. Other festivals including a Christingle ceremony, Hanukkah, Swedish festival of light, St Lucia, and the Buddhist Festival of Light, Loi Krathong will be explored and simple comparisons will be drawn between these. To deepen their knowledge and understanding, the children will make Christingles and participate in re-enactments. New, key vocabulary associated with the religions and festivals will be interwoven into the lessons.

Prior knowledge of the Christian’s place of worship will be built upon as they develop an understanding of the practices involved within these. Through hands on exploration of artefacts, they will deepen their knowledge of Christian symbols and learn their importance to Christians. The vocabulary that was introduced in reception will be revised and built upon, and the meanings of artefacts and symbols to Christians will be explored.

The children will learn about the Christian celebration to welcome a baby into the faith of its parents, exploring what happens at the christening and the role of the people involved in the ceremony. We will encourage them to share their own experiences and pictures of welcoming babies and of their own birth ceremony if applicable. Building on their introduction to other faiths through stories in Reception, they will now explore various traditions in other cultures and faiths to celebrate the birth of a baby. Similarities and differences between the practices will be explored. In order to consolidate their knowledge and understanding of a Christening, the children are involved in the planning and participation of a mock ceremony. Various stories and parables are introduced through storytelling, re-enactments, and participation in role play to enable the children to gain an understanding of how people met Jesus and how they felt before, during, and afterwards. They learn songs, develop curiosity, and are encouraged to begin to ask questions about religion and beliefs.

Towards the end of the year, the children are introduced to Judaism, through a virtual tour of a Synagogue which will help them to develop curiosity and questions about the religion. They learn key information about the religion including facts about the Torah, where Jews worship and that Jews believe in the same God as that of Christianity, but they worship in a different way. We teach them that Jews and Christians follow the 10 commandments, and the children are encouraged to draw links between the importance of these and their class rules. To end the unit, a guest speaker is invited to talk to the children to discuss their religion and the rituals that they carry out. The children prepare questions in advance and this helps to consolidate, reflect on, and deepen their understanding of previous learning.


Year 2

Following on from the introduction to Judaism in year 1, the children build on their knowledge of Jewish worship, starting with identifying where Jerusalem is on a map. Through exploring the story of creation, they recognise the link between Judaism and Christianity, that the world was created in 6 days. They look in depth at the day of rest for both Christians and Jews, which the Jews call Shabbat. Through a visit from guest speaker or research, children learn about how Jews prepare for the day and also take part in a mock Shabbat in which they make/taste the bread and smell the spices that would be a part of the meal. Happy thoughts are recalled as are positive times shared with their families. They become aware of what Jews can and cannot do, and make links to themselves and the rules that they follow.

During the second half of the autumn term, the children learn about Christmas around the world through stories. They will read the story Babushka and re-enact this using puppets and will develop their understanding of the importance of Christmas to a wider range of people, faiths, communities and beliefs, even though they may celebrate in different ways. Through first-hand experience of a visit to the local church, they will gain an understanding of how Christians celebrate Christmas and will participate in hands on exploration of the Bible, reflecting on facts they have learned in order build their knowledge about the texts (including the Old and New Testament).

The Easter story is revisited (from year 1) including their understanding of the story and the symbols associated with festival of Easter. They then look in more detail at the impact the story has on modern Christians in today’s society. This will lead on to them comparing and contrasting today’s celebrations, both religious and non-religious. The children taste hot cross buns/simnel cake, and recall what it represents to Christians.

Building on the introduction to bible stories/parables in reception and year 1, the children explore a range of parables and the hidden meaning within them, learning that people make mistakes, but that if they reflect and are sorry, it is the Christian belief that God offers forgiveness. Children link their learning and understanding to today and themselves.

In year 2, the children explore the whole process of a Christian wedding within a community environment. They finalise their learning with planning and acting out a wedding and having a celebratory wedding breakfast.


Year 3

In year 3, children begin to deepen their understanding of a wider range of religions. They learn about 4 of the main world religions and expand their knowledge and understanding of Christianity and Judaism. This includes an introduction to the concept that not all religions worship only one God (Monophasic).

The children have been introduced to Hinduism through stories and festivals in both Reception and Year 1. In year 3, their knowledge of Hinduism is built upon by learning about the Trimurti (the three Gods) and the link to Christianity (Father, Son and Holy Spirit). An exploration of a virtual Mandir will spark their curiosity about how and where Hindus worship, and the practices that they participate in. This provides an opportunity to compare and contrast places of worship by drawing on previous learning in year 2 when they visited a Christian church and learned about a synagogue in year 1. The children explore Hindu stories and learn about the life of Ghandi and his belief in peaceful protest. They are also introduced to the caste system and the belief in reincarnation.

Building on year 2, the children re-visit and explore the nativity story, but this time, through the eyes of people as they lived it. They act out a news report and hold an interview with the shepherds to find out what happened and how they felt. The children look at pilgrimages and special journeys and also explore Advent and the time building up to the birth of Jesus. They make an advent wreath with the 5 candles and learn what it represents to Christians, building on and revisiting their prior learning of symbols from previous years.

In the spring term, the children are introduced to the religion of Islam, and are taught that Muslims believe in the same God as Christians and Jews, but that they call him Allah. They learn about the founder of the modern Islamic faith (Mohammed) and the impact of his actions and beliefs. As their understanding of a range of religions deepens, they are able to identify similarities and differences between them (Christianity, Judaism and Islam). They learn about the celebrations within the Islamic faith, including weddings and birth rituals and are made aware of the 5 pillars of Islam with a deeper exploration of pillar 5. Earlier in the year, the children learnt about the significance of Bethlehem to Christians and that people make special journeys to places of religious significance and now they learn in more detail about the pilgrimage to Mecca.

Building on the learning in year 2 about the importance of trust and faith in the Jewish religion, they are now introduced to the story and the belief that all decedents came from Abraham and Sarah. They explore another Prophet (of Judaism and Christianity) Moses, and how it is believed that he released all the Jewish slaves (linked to their unit on Egyptians). They are then taught about the meaning and representations of Passat, revisit the 10 commandments as they were given to Moses and learn how they form an important part of the Torah. During the year, time and opportunities are provided for the children to reflect and share their beliefs whilst demonstrating respect and tolerance towards others.

Children deepen their knowledge and understanding of churches and the meaning behind the word ‘Church’. They are introduced to, and explore the different denominations of Christianity and learn that the different denominations focus on different parts of the bible. They are taught how the artefacts and decorations within the church are associated with that branch of Christianity. A modern day Christian from Holy Trinity church visits school to discuss their beliefs and practices, sharing the importance of the bible to Christians and the life lessons that it contains. This helps to consolidate some of their previous learning and allows them an opportunity to ask questions. Building on their knowledge of the bible, the children will have the opportunity to look at some of the passages and how they are inspirational to Christians, including miracles and the effect they had on others. They revisit and build on their knowledge and understanding of the bible (old and new testament) and learn how to look up references in a bible using book name, chapter and verse number.


Year 4

In year 4, the children build on their knowledge of Christianity with a focus on kindness. Having explored stories and parables in each year so far, they are revisited to deepen their understanding of the meaning behind them. Building on their learning about God as creator in Reception, the children explore how God showed love for humanity in creation. Inspirational people including Mother Teresa, Ross Parkes and Martin Luther King are explored to understand how they changed the way that people were treated. Opportunities are provided throughout the year to express their own thoughts, views and opinions whilst demonstrating respect towards others.


The children then explore how different beliefs about God change the way people live and act and explore other perspectives and not just that of their own. This builds on their learning during the Christianity units in year 3 where the children developed a deeper understanding of the significance and meaning behind Christian practices and the way they live their lives as disciples. They have the opportunity to ask questions and consolidate their understanding of this during a visit from a modern day Christian. She explains her beliefs and practices and allows the children to ask questions to further their understanding. The children also explore what a community is and what communities that they are a part of.

Building on the work in year 2 where the children developed an understanding of Jewish beliefs, synagogues and key aspects of Jewish lives, they now become more knowledgeable about festivals and their importance. The children will be able to recall facts about the Torah and its content and are able to explain the events in a Jews life including a Bar and Bah Mitzvah. Drawing on prior learning in Year 2 when they learnt about Christian weddings and began to compare them, the children  will carry out an in depth comparison of a Christian and Jewish wedding ceremony.

During their final term in Year 4, the children further their understanding of Islamic family life; referring back to the work in year 1 on Christenings and previously in year 4 when they explored bar and bah mitzvahs. They gain an understanding of the rituals involved when a baby is welcomed into the Islamic faith and also compare with the ceremonies and rituals they have previously learnt about (Christenings year 1/weddings year 2). The 5 pillars of Islam and the basic beliefs of the Islamic faith which were introduced in Year 3 are revisited and their understanding furthered as they explore why they are important to Muslims and how they can affect life choices.

The final unit in year 4 involves the children demonstrating their deeper understanding of range of religions whilst showing their respect for various beliefs and practices. Drawing on the knowledge that has been gained over the previous years about Christianity, Islam and Judaism, they compare and contrast how different religious texts teach about life, how they influence people, the ways the religions use the sacred texts and the rules around the texts and practices, and are able to state similarities and differences regarding their views on community, love and kindness.


Year 5

In year five, their learning journey begins with the children building on their knowledge and understanding of the significance of the prophet Muhammed, as the founder of Islam, and his importance to Muslims.  Building on the studies in year three, their knowledge will be furthered by developing an understanding of the role of Muhammad in the origin of modern Islam. They will explore the impact and importance of ‘The Night of Power’ as a key event in the history of Islam and study how Muhammed’s life affects religious beliefs.

Following this, children will once again look to Christianity, focusing first on worship and then the teachings of the parables. Worship will be studied in far greater depth, with children understanding not only why Christians worship, and its importance to the Christian faith, but also the ways in which followers can chose to worship. Opportunity will be given to create their own expression of worship as well as being encouraged to deepen their questioning during group and class discussions.

Having explored some of the parables before, children in year five begin to make comparisons between these and modern day stories. Drama and performance play a key part in exploring the messages Jesus was trying to teach his disciples, whilst class discussion will allow children to reflect upon whether these messages are still true today.

Children will revisit, and subsequently deepen their understanding and knowledge of the Jewish festival of Passover as well as learning more about the Synagogue, as a place of worship, and the Torah, as sacred text. A tour of a Synagogue will be conducted either virtually or in person. This opportunity will allow the children to explore differences between a synagogue and church, as well as a Rabi and priest and the Torah and the bible.

Towards the end of the year, the knowledge that has been gained will be drawn upon to complete a second comparison unit, identifying similarities between the Christian, Islamic and Jewish faiths. They will compare beliefs about God and study ways in which people have let their God into their life. Children will discuss and debate using their understanding of religious denominations therefore broadening their understanding of how relationships with a God are formed and maintained.

The final unit in year five focuses on Hinduism. Through stories and role play, children will understand that Hindus believe God is represented in different forms. They will explore the teachings on success as well as punishment, truth and forgiveness within the Hindu faith. This unit will form a base from which children will be able to further their understanding of Hinduism as they move into year six.


Year 6

The children start year 6 by building on what they have learnt about the importance of the Muslim faith and the 5 pillars of Islam that they explored in year 4, and using this knowledge to explore how the actions and rituals make Muslims feel. They explore other rituals that are carried out such as Wudu and the link between prayer and fasting and further their knowledge, from year 4, of pilgrimages. After looking in depth at the Hajj and its significance and importance to Muslims, they then reflect on their own beliefs and the impact they have on their life choices and consider what is important to them and what they base their beliefs and actions upon. This allows the opportunity for children to develop their questioning skill whilst demonstrating respect and tolerance towards others’ views and beliefs.

In Autumn 2, the children draw on their knowledge of charities, including school based charitable events and things they have been involved in outside of school. Having been introduced to the Islamic view on charitable giving (Zakat) when they learnt about the five Pillars of Islam in year 4, they will conduct research to gain a deeper understanding of development charities such as Islamic relief and Christian Aid. Exploring the connections between the religions and the charities, they discuss how they can make a difference to lives. Their research is used to plan and create a piece of work that expresses fairness and justice and considers feelings, beliefs and values of others.

Reflecting back on their previous learning (in year 3 and 4) about various religious practices, traditions and ways of life, they explore the Hindu traditions and practices in depth.  Their understanding is then demonstrated by comparing and contrasting the Hindu birth and marriage traditions with those of other religions and atheist views. Opportunities are provided to compare these traditions with events and experiences in their own lives and articulate their own ideas, beliefs and values.

Deepening the understanding of Jewish values they gained in Year 4 and Year 5, they explore the importance of celebrations to the Jewish faith. The unit involves the children understanding the Jewish viewpoint and exploring attitudes and beliefs that shape the Jewish practices. This will enable the children to gain a secure understanding of the Jewish belief in truthfulness and the way they show respect for one another.

The children then build on their previous knowledge of Christian faith and beliefs (year 4 and 5) and explore their own experiences of having faith in another person. They are introduced to the fact that Christian’s have a basic set of beliefs called the Creed, which are the foundations of the Christian belief. Building on their learning in year 4 about the Christian way of life, they explore and examine the church in modern society and the significance of the church within a community. The children are introduced to the concept that each person has a soul. The belief ‘there is a soul in each person’ is debated and explored as they express their own views and opinions whilst respecting the views of others.

The final unit in year 6 is a comparison unit which looks at the modern world and how different faiths all live together within diverse communities, drawing on their prior learning of religious beliefs, rituals and practices across a range of religions to support their exploration. Within this unit, they explore the difficulties faced by people of religious and atheist beliefs living within diverse communities, which gives them an opportunity to demonstrate their ability to see the world through the eyes of others and show their understanding of the importance of acceptance and tolerance towards varying beliefs. They also explore the ways in which belonging to a religious community can help people, allowing them to reflect on and debate beliefs, values and practices whilst interpreting and using religious language. The impact that faith and belief has had on the lives of inspirational modern day figures is explored.  They are then asked to apply the knowledge and understanding of the religions they have studied whilst at Marlborough Primary School to draw on their own and others’ feelings and experiences.