At Bishop’s Waltham Junior School the health, safety and well-being of every child is our top priority.


Religious Education

Living Difference IV

The Agreed Syllabus for religious education (RE) in Hampshire, the Isle of Wight, Portsmouth and Southampton

 Informed by current educational research, as well as research into religion and worldviews, it builds on the approach to religious education used in Hampshire, Portsmouth and Southampton since 2004. This revision demonstrates the ongoing and fruitful partnership that exists between the four authorities, ensuring a syllabus capable of securing high-quality religious education for all children and young people who encounter it, at this point in history.

To view the Living Difference 1V Agreed Syllabus - click HERE.


Religious Education at Bishop's Waltham Junior School


  • At Bishop’s Waltham Junior school, we believe that it is important for all our pupils to learn from and about religion, so that they can understand the world around them. 
  • The aim of Religious Education in our school is to help children to acquire and develop knowledge and understanding of Christianity and two other principal religions represented in Great Britain, Hinduism and Islam; to appreciate the way that religious beliefs shape life and behaviour, develop the ability to make reasoned and informed judgements about religious and moral issues and enhance their spiritual, moral, social and cultural development.
  • It plays an important role, along with all other curriculum areas, particularly PSHE, in promoting social awareness and understanding in our children. We encourage our pupils to ask questions about the world and to reflect on their own beliefs, values and experiences. We include and promote British values, ensuring that children are aware of their rights and responsibilities as UK citizens.
  • Our curriculum is designed to encourage enquiry, contextualisation, evaluation, communication and application of each topic area.



  • We use the Agreed Syllabus for Religious Education, Living Difference IV developed by Hampshire as the basis for our curriculum.
  • At Bishops Waltham Junior school, it has been agreed that having taken into account the requirements and guidelines presented in the Agreed Syllabus, the following religions have been selected for study: Christianity, Hinduism and Islam. Christianity will be studied every year. Hinduism is studied in Year 4 (in conjunction with the geography topic on India) and Islam is studied in Year 5.
  • Each half term children study one unit of R.E. These units are planned to ensure there is a breadth and variety across the school. Each unit has a focus: A concepts- examples of concepts common to all people, B concepts- examples of concepts shared by many religions or C concepts- examples of concepts distinctive to particular religions.
  • RE. can be taught as a block or is taught by LSA3’s as part of PPA. The R.E. subject leader supports the LSA3s in the delivery of R.E.
  • There are no presumptions made as to the religious backgrounds and beliefs and values of the children and the staff.  We value the religious background of all members of the school community and hope that this will encourage individuals to share their own experiences with others freely.  All religions and their communities are treated with respect and sensitivity and we value the links, which are, and can be made between home, school, and a faith community.  We are extremely fortunate that members of the local church, St Peters’, regularly visit our school to carry out assemblies and teach as part of the R.E. curriculum.
  • We acknowledge that each religion studied can contribute to the education of all our pupils.  We promote teaching in Religious Education that stresses open enquiry and first-hand experiences wherever possible for both staff and children. 



  • The children at Bishops Waltham Junior School enjoy learning about other religions and why people choose, or choose not to follow a religion.
  • Through their R.E. learning, the children are able to make links between their own lives and those of others in their community and in the wider world, developing an understanding of other people’s cultures and ways of life. As such, R.E. is invaluable in an ever changing and shrinking world.



BWJS Curriculum Overview (R.E)

The children usually study one unit of RE each half-term; these units are based around three of the major world religions. At Bishop's Waltham Junior School, we study Hinduism in Years 3 and 4, and Islam in Years 5 and 6, with Christianity being studied across all 4 years.


Year Three

Autumn Term Spring Term Summer Term
Making Choices Stories of Jesus God Talk
Angels in the Birth Narrative Key Events of the Easter Week Places of Worship


Year Four

Autumn Term Spring Term Summer Term
Baptism Holi Mahashivrati
Advent Ring Paschal Candle The Cycle of Life and Rebirth


Year Five

Autumn Term Spring Term Summer Term
Muhammad and his Life Sacred Books Prayer and Worship
The Magi The Crucifixion The Five Pillars of Islam


Year Six

Autumn Term Spring Term Summer Term
Creation The Christian Story Rites of Passage
The Birth Narratives The Empty Cross Images of Jesus


Living Difference 1V


What is distinctive about Living Difference 1V?

Living Difference IV, rather than being a precise prescription, offers a set of principles for teachers to make their curriculum to ensure religious education is open to the plurality of ways in which people live in our local, national and international communities.

Living Difference IV describes an approach for teaching, seeking to explain the educational value not only of children engaging with new material intellectually, but also of them becoming better able to discern what is desirable for their own lives, and with others, for the world.

Living Difference IV seeks to introduce children and young people to what a religious way of looking at, and existing in, the world may offer in leading one’s life, individually and collectively.

It recognises and acknowledges that the question as to what it means to lead one’s life with such an orientation can be answered in a number of qualitatively different ways.

These include the idea that:

  • to live a religious life means to subscribe to certain propositional beliefs (religion as truth)
  • to live a religious life means to adhere to certain practices (religion as practice)
  • to live a religious life is characterised by a particular way of being in and with the world: with a particular kind of awareness of, and faith in, the world and in other human beings (religion as existence).

Living Difference IV recognises the link between religious education and rights respecting education (RRE).


Teaching with Living Difference 1V

Religious education in Hampshire, the Isle of Wight, Portsmouth and Southampton intends to play an educational part in the lives of children and young people as they come to speak, think and act in the world.

This entails teachers bringing children and young people first to attend to their own experience and that of others, to engage intellectually with material that is new and to discern with others what is valuable with regard to living a religious life or one informed by a non-religious or other perspective.


Curriculum making with Living Difference 1V

Living Difference IV uses three broad, and at times overlapping, groups of concepts/words which assist with the making and organising a spiral curriculum.

This is so that the material encountered and studied by young people through the teaching activities is well sequenced, connected and revisited over time.

End of year expectations (EYEs) are included in the syllabus and must be used to inform curriculum making; both in terms of what should be taught, as well as to ensure appropriate challenge over time.


Parental right to withdraw children from RE

A parent of a pupil at a maintained school can request that their child is wholly or partly excused from:

  • Receiving RE given in the school in accordance with the school’s basic curriculum
  • Attendance at religious worship in the school

The school must grant such requests.

The right of parents to withdraw their children from religious education (RE) lessons is set out in section 71(1) of the School Standards and Framework Act 1998, in paragraph 1.