Primary school case studies

Frodsham Manor House Primary School 

Naomi Anstice, RE Co-ordinator

RE is seen as a strength at Frodsham Manor House Primary and the school holds the RE Quality Mark at  Gold level. It is delivered during the class teacher's PPA time but out of choice and as a method of strengthening the provision of the subject. When PPA was introduced the RE and music co-ordinator was about to reduce her hours following a maternity leave for a job share but it was quickly seen as an option to develop music and RE throughout the school by delivering them through PPA. The co-ordinator was already swapping some lesson time during the week to support staff with their delivery of music and RE so this was seen as an ideal solution. The teacher was in the unusual position in a primary school of being responsible for subjects which she specialised in rather than just allocated curriculum areas, and indeed had a BEd degree in RE with subsidiary subjects of Music and PSHE.

The teacher spends two hours a week in each class from Reception to Year 6 and during this time delivers Music and RE and has been doing so for the last 7 years. As such all children in the school have now had a high level of continuity of RE delivery throughout their time in school. They aim to make all RE experiential and active with a focus on debate, art, drama and pupil initiated learning. The school has found many advantages for this method of teaching RE;

  • The long standing member of staff has developed many links with the local community and has ongoing projects throughout the school. Members of the community also have one person to contact rather than a different teacher each year. 
  • Faith groups trust the delivery of the subject in full knowledge that the teacher has a sound understanding of their beliefs. RE is accessible for all and the school has no children withdrawn from RE.  
  • Children can refer back to previous lessons in other years to make connections to their own learning and are supported in doing so. They have also built up trust with their teacher and understand the importance of the teacher helping them to develop their own views, whether those are sacred or secular. The circle of trust is very strong and developed year on year. The co-ordinator considers herself privileged to be able to assist children developing their views and spirituality.  
  • Skills required for Philosophy for Children are developed and extended throughout the 7 years and the majority of lessons are now enquiry based.  
  • Schemes of work are constantly in a process of evaluation and development.  
  • The subject leader is keen to develop new methods for learning and currently working on an MA in Creativity in RE, is co-chair of a cluster support group and is undertaking research within Cheshire West as part of the school's ongoing commitment to the RE Quality Mark. The school is always striving to improve current high standards and also to support other schools in the area. 
  • There are many links made to other areas of the curriculum particularly concerning Global Dimension themes, International Schools, SEAL and PSHE.   
  • Flexibility is allowed for more extended projects like RE theme days or visits which are led by the co-ordinator. 
  • Ultimately RE does not get swallowed up when time is needed for Numeracy and Literacy and the co-ordinator can focus on the development of her own subjects.

There are not many negative aspects to this delivery although there are a few;

  • Concern as to whether this quality of provision would be maintained if the subject leader was to relocate or require leave of absence.  
  • With the focus on the arts and speaking and listening in RE there is little opportunity for extended writing. However this has been met by planning in further opportunities through literacy with the class teacher.

All in all we have found that a specialist passionate teacher delivering the subject for both RE and Music has been to the advantage of the school and was recognised by Ofsted as the key to the high standard of provision.