Welcoming different faiths at school

Published on: 1 July 2018

Each year Corton Church of England Primary School on the East Suffolk coast near Lowestoft holds three multi-faith days as part of their RE curriculum.

Across a two-year rolling programme, the school welcomes leaders from six major world faiths, including Christianity, Sikhism, Islam, Judaism, Hinduism and Buddhism.

All year groups join together on these days, working in mixed age groups and with individuals from various faiths to experience different religions first hand. All at the school regard these sessions as a rewarding experience and value the opportunity to witness the positive interaction between age groups as well as the engagement of pupils when enquiring into and exploring questions arising from the study of religion and belief.

Although Corton Primary is a Church of England school, the Religious Education syllabus within the school curriculum allows for the exploration of other beliefs and faiths, contributing to pupils’ personal, spiritual, moral, social and cultural development. Faith days also provide pupils with a unique variety of skills, enabling them to be inquisitive with their learning and discover more about the diverse world we live in.

The school values the opportunity to be able to widen the pupils’ horizons and to invite a range of leaders and individuals from different faith groups and communities into the school. It is good to see the children experience and share in a range of learning experiences that give them a grounding in understanding and appreciating the diversity of faith and culture in their own community and across the world.

The most recent faith day took place in January, when Islamic leaders were invited to the school. Pupils took part in some Islamic practices associated with a Muslim group or community, such as the practice of Wudu which involves washing the hands, arms, head and feet with water as an important part of ritual purity. One pupil said: “I liked learning about Ramadan the best, I’m going to try and save my cake until night time.”

The Autumn term saw pupils taking part in some of the practices associated with a Buddhist group or community. Activities varied from meditating and learning about Karma to creating a piece of art called a Mandela, then destroying it (to understand the concept of impermanence). This was enjoyed by all with one pupil stating: “I loved the meditating and chanting because it relaxed my body and I lost all the stress I had.”

The school is very proud that its pupils have positive attitudes towards working with other people who hold religious beliefs different from their own and welcome them into the school; it will continue these special events in the future.

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