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Beliefs and Values

As stated in the Devon and Torbay Agreed Syllabus: ‘The principal aim of religious education (Beliefs and Values at Orchard Manor School) is to explore what people believe and what difference this makes to how they live, so that pupils can gain the knowledge, understanding and skills needed to handle questions raised by religion and belief, refecting on their own ideas and ways of living’ (Devon And Torbay Agreed Syllabus 2019-2024: 7).

At Orchard Manor School, we aspire to offer our students every opportunity to succeed in life and this includes enabling them to enquire through questioning skills, reflection, challenge and gaining knowledge of the wider-world, as well as developing their spiritual, moral and cultural outlook. Beliefs and Values lessons form part of our Personal Development Curriculum offer.


Every child at Orchard Manor School has a legal entitlement to be taught Beliefs and Values (RE), which is a necessary part of a ‘broad and balanced’ curriculum (Devon & Torbay Syllabus). The principal aim of Beliefs and Values at OMS is to prepare all learners to become part of a diverse and multicultural society.  Beliefs and Values can be a key educational contributor to pupils’ exploration of British Values and enable students to learn and think for themselves.  As part of the agreed syllabus, students at OMS study religion and beliefs from a local, national, and global context.

Beliefs and Values is an integral part of developing personal character, understanding the wider-world, and is a valuable vehicle for enabling curiosity and questioning for our students. At OMS, our students can explore other belief systems (the term religion encompasses both religious and non-religious belief systems), challenging questions and ideas through studying the subject, as well as realising and developing their own beliefs and values. Furthermore, Beliefs and Values embed our own school values, which include respect, relationships, kindness, and community.


As Religious Education (Beliefs and Values) is determined locally, not nationally. Orchard Manor School follows the SACRE Agreed Syllabus for Devon and Torbay as required by law. When planning the syllabus, it is adapted for the learning needs of our students to ensure a more pupil-centred approach is applied.

Special schools, such as ours, are required to ensure that every pupil receives RE (Beliefs and Values) following the agreed syllabus ‘as far as is practical’ so that they can make connections between religious and non-religious beliefs, concepts, practises, and ideas studied.

Teaching and learning for Beliefs and Values has three core elements that are woven together to provide breadth and balance: making sense of beliefs, making connections, and understanding the impact.

Beliefs and Values is not just learning facts, far from it, it encompasses a range of subjects and skills, and opens students' minds to an array of interests in the world around them.  Beliefs and Values is studied not only from a global perspective, but also nationally and localised to ensure familiarity and relatability. The foundation of study (60% Christianity for key stages 1,2,3 & 4) starts with Christianity and from here, other religious, non-religious and thematic subjects are studied to allow for comparisons and connections to be established.

Due to the fact that Beliefs and Values (RE) is determined by the SACRE and as such ‘shall reflect the fact that the religious traditions in Great Britain are in the main Christian, whilst taking account of the teaching and practices of the other principal religions represented in Great Britain’.   Further up the school, students at OMS have the opportunity to gain accredited qualifications in Beliefs and Values through ASDAN accreditation.

Collective Worship – pupils and staff at OMS meet together in a variety of contexts to consider it in terms of the great ideas, inspirational people and events of the world. This includes twice weekly assemblies, celebrations of festivals and key significant events, and weekly school questions to discuss as a class, at home and at a school.


The impact of our curriculum at OMS encourages students to develop balanced ideas about their own,  and other peoples’ world views. Beliefs and Values lessons provide opportunities for students to explore their emotions and questions in a safe and well-supported environment, whilst acknowledging the similarities and differences we share that make us all human, thus promoting respect and tolerance towards others.

Providing weekly lessons and collective worship opportunities at OMS enables students to participate positively within our society.  They show respect for their own beliefs, their society, and have a respect for cultural diversity within an ever-changing and developing world.  This provides them with the skills and knowledge to take into the future.

Beliefs and Values is taught throughout school for one lesson a week.  Students are assessed through varied opportunities linked to personal development and prior knowledge, in accordance with the requirements in their EHCPs.

Legal requirements: what does the legislation say in England?

  • Every pupil has the entitlement to religious education (Beliefs and Values)
  • RE (Beliefs and Values) is a necessary part of a ‘broad and balanced curriculum’ that must be provided for all registered pupils in state-funded school in England, including those in sixth form, unless withdrawn by their parents.
  • RE (Beliefs and Values) is determined locally, not nationally.
  • Special schools should ensure that every pupil receives RE (Beliefs and Values) in accordance to locally agreed syllabus ‘as far as is practicable’.
  • The ‘basic’ school curriculum incudes the National Curriculum, RE and Relationship and Sex Education.
  • Collective worship – schools have a responsibility to provide acts of collective worship for each pupil. This must be wholly or mainly of a broadly Christian character.

Right to withdrawal

As quoted from the Devon and Torbay Syllabus 2019-2024:

‘This was first granted when RE was actually religious instruction and carried with it connotations of induction into the Christian faith.  RE is very different now - open, broad, exploring a range of religious and non-religious world views. However, parents have the right to withdraw their children from RE (Beliefs and Values at OMS) or any part of the RE curriculum, and the school has a duty to supervise them, though not provide additional teaching or to incur extra costs. 

Where the pupil has been withdrawn, the law provides alternative arrangements to be made for RE of the kind the parents want the pupil to receive. These arrangements will be made by the parents; the school is not expected to make these arrangements. This RE could be provided at the school in question, or by another school locally. If neither approach is practicable, the pupil may receive external RE teaching as long as the withdrawal doesn’t have a significant impact on the pupil’s attendance’.

At Orchard Manor School, we are happy to discuss the aims and values of our Beliefs and Values curriculum before honouring this right. Students of 18 years and older have the right to withdraw themselves from Beliefs and Values lessons.

More guidance for withdrawal can be found on the website.