How I… achieved REQM Silver award – Nishat Dewji

I took over the RE provision at Foxdell Infants School about 5 years ago. We already had our Bronze Award. I wanted to take RE to another level and create memories that the children would cherish. I felt that we had speakers who attended our school but it was difficult for our students to fully engage. I wanted to create a more interactive approach whereby the children could be more involved.

I organised Art workshops in conjunction with the church to enable parents to work with their children using a common theme. The subject was ‘light’, we organised art and craft activities which included all the religions. The workshop was very well received with excellent feedback.

During Diwali I organised stick dancing; this enabled the children to join in with the festivities. We also have our very own Holi festival which the children look forward to every year. It’s one time in the year that they can really run loose and enjoy the freedom of paint throwing. Every year lessons are learnt on how we can improve. The children particularly like to join in with the Bollywood dancing.

We also try to work alongside charities, our school recently worked with Ummah Trust and made charity boxes for the less privileged.  We raised £1000! The children all received prizes which further motivated them.

We have worked with Crisis Aid and invited back our visitors who shared a video of where the aid went and showed the children receiving the gifts. The parents were also invited for this and were happy to see where their kind donations had gone.

We try to set competition and home-work projects for parents and children to work on together. We have set faith card competitions, Easter Bonnet competitions and ‘paint and decorate your own Diva’ competitions.

Children at Foxdell have also painted a canvas showing a Mosque for the Discover Islam Centre. This is displayed at their centre.

We also invite speakers to host assemblies, quizzes, and religious talks where children are given the opportunity to ask questions.

We have organised trips into the community where children have visited Luton Foodbank and a residential home for the elderly. Children were able to demonstrate their values and help make a food box and delivery hampers to the elderly as well as listen to their childhood stories.

Our Christingle service is also a very big event which the children love to participate in. The service is lovely and brings the school together. We also have a nativity for the reception children who look beautiful in their shiny costumes.

We had decided to renew our Bronze Award but as we were getting assessed we qualified for Silver with elements of Gold!

The children were the reason we achieved this, as they were very passionate about the RE in our school. It has been embedded in them so they could talk about what we do and what they learn. In our school RE is reflected in the classrooms, in the corridor, through pupil’s voice and through our planning. We try to plan creatively ensuring all pupils are motivated by this fascinating subject. I am hoping to continue this work and continue supporting staff to deliver exciting lessons!

My advice to anyone thinking of going for the REQM is make it exciting, create a buzz and capture the pupils voice, do not give away the RE lessons to staff covering your lessons, teach them yourself! RE lessons can be perfect in enabling you to truly understand the children you work with as this is the time they can share their personal experiences. This is the time you can hear their voice, this is the time you are one step closer to achieving your Quality Mark!

Nishat Dewji

Head of RE, Foxdell Infants School

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