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Barkingside primary school scoops top award for religious education

PUBLISHED: 15:35 16 October 2017 | UPDATED: 15:35 16 October 2017

Susha Thiruthayil and daughter Niya with Aditya, Priyanka and Rackshana Krishnan. Picture: Ken Mears

Susha Thiruthayil and daughter Niya with Aditya, Priyanka and Rackshana Krishnan. Picture: Ken Mears

Archant

A Hindu primary school in Barkingside has been recognised for its “outstanding” learning in religious education.

The school has been awarded gold standard for the National RE Quality Mark, which recognises high quality learning in religious education and places a strong focus on higher level thinking and questioning.

Avanti Court Primary School is the first school in the borough to achieve the award and is now working with other schools in Redbridge to promote quality RE teaching.

Headteacher Deborah Walters said the school’s determination to teach its pupils about all religions impressed the inspectors.

She said: “I just think its key in this current climate that we teach students that we are all one.

“We should all treat each other with kindness and respect.”

The school’s religious curriculum is led by teacher Shusma Makwana, who spent a year preparing the school for the award.

The pupil’s practice Yoga, meditation and mindfulness, and Sanskrit lessons as part of their holistic education.

The course is focused on developing seven key values, humility, empathy, courage, respect, self-discipline, gratitude and integrity.

When the inspector visited in the summer, she noted that students could recall and compare different religions with ease.

Prince, a pupil at the school, told the inspector: “I am a believer of all faiths, we listen to all points of view and that’s what makes our school great.”

Another student said that “if you pray, it makes the spiritual part of you better.”

Although the school is Hindu, there is a mix of religions at the school, added Ms Walters.

She said: “We learn about all faiths and have made an effort to visit all the different religious spots in our borough.

“And when we talk about religion, we expect them to ask questions and debate what they learn.”

Last week, the school held its annual diversity week, which saw faith leaders across Redbridge visit the school to talk to the students.

Ms Walters said: “It was really memorable. It’s important for us to celebrate the unity in our school.”

And on Monday, a choir from the school travelled to Downing Street to perform as part of Diwali celebrations.

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