Discovery RE® in Detail

Detailed medium-term planning for religious education for ages 3-11

Discovery RE is a comprehensive detailed lesson planning resource for Religious Education for the whole Primary School plus Nursery (Ages 3-11) written by teachers for teachers.

The enquiry approach makes RE exciting and engaging for both teachers and children alike.

The 3rd edition has 64 enquiry modules. Christianity is taught in every year group, with Christmas and Easter given fresh treatment every year, developing children’s learning in a progressive way. Buddhism, Hinduism, Islam, Judaism and Sikhism are included and there is flexibility as to which religions the school chooses to teach when.

Assessment of learning is straightforward using the colour-coded assessment process with activities, descriptors and exemplification.

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The full Discovery RE® scheme of work includes...

Fluffy Owl Crew

  • 3x hard-copy folders: Nursery, Ages 4-7, Ages 8-11
  • All materials in electronic format (on USB stick)
  • Full assessment process and materials
  • Revised EYFS with FULL planning for Ages 3-4 (Nursery/F1) to 4-5 (Reception/F2) aligned to DfE National Early Years Framework 2021
  • Minimum of 6 modules for every year group, covering planning for 6 lessons in each module
  • Enquiries for Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism, Islam, Judaism and Sikhism
  • Mapped SMSC opportunities and British Values
  • Full colour-coded assessment and tracking process plus ‘end of year group‘ and ‘end of Key Stage‘ summary descriptors
  • The Owl Crew prompt children to ask questions and provide answers or challenge them with further questions. They also double as distancing tools when difficult questions are asked.

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The Discovery RE® Planning Overview

The downloadable PDF shows the medium term planning through each academic year

What are the benefits of Discovery RE®?


…for The Children?

  • Makes RE a learning experience to look forward to
  • Provides a safe enquiry space
  • Encourages deep questioning
  • Enhances critical thinking and evaluation skills
  • Supports spiritual development
  • Equips them to celebrate diversity

    for The Teacher?…

  • Takes the worry out of RE
  • Invaluable detailed medium-term planning for ages 4-11
  • Full planning for EYFS
  • An enquiry approach in line with Ofsted recommendations
  • Honours teachers’ creativity
  • Makes assessment straightforward
  • Provides evidence for Ofsted & SIAMS


…for The Headteacher?

  • Supports the delivery of statutory RE requirements
  • Enhances RE outcomes and Christian ethos for SIAMS
  • Maps SMSC (Spiritual, Moral, Social and Cultural) development opportunities
  • Maps British Values
  • Increases teacher confidence
  • Enhances children’s learning and spiritual development
  • Encourages the celebration of diversity

    for The Subject Leader?…

  • Provides an overall structure, medium-term planning and approach for RE for the whole school
  • Gives an assessment framework, assessment tasks, with clear and exemplified marking criteria aligned to ‘end of year group’ and KS expectations
  • Has flexibility so you can choose which religions to teach when
  • Supports teachers by cutting planning time
  • Includes Christianity, Buddhism, Hinduism, Islam, Judaism and Sikhism
  • Translates most locally agreed syllabi into a lively and engaging Scheme of Learning


The Enquiry Approach to Religious Education

Details of the Four Step Enquiry method used in Discovery RE®
The key question for the enquiry is such that it demands an answer that weighs up ‘evidence’ and reaches a conclusion based on this. This necessitates children using their subject knowledge and applying it to the enquiry question, rather than this knowledge being an end in itself. Discovery RE focuses on critical thinking skills, on personal reflection into the child’s own thoughts and feelings, on growing subject knowledge and nurturing spiritual development.

Year 1 Owl

Step 1

The human experience underpinning the key question is explored here within the children’s own experience, whether that includes religion or not e.g. a human experience underpinning the question, ‘What is the best way for a Sikh to show commitment to God?’ is ‘commitment’, so lesson 1 aims to help all children resonate with the experience of ‘commitment’ in their own lives. If they can relate to this human experience they will be better able to understand the world of religion into which the enquiry takes them. Their personal resonance with this underpinning human experience acts as the BRIDGE into the world of religion (which may be very much outside of their experience).

The BRIDGE concept/experience is shown clearly under the Step 1 box on the planning. This guides the teacher as to the focus of Lesson 1, which does not have to include anything explicitly ‘religious’.

Year 2 Owl

Step 2

The teacher guides the children through the enquiry, children gaining subject knowledge carefully selected to assist their thinking about the key question.

Some of the enquiries have a lot of relevant content so teachers do need to be selective and not try to cover too much. Depth is more important.

The acquisition of the factual information about the religion /belief system being studied is important, but not as an end in itself.

Year 3 Owl

Step 3

This lesson draws together the children’s learning and their conclusions about the key question of that enquiry. This is an assessment task (the activity sheet and resources are included) which the teacher can assess by using the age-related expectation descriptors at the end of each enquiry. These are exemplified, and tracking and record sheets are included, as are pupil self-assessment sheets.

The expectations may well lend themselves to meaningful and less onerous report writing, the activity sheets providing evidence in children’s books for their learning in each enquiry.

We are not suggesting that paper-based evidence is the sole form of assessment in RE. The expectation is that the assessment activity sheets provided will be seen in conjunction with teacher observations of the children’s work and responses throughout the enquiry.

The strands of learning are colour-coded in the planning, the assesment activity, attainment descriptors and exemplification to make this process easier for busy teachers.

We believe that RE insights are not bound by literacy skills.

Year 4 Owl

Step 4

Children are taken back to Step 1, their own experience, to reflect on how this enquiry might have influenced their own starting points and beliefs. There is often further evidence for their books produced in this lesson.

Children’s progress is best recorded in individual journals or portfolios, but the whole learning experience of the class may be gathered into a class Discovery RE Portfolio.

Discovery RE journal/portfolio covers are supplied with the electronic materials downloaded or contained on your CDROM/USB stick.

Need more detail?

No Problem! – You are welcome to view online sample materials including an introductory video, download sample planning and other helpful material, so you can better understand what Discovery RE (3rd Edition) has to offer your school.