Frequently Asked Questions

Hardcopy folders

Discovery RE® is the culmination of over 30 years’ experience in RE teaching and advisory work.

We believe RE is about subject knowledge, critical/evaluative thinking and personal spiritual development.

Discovery RE gives teachers a solid structure for delivering a wide range of subject content covering 6 of the world’s principal religions. It guides teachers through the enquiry process, starting in the children’s experience, venturing into the world of religion and back into the child’s map of the world.

The world our children live in is full of beauty but also full of confusion. Discovery RE can equip and empower children to make sense of it.

We are confident that Discovery RE can help teachers to translate their locally agreed syllabus into an engaging scheme of learning for their children. Teachers will however need to assess the extent to which Discovery RE meets the requirements of their syllabus.

If you are an Academy, you may choose your own RE curriculum so this will need to be discussed with senior leaders and Governors.

The enquiry model, and flexibility as to which religions are taught when, mean we are confident that Discovery RE can make a very significant contribution to the delivery of most agreed syllabi, but it is for schools to make this decision.

To help with this process, we have already mapped Discovery RE to many syllabi at teachers’ requests. These maps are not designed to promote Discovery RE, just to help teachers and schools make informed choices. For a list of LA’s we have mapped click here

Discovery RE is currently the Scheme of Work of choice in thousands of schools across the country with successful outcomes for children’s learning. See the ‘Success Stories’ on the website

Christianity is taught in every year group as recommended, plus one other religion each year. There is flexibility as to which religion schools choose to teach alongside Christianity in each year group.

There are enquiries on; Christianity, Buddhism, Hinduism, Islam, Judaism and Sikhism, plus extra optional Christianity enquiries for Key Stage 2 to allow Church Schools to fulfil their additionality needs.

We have also included references to Humanism as an alternative worldview where appropriate.

We believe that Religious Education can be a major contributor to children’s spiritual, moral, social and cultural development, as well as supporting their understanding of British Values. SMSC and British Values are both mapped across Discovery RE.

The assessment opportunities for both religious subject knowledge, empathy with believers of that religion and reflection on what the learning has meant for the spiritual life of the learner further enhance the opportunities for both SMSC and British Values.

See the full British Values page where you can view and download supporting documents.

You can download the SMSC map here.

The Early Years Foundation Stage planning in Discovery RE is short-term session planning with suggested activities and resources. It is aligned with the Early Learning Goals and Development Matters and where links can be naturally made, it demonstrates where the activities provide evidence for a variety of areas within these.
Although the majority of locally agreed syllabi have now moved away from AT1 (Learning about religion) and AT2 (Learning from religion), the concepts behind them are still important to learning in RE. Some locally agreed syllabi are also still using the 8-level scale of assessment. Because of these issues, Discovery RE still covers all this content, and shows where the previous “levels” sit within the new assessment procedure, but these have now been adapted to include a 3-strand approach with age-related expectations for each enquiry (working towards, at and beyond).

The Discovery RE enquiry model (each enquiry needing the equivalent of six lessons) integrates all the recommended aspects of learning in RE. Each enquiry starts in the child’s own experience, moves into the world of the religion being studied, assesses children’s capacity to answer the enquiry question, and then offers children the opportunity to express their own thoughts and opinions. This resulting process is encapsulated in a simple colour coded process in both the planning format and assessment activities.

Green: personal resonance with and reflection on……. (Formerly AT2 personal: strand (c) above)

Blue: knowledge and understanding of…… (Formerly AT1: strand (a) above)

Red: evaluation/critical thinking in relation to the enquiry question (formerly AT2 impersonal: strand (b) above).

This approach ensures that all possible aspects are explored within an enquiry, resulting in a holistic and reflective experience for the learners. (For more information see Assessment FAQ below)

HLTAs who have had RE training and/or are supported in planning to this level may be able to teach Religious Education successfully through Discovery RE. Many will do a fantastic job. However, RE is a complex subject and demands a certain level of subject knowledge and excellent questioning skills.

We would therefore recommend RE is taught by teachers. Please bear in mind that we can offer support and training for all staff teaching RE in your school.

Assessment can be difficult in RE, partly because we are assessing very different aspects of attainment and partly because, in the “beyond levels” landscape, schools are using a variety of language to convey outcomes for children.  Discovery RE offers a straightforward assessment process. Each enquiry has assessment opportunities which cover all aspects of learning in RE.

There are ready made assessment tasks sheets for children to work on and, marking criteria in-line with a “working TOWARDS, working AT and working BEYOND” approach, but where schools can easily adapt the language of the title of each outcome to fit with their own chosen practice.

To assist teachers even further, we have written detailed exemplification of each expectation descriptor. This whole process should make assessing RE much more straightforward and help children and teachers better understand progress and be able to compare it with other subjects.

As well as expectations for each enquiry, Discovery RE 3rd edition includes end of key stage age-related expectations for KS1, lower KS2 and upper KS2. This is similar to the RE Council non-statutory framework for RE (2013) which also suggests end of Key Stage Expectations.

These cover:

a) Investigating the beliefs and practices of religions and other world views

b) Investigating how religions and other world views address questions of meaning, purpose and value

c) Investigating how religions and other world views influence morality, identity and diversity.

In Discovery RE, teachers are assisted by a simple colour coded process in the 4 step planning process, assessment activities, expectations and exemplification.

Green: personal resonance with and reflection on……. (Formerly AT2 personal: strand (c) above)

Blue: knowledge and understanding of…… (Formerly AT1: strand (a) above)

Red: evaluation/critical thinking in relation to the enquiry question (formerly AT2 impersonal: strand (b) above).

This will make is easier to link teaching with learning outcomes. Assessment for learning opportunities are also offered throughout each step of each enquiry.

As Discovery RE is a set of detailed medium term planning it does not include all the resources necessary for teaching each lesson. A great many are included e.g. stories and assessment activities. As far as possible, where external resources are needed, we have signposted teachers to appropriate and useful resources (e.g. by identifying books, texts, websites to use).

The resources lists are checked and updated every half-term so schools can check availability etc., on the Community area of the Discovery RE website. We find alternative resources if, for example, a book goes out of print or a BBC Learning clip is unavailable, so the list is always as up-to-date as possible.

The 3rd edition also comes with “The Owl Crew”. These can be used to pose questions for the children (e.g. the “big” enquiry questions). They can also be asked questions by the children using an envelope template provided, which gives the teacher time to consider the answer to the question and build it into the learning in the next lesson. The owls also support both teachers and children in being a talking object/distancing tool when children are discussing their personal reflections on their learning or the issues being studied.

In two ways:

1. The integral assessment process with ready-made assessment tasks and exemplified marking criteria mean that teachers can formally assess children’s learning every half-term (children participate in this process with a ready-made recording sheet on which they can explore what they need to do to improve next time). The recording and tracking processes also help to inform planning, as well as making reporting to parents more substantial. As well as expectations for each enquiry, Discovery RE 3rd edition includes ‘end of key stage age-related expectations for KS1, lower KS2 and upper KS2.

2. Discovery RE encourages teachers to provide a Discovery RE journal for each child. Journal covers have been designed and can be printed from the supplied USB Stick as an affordable way to make RE books more distinctive and special. These journals collate evidence of children’s work, their reflections on their learning, as well as their assessment tasks sheets and learning progress sheets. Some schools are choosing to collate evidence in class Discovery RE journals. We would encourage this in addition to individual journals.

Each enquiry is the equivalent of six lessons.

In Key Stage 1, we envisage each lesson to be approximately 45 minutes, although there is enough material and opportunities for discussion to inspire learning for a full hour if the timetable allows.

In Key Stage 2 each lesson really needs one hour.

We strongly recommend that schools consider blocking their Religious Education teaching time as evidence suggests that children’s learning can go deeper more quickly when time is blocked. This approach also makes life easier in a creative curriculum context. This will allow meaningful links to be made to your curriculum topic where appropriate.

The hard copy folder, the “Owl Crew” and an e-copy for Years R-6 is available for £850 + VAT.

Nursery and pre-school providers can purchase their planning folder, owl and e-copy at a cost of £150 + VAT.

See our online shop.

We do offer a loyalty discount for schools buying into both Discovery RE and Jigsaw.

Please contact us for further details.

Information about the Jigsaw PSHE Scheme of Work can be found here.

Discovery RE is designed as a whole school approach to RE, so we recommend you buy it for every year group in your school.

You can, of course, buy just the material appropriate to the year groups you have in your school.

  • The whole set is available for £850 + VAT.
  • Reception and Key Stage 1 is available for £420 + VAT.
  • KS2 costs £560 + VAT.

These include a hard copy planning folder, plus the Owls for those year groups, plus an e-copy of the appropriate planning.

To order specific year group(s), please contact us or use the online store.

Yes, if you are within the UK, – VAT at current UK rate (20%).  Outside the UK, EC VAT rules may apply.

However, schools can usually claim back the VAT they pay.

Discovery RE FoldersYou can order Discovery RE using the Online Shop,

call +44 (0)1202 377192

or email sales directly with your order.

Your Discovery RE order will be with you within a week, usually within a couple of working days.


Discovery RE Sample MaterialsYou are welcome to download sample materials including several enquiries, the overview of all the enquiries for the whole school programme, and video clips of Jan Lever (Creator and Director of Discovery RE) sharing the approach, assessment process etc.

To request access, click here.

We will do our best to accommodate small schools, please contact us to discuss the options.

Whilst each school would need its own copy of Discovery RE, we like to work with clusters of schools so that we can offer bespoke support.  We are also happy to negotiate discounts for schools that buy into Discovery RE in clusters.

We have an excellent team of RE specialists who can deliver introductory sessions and bespoke training, either in person, or online.

Please our training co-ordinator to discuss your specific training requirements:

Discovery RE is designed as a stand-alone resource. However, some of the enquiries will easily be integrated into creative curriculum topics. As schools design very individualised creative curriculum topics, it is not possible for us to give a definitive answer about how Discovery RE fits.

Sometimes it will fit beautifully, sometimes linking an enquiry to a topic would be too tentative to be worthwhile for children’s learning, meaning the RE should be taught discretely to give it full value. We are happy to advise individual schools on this matter.

Whenever we revise or add to Discovery RE, we will send schools already using the resource, a link to download the new materials without charge.

We will also add articles to the website so you may like to visit the site regularly, especially the Community Area password-protected for schools using the Discovery RE materials.

We do our best to look after schools in the Discovery RE Community and are always willing to offer support.

Britain is now a multi-cultural and multi-faith society. Understanding this and the similarities and differences between faiths and belief-systems is vital if extreme views are not to be accepted by our children and young people without critical thought. Effective religious education is vital, and particularly one employing an enquiry approach as recommended by OFSTED, as this will equip children to gain both knowledge and the skills of evaluative thinking. The critical thinking intrinsically necessary throughout Discovery RE encourages children to take nothing at face value and to delve deeper into the beliefs of the religion or belief system being studied. This should help them start to identify when a religious view or interpretation of one, seems extreme. Children are taught to question, to apply knowledge, to consider consequences of beliefs as they are put into practice, and to reflect on their own beliefs.

Go to for our full article on this issue.