by DiscoveryRE, 27 September, 2016

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Discovery RE and Understanding Christianity:
can they be used together?

What do they share in common?

• Both resources seek to provide teachers with practical tools to use in the classroom to improve the quality of RE.
• Both resources use an enquiry method and key questions.
• Both resources can be used in all school sectors

How do they differ?

• Discovery RE covers the 6 principal world religions while Understanding Christianity seeks to cover only Christianity
• Discovery RE is based on a 4 step enquiry model: Understanding Christianity on a 3 step enquiry model that flows between Text: Impact: Connections
• Understanding Christianity delivers progression through exploring core Christian concepts while Discovery RE explores core concepts and beliefs through key questions.

So how do their approaches match up?

Understanding Christianity and Discovery RE Approach Map

The two resources are complementary but they are distinct. Understanding Christianity cannot be used to replace Discovery RE and Discovery RE cannot be used to deliver Understanding Christianity. They can, however, be used together to deliver a holistic and balanced RE programme. This can be achieved by:

Replacing the Discovery RE Christianity enquiries with Understanding Christianity units, thus ensuring clear progression of learning of the core concepts, one of the main aims of the Understanding Christianity approach.

Over KS1 and KS2, Discovery RE gives 18 blocks of teaching time to Christianity enquiries (teachers choosing which enquiries to deliver from 18 which focus on core Christian concepts and a further 4 focusing on broader aspects of Christian belief and practice); while Understanding Christianity has 19 units of work all with specific focus on core Christian concepts. There is, therefore, sufficient curriculum space to deliver Understanding Christianity within a Discovery RE programme without affecting the teaching of other faiths.

A suggested model of how this can be done is provided here (PDF)




These documents are also available from Derek Holloway at

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