“O mankind, indeed We have created you from male and female and made you peoples and tribes that you may know one another…” (Quran 49:13).
At IQRA Primary School our Ethos aspires to follow the Quranic injunctions to ensure that the children we serve are able to recognise differences as a blessing and something to benefit their learning positively. We encourage children to “know” each other by means of tolerance, respect, understanding and gender equality, all through the exchange of knowledge in a global community.
Please click here to see examples of how IQRA school embeds the Islamic Ethos.
Examples of Religious Education at IQRA
In order to nurture a moral compass in the children, IQRA implements a holistic approach to SMSC (Spiritual, Moral, Social and Cultural) development. At IQRA we deeply value the spiritual, moral, social and cultural aspects of life that help us to understand what it is to be human. This richness of SMSC is threaded through our school environment. Adults lead the way in empowering children to learn about the world beyond the classroom and fathom their place in it, a world with a plethora of backgrounds, views and faiths; to be accepted, cherished and understood. It is this school environment which demonstrates that children at IQRA possess the tools to engage positively with the world at a local, national and global level.
Children are taught about responsibility for their actions with consequences in this life and the after-life. By having 4 Golden rules of Respect, Co-operation, Honesty and Compassion they are always reminded about these tenets within the manifestation of acceptable behaviour. Daily short prayers about being thankful to a Creator for what we have, allow children to develop a sense of responsibility and care for others and the environment around us. The development of a child’s character is a key proponent of IQRA’s school curriculum; this takes place in the form of drama, role play, class assemblies and competitions. All of these provide a sense of belonging to a strong school community.
IQRA aims to inculcate within children a moral framework, which regulates their personal behaviour. As part of PHSE, Topic work and Literacy, pupils are given opportunities to explore moral dilemmas. These are used as a platform to encourage children to think critically about their faith and how their beliefs can help them to make positive decisions in a real life context. Highly skilled questions are used to allow the children to understand moral dilemmas and decisions in the wider world. In particular, a variety of quality texts are used to do this. For example in KS1, whilst studying, ‘Burglar Bill’ children were prompted to consider the issue of crime. They were able to engage with the wider repercussions of stealing. How does it really affect the individual and the community? In Reading, children are given a chance to engage with real life emotions through fictional characters. Their exploration of text allows them to explore the wider world.
Religious Education within the school focuses on higher order thinking and encourages children to learn about other faiths and practices within their own faith. Islam is used as a reference point to help children understand how its teachings may be similar or different to others. As part of R.E. children begin each topic with a critical thinking question; such as, “Does going on Pilgrimage make you closer to God than others?” Reflective questions such as this are used as a means to allow children to explore morality in light of their own faith and others. In this way children are able to make insightful observations about the commonalities between themselves and people of different faiths and belief systems.
“O you who have believed, let not a people ridicule [another] people….. And do not insult one another and do not call each other by [offensive] nicknames.” (Quran 49:11)
The teaching of PSHE (Personal, Social, Health Education) is a key part of the school life. Weekly themes build on children’s moral understanding of their own views and those of others through assemblies, circle time and Friday prayers. Children are encouraged to give an opinion and be respectful of those that are different to their own. Through open discussions and a safe environment for children to express their views, they are given the skills to understand the importance of tolerance for all at KS1 while articulating their own beliefs. Within KS2 children are effectively taught empathy allowing them to be aware of the harms of bullying and derogatory language (including language about disabled people, racism, homophobia and those with different beliefs) as being against the law.
As children grow older they learn the skills to work collectively within a School Council to make change. Other initiatives which are led by Key Stage 2 children include; playground pals and junior leaders. These child-led projects allow the children to act as exemplars in the school environment and create positive change amongst their peers. In this way children are able to develop themselves as effective participants of the school community. These skills are transferable beyond the school community into wider society. By making this connection children are encouraged to make a positive contribution to a wider society which involves people of all backgrounds and views.
The understanding of societal institutions and those who serve us within them are manifested through a truly inspiring curriculum. These take the form of high quality lessons in which co-operation and team work is encouraged in all classes. Children regularly partake in sports, art, music, and literacy, mathematical and learning based competitions. They have exposure to a range of public figures such as doctors, nurses, scientists, local police, sportsmen and women, the local mayor and members of parliament. By understanding the value of public institutions, pupils are able to become inspirational members of the community – we take pride in knowing that children from IQRA are able to take learning beyond the school day, through a vibrant after school club provision. Our afterschool provisions allow the children to benefit from a variety of nurturing activities.
The broad and balanced curriculum encourages children to be tolerant of human kind, animals and the environment. An individual can grow into a morally upright person through understanding structures and characteristics within society; knowing that these structures offer a quality of life by protecting the individual and upholding the community. Our curriculum allows the children to learn about the roles and responsibility of key individuals, citizenship, and respect for the laws of the land. As children grow older they appreciate that their views may differ to those of others. Children are able to observe and comment on this when it is modelled in their own environment and the wider society outside school. Being exposed to differing viewpoints has strengthened the children’s’ ability to empathise with others despite disagreements. Instead, children are able to engage in lively debate about topical issues such as freedom of religion, climate change and poverty.
“And of His signs is the creation of the heavens and the earth and the diversity of your languages and your colors. Indeed in that are signs for those of knowledge.” (Quran 30:22)
Children are encouraged to appreciate the cultural diversity of Britain and understand that use of derogatory or prejudice based language are an anathema to the Islamic faith. Children appreciate role models from different back grounds and faiths and learn about the contribution they have made to society. They have studied inspirational figures from Islamic history and those from other faiths such as Nelson Mandela and Ghandi to consider why their legacies are still relevant today. Children appreciate that these key figures share common characteristics which underpin their humanity. They are able to identify these characteristics as wholesome reflection of the spiritual, moral, social and cultural facets of their lives. By considering the lives of others, children are able to self-reflect. Throughout our school, IQRA places great emphasis on children being able to understand their faith and who they are. Using this as a reference point allows them to understand others around them in the local community and indeed the global community we all live in.
In learning, sharing and respecting others, we as Muslims, are reminded that simply “knowing” others isn’t enough to become noble in the court of the creator. We are always reminded that being righteous and just in all that we do is the ultimate aim. The embedded resilience to be able to judge right from wrong, reason about our thoughts and treating others with respect and dignity is a central tenet we aim to instil within the children we serve.