Big Ideas for Religious Education

Curriculum Design for a 21st Century Education in Religion and Worldviews

What are Big Ideas?

Programme of Study

Exemplar Units of Learning



About Big Ideas for RE


How are children and young people going to successfully navigate this complex world in which we live?

How are they going to make the best of their lives through the joys and sorrows that come to us all?

How are they going to engage sensitively and critically in the matters of religion, belief and identity which shape this world?

How are they going to interpret their own experience of life’s diversity and know how to weigh up the multitude of voices and values coming at them from all angles through different forms of media?

We are curating a fantastic set of ideas, plans and resources built around six Big Ideas for RE.

Although the materials on this website do NOT constitute a complete syllabus, we do hope we are providing teachers and curriculum developers with the tools that are needed to build a coherent, progressive and highly effective programme of education in religion and worldviews.

Big Ideas for Religious Education:

  • is an approach to curriculum, teaching and learning used around the world
  • was a key influence on the development of the Commission on Religious Education (CoRE) national entitlement
  • has been developed by RE professionals with many years of experience at local and national level.

This site includes:

Let us know what you think, or send in your own ideas for resources and exemplar units of learning!

What are Big Ideas?

Big Ideas are generalised summaries of what we want students to understand through their study of religion and worldviews from 5 – 18 years.
The Big Ideas are common destinations, which can be reached by many alternative routes.
Because Big Ideas describe what we want students to understand, they frame the questions that lead to that understanding.
Click here to see our Six Big Ideas for RE.

Programme of Study

Our Programme of Study for a well-rounded education in Religion and Worldviews describes the learning that children and young people need to gain real depth in their understanding of what really matters in the world today.

The Programme includes statements relating to each of the Big Ideas for each age-range: 5-7; 7-11; 11-14 and 14-18. To go with these statements of content, we have prepared Medium-terms plans for each age-range that bring the Big Ideas to life.

And to illustrate each set of these, we are building a comprehensive set of exemplar units of learning: detailed lessons plans and resources ready to use!

Exemplar Units of Learning

This is where you will find links to exemplars of short term planning for a complete term’s work that relates to the Big Ideas for each age-group. They were written by a team of teachers and advisers and are being tested in the classroom.

Over time we will have at least one exemplar for each Big Idea in each age group.

If you would like to submit an idea for a new unit please let us know via the Contact Us button. We are also interested to hear about your experience of teaching the units. Please do Contact Us with your feedback!