Understanding the Ofsted 2024 Religious Education (RE) Subject Report (2024)

In April 2024, Ofsted published Deep and meaningful? The religious education subject report, offering insights into Religious Education (RE) across England.

This blog provides an easy-to-understand breakdown of the report. We examine the main insights and recommendations concerning primary education, focusing on enhancing teaching and learning in primary RE.

The report focuses on the content and substance of RE. It states that at its best, RE is crucial for helping pupils understand the complex world around them, including the diverse religious and non-religious beliefs, values and ideas of its citizens. Ofsted notes that although many schools in various contexts deliver high-quality RE, significant work is still needed to ensure that ‘all pupils have access to a rigorous and challenging curriculum’.

The report covers several key areas, including:

  • Curriculum: the content that pupils learn in RE lessons
  • Pedagogy: how schools teach and implement the curriculum
  • Assessment: how teachers check the extent to which pupils have learned the curriculum
  • Practicalities: how RE is structured in schools
  • Teacher education and professional development: the training and ongoing learning opportunities for teachers.

Key findings

The report highlights several areas of concern and opportunities for improvement to better prepare pupils for understanding a diverse and complex society.

  • Curriculums often lack the substance to prepare pupils for the modern world – a complex, multi-worldview society.
  • Curriculums do not always provide sufficient depth needed for the next stage of learning.
  • Personal and disciplinary knowledge are not often built systematically.
  • In some cases, knowledge of worldviews is compartmentalised or oversimplified.
  • Content lacks the depth needed for children to make sense of worldviews on a global level.
  • Some teachers and leaders do not understand what ‘teachings from a neutral stance’ means.
  • In many cases, assessment is not effective.
  • When pupils have regular RE lessons, they progress better.
  • There is a lack of professional development in RE, with many teachers not receiving any subject-specific training.

10 years on…

Looking back over the past decade, the 2024 report refers to the 2013 report Religious education: realising the potential. It notes that RE still has ‘unrealised potential’ in significantly contributing to the education of all children and young people.

According to the 2024 analysis, the main challenges hindering RE’s impact include the absence of national standards and inadequate support from local authorities. The decentralisation of RE has led to inconsistent learning experiences and complications in teacher training. Despite these obstacles, the report acknowledges that it is possible to develop an ambitious and effective curriculum that positively influences pupils’ lives, as evidenced by successful implementations in numerous schools.

Recommendations: What does it mean for schools?

Here, we outline the key recommendations for schools to improve their RE curriculum. The report provides actionable guidance to ensure a rigorous, comprehensive and effective approach to RE.


Schools should:

  • Ensure there is a specific curriculum for RE that is rigorous and challenging
  • Select and sequence learning to progressively build and deepen knowledge – helping pupils make sense of the complex, diverse world they are a part of
  • Include a balance of depth and breadth of religious and non-religious worldviews
  • Identify how pupils develop disciplinary and personal knowledge.

Teachings and assessment

Schools should:

  • Be ambitious and have high expectations of what children can learn in RE
  • Provide opportunities to review and build on prior learning and use their knowledge as the curriculum progresses in complexity
  • Ensure children increasingly learn about the complexity of religious and non-religious worldviews
  • Use manageable assessment methods that move beyond basic recall, but that check understanding and development of knowledge.


Schools should:

  • Ensure teachers have subject and pedagogical knowledge specific to RE
  • Timetable RE effectively.

So, how can our Religion & Worldviews scheme of work support the Ofsted subject report?

Helping you know what to teach

The , created by subject experts, selects the most important content and concepts for teachers. It focuses on key substantive concepts, including:

  • Beliefs
  • Wisdom and morality
  • Practices
  • Community and belonging

These overarching concepts are broken down into conceptual building blocks and explored through specific examples from different worldviews. Kapow Primary’s spiral curriculum design enables children to explore these concepts in depth and revisit them as they progress through their primary education.

The scheme uses the name Religion & Worldviews to reflect the focus on both religion and worldviews as personal and diverse. It reflects changing beliefs in modern Britain and around the world and teaches children that everyone, including themselves, has a unique perspective that shapes how they see the world.

Helping you gain skills, knowledge and confidence

As noted in the report, there is a lack of professional development in RE. Kapow Primary addresses this by offering CPD resources that enhance both subject and pedagogical knowledge.

CPD videos

In R&W, our teacher videos help you upskill subject and pedagogical knowledge and become more proficient and confident in your lesson delivery.

Each unit includes an overview video that is an excellent tool for actively supporting teachers. These videos help you understand what you are teaching and why and provide relevant subject knowledge for each unit.

The scheme also includes worldview teacher videos that illustrate how we help build knowledge of less commonly taught religious worldviews, such as Bahá’í and Zoroastrian.

Free subject leader resources

We provide a free subject leader toolkit to support RE subject leaders in enhancing their subject’s effectiveness. The toolkit includes a variety of documents designed to streamline management and improve teaching quality, including:

  • Teacher knowledge audit: Assess teachers’ confidence in delivering RE and find links to our scheme to identify areas where knowledge can be increased.
  • Subject audit for Ofsted: This audit is tailored to assist in preparing for Ofsted inspections and ensuring that all necessary standards are met.
  • Pupil voice questionnaires: Gather feedback from pupils on their learning experiences in RE, offering insights into their understanding and suggestions for improvement.

Supporting assessment

Assessment can take many forms, and we provide a wealth of resources to support it both during and after each unit.

Throughout the lessons, we provide key questions along with example answers to help continuously monitor pupils’ knowledge and understanding. This includes ‘big questions’ that span multiple units, allowing children to apply their learning in discussions and enabling you to track their progress effectively.

For end-of-unit assessment, the scheme includes:

  • Knowledge organisers
  • Unit quizzes
  • Knowledge catchers
  • Assessment spreadsheet (covering all units)

The Ofsted 2024 report on RE highlights the need for dedicated support and resources to help schools develop an effective RE curriculum. By implementing effective strategies and tools, schools and teachers can significantly enhance pupils’ understanding and appreciation of a diverse world.

Understanding the Ofsted 2024 Religious Education (RE) Subject Report (2024)


What does Ofsted say about assessment? ›

Any assessment that is provided should be part of the school's business processes and not generated solely for inspection purposes. ∎ Ofsted does not award a grade for the quality of teaching or outcomes in the individual lessons visited.

What is the Year 7 religious studies curriculum? ›

The aim of Year 7 RE is for students to gain an insight into two of the world's Abrahamic religions, Judaism and Christianity, then once students have gained an insight into those religions, they can focus on how Jesus Christ has been represented in both of those faiths.

What is Ofsted in the UK? ›

Ofsted is the Office for Standards in Education, Children's Services and Skills. We inspect services providing education and skills for learners of all ages. We also inspect and regulate services that care for children and young people. Ofsted is a non-ministerial department. Read more about what we do.

What is meant by curriculum in the UK? ›

The national curriculum is a set of subjects and standards used by primary and secondary schools so children learn the same things. It covers what subjects are taught and the standards children should reach in each subject.

What makes a good Ofsted report? ›

For a “good” Ofsted grade, inspectors will look at the quality of education and judge most of the key areas as good or outstanding, while one are may be marked as “requires improvement” if evidence shows that the school is already actively improving in the field. The quality of education is at least good.

What does Ofsted look for in a lesson? ›

So what makes an outstanding lesson? Ofsted defines a grade one lesson as one with many significant strengths and no significant areas for improvement. It is also agreed that an outstanding lesson should provide very clear evidence of highly effective learning for every learner in that class.

What are the three levels of religious education? ›

Three Phases of Religious Education: Learning, Evaluation and Commitment.

What are the five types of religious studies? ›

5 disciplines of religious studies include Anthropology, History, Philosophy, Geography, and Economics. You can choose other disciplines as per your interest.

What is the subject of religious education? ›

Religious education is the term given to education concerned with religion. It may refer to education provided by a church or religious organization, for instruction in doctrine and faith, or for education in various aspects of religion, but without explicitly religious or moral aims, e.g. in a school or college.

Do they have Ofsted in America? ›

What about inspections in the United States? Our closest analog to Ofsted is the reauthorization process for charter schools in several states. For example, charter schools authorized by New York State's Board of Regents are subject to site visits for reauthorization based on protocols that mirror Ofsted's.

Is there Ofsted in America? ›

The US does not have Ofsted inspections like the UK, but there are still regulations to be followed. American International Schools are usually accredited by a regional body such as the New York State Board of Regents, and they will follow the curriculum of that particular state.

What happens during Ofsted? ›

Inspectors will talk to a range of pupils and staff about important aspects of the school's work. Staff (including leaders at all levels) may always be accompanied by another appropriate person when speaking to inspectors. However, it is important that staff are able to express their views freely to inspectors.

How is the UK curriculum different from the US curriculum? ›

The American curriculum tends to focus on interactive teaching methods, with a lot of group work, projects, and presentations. The British curriculum places more emphasis on traditional teaching methods, with students learning through lectures, class discussions, and independent study.

Is religious education compulsory in the UK? ›

Is RE a compulsory subject? It is compulsory for all state-funded schools in England to teach religious education (RE). However, it is not part of the national curriculum, and parents have a legal right to withdraw their children for all or part of the lessons.

Is British curriculum hard? ›

It's difficult to say whether the British education system is harder than the American education system because both systems have their own unique challenges and strengths. In the UK, there is a strong emphasis on independent learning and critical thinking, with a heavier focus on exams and a more narrow subject focus.

What does Ofsted say about progress? ›

“By progress, we mean pupils knowing more and remembering more. Has a child really gained the knowledge to understand the key concepts and ideas?” This indicates a shift in Ofsted's thinking.

What does Ofsted say about marking and feedback? ›

Marking and feedback-related policies and practices reflect an accurate understanding of Ofsted's expectations. Teachers are not required to indicate in writing when verbal feedback has been to pupils. Teachers are not required to make use of different coloured pens to distinguish marking for different purposes.

What will Ofsted ask teachers? ›

Intervention questions

Ofsted may ask teachers what interventions are in place, with a particular focus on interventions for pupil premium children. Expect questions such as: What in-school interventions take place? How are gaps in learning filled?

What will Ofsted ask you? ›

Ofsted will ask about safeguarding and how you monitor and ensure online safety. They will ask about the intent, implementation and impact of your curriculum.


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