Sensitivities and challenges in RE


When using stories with children, it is important to explain the significance of oral tradition and that stories are a way of explaining difficult concepts. For example, in Jewish tradition the exploration of truth is through stories that may not necessarily be true.

It is important to recognise that some people accept creation stories as fact and this should be respected. It is also important to be aware that most faith members believe that God brought the universe into being from nothing; some believe that it was created from matter that already existed.

Some (very few) take the sacred text accounts of creation literally, believing that they describe exactly how the universe and human beings were created. Others (most) regard these accounts as more like parables or symbolic accounts that tell (in story form) the profound truth that God brought the universe and all that is in it into being, and sustains his creation. These faith members may look to science to help them understand how God did this.


Be aware of stereotyping when considering how faith is expressed in the religious symbols carried and clothes worn by believers; take care not to confuse culture and tradition with religion.


Consider the sensitivities around asking children to dress up as faith members, for example when roleplaying a pilgrim.


When working with religious artefacts, it is important for teachers to model the way the items are handled by the religious community, for example washing hands before touching, placing the Qu’ran above other things and so on.

Visual representations

Be aware that some faiths are sensitive to the making of images of deities, prophets and living creatures.

Link to Units of Learning & exemplification section.

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