Promoting Mutual Respect and Tolerance

At Rode Heath, we are committed to actively promoting fundamental British values, particularly those of mutual respect and tolerance of different faiths and beliefs. To this end, the Year 4 children have been exploring both Christianity and Islam, having studied Judaism last year with Mr Randall.

A couple of weeks ago we visited the Good Shepherd where we were given a warm welcome by Bernard, the curate, and Hannah and Olivia Taylor's grandparents, Gerry and Margaret Sankey. They had very kindly prepared a series of mini-workshops for us, which gave the children an overview of the important aspects of the church building; the structure and significance of the Bible and the significance of the different robes that members of the clergy wear.

We learned that churches are built facing east, which is due to the Christian belief that when Jesus comes again, he will appear from the east. Both Jews and Muslims also pray towards the east as this is the direction of the Holy Land or Mecca. We learned that the font is positioned at the entrance to the church as this is where baptism takes place, which is the beginning of the Christian journey. The children also had the opportunity to try on some of the robes worn by the clergy. There were five different choices: the alb - a pure white vestment; the green robe, which is for everyday services; the red robe, for saints' days; the purple robe for Lent and Advent (events leading up to the most significant period of the Christian calendar: Easter and Christmas). During Easter and Christmas services, a gold and white robe is worn. We very much enjoyed our visit and appreciated the hospitality we received.


The following Monday we were very lucky to welcome Mrs Khan into Year 4, who is a Muslim and came to talk to the children about Islam. One of the first things she did was to point out the many similarities between Christianity, Judaism and Islam, including the fact that the Bible, Torah and Qu'ran contain many of the same stories. She was joined by her daughter, Iman, from Year 5, who is learning Arabic and wrote some words on the whiteboard for us. The children were surprised to learn that Arabic is written from right to left, unlike most other languages. Mrs Khan also told us that the Qu'ran has never been altered since it was first written over 1500 years ago. Every mark in every Qu'ran is in exactly the same place. Moreover, because it is a book that is chanted and learned by heart, it is the only book that could be faithfully reproduced if all books in the world were destroyed.


Mrs Khan then went on to tell us more about the structure of Islam, including the five pillars.

These were:

Shahadah: sincerely reciting the Muslim profession of faith.

Salat: performing ritual prayers in the proper way five times each day.

Zakat: paying an alms (or charity) tax to benefit the poor and the needy.

Sawm: fasting during the month of Ramadan.

Hajj: pilgrimage to Mecca.

Altogether it was a very enlightening afternoon for the children and much more interesting to hear from a practicing Muslim than their teacher.

The overriding message we need to draw from these experiences is that regardless of creed or colour, we are all members of one human race. Indeed, one of the most significant commandments in the Bible is to "love you neighbour as yourself". Perhaps we should be doing a little more of this.


Contact the School

Rode Heath Primary

Heath Avenue,

Main Contact Person :
Mr Carl Leech
SENCO Contact Person :
Miss Hayley Scott

Tel: 01270 314414
Email: School E-mail Address
SENCO E-mail Address