Religious Education

 
“The whole inspiration of our civilization springs from the teachings of Christ and the lessons of the prophets.”

Herbert Hoover


Religious education (RE) makes a distinctive contribution to a balanced and broadly-based school curriculum which:

  • Promotes the spiritual, moral, social, cultural, mental and physical development of pupils and of society
  • Prepares pupils for the opportunities, responsibilities and experiences of later life

Religion and beliefs inform our values and are reflected in what we say and how we behave. Religious education provokes challenging questions about the ultimate meaning and purpose of life, beliefs about God, the self and the nature of reality, issues of right and wrong and what it means to be human. It develops pupils’ knowledge and understanding of the nature of religion and belief including Christianity, other principal religions, other religious traditions, and world views that offer answers to these challenging questions. It offers opportunities for personal reflection and spiritual development. It enhances awareness and understanding of religions and beliefs, teachings, practices and forms of expression, and of the influence of religion on individuals, families, communities and cultures. RE encourages pupils to learn from different religions, beliefs, values and traditions, while exploring their own beliefs and questions of meaning. It challenges pupils to reflect on, consider, analyse, interpret and evaluate issues of truth, belief, faith and ethics and to communicate their responses.

RE contributes to pupils’ personal development and well-being and to community cohesion by promoting mutual respect and tolerance in a diverse society. It encourages them to develop their sense of identity and belonging. It enables them to flourish individually within their communities and as citizens in a diverse society and global community. RE has an important role in preparing pupils for adult life, employment and lifelong learning. It enables pupils to develop respect for and sensitivity to others, in particular those whose faiths and beliefs are different from their own. It promotes discernment and enables pupils to combat prejudice.

RE can also make important contributions to other parts of the school curriculum such as citizenship, personal, social, health and economic (PSHE) education, the humanities and the arts, education for sustainable development.

As a Church of England school, we want to provide all pupils with a solid foundation of Christian teaching while also being open to other religions. Year 8 pupils will be taught about a mix of religions while GCSE pupils will focus primarily on the teachings of Christianity.
 

What learners need to be successful

 
Pupils will be expected to bring a pen and ruler. Highlighters are also encouraged so pupils can highlight key information during times of reading.

Pupils will develop skills in essay writing with an important amount of their exams based on high level questions. Pupils will need to be able to explain both sides of an argument before concluding their opinion on the argument. Pupils will also need to understand key words and why certain religions hold certain beliefs.
 

What pupils will learn

 

Key Stage 3

 

Term 1 Term 2 Term 3
Year 7 Half Term 1 – The Island

After being shipwrecked on a desert island with no means of contacting home, pupils will create their own society. Each week they will encounter and solve issues such as how to celebrate the birth of a child, why we need rules and how should they be enforced and learning to live together sharing our skills and knowledge.

Half Term 2 – God

If God is Trinity, what does that mean for Christians? Students will explore the different roles of each person of the Trinity and understand that ideas about God vary within the Christian Church. Students will consider how beliefs about God lead to different ways of living and know how the bible can be used to describe God.

Half Term 3 – Creation

Should Christians be greener than everyone else? Students begin by exploring that idea that Creation reveals something about the nature of God and reminds Christians of their place as dependent upon the Creator. Students move on to consider their responsibility as stewards of the environment and how they might nurture and protect the world in which they live.

Half Term 4 – Incarnation

Why do Christians believe Jesus is God on earth? Students will learn that Christians believe Jesus is God in the flesh and shows them what God is like and that Jesus’ life offers a pattern for humans and models the way humans should be. Students will explore artwork that expresses the divergent ways of understanding the incarnation and what God is like.

Half Term 5 – Sikhism

What is sacred in Sikhism? Student will explore faith stories beginning with the founder of Sikhism Guru Nanak. We ask questions about the importance of identity through our learning about the 5ks and explore ideas of courage using the faith story of the formation of the Khlasa. Finally students will explore the importance of being a Sikh today and how that is reflected in worship and service.

Half Term 6 – Buddhism

What does it mean to be spiritual? Students begin by learning the story of Siddhartha before moving on to explore deep philosophical ideas such as what does it mean to be human and how are we spiritual. Students will use examples of poetry, art and music and will consider whether meditation is a useful tool to use in our lives today.

Year 8 Half Term 1 – The Fall

Why are people good and bad? The unit begins by asking pupils to interpret ‘in the image of God’ and moves on to consider the implication for Christians as evidence for an intimate connection between them and the creator. Students will learn the story of ‘The Fall’ and explore the idea humans are not perfect and how Christians reconcile this with their faith in God.

Half Term 2 – Hinduism

Does it matter how we live our lives? Students will explore key beliefs that underpin about the divine and the various deities in Hinduism. Student will then explore beliefs about the soul, karma and reincarnation, and compare and contrast Hindu beliefs with their knowledge of Christianity.

Half Term 3 – Gospel

What is so radical about Jesus? Students will explore how Jesus challenged social structures as well as individuals, disappointing some of his followers. Students will understand bible teachings and how and why Christians today are challenged in their lives, their communities and in the wider world. The unit ends with a look at how the teachings of Jesus have inspired Christians and non-Christians alike.

Half Term 4 – Salvation

Students will explore how Jesus’ death and resurrection effects the rescue or salvation of humans. They will gain an understanding of the Christian belief that He opens the way back to God. Through Jesus, sin is dealt with, forgiveness offered, and the relationship between God and humans is restored.

Half Term 5 – People of God

Does the world need prophets today? Students will explore examples of Old Testament prophets who spoke out through words and actions about wrong doing in their community. Students will then explore examples of people today who call for social justice and act to make the world a better place. This includes the ‘Arms into Art’ project and other examples from around the world.

Half Term 6 – Kingdom of God / Wisdom

What do we do when life gets hard? Students will explore the wisdom of the bible, the way in which the world is seen and the guidance it offers about the challenges of life. Students will consider ideas about the existence of evil and how Christians reconcile the existence of God with suffering that exists in the world today.

 

Key Stage 4

 

Term 1 Term 2 Term 3
Year 9 Islam beliefs

  • The six beliefs of Sunni Islam
  • The five roots of ‘Usal ad-Din’. Shia
  • The nature of Allah, what do Muslims believe that God is like?
  • Prophethood; from Adam to Jesus and through to Muhammad
  • The importance of holy books in Islam
  • The role of angels in Islam
  • The nature and significance of predestination and how it relates to human freedom
  • Islamic teachings about life after death
Christian beliefs

  • The Trinity; God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit
  • Creation and divergent Christian understandings
  • The importance of Jesus Christ as the incarnate Son of God
  • The last days of Jesus’ life
  • The importance of salvation
  • Christian teachings about life after death
  • The problem of evil, why do bad things happen to good people?
  • Divergent solutions to the problem of evil
Islam practices

  • The 10 obligatory acts in Shia Islam including 5 pillars of faith
  • Shahadah – The Muslim declaration of faith
  • Salah – Prayer in Islam
  • Sawm – why and when do Muslims fast
  • Zakah and Khums – the significance of giving to others
  • Hajj – Pilgrimage in the life of a Muslim today
  • Jihad – what does the Quran really say?
  • Celebrations and commemorations in Muslim communities
Year 10 Relationships and the family in the 21st century

  • The importance of marriage as a lifelong commitment
  • Divergent Christian teachings about sexual relationships
  • The purpose and importance of the family
  • How the local parish support the family
  • Divergent Christian beliefs about contraception
  • Christian attitudes towards divorce and remarriage
  • Equality of men and women in the family
  • Gender prejudice and discrimination
  • Throughout this topic the teachings, beliefs and values of humanism are also taught.

Sources of wisdom and authority

  • What is the bible? Why the Bible is not one book but a collection of books
  • How the bible is used in the daily life of Christians
  • How do Christians make personal and ethical decisions including the role of reason and conscience
  • Jesus as the word of God including the implications of Jesus’ example of showing love to others
  • The Church as the Body of Christ and the People of God
  • The growth and development of the Church including Catholic, Orthodox, Protestant and Pentecostal churches
  • How Christian churches are led and by who
  • The role of women in the church and divergent Christian understandings
Christianity practices

  • Christian worship including differences between denominations
  • The sacraments, visible signs of an invisible love
  • Prayer in Christianity, communication with God
  • Pilgrimage in the life of a Christian today
  • Celebrations in Christian communities
  • The future of the Church, missionary and evangelical work
  • The Church in the local community
  • The worldwide Church; how the Church works for reconciliation today including Christian responses to teachings about charity
Year 11 Arguments about the existence of God

  • Revelation as proof of the existence of God
  • Visions as proof of the existence of God
  • Miracles as proof of the existence of God
  • Christian teachings about prayers including answered prayers leading to belief in God
  • The classical design argument for the existence of God and what it shows about the nature of God
  • The cosmological argument for the existence of God and what it shows about the nature of God
  • Christian teachings about raising children to believe in God
  • All arguments for the existence of God include Christian responses to non religious (including atheist and humanist) arguments.

Forms of expression and ways of life

  • The significance of paintings and drawings in Christianity
  • The divergent meaning and purpose of icons
  • The significance of sculpture and how it is used to express belief
  • Religious art in the purpose and use of symbolism and imagery
  • How drama is used to express belief and events
  • The purpose of literature in Christian life, fiction, non fiction and poetry
  • The use of traditional styles of music in worship
  • The nature and use of contemporary music in worship
Revision

 

How pupils’ learning will be assessed

 
Pupils will be given an assessment at the end of each topic. This will enable them to apply their skills and knowledge on the topic they have learned about. The feedback given to pupils will include a grade, what they have done well and what they can improve on. This feedback will be expected to be inputted in a progress sheet inside their book where they can record and track their progress throughout the year. Pupils should respond to this feedback to ensure they can improve their grade.
 

Learning materials

 
Revision is important at all times. Pupils should ideally revise or research each new topic. During exam time, we expect that pupils begin revising at least three months in advance of their exam. This will give them enough time to revise with confidence rather than with pressure. Revision classes for the end of year GCSE exams usually begin during Easter. After school revision lessons lasting an hour run weekly after the Easter holidays.

Useful websites:

LINKBBC GCSE Bitesize
BBC Bitesize provides plenty of useful information on the topics GCSE pupils learn.

LINKRS Revision
A revision site with vast amounts of information on all the topics GCSE pupils will learn.

LINKEdexcel
There are lots of past papers and mark schemes as well as support material offered by Edexcel. This will allow you to sit with your child during exam revision and go through past papers with the mark scheme to help you judge their answers.

LINKGoogle
We encourage pupils to use their own research skills to find information. Pupils will understand the topics and content they need to learn and using Google is a great tool to finding useful and up-to-date case studies.
 

Learning enhancement

 
Pupils will be given homework once each week. The homework will include one high level exam question in which the pupils will be expected to complete. The homework is tailored towards giving pupils the core skills in answering questions they will be given in their final exams. It is very important pupils complete their homework so they are used to the kind of questions that will come up in their exams. The questions should take between 10 and 40 minutes to complete.

We run weekly homework clubs for pupils who need to catch up on homework or who need help completing it. GCSE pupils will also be given the opportunity to attend after school revision lessons after Easter.

Year 8 pupils visited a Sikh temple as part of their Sikh module in RE. The pupils were greatly engaged with the day and experienced the food, culture and way of life experienced by Sikhs. The Humanities Department hope to plan more trips in which the pupils can visit other places of worship.
 

How parents can help with their child’s learning

 
Whilst we are a Church of England Academy which promotes Christian values, we also realise that pupils don’t need to be Christian or even religious to study and benefit from RE. Religious tolerance and understanding are really important, especially here in Leicester, which is the most multi-cultural city in the UK outside of London. This means RE is a very important subject; but one of the biggest barriers to learning is when pupils don’t realise how useful the subject can be to their understanding of modern society.

To help their learning, you can encourage your child to work out and understand their own beliefs as well as accepting those of others. Conversations about how people’s beliefs affect their culture and way of life will help pupils begin to understand how their outlook differs from other people.