The non-statutory framework for RE in England provides the following statement on the importance of RE:
‘Religious education 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 and evaluate issues of truth, belief, faith and ethics and to communicate their responses.’
‘Religious education encourages pupils to develop their sense of identity and belonging. It enables them to flourish individually within their communities and as citizens in a pluralistic society and global community.’
‘Religious education 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.’
The provision of Religious Studies within the Academy is designed to provide these experiences.
Key Stage 3
Year 7 and Year 8
RS is part of a carousel of subjects which also includes Citizenship and Steps to Success. The subject is delivered in four blocks of six weeks with a maximum of nine lessons for each unit.
The units are entitled:
1. Why do we have RS lessons? This enables students to consider the identification of beliefs, opinions and facts; putting faith into practice; reflecting on believers’ reactions and judging what it means to have a religious belief. More than three quarters of the world’s population follow a religion and in order to understand people we need to understand their beliefs.
2. Code breaking. This enables students to examine and analyse symbols and stories, how language is used, what makes something ‘true’ and to use the skill of interpretation. Being able to decode the ways in which people use language helps to make sense of the world and people’s opinions.
3. Questions. This enables students to consider religious, agnostic and atheist views about the nature and existence of humans . Ultimate questions such as ‘Is there a God?’, ‘Where did the Universe come from?’, ‘Why do humans exist?’, ‘Why is there suffering and evil in the world?’ Knowing which beliefs are important to others could help in understanding some of the major events in the world.
4. Who is Responsible? This enables students to consider the responsibility of humans towards others and the earth on which we live. This will consider different responses (both religious and non-religious) to the issue of Stewardship coupled with humanity’s position of power on the planet.
Key stage 3 RS is intended to help students develop a positive attitude towards other people and to respect their right to hold beliefs and values different from their own.
Key Stage 4
At the end of Year 8, RS is offered as an option in KS4.
From year 9, the course followed is WJEC Eduqas Religious Studies Route A.
There are three components to this specification:
Component 1: Religious Philosophy and Ethical Studies in the Modern World.
There are four themes to be studied:
* Theme 1: Issues of Relationships
* Theme 2: Issues of Life and Death
* Theme 3: Issues of Good and Evil
* Theme 4: Issues of Human Rights.
The belief systems considered in this component include the major world religions as well as secular world views, including Humanism.
This component will be assessed by compulsory questions focusing on knowledge, understanding and evaluation of the identified themes. It is a written examination lasting 2 hours and comprises 50% of the qualification.
Component 2: Study of Christianity
This component looks at the beliefs, teachings and practices of Christianity. It will be assessed by compulsory questions focusing on knowledge, understanding and evaluation of the identified themes.
It is a written examination lasting 1 hour and comprises 25% of the qualification.
Component 3: Study of a World Faith
This component looks at the beliefs, teachings and practices of one world faith from the following list:
It will be assessed by compulsory questions focusing on knowledge, understanding and evaluation of the identified themes. It is a written examination lasting 1 hour and comprises 25% of the qualification.
Religious Studies provides students with the opportunity to:
* Develop their knowledge, skills and understanding of religion by exploring the significance and impact of beliefs, teachings, sources, practices, ways of life and forms of expressing meaning
* Express their personal responses and informed insights on fundamental questions and issues about identity, belonging, meaning, purpose, truth, values and commitments
* Reflect on and develop their own values, opinions and attitudes in light of their learning
This subject offers opportunities to study topics that explain the diversity of life and religion in the modern world. It improves philosophical thinking skills and the ability to ‘think outside of the box’; it develops communication skills in order to express views clearly while increasing self-confidence. It helps students to understand contemporary ethical and religious issues such as genetics and religious fundamentalism. It provides the place in which to investigate ultimate questions.
Homework is set in accordance with the Academy’s homework policy. It is considered a very important means of consolidating learning in the lessons and also preparation for future lessons.
Opportunities for study beyond Key Stage 4
By completing a GCSE in Religious Studies, students will have acquired an academic qualification which will have prepared them for continuing the subject at A level. However, Religious Studies complements others subjects:
An understanding of religious ideas, symbols and concepts is crucial to a good understanding of Art.
A knowledge of religious ideas, concepts and symbols is crucial to the study of English Literature.
Religious Studies helps to develop greater understanding of the religious issues behind important events in history. It promotes deeper thought and analysis of broader issues found in Psychology. Religious Studies often asks the ‘why’ questions and can provide an important perspective when considering the ‘how’ questions often asked in science.
Career opportunities supported by this subject
The world of work requires people to work alongside those with different beliefs. Religious Studies will teach the skills and understanding needed to work with people of all faiths and cultures. It also helps to develop marketable skills and aptitudes including:
* analytical and strategic thinking;
* research skills;
* critical judgement;
* the ability to work with abstract, conceptual ideas;
* an ability to ‘understand both sides’ and negotiate and resolve conflict;
* problem-solving skills;
* leadership skills;
* understanding of the impact of conflicting ideologies; and
* an appreciation of human diversity, belief systems, cultural and spiritual experiences.
These skills are particularly useful for future careers in law, education, social work, politics, medicine, the armed forces, administration or the media.