Religious Education

Department Facilities: The RE department is on the third floor of our fantastic new building, in the Humanities and MFL wing. We have large rooms, with interactive HD screens for presentations by staff and students, displays of students’ work and fabulous views of the surrounding landscapes. There is access to a suite of computers and laptops for students to work with, we also have a central ‘breakout area’ which is excellent for group work.

Department staff: Mrs M. Jennings (Head of Department), Mrs C. Evans

The Curriculum:

The principle aims of Religious Education are to help students to:

  • Develop knowledge and understanding of religious experiences, insights, beliefs and practices. (Attainment Target 1: Learning about religion)
  • Deepen and realise their own beliefs and respect the freedom of other people to hold beliefs different from their own, thus preparing them for adult life as citizens of a plural society. (Attainment Target 2: Learning from religion)

These aims will be realised by helping students to:

  • Develop awareness:
    • that many people believe human life depends upon an ultimate being or sustaining creative power often referred to as God.
    • of a spiritual dimension to life.
  • Develop an awareness, understanding and appreciation of the broad religious, spiritual and ethical heritage of their immediate global communities.
  • Learn from religious and ethical teaching, enabling reasoned and informed judgments on religious and moral issues to be made for themselves whilst recognising and respecting the religious and moral choices of others.
  • Reflect upon the experiences and the mysteries of life and to recognise the significance of awe and wonder in religious belief.

Structure at KS3:

The Key Stage 3 curriculum follows the Agreed Syllabus from Shropshire Council, which lays out Religious Questions that direct study. All students in Years 7, 8 and 9 receive one hundred minutes of RE over two weeks.

In Year 7 pupils consider the meaning of Religious Education and what the subject involves. After an introduction to the six main religions they will focus on the concept of new beginnings, using the Jewish festival of Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur, and the Christian celebrations of Advent and Christmas as examples. Further topics included special places, i.e. The Wailing Wall in Jerusalem and the Muslim pilgrimage to Makkah, calendar events such as Shrove Tuesday (Pancake Day), Easter and Ramadan. Where possible, studies will be linked to the dates of religious festivals.

In Year 8 we will develop these concepts further by looking at religious and non-religious belief, aspects of Buddhism, Sikhism and Hinduism together with a detailed study of the death and resurrection of Jesus (this being the focal point of Christianity).

In Year 9 we follow a curriculum based upon Life Issues unit of the WJEC GCSE that is completed by Key Stage 4. This is designed to inspire the students and encourage them to opt for RE at GCSE.

Structure at KS4:

In Key Stage 4, students focus on Christianity and Islam for their exam. The course is thematic looking at different beliefs about ethical issues such as euthanasia and creation vs. evolution. Students receive three hundred minutes of Religious Studies over two weeks at GCSE level.

WJEC GCSE Religious Studies Specification B involves a thematic study of some central questions and issues in human life and experience and explores the relevance of religious beliefs, practices, values and traditions to these questions and issues. The course relates to many contemporary issues that can be found throughout the media such as marriage and divorce, social justice, medical ethics and life and death.

The aim of this course is that it should encourage learners to be inspired, moved and challenged by following a broad, satisfying and worthwhile course of study that equips students to lead constructive lives in the modern world.

There are two units studied, one in Year 10, and another in Year 11. Each unit comprises 4 topics. The Attainment Targets of Learning about Religion and Learning from Religion remain embedded in the topics.

Unit 1: Religion and Life Issues

1. Relationships – Issues of love, marriage and divorce
2. Is it Fair? – Issues of Justice and Equality
3. Looking for Meaning – Issues about God, Life and Death
4. Our World – Exploring Creation and our place in the world

Unit 2: Religion and Human Experience

1. Religion and Conflict – Issues of peace, forgiveness and conflict
2. Religion and Medicine – Issues of medical ethics and the sanctity of life
3. Religious Expression – Issues of expressing one’s faith
4. Religion & State (Authority) – Issues of law and order in religion and society

Long-Term Planning

Year 7 – Aut1 Topics Covered
Introduction to Religious Education and what it entails. Using their new experiences in a new school students look at New Beginnings in Yom Kippur and Rosh Hashanah.
Year 7 – Aut2 Topics Covered
Study centres on Advent and Christmas, looking at the evolution of the festival’s Symbols and the different ways that Christmas can be celebrated.
Year 7 – Spr1 Topics Covered
An introduction to the theme of Journeys, looking at the journey of the wise men to visit Jesus and the pilgrimage of Muslims to Makkah.
Year 7 – Spr2 Topics Covered
Students think about Temptation and what it means to give something up. We look at Lent: what it means, and how it is celebrated through Shrove Tuesday and Mardi Gras.
Year 7 – Sum1 Topics Covered
Students discuss the importance of Endings, using Easter and the events that followed as examples as well as Mother Theresa, and Pentecost.
Year 7 – Sum2 Topics Covered
Introduction to the theme of Prayer, discussing the Five Pillars of Islam, as well as Christian prayer; the importance of Jerusalem for many religions and study of Corpus Christi and Ramadan.

Year 8 – Aut1 Topics Covered
Students look at key words regarding Belief and what it means to believe in something leading to the study of the Sikh religion and their articles of faith.
Year 8 – Aut2 Topics Covered
Introduction to the idea of commitment, community and Belonging centring on how you express your belief through symbols and actions.
Year 8 – Spr1 Topics Covered
Continuing on from this, students explore the ideas of Suffering and Buddhism, looking at the Noble Eightfold Path as a way of explaining hardship and suffering.
Year 8 – Spr2 Topics Covered
Expressing Belief: Students look at the Crucifixion of Jesus and its importance today with regards to the Eucharist, exploring how Christians worship.
Year 8 – Sum1 Topics Covered
An Independent Enquiry task, investigating what might have happened to Jesus’ body during his resurrection and ascension.
Year 8 – Sum2 Topics Covered
Faith and the individual. Looking at Hindu religion and its pantheon of gods and goddesses, the idea of Karma and Reincarnation.

Year 9 – Aut1 Topics Covered
An introduction to Philosophy and Ultimate Questions; students look at the questions of God, Creation, Stewardship and Animal Rights.
Year 9 – Aut2 Topics Covered
Students explore the ideas of Commitment and Responsibility in the context of Love, Marriage and Divorce.
Year 9 – Spr1 Topics Covered
Students return to the concept of God, using 9/11 as a stimulus for exploration about the Nature of God and Suffering. They also evaluate the value of religion today.
Year 9 – Spr2 Topics Covered
Using the theme of Human Dignity, student explore Funeral Rites in Islam and Christianity and study ideas about the existence of an Afterlife.
Year 9 – Sum1 Topics Covered
Students look at ideas about the use of wealth and the importance of Charity for religious people. Students then produce a case study project about a charity of their choice.
Year 9 – Sum2 Topics Covered
Students study the theme of Justice, looking at ideas about equality, Crime and Punishment. This leads to a class debate about the use of Death Penalty in America.

Useful websites:

SAM Learning A versatile and enjoyable resource for every subject, with Homework Activities set by teaching staff.

RE Quest A colourful site for students to explore Christianity through text and video.

KS3 BBC Bite size Another useful site for every subject; this link goes to the RE section and contains information about a variety of religions.

YouTube link to WJEC key word revision videos.

Homework
Homework is given out on a regular basis. Students should try their best and complete the work to their best ability. Homework is set to consolidate learning, making sure that students understand what has been discussed in the lesson and are achieving their full potential. Tasks vary and is due in two weeks after being given out, so there is plenty of time to complete the task, or ask for help if there are any issues.

Additional Information:
External visits include Lichfield Cathedral, Severn Hospice, the Belief Forum and Coventry Cathedral.

Guest speakers include representatives from The Society for The Protection of the Unborn Child, Severn Hospice and the Armed Forces.

The department is actively involved in helping to organise Ercall Wood’s annual carol concert at All Saint’s Church and has links to a variety of local religious communities.

Information about the Agreed Syllabus can be found at https://www.shropshirelg.net/media/34458/Agreed-syllabus-for-RE.pdf.  Information regarding the GCSE Specification and past exam papers are available at www.wjec.org.uk. We follow GCSE Religious Studies Specification B.

If you have any queries or questions, please do not hesitate to contact Mrs Jennings.