Religious Education aims to develop in students a more reflective approach to life and to enable and enrich this process through the study of living faiths. Through the study of major faiths, the department hopes to foster knowledge and understanding of the beliefs and practices which rest at the heart of these visions of life.
The course offers students the opportunity to explore and discuss some of the key issues that face us today. After doing this course students should become independent thinkers, good listeners and convincing debaters. The development and use of Personal Learning Thinking Skills (PLTS) is present in all RE lessons.
Key Stage 3
At KS3 students in Years 7 & 9 receive 3 lessons a fortnight and 2 lessons in Year 8. All students are assessed summatively and formatively. Students have the opportunity to assess their own as well as others learning. AfL and 'thinking skills' are highly promoted across the Key Stage. Lessons encourage the ‘thinker’ to emerge in students and this is promoted through the use of Philosophy for Children (P4C) in each unit of work.
Year 7 Units
- Introduction to RE
This gives students an insight into what the subject is about and the relevance of RE in our society. Lessons aim to introduce students to ultimate questions such as 'Does God Exist?' and begin to develop creating their own questions. This unit also enables students to reflect on their own beliefs and vision of the world.
- The Island
An investigation into survival and the make up of society. The story of The Island evolves over a period of nine weeks, enabling students to discover the basic aspects and foundations of religion for themselves.
Finding themselves trapped on an imaginary, uninhabited island from which they cannot leave, students react to the situations that are presented to them as the teacher unfolds the story, lesson by lesson.
The story takes place over 500 years, the students responding to the inevitable changes to beliefs, language, traditions and moral issues that this brings.
- What the Buddha Taught
This unit aims to help students to develop a coherent understanding of some of the teachings of the Buddha. They will explore the important concepts of renunciation, dukkha (suffering), samsara, sila (ethical conduct) and bhavana (mental discipline/meditation).
Students will enquire into the ways that these concepts are contextualised within the Buddha's life and teaching, and in Buddhism. They will evaluate the concepts by explaining their value to believers and identifying and describing some of the issues raised. They will have opportunities to express their own response to the concepts and explain how their own response can be applied in their own lives and the lives of others.
- The Environment and the Sacred
They will enquire into the key concepts of myth, stewardship, the Dreamtime and sacred in order to recognise how these concepts affect our perception of the world and how we respond to it. This enables students to make a comparison of the Aboriginal and Christian creation stories and how these affect those believers.
Year 8 Units
- Christian Vision
An investigation of concepts such as: Creed, Trinity, Redemption and an evaluation of the relevance of Christianity today.
Students explore the ways that these concepts form the basis of Christian beliefs, practices and actions of faith in contemporary life.
They will evaluate the importance of these concepts and the differences in their interpretation, and whether Christianity is relevant in a changing secular society.
- Islam Vision
An in depth study into some key Muslim beliefs. Students produce their own presentations on how Muslims are portrayed in the Media and what they feel lies at the 'Heart of Islam.'
The unit also focuses on how Muslims adapt to living in non-Muslim countries, the interaction with those societies, especially British society, and the issues and implications involved. Students make an enquiry into the concept of ‘Islamophobia’ and how events such as 9/11 have shaped perceptions of Muslims in the Western world.
Students' learning develops their understanding of how Islam in the West and Islam globally affects change in society and they are required to evaluate and respond to these changes.
- Martin Luther King and Malcolm X
An analysis of these inspirational figures and how their religious backgrounds/beliefs shaped their visions for the world.
Year 9 Units
Students will be investigating the life of Mahatma Gandhi. They will learn about his vision of life and how he attempted to achieve his vision in India. Students will have the opportunity to reflect on the key events (and concepts) in his life and consider the inspirational nature of Gandhi as a key spiritual figure of the 20th Century. They will consider his legacy and will be given an opportunity to reflect personally on how a person's beliefs can affect their way of life and on how inspirational individuals leave a lasting legacy personally, locally and globally.
- Philosophical Issues
The unit provides opportunities for students to:
- Investigate the meaning and nature of belief, the reasons people have for believing in God, and ways in which people express belief in God
- Develop awareness and empathetic understanding of different responses to questions about God
- Discuss problems and difficulties about believing in God
- Evaluate the reasons people give for their responses
- Examine, reflect on and explain their own responses.
- Jewish Identity
This unit is designed to introduce students to the religion of Judaism and forms a foundation for those students wishing to opt for RS at KS4. Students enquire how key Jewish beliefs affect the daily lives of Jews living in the UK. This unit also allows students to investigate the conflict between Israel and Palestine and explore the key issues concerning the need for a ‘homeland’.
Key Stage 4
At KS4, those students who opt for RE receive 4 lessons in Year 10 and 5 in Year 11. Students are regularly assessed according to the AQA syllabus. The GCSE consists of two 90 minute papers and is 100% exam. We regularly encourage the participation of speakers from the local community to present to students at KS4. At GCSE the AQA syllabus drives forward the need for students to engage in a rigorous study of questioning and debating key philosophical and moral issues we face in our society.
Paper 2 (Life Issues) covers issues such as the environment, animal rights, prejudice and discrimination and early life.
Paper 4 (Religion and Morality) covers matters of life, death, world poverty, rich and poor in British society and crime and punishment.
Homework is set according to the school's policy.
Facilities and Resources
All of our RE Teaching Rooms have Interactive Whiteboards.
The department has a wide range of excellent textbooks, artefacts and other resources available. We are able to sell (at a discounted rate) revision guides for KS4.
We have shared use of a laptop trolley that is used for research/group work and presentations.
FROG features many resources for students to access at home for both KS3 and KS4.
Trips and Extra-Curricular Activities
Trips in Year 9
We run a trip to Golders Green in London to explore the Jewish way of life. Students investigate the Jewish shops, cafes and restaurants of the High Street before enjoying a kosher meal. We then experience a tour of a synagogue and listen to the account of a holocaust survivor.
Trips in Year 10
A cross-curricular trip is run during enrichment week for History and RE students. Students get to experience the fascinating cities of Nuremburg, Prague and Berlin. This links with the units of prejudice and discrimination and war and peace in the AQA GCSE at KS4.
Climate change conference at Winchester University to debate how faith has a role in concern for the environment.
Trips in Year 11
A theatre trip to see Wicked on stage in London which supports the unit of prejudice and discrimination
There is currently a Year 9 Philosophy Club that meets weekly to discuss BIG issues such as; homelessness, terrorism, poverty, homophobia, vegetarianism, identity etc.
Mrs N Pandolfo
Head of RE
Mrs K Brooks
Mrs S Kiley
Mrs J Lock
Mr G Rumsey
RE Teacher (Head of Year 8)