The aim of our RE curriculum is to give students a deep understanding of a variety of religions and of what it means to be religious. This understanding encompasses religious beliefs, teachings and practices, and sources of belief; as well as recognition of the variations within and between faiths. We expect students to have a thorough understanding of the central place of Christianity in UK society. We provide frequent opportunities for our students to reflect deeply on the big ethical questions with which people have always wrestled, to consider the thoughts of religious and secular people and to develop informed personal responses to these questions. Therefore by the end of Year 11 students will have a thorough understanding and appreciation of religions and of religious and ethical concepts, and this will be reflected in the work, kindness and pride they show as members of the school community.
The Year 7s are going to be focusing on two religions, Christianity and Islam. The Year 8s are concentrating on Hinduism and Buddhism. Each religion starts with a focus on beliefs, before moving on to consider the source of these beliefs. Further work takes place on belonging and practice before we move on finally to beliefs in action. Towards the end of each year there are ethical and thematic studies. In Year 7 this means a focus on creation, and on stewardship, the environment and animal rights. Year 8s study happiness and wealth, and rites of passage. In contrast the Year 9s will study ethical and thematic issues throughout. These themes are drawn directly from GCSE study and include relationships and families; human rights and social justice; religion and life; crime and punishment; peace and conflict and the existence of God and revelation.
Our choice of GCSE is AQA Religious Studies A 8062. It has two final written exams. The first paper is on Beliefs and Teachings and on Practices and requires study of two religions. We study Christianity and Islam. The second paper is on the Ethical issues outlined above. Here our focus is more wide-ranging with study of a variety of religions and a focus on non-religious views as well. Our consideration of aspects of GCSE work earlier at KS3 – particularly in Year 7 with the focus on Islam and Christianity – means that those students who wish to move on to study RE at GCSE are in a better position to do so.