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Religious Studies

Our Programmes of Study

Religious Studies is taught to all students within Key Stage 3 as a subject within the school timetable. The Key Stage 3 students therefore study Religious Education for one hour each week throughout term-time. The programme of study in Year 7 covers the topics ‘Christian Beliefs’, ‘Biblical Literacy’ and ‘Buddhist Beliefs and Practices’.  In Year 8 the students cover ‘Islamic beliefs and Practices’, ‘Philosophy and Ethics’ and ‘Hindu Beliefs and Practices’. As the students move into Year 9 they further cover and develop their understanding of the topics, ‘Philosophy and Ethics’ and ‘Biblical Literacy’, and they also cover the topic, ‘Religion and Art’.

In Key Stage 4 Religious Studies is taught to all students in fifteen minute weekly tutor-time sessions and in the Character Culture sessions after school on Mondays. Throughout the course of the year within Year 10 the students cover the following areas of study, ‘What do different religions believe in?’, ‘What is so radical about Jesus?’, ‘What is it like to be a religious teenager in Britain today?’, ‘Are religion and science compatible?’, ‘In order to believe do we need proof?’, and ‘Why is there suffering in the world?’. As the students move into Year 11 they then cover the following areas of study, ‘What role can religion make in ethical decisions?’, ‘Are we using or abusing our environment?’, ‘Should people be punished for their crimes?’, ‘Is war ever right?’, ‘What role does gender and sexuality play in the modern world?’ and ‘Why do human rights vary?’. Through studying these topics we aim to develop our Key Stage 4 students' understanding of the key teachings of the main world religions and support our students in being able to articulate and express their views about the place, value and contribution of religion in the world in the twenty-first century, in a respectful way and with the ability to listen to others and to value the insights that other students can offer in relation to the topics and themes that are covered.

Departmental Philosophy

Our departmental philosophy in Religious Studies is to teach students about all of the main religions in the world; their key teachings, key historical figures and how religion positively contributes to our society. Our aim is therefore for our students to learn both about the main religions and from the main religions. The programmes of study that we have put in place also enable our students to develop their thinking skills as they explore key philosophical questions relating to the meaning and purpose of life. We aim to encourage our students to be able to think critically, and for them to be able to articulate and express their views about the place, value and contribution of religion in the world in the twenty-first century, in a respectful way and with the ability to listen to others and to value the insights that other students can offer in relation to the topics and themes that are covered.

Future Careers

Students that graduate with degrees in Theology (Religious Studies) go on to have successful careers in a wide variety of different fields of work. The ability to think critically and philosophically about other religions, lifestyles and cultures, that is cultivated in Religious Studies, as well as the ability to study and analyse texts and literally works in depth, enables graduates in theology to pursue successful careers in areas such as education, law, civil services, journalism, film and the media, leading and supporting charities, as well as a variety of religious ministries.

 

Key Stage 3

 

Unit

 

Year 7

Year 8

Year 9

1 (7 weeks)

Christianity 1

 

An introduction into the key beliefs held within Christianity. The students will learn about the Christian understanding of the nature of God as a Trinitarian God. The students will explore the roles of the Father Son and the Holy Spirit, from the beginnings of the creation of the world, to the life of Jesus and the establishing of the Christian faith.

 

Islamic Beliefs 1

 

The students are introduced to the key beliefs and practices within Islam. Students learn about Islam as a monotheistic religion, and The Qur’an as the holy book of Islam revealed to the Prophet Muhammad and containing 114 suras. The students learn about the origins of Islam, focusing on key elements of the life of Muhammad, and they are also introduced to Sufism.

Philosophy and Ethics 3

 

The students learn about the key ideas and theories within Philosophy and Ethics, and understand how this field of study has influenced the lives of individuals and societies at large. The students examine Jeremy Bentham’s contribution towards Utilitarianism, as well as Peter Singer’s more recent promotion of Utilitarianism, particularly in relation to animal rights.

2 (7 weeks)

Christianity 2

 

The students will learn about the main Christian festivals and consider how Christians worship and practice their faith. They will learn about the how the Christian Church split into different denominations following the Reformation, and consider whether Britain is still a Christian county today?

Islamic Beliefs 2

 

The students are introduced to Sunni and Shi’a Islam, and they examine how the religion of Islam grew during its earliest year under the leadership of the Caliphs. Students will know the significance of each of the Five Pillars of Islam (the Shahada, Salat, Zakat, Sawm and the Hajj) and explore how the Pillars of Islam impact upon Islamic practices in the lives of Muslims.

Philosophy and Ethics 4

 

The students examine the key principles of Utilitarianism, and Situation Ethics and explore how these ethical theories can be applied to medical ethics, particularly abortion and euthanasia. The students explore how Situation Ethics links to and may have an impact upon Christian ethics.

3 (6 weeks)

Biblical Literacy 1

 

The students are introduced to the Bible and examine how it is structured and organised. The students then begin examining key Biblical passages from the Book of Genesis, covering key themes such as how God created the World, how sin entered the world and how God created a covenant with Abraham and his descendants.

Philosophy and Ethics 1

 

The students are introduced to key philosophical arguments for the existence of God, including the Design (Teleological Argument), the Causation (Cosmological) Argument and the Ontological Argument. The students also consider conversion experiences and the experience of witnessing miracles as other reasons why people may believe in God. 

Biblical Literacy 3

 

The students will continue to develop a range of Biblical skills to examine key passages about the Life of Jesus; the birth narratives in Luke’s Gospel and Matthew’s Gospel, Jesus’ Baptism and Temptation in the desert, as well as Jesus’ key miracles and teachings.

 

4 (6 weeks)

Biblical Literacy 2

 

The students further examine and consider the importance of key Biblical stories from the Old testament, including the life of Moses and the Exodus, Samson and the Philistines and the key events in the life of King David.

Philosophy and Ethics 2

 

In this unit of work the students examine the problem of evil and arguments and reasons against the existence of God. The students examine some of the main ideas of key thinkers such as Richard Dawkins, Karl Marx and Sigmund Freud in relation to their theories concerning why people believe in God.

Biblical Literacy 4

 

The students will study the key Biblical texts that consider the key events that took place in the final week of Jesus’ life, the Passion, and how these events led to Jesus’ death and Resurrection. The students will also explore the question concerning why Jesus had to die, and examine Biblical text that show how the Acts of the Apostles in establishing the early Christian Church.

5 (6 weeks)

Buddhist Beliefs 1

 

The students learn about the origins of Buddhism, the life of Siddhartha Gautama, The Four Sights the Buddha’s path to enlightenment and The Noble Eightfold Path. The students are introduced to key Buddhist teachings such as Samsara and Parinirvana.

 

Religion and Art

 

The students learn about the role that art plays in the life of religious believers, and how art plays an important role in the main world religions. The student also consider how religion has been the subject explored and expressed within many of the great works of art within the Baroque Period, Renaissance period and in Modern Art also.

Hindu Beliefs

 

The students learn about the Hindu belief that Truth is eternal, and consider how Hindus pursue knowledge and understanding of the Truth. The students also learn about Hindu beliefs concerning God, Brahman, and some of the key Hindu deities, such as the Trimurti (Vishnu, Brahma and Shiva) and the importance of these deities within Hinduism.

6 (7 weeks)

Buddhist Beliefs 2

 

The students are introduced to the Schools of Buddhism, Tibetan Buddhism, Buddhism in the UK, the main Buddhist festivals, Buddhist art, and inspirational Buddhist leaders such as Maha Ghosananda and Thich Nhat Hanh.

Judaism

 

The students are introduced to the origins of Judaism as a religion tracing back to the life of Abraham and the covenant that God made with him and his ancestors. The students also learn about how Jews celebrate the Sabbath (Shabbat) each week, and the Festival of the Passover (Pesach) each year.

Hindu Practices

 

The students are introduced to how Hindus worship the deities and practice and express their faith in their lives both in the home and in larger gathering in Hindu temples. The students also learn about Hindu wedding ceremonies and how Hindus witness to their faith in the twenty-first century.

 

Key Stage 4

 

Unit

Year 10

Year 11

I (7 weeks)

What do different religions believe in?

 

The students learn about many of the key beliefs contained within the main world religions. These include Christian beliefs concerning the Messiah and atonement, key Muslims beliefs concerning ijtihad and submission, key Jewish beliefs concerning the Torah and the covenant, key beliefs concerning Naam Simran and Sewa, and key Hindu beliefs about the Trimurti?             

What role can religion make in ethical decisions?

 

The students consider what the law is concerning abortion in the UK, the arguments surrounding abortion and the religious viewpoints regarding abortion. The students also learn about what the law is concerning euthanasia in the UK, the arguments surrounding abortion and the religious viewpoints regarding euthanasia.

2 (7 weeks)

What is so radical about Jesus?

 

The students learn about the history of Christianity, the life of Jesus, why Jesus’ life was important, what can be learned from the teachings of Jesus, how he was radical and why the Bible is seen as an authority for Christians.

Are we using or abusing our environment?

 

The students revisit and examine the Big Bang theory, and they also learn about the theory of evolution. The students consider the ways that humans are harming and abusing the environment, and they examine Christian views concerning stewardship and the work carried out by Greta Thunberg.

3 (6 weeks)

What’s it like to be a religious teenager in Britain today?

 

The students learn about what it means to be a Christian, and consider what it is like to be a Christian teenager in the world today. The students also consider what it is like to be a Muslim in the world today, and what it is like to be a Muslim teenager in Britain.

Should people be punished for their crimes?

 

The students consider the different causes of crime in UK society and what are the worst crimes that people can commit? The students also learn about the different reasons why society punishes people found guilty of committing crimes, and the different forms of punishment used in UK society, and throughout the world, including capital punishment.

4 (6 weeks)

Are religion and science compatible?

 

The students examine the relationship between religion and science in the world today, and they consider key questions such as how we find truth? Are religion and science in conflict? Can a scientist be religious? Should we have the ability to create life?

Is war ever right?

 

The students examine the reasons why people go to war, and whether violent protest is ever right? The students also consider whether all countries should have the right to own nuclear weapons, and examine what can be done to

5 (6 weeks)

In order to believe, do we need proof?

 

The students revisit and consider arguments for the existence of God, including the Teleological Argument, the Islamic philosopher al-Ghazali’s why God must exist argument, the first cause argument and the Big bang and theory of evolution. The students also revisit and examine the problem of evil and arguments against the existence of God.

What role does gender and sexuality play in the modern world?

 

The students learn about what different sexualities exist, and consider moral questions including is it right to have sex before marriage? Is the use of contraception acceptable? The students also learn about the religious views on marriage and divorce, and consider questions such as are men and women equal in the eyes of Christianity? Should people be allowed to have more than one spouse?

6 (7 weeks)

Why is there suffering in the world?

 

The students consider the difference between natural and moral evil, different types of suffering, and consider how both Christians and Muslims respond to suffering in the world. The students consider the forms of suffering in the world today and consider whether this a strong enough argument against God’s existence?