Ethics, Religion and Philosophy
Ethics, Religion and Philosophy offers an opportunity in the curriculum for pupils to reflect on the ‘Big Questions’ in life, their morality and that of others and the practices of the major world religions. The curriculum is designed to incorporate all aspects of these key elements in each topic area over KS3 and KS4. In the modern world it is important for pupils to really broaden their horizons with detail and evidence but also, to reflect on the purpose of tradition, culture and practice. ‘Learning From Religion’, is key to this and we aim to develop this skill in all lessons at all Key Stages.
For many pupils in this school people of faith are not a common experience in their life and so we aim to bring in people from the faith community and Humanist community to bring belief and practice ‘alive’ to pupils in their studies.
Key Stage 3
We have a three year Key Stage 3 (Years 7-9) during which pupils study a broad and deep curriculum, studying the world religions, atheism, ethical debates and ‘Big Question’ thinking. Lessons are engaging, active and varied, whilst always being linked to current affairs. There are three specialist teachers leading the delivery of these lessons.
Homework is set on a fortnightly basis. Students are given autonomy over their choice of task with a scale of choices for all students to access.
Assessment is carried out half termly and is followed up with DIRT time for pupils to act on feedback. Pupils are regularly tracked and monitored in the department.
We have also made cross-curricular links to Citizenship with the planning and teaching of the ‘First Give’ programme. This programme enables students to focus on social issues in their local community and research the work of one charity that supports that social issue. Students carry out their own fundraising activities, presentations and videos about their chosen charity, culminating in a ‘School Final’ winner donating £1,000 to their charity.
Year 10 and 11 - Key Stage 4
The Full Course GCSE is an option for pupils in Year 9. We currently have a full class running in Year 10 that are studying AQA GCSE Religious Studies course. We are studying Christianity and Buddhism for our contrasting beliefs alongside the Thematic Studies paper, where we look at areas such as Peace and Conflict and Crime and Punishment.
Lessons are active, engaging and relevant to the modern world. Pupils undertake independent learning activities, regular homework and feedback as well as formal assessment for tracking and monitoring.
We have also made connections with the local Buddhist community and have visited them and vice versa to support our GCSE students in their study of Buddhist beliefs.
In addition to this ERP is incorporated into the PSHE programme delivered to all students in Key Stage 4. This enables students to continue to develop their skills and knowledge in ERP whilst applying them to more contemporary issues.
As a department we are very active in the life of the school and promote the key values and ethos of the school. We lead on charity events such as the Shoebox Appeal and support the local community with Easter Egg donations for the local food bank.
The Head of Department also meets termly with the local Church Reps community and liaises with them on organising extra-curricular events in the school at Christmas and Easter. This is when Year 7 and Year 8 are given the opportunity to participate in a planned session on the Christian festival and reflect on its importance to them today. As this is outside of a formal classroom setting it is always well received by students.
We also visit a local church with Year 7 as part of their ‘Faith and Spirituality’ unit in the Spring Term to enable students to bring to life some of the concepts looked at in the topic of worship.
For our Key Stage 5 students we offer a Multi-faith debate in line with Interfaith Week. This enables students to meet and discuss moral and ethical issues with members of the faith and humanist communities. This is always a great success and well received by students and participants alike.
Through our curriculum both inside and outside of the classroom we aim to enlighten students to a broader and deeper way of thinking. We aim to give them the skills to appreciate the differences in people’s views on life, their practices and belief systems as well as aid them in critical thinking of modern day dilemmas.
The positive changes that have been made to the Key Stage 3 curriculum have improved the uptake at Key Stage 4 and Key Stage 5 as students see that Ethics, Religion and Philosophy is about world views and ethical dilemmas, both of which are transferable skills for many professions. In addition to this our extra-curricular programme enables students to meet people that are different to them in a safe environment and become socially conscious of the community they live in.
“Education is education. We should learn everything and then choose which path to follow." Education is neither Eastern nor Western, it is human.”
― Malala Yousafzai, I Am Malala: The Story of the Girl Who Stood Up for Education and Was Shot by the Taliban