Ethics, Religion and Philosophy

Intent

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.

Image Image

Implementation
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 for the first half of the term. In the second half of term students are given the opportunity to design a creative project on the current topic. Students are encouraged to present and share the inspirational thinking behind their projects as a class.

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.

Image
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 and 11 that are studying AQA GCSE Religious Studies course. We are studying Christianity and Buddhism for our contrasting beliefs alongside the Thematic Studies Paper that includes the following topics: Crime and Punishment, Human Rights and Social Justice, Religion and life and The existence of God and Revelation. Both paper 1 and 2 are sat in year 11. The duration of both exams is 1 hour and 45 minutes. Both exam paper follow a simple exam structure that allow students to gain marks.

Lessons are active, engaging and relevant to the modern world. Pupils undertake independent learning activities, debates and documentaries. Students are set regular homework from Seneca and practice exam questions. Students are also provided with revision guides for every topic. Regular feedback is given verbally and in exercise books as well as formal assessment for tracking and monitoring.

We have also made connections with the local Buddhist community and local Church. Students have visited them and vice versa to support our GCSE students in their study of Buddhist and Christian beliefs.

Image Image
Year 12 and 13 - Key Stage 5

The AQA Religious Studies A-Level is an option for pupils in year 11. We currently have a year 12 class that are studying AQA Religious Studies A-Level. We are studying Ethics, Philosophy and Christianity in year 1 and 2.

The lessons are thought provoking and encourage students to question the nature of life and reality. Students are encouraged to work independently, participate in elaborate debates and read extracts from scholarly articles. Students are set regular readings as homework and are given feedback for work completed in lessons. Students are asked to complete formal and informal assessments regularly.

Extra-curricular

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 donating to local homeless charities such as HARP Homeless Charity and support the local community with 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.

Image

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.

Image

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.

Image

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.

Image Image

Impact

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.

Student Feedback about ERP:

‘Ethics and Philosophy has made me think about myself and my place in the world, I’m thoroughly enjoying it!’

‘The lessons really help me with my written skills and the topics are really interesting!’

“Literacy in itself is no education. Literacy is not the end of education or even the beginning. By education, I mean an all-round drawing out of the best in the child and man-body, mind and spirit”. Mahatma Gandhi