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Blackfen School for Girls

Blackfen School for Girls

Raising aspirations - releasing potential

Religious Education (RE)

Welcome to Religious Education (Religious Studies), part of the Humanities Faculty at Blackfen School for Girls.  Religious education is important in preparing students for adult life, employment and lifelong learning; enabling them to develop respect for and sensitivity to others, promoting good judgment and encouraging students to approach all areas of life with an open mind and without prejudice.  Studying religion at any Key Stage is not about making students religious or indoctrination about one religion or another; it is about enabling students to think for themselves about religious and moral issues, introducing them various belief systems, including Humanism, atheism and other smaller religious traditions, so they are able to mature into responsible citizens living in a multi-ethnic and multi-faith society, free from ignorance which causes prejudice, hatred and violence.

Key stage 3: Years 7-9

The first lesson in September for Year 7 is to complete a ‘KS3 Base Line Assessment’, the purpose of which is to enable staff to measure students’ prior knowledge, understanding and skills learnt in RE previous to Key Stage 3 and to ensure there is an accurate level from which students progression in RE throughout the year and the whole of Key Stage 3 can be assessed.  Additionally, we are able to tailor students learning experience to fill in any obvious gaps in knowledge and understanding as we move through each topic, to ensure students have an overview of all six major world religions with a more in-depth understanding of Christianity, as well as having plenty of opportunities to reflect on and develop their own opinions, beliefs and values and those of others, and how these impact the way we behave.  All students are assessed at least once every half term through a variety of activities – Q&A tasks, GCSE style questions, posters, group work & presentations, essay answers, amongst others.  Throughout Key Stage 3 students are encouraged to take increasing responsibility for their learning, developing key skills necessary for RE GCSE and A-Level.  Elements are designed to be more student-led as students progress, as well as becoming more enquiry based throughout Year 9 and on into GCSE.

Year 7

Term

Unit of Work

Summary

Autumn Term 1

Beliefs and Concepts

In this unit, students look specifically at Christianity, Islam and Hinduism.  Initially students consider the concept of God and the some of the arguments in favour and against the existence of God, before exploring the different beliefs about God within each of the three religions.  Students then spend time drawing comparisons and highlighting similar and different beliefs whilst also considering their own beliefs about God and reasons for their beliefs.  Students have the opportunity to identify why people may behave in a certain way in relation to their beliefs.  Students also spend time learning about Jesus, exploring some of Jesus’ basic teachings and considering the application and relevance of them in today’s society

Autumn Term 2

Spring Term 1

Making Moral Decisions

In this unit, students explore Christianity, Islam, Hinduism and Sikhism in relation to the topics covered.

Students identify what authority is and where it comes from, both in a religious and non-religious context.  They consider how Christians and Muslims make moral decisions, examining the roles of Holy Books with a mini assessed project comparing the Bible and the Qur’an, as well as the roles of important religious people, the religious community and family and the individual’s conscience.  Time is spent comparing these ideas to their own and to other ways people may make moral decisions.  Students then further consider the impact of religion within the family setting, considering what is family, where we identify different family set ups, what family/parents/guardians are responsible for and also changes that have happened over the last 50 years, as well as reasons for those changes.  This is assessed in the form of an essay, answering the question of what is the best form of guidance when making a moral decision?

Following this, students reflect on their lives as a journey, exploring key events in their lives so far and their visions for the future, before taking a deeper look at the role of religion and family in either Hinduism or Sikhism to complete a project based learning task of ‘A Week in the Life of…’ diary/blog, reflecting on the differences between a religious and non-religious person’s life.

Spring Term 2

Summer Term 1

Worship

In this unit, students explore Christianity, Judaism, Hinduism and Buddhism in relation to the topics covered.

Students spend time identifying and understanding different ways in which people worship (both religious and non-religious) and the reasons for them.  Students further develop their knowledge and understanding of Christian, Jewish and Buddhist worship.

During the first half of this term students complete an End of Year Assessment, which covers everything they have done throughout the year, assessing their knowledge and understanding so far. 

Following this, students work in groups on a student-led learning project about different religious ceremonies, using and developing a wide range of skills, presenting and teaching the rest of the class from what they have done.  Students may also have the opportunity to study a festival of their choice.

Summer Term 2

Year 8

Term

Unit of Work

Summary

Autumn Term 1

Beliefs and Concepts

In this unit, students explore Christianity, Islam, Hinduism and Sikhism in relation to the topics covered, as well as Scientific/Humanist, Native American, Australian Aborigine and Chinese creation myths.

Students start Year 8 considering some of life’s BIG questions – How did we get here?  Who or what created us?  Why are we here?  What happens when we die?

The first few lessons are spent studying different creation stories in student-led learning, with students taking responsibility for teaching each other.  This is followed by a couple of lessons spent considering the purpose of life and why we are here.  Throughout, students are encouraged to consider their own ideas about creation and the purpose of life and make comparisons to the various beliefs examined.

Moving on, students spend a number of lessons examining different beliefs about Life After Death, including their own, before examining two main perspectives in more depth – the concept of Heaven and Hell, including judgement and resurrection (held mostly by Western religious traditions) vs. the concept of Reincarnation (held mostly by Eastern religious traditions).  The assessment for this is a mix of questions which require detailed answers, as well as a poster to illustrate their own ideas alongside numerous religious ideas.  Students may also touch on ideas related to the paranormal and spiritual work, including religious experiences and the value they hold for people who have them

Autumn Term 2

Spring Term 1

Making Moral Decisions

In this unit, students explore Christianity and Islam, along with various religious & non-religious views of their choosing, in relation to the topics covered.

Students investigate issues of prejudice and discrimination, specifically racism, both historically and in the present, and consider why some people are prejudice and how they, as individuals and as part of society, can make a change.  Time is spent researching specific case studies of people who have made a difference within society, considering the question: Do you have to be religious to be a good person? Drawing on the research they have undertaken.  This is followed by a project-based learning approach to the life and works of Martin Luther King Jr. where students focus their work on his life and the impact he had on the Civil Rights Movement in 1960’s America, as well as the lasting impression his beliefs and behaviour have had since his death.  Students also consider the impact of racism in today’s society and question whether racism will ever cease to exist.  This is assessed by a ‘choose your challenge’ project where students choose from a variety of activities in varying degrees of challenge, to show their knowledge and understanding.

The latter part of this term (and into the Summer term) is spent exploring the moral issue of war and reflecting on whether it is ever right to fight in war and examining different religious and non-religious views about war.  Following this, students investigate the role of a chaplain/padre and the idea of faith in the armed forces, determining whether having a faith is in direct conflict with the idea of war.

Spring Term 2

Summer Term 1

Worship

In this unit, students explore Christian teachings, alongside political & non-religious views, in relation to the topics covered.

During the first half of this term students complete an End of Year Assessment, which covers everything they have done throughout the year, assessing their knowledge and understanding so far. 

Time is given to exploring the relationships between religion/faith & conflicts around the world, specifically in relation to extremism, as part of the Government’s Prevent scheme.  Students are encouraged to consider causes of these conflicts as well as reasons why the conflicts continue, despite continued efforts at resolution.  Additionally, students spend time identifying the role of the media in these conflicts, particularly in the West.

For the second part of this term, students move onto looking at the concept of forgiveness, exploring Apartheid in South Africa and the role played by the TRC in bringing about a better future.  Students are encouraged to reflect on their own understanding of that it really means to forgive others and whether this has been successful.  They spend some time studying the life and work of Nelson Mandela, before, during and after Apartheid.  Their assessment focusses on the question of whether it is always possible to forgive?

Summer Term 2

Year 9

Term

Unit of Work

Summary

Autumn Term 1

Religion and Science

 

Free Will

In this unit, students explore all six major world religions views and teachings, as well as non-religious views, in relation to the topics covered.

Students start the year challenging the preconceived notion that science and religion are polar opposites of one another and are in constant conflict.  They spend time investigating the origins of science and identifying areas of conflict, as well as where they support one another, considering why issues between the two may exist.  Students investigate three contemporary controversial issues - Genetic Engineering, Infertility Treatments and Transplant Surgery - from both religious and scientific viewpoints, considering reasons for the controversy surrounding the issue of their choice.  This is assessed through an essay based GCSE style question where students consider whether scientists assume the role of God and whether they are right to do so?

Students next spend time researching, analysing and presenting their findings on the contribution and influence Islam has had on the modern world of science, before moving on to consider the role of conscience and free will in making these decisions about science and religion, whilst reflecting on their own views in relation to both and identifying different beliefs and the impact of these beliefs on our behaviour.  The term concludes with a final assessment considering: ‘Can someone be a scientist and believe in God?’

Autumn Term 2

Spring Term 1

Poverty and Suffering

In this unit, students explore all six major world religions views and teachings, as well as non-religious views, in relation to the topics covered.

During the first half of this term students complete a Year 9 Assessment, which covers everything they have done so far, assessing their knowledge and understanding and giving them a guide as to what GCSE options they should choose.  The RE exam is based on a GCSE paper, so students results reflect what they would get if they sat a GCSE exam paper in Year 9 without any practice; the grades are not a prediction of what they will get should they choose RE GCSE.

Students consider what poverty actually means and how this equates to real life.  They spend time identifying some of the main causes of poverty and potential solutions, including what they as individuals could do to help, as well as considering whether any of the solutions are viable.  Students study various religious responses to poverty, including how these religions are working to reduce poverty through Aid Organisations.  They also identify some non-religious responses & make links back to work done in Year 8 with regard to people who have worked to make a difference in the world, through philanthropic works.  This is assessed with a GCSE style question considering the idea that if everyone was religious there would be no poverty.

Following this, students move on to examine the wider issue of suffering in the world today, including animal testing, before examining some religious and non-religious responses to evil and suffering and evaluating their response to the statement, ‘if everyone was religious, there would be no unnecessary suffering’

Spring Term 2

Summer Term 1

Justice and the Holocaust

In this unit, students explore all six major world religions views and teachings, as well as non-religious views, in relation to the topics covered.

The final unit of Key Stage 3 draws together all the learning that has taken place over the past three years and applies the skills and knowledge learnt to this student-led project based unit.  Initially students spend the first few lessons developing an understanding of Justice – what it is, why it is necessary – and deliberating what happens without it.  This is followed by in-depth study learning about genocide – what it is, how it happens, etc. but specifically about the Rwandan Genocide – what happened, why, how, etc.

For the remainder of the term, students focus their attention to possibly the most famous genocide of modern history – The Holocaust.  During this time, students are facilitated to work independently, supported throughout by their teachers, to complete a research based project that allows them the freedom to investigate the horrors and long-lasting effects of the Holocaust, to be presented in the medium of their choice.  As well as their teacher, students are given an information booklet with numerous useful websites and books to direct their research and are encouraged to make cross-curricular links and utilise their learning from History about WW2 and Nazi Germany.

The challenge day towards the end of June gives students the unique opportunity to further put their research into context, with their day based on other aspects of the Holocaust, such as The Nuremburg Trials, the role of women, the concept and treatment of ‘undesirables’, the use of about propaganda and about medical experimentation, as well as the role we all have to ensure the atrocities are never forgotten.  Students also have the opportunity to meet and listen to the personal testimony of a Holocaust survivor*.  Alternatively, students have the opportunity to visit the Imperial War Museum or the Jewish Museum to further enhance their understanding of the events of The Holocaust.  Students end Year 9 with a verbal or written debate, one which has existed and will continue to exist for many years to come: ‘How can we believe in a loving God if evil and suffering exist?’

*NB: This is subject to a survivor being available to come into school.  Whilst students have been fortunate enough to have listened to survivor testimonies for the past five academic years, I cannot guarantee this for future years.

Summer Term 2

KS4 Year 10

For RE at GCSE (starting in Year 10 September 2016) students follow the Edexcel GSCE (9-1) Religious Studies 2016: Beliefs in Action (Full Course Specification B) (www.edexcel.com), completing Area 1: Religion & Ethics (based on Christianity) and Area 2: Religion, Peace & Conflict (Based on Islam).  Both areas consist of four sections:

  • Area 1 consists of Section 1: Christian Beliefs, Section 2: Marriage & the Family, Section 3: Living the Christian Life, Section 4: Matters of Life & Death
  • Area 2 consists of Section 1: Muslim Beliefs, Section 2: Crime & Punishment, Section 3: Living the Muslim Life, Section 4: Peace & Conflict

RE at GCSE is a positive qualification for your CV; many Further Education and Sixth Form Colleges and Universities look favourably on students who are interested in the world around them and are capable of considering different points of view, whilst being able to think and communicate effectively – skills learnt and honed throughout the RE GCSE course.  The course also provides students with opportunities to do many things, including:

  • Enhance their own spiritual and moral development
  • Develop understanding and tolerance for society
  • Consider religious, non-religious and personal responses to moral and ethical issues
  • Investigate and respond to fundamental questions, raised by religion and society
  • Explore positive aspects of living in a diverse, multi-faith and multi-cultural society, learning how they can make a difference to the society in which we live
  • Make cross curricular links to other subjects studied at GCSE and develop a solid foundation for many BTEC and A-Level subjects, university degrees and jobs students may work towards for the future

    Most importantly, you do not have to be religious to study GCSE RE; just open-minded and willing to give your opinion!  RE is becoming more important as the Government are keen that all students should develop a sense of ‘community cohesion’ (a common vision and shared sense of belonging for all groups in society), whilst students are finding that RE is becoming more applicable to their lives, because it is no longer just about religion – much more time is spent looking at moral, social and ethical issues and what students think about these issues and how they do apply to the world in which they live.

 

Term

Unit of Work

Summary

Autumn Term 1

Section 1: Christian Beliefs

Section 1 - Topics Covered:

  • The Trinity
  • The Creation of the Universe and of Humanity
  • The Incarnation (of Jesus)
  • The Last Days of Jesus’ Life
  • The Nature of Salvation
  • Christian Eschatology (beliefs about end times)
  • The Problem of Evil and Suffering
  • Solutions to the Problem of Evil and Suffering

Section 2 – Topics Covered:

  • Marriage
  • Sexual Relationships
  • Families
  • Support for the Family in the Local Parish
  • Family Planning
  • Divorce and Remarriage
  • Equality of Men and Women in the Family
  • Gender Prejudice and Discrimination

Section 3 – Topics Covered:

  • Worship
  • The Role of the Sacraments in Christian Life
  • The Nature and Purpose of Prayer
  • Pilgrimage
  • Christian Religious Celebrations
  • The Future of the Church
  • The Importance of the Local Church
  • The Worldwide Church

Section 4 – Topics Covered:

  • Origins and Value of the Universe
  • Sanctity of Life
  • The Origins and Value of Human Life
  • The Issue of Abortion
  • Death and the Afterlife
  • Non-religious Arguments Against Life After Death
  • Euthanasia
  • The Natural World

 

Autumn Term 2

Continue Section 1

Section 2: Marriage and the Family

Spring Term 1

Continue Section 2

Section 3: Living the Christian Life

Spring Term 2

Continue Section 3

Section 4: Matters of Life & Death

Summer Term 1

Continue Section 4

Revision – Area 1

Summer Term 2

Students complete a PPE (Pre-Public Exam) for all work completed in Area 1.  In this exam students complete a mock exam paper, sitting in the hall, as a practise for their proper exams at the end of Year 11

Start Area 2: Religion, Peace & Conflict

KS4 – Year 11

For RE at GCSE (Year 11) students follow the Edexcel RE GSCE Full Course (www.edexcel.com), completing Unit 2 –Religion and Life based on Christianity (5RS02) and Unit 8 – Religion and Society (5RS08), focussing predominantly on Christianity, with some Islam in Unit 8.  Both units consist of four sections:

  • Unit 2 consists of Section 1: Believing in God, Section 2: Matters of Life and Death, Section 3: Marriage and the Family and Section 4: Religion and Community Cohesion
  • Unit 8 consists of Section 1: Rights and Responsibilities, Section 2: Environmental and Medical Issues, Section 3: Peace and Conflict and Section 4: Crime and Punishment

    This is the last year group to complete this GCSE course; as from September 2016 the syllabus has changed to the new 9-1 RE GCSE

    Unit 2: Religion and Life based on Christianity (NB: Year 11 Students completed this in Year 10, but will sit the exam at the end of Year 11)

 

Term

Unit of Work

Summary

Autumn Term 1

Section 3: Marriage & the Family

In Section 3, students

  • Consider some of the major changes to society and the way in which family life is structures
  • Identify some of the reasons for changes to marriage and the family since the 1960’s
  • Investigate a range of issues and different Christian attitudes towards them, including sex before marriage, divorce, homosexuality, methods of contraception, whilst developing their own opinions for each of the topics studied
  • Understand the purposes of marriage within Christianity, why family life is important to Christians and how Christian churches help with the upbringing of families
  • Analyse the way in which an issue from this section is shown in the Media – the notion of in the TV show ‘Modern Family’ - and evaluate whether the portrayal is fair

    In Section 4, students

  • Consider how attitudes to the roles of men and women have changed over the last 150 years within society, as well as in Christianity, investigating the different Christian attitudes to women
  • Look at the UK as a multi-ethnic society and identify the key events in history which have lead to the UK becoming multi-ethnic, whilst research the Government’s action to promote community cohesion in the UK and whether this action is working and beneficial
  • Explore reasons why Christians should help promote racial harmony and investigate the work of a Christian Churches to help asylum seekers and /or immigrant workers in the UK
  • Look at the UK as a multi-faith society and identify benefits and issues raised from living in a multi-faith society, including differences among Christians in their attitudes to other religions and highlighting ways in which religions work to promote community cohesion in the UK
  • Explore how an issue from religion and community cohesion has been presented in one form of the media – the issue of racism in the film ‘A Time to Kill’ - and evaluate whether the portrayal is fair

    In Section 2, students

  • Learn Christian beliefs about Life After Death and how these beliefs affect believers lives
  • Identify some of the non-religious reasons for believing in Life After Death and also reason why people do not believe in Life After Death at all, whilst considering their own views about Life After Death
  • Explore the nature of abortion – what is abortion, when does life start, etc. and understand the laws in relation to the issue of abortion and the changes in history that have resulted in the laws we have today
  • Investigate different Christian attitudes to abortion
  • Explore the nature of euthanasia – what euthanasia is, different types of euthanasia and understand the law in relation to the issue of euthanasia
  • Investigate different Christian attitudes to euthanasia and how these may influence their lives
  • Explore how an issue from Matters of Life After Death have been portrayed in the media and consider whether this was a fair portrayal – should the media be free to criticise what religions say about matters of life and death
  • Research some of the causes of world poverty and the impact they have on people’s lives and how we can make a difference
  • Identify ways in which Christian Aid are trying to remove the causes of world poverty and the reasoning behind it

Autumn Term 2

Continue Section 3

 

Section 4: Religion & Community Cohesion

Spring Term 1

Continue Section 4

Section 2: Matters of Life & Death

Spring Term 2

Continue Section 2

Section 1: Believing in God

Summer Term 1

Continue Section 1

Revision – Unit 2

In Section 1, students

  • Identify the features of a religious upbringing and consider how they may lead to belief in God
  • Examine the idea of ‘Religious Experience’ and evaluate whether they can prove God exists
  • Learn about two main arguments for the existence of God – the Argument from Design and the Argument from Causation - and evaluate how they lead to belief in God
  • Study the scientific explanations of the world and reflect on how these may lead to people not believing in God and identify ways in which Christianity might responds
  • Consider how unanswered prayers may lead people to not believe in God and identify ways in which Christianity responds

Investigate the issue of evil and suffering and identify ways in which Christianity responds

Summer Term 2  

Students complete a mock exam for all work completed in Unit 2.  In this exam students complete a past exam paper, sitting in the hall, as a practise for their proper exams at the end of Year 11

Start Year 11 Course: Unit 8 – Religion and Society, Section 1

 Unit 8: Religion & Society based on Christianity & one other religion (Islam)

Term Unit of Work Summary
Autumn Term 1 Section 1: Rights & Responsibilities

In Section 1, students

  • Determine different ways Christians make moral decisions (Bible, Church, Conscience and Situation Ethics) and consider the value of using just one, some or all to make moral decisions
  • Identify what human rights are and why we have them and evaluate why they are important for Christians and whether they conflict with religious traditions
  • Analyse reasons why it is important to take part in voting processes
  • Study three main Christian teachings on moral duties and responsibilities and identify ways in which these teachings influence the way Christian behave
  • Investigate the nature of genetic engineering – what is it, why it is important in medicine/science, non-religious arguments for and against it and identify different Christian attitudes towards it and why they have these views
Autumn Term 2 Section 2: Environmental and Medical Issues

In Section 2, students

  • Understand the environmental issues of global warming, pollution and the scarcity of natural resources, what they actually mean for the earth/world we live in and any possible solutions
  • Examine Christian and Muslim teachings about stewardship and how these teachings influence the way they treat the earth
  • Investigate the nature (what it is, different methods, etc.) and importance of infertility treatments, including non-religious arguments for and against and consider the Christian and Muslim attitudes to the different methods and reasons why they may agree or disagree
  • Investigate the nature (what it is, different methods, etc.) and importance of transplant surgery, including non-religious arguments for and against and consider the Christian and Muslim attitudes to it and reasons why they may agree or disagree

    At the end of Autumn Term 2 (last two weeks before Christmas) Year 11 students sit PPEs (Pre-Public Exams) – for RE this means they will complete a full exam paper for Unit 2 (Year 10 work) & half a paper for Unit 8 (Year 11 work so far)

Spring Term 1 Section 3: Peace & Conflict

In Section 3, students

  • Explore the issue of bullying, using real case studies and examples, identifying the laws surrounding bullying and the reasons that it occurs.  Additionally, students evaluate the effects of bullying and consider the Christian and Muslim attitudes towards bullying
  • Explore the issue of conflict, both within family and on a wider scale.  Students consider the Christian and Muslim ideas of forgiveness and reconciliation and develop their own opinions to these issues
  • Research the causes of war and identify the role of the UN in a war zone to work for/keep peace, including a case study (Serbian/Kosovo conflict)
  • Learn the Christian and Muslim attitudes to war, including the idea of pacifism in Christianity and the ‘Just War Theory’
  • Research the work of one religious organisation, e.g. Pax Christi, in working for peace
Spring Term 2 Section 4: Crime & Punishment

In Section 4, students

  • Explore the need for law and justice in society and evaluate the effectiveness of different theories of punishment (retribution, deterrence, reform, protection) and consider why justice is important for Christians and Muslims
  • Investigate the nature of capital punishment (what is it) and the laws surrounding it, as well as considering the non-religious arguments and the Christian and Muslim attitudes towards capital punishment and developing their own opinion
Explore and understand the laws on drugs and alcohol in the UK, and consider some of the social and health problems caused by drugs and alcohol, as well as considering the Christian and Muslims attitudes to drugs and alcohol and developing their own opinion
Summer Term 1 REVISION FOR EXAMS AND EXAMS (mid-May)