Religious Education

Intent:

What’s the point of RE ?

The Conference of Catholic Bishops of England and Wales describes the purpose of RE as developing pupils who are:

….”religiously literate young people who have the knowledge and understanding and skills….To think religiously, spiritually and theologically and who are aware of the demands of religious commitment in everyday life”

Put simply, RE offers pupils a challenging and safe environment in which they can develop a body of knowledge and a set of skills which not only enrich their own lives, but allow them to appreciate and understand others who share their faith or may be of different or no faith within their community.

The intention of RE is:

∙ To enable pupils to develop their knowledge and understanding of the Catholic faith e.g. through the study of the Sacraments or the Catholic Church’s response to global issues such as climate change in ‘Laudato Si’ by Pope Francis.

∙ To enable pupils to be able to communicate this knowledge and understanding effectively through the use of challenging and appropriate vocabulary as well as in high quality oracy.

∙ To raise pupils’ awareness of the faith and traditions of other religious communities in order to respect and understand them through the study of Islam and Judaism in particular.

∙ To stimulate pupils’ imagination and provoke a desire for personal meaning as revealed in the truth of the Catholic faith through the consideration of abstract ideas.

∙ To enable pupils to relate the knowledge gained through Religious Education to their understanding of other subjects in the curriculum and to bring clarity to the relationship between faith and life, and between faith and culture for example the cross over between History and RE in the study of the Holocaust.

RE is at the heart of our curriculum because faith is at the heart of our community.

RE celebrates God’s creation, wonders at its complexity, challenges our ideas about ourselves and others and leads to fascinating questions that do not always have a simple answer. RE has a rich and broad curriculum which examines our relationship with God, what it means to belong to the Catholic faith and key issues of right and wrong in our society.

RE prepares curious learners. We want our young people to develop the skills of asking questions to deepen knowledge and understanding. RE prepares thoughtful learners. We want our young people to consider the beliefs and ideas of others to their own. RE prepares respectful pupils. We expect our pupils to treat the faith and beliefs of all people with care and tolerance.

 

Implementation:

The Religious Education Curriculum Directory states that:

“the primary purpose of Catholic Religious Education is to come to know and understand God’s revelation which is fulfilled in the person of Jesus Christ. The catholic school is a ‘clear education project of which Christ is the foundation. In the person of Christ, the deepest meaning of what it is to be human – that we are created by God and through the Holy Spirit united with Christ in his Incarnation – is discovered.”

In light of this statement, construction of the curriculum places significant emphasis on the life of faith and the centrality of Christ in this life. The curriculum should also allow the discovery of broader questions of faith and exploration of other religious identities and commitments

Becoming “religiously literate”, as stated by the Conference of Bishops implies engagement with a body of knowledge and a set of skills which in turn describe the curriculum of Religious Education. This is also the body of knowledge referred to in the new Ofsted framework which asks questions of the “quality of education” and what is taught (the curriculum) as well as how it is taught (pedagogy) and assessed (including feedback).

The RE curriculum follows a number of broad themes in Years seven and eight before these are developed as part of the GCSE curriculum in Years 9-11. Each of these themes throughout years 7-9 not only build on each other but also directly contribute to the KS4 course undertaken by all pupils. Examples of this would be:

Year 7 content Year 8 connection Year 9 connection GCSE connection
Stewardship (Autumn 1) Social justice (Autumn 1) Conflict (Autumn 1) Origins and Meaning (Autumn 1 Y10)
Incarnation (Autumn 1) Forgiveness and reconciliation (Spring 1) Life after death (Spring 1) Good and Evil (Spring 1)
Judaism (Summer 1) Relationship with God and covenant (Autumn 1) Judaism paper 3 (Summer 1 and 2)

 

To be successful in RE, pupils will become familiar with using sources of wisdom and authority – the scripture and teachings of the Catholic faith as well as those of other faiths to truly appreciate why a believer might think or act in a certain way. Through this, pupils can also make connections to issues within our own society, for example, using the Genesis creation story to appreciate the urgent demand to care for the environment.

To be successful in RE, pupils need to be open minded and willing to think beyond the literal in order to gain a deeper and more meaningful experience of the subject and its content. They need to be prepared to consider the words of scripture in their context as well as in their purpose to fully experience the messages they convey. This begins in year 7 and develops throughout key stage 3 into key stage 4, all the time creating challenge without anxiety.

KS2 knowledge is built upon through the delivery of the Catholic curriculum directory, where there are gaps in experience or knowledge we seek to fill those quickly so that no student feels left behind. pupils come to St Peters from families with strong faith, some with no faith. All are welcome and all can succeed.

Every student in key stage 4 works towards the Catholic Christianity GCSE course, which looks at significant matters of faith such as the Trinity, Incarnation, Salvation and Revelation as well as focussing on the relationship between belief and moral and philosophical topics such as the right to life, the treatment of offenders, explanations for creation, Good and Evil.

 

Year Seven

In Year Seven, the Liturgical year runs chronologically through the second half of each term, corresponding with the events in the Liturgical calendar. The first half of each term takes a matter of faith and belief as its theme. This includes the question of what it means to be Jewish, a distinct question which is different to “what is Judaism” as the emphasis is on identity and faith, not a comparative examination of the religion.

Term 1st half 2nd half
Autumn Who’s world is it ?

Genesis and creation

Stewardship and eco justice

Who was Jesus ?

Annunciation

Incarnation

Messiah

Spring The Kingdom and Christian duties Who was Jesus ?

The Passion

Summer Judaism – what does it mean to be Jewish ? The Kingdom of God  – post resurrection and discipleship

 

Year 8

In Year Eight, pupils are exposed to a broader range of matters of faith and belief, which explore the catholic identity through Church and vocation as well as offering a contrast to belonging to a major world faith in Islam. Further topics aim to develop greater questioning around what it means to belong to a faith through a study of social justice, forgiveness and the problem of evil. A number of these themes lay the foundations for further study in KS4 such as the problem of evil and social justice.

 

Term 1st half 2nd half
Autumn Social Justice Belonging and community
Spring Forgiveness and reconciliation Problem of evil –
responding to challenge
Summer Islam – what does it mean to be Muslim ? Vocation and commitment

 

 

 

Year 9

The Y9 curriculum begins the GCSE course in the Summer term. Content prior to that is directed by the Bishop’s conference and prepares pupils for the GCSE study to come in terms of curriculum content but also a more explicit use of the GCSE marking criteria.

Year 9
Term 1st Half 2nd Half
Autumn Peace and Conflict Jesus the Incarnation
Spring Life after Death Life of Prayer
Summer Judaism 1: Beliefs Judaism 2: Practices

 

Years 10 – 11

These three years follow the Educas Route B Catholic Christianity and Judaism GCSE course. The Y9 curriculum begins the GCSE course in the Summer term. Content prior to that is directed by the Bishop’s conference and prepares pupils for the GCSE study to come.

 

Year 10
Term 1st Half 2nd Half
Autumn FCT Origins and Meaning FCT Origins and Meaning
Spring FCT Good and Evil FCT Good and Evil
Summer ACT Life and Death ACT Life and Death

 

Year 11
Term 1st Half 2nd Half
Autumn ACT Sin and Forgiveness ACT Sin and Forgiveness
Spring Revision and Exam Preparation Revision and Exam Preparation
Summer

 

These tables describe the broad body of knowledge encountered by pupils, the deeper substance of which is described in each of the lesson sequence documents, exemplars of these are seen overleaf.

 

Impact:

Religious Education in schools be regarded as an academic discipline with the same systematic demands and the same rigour as other disciplines. (Conference of Catholic Bishops of England and Wales

In light of this statement, the first aspect of success in religious education can be identified. The demands and rigour of the subject include:

  • The gathering and retention of subject specific knowledge
  • Accurate and detailed descriptive ability, orally as well as in written responses
  • Varied and appropriate use of language
  • Sharp questioning and critical analysis
  • The ability to connect concepts
  • The ability to use sources of authority to support and challenge matters of faith or lifestyle.

These demands are particularly significant when viewed against the challenges set out in part one, in particular, the identification of competing sources of authority as well as the “dictatorship of relativism”. Without these skills, pupils will be ill equipped to discriminate between appropriate or relevant authority or make informed decisions in matters of lifestyle or faith, placing a morality based on feeling alone alongside a morality that is critically assessed and robust in its authority.

A further statement by the Conference of Catholic Bishops of England and Wales describes the” emotional and affective learning” that is also a significant indicator of strong religious education. In this element, pupils are formally or informally invited to and make personal responses towards a matter of faith or lifestyle which demonstrate spiritual and moral development. Often these responses are unsolicited but they are just as significant as the academic rigour of the subject. This learning and its responses may also be made passively by other pupils in the quiet and respectful manner in which they respond to each other in such moments. Whilst this learning is often not quantifiable, it is certainly tangible.

Summary:

Religious education plays a significant role in the lives of young people. It develops within them a body of knowledge through which they can become the next generation of spiritually and socially aware adults, capable of contributing to and relating to all elements of their community.  It also creates a set of transferable academic skills which can be applied within the formal as well as informal curriculum.