Religious Studies

Religious Studies and Philosophy at Heles is designed to challenge every student. The curriculum focuses  on issues that are directly relevant to everyday life and are the subject of much debate in the news. This is a very contemporary and vibrant subject which gives students the platform to ask challenging questions about the wider world in which they live. The courses at all levels consider philosophical and ethical questions and the way that different people  from different cultures have tried to answer them. Students are encouraged to think for themselves, grapple with the most controversial issues and debate, deliberate and challenge the thinking of others. It strives to enable students the opportunity to be  thoughtful, informed human beings who have the skills that enable them to cope with the many and varied challenges of life.

Alongside the subject’s contribution to pupils’ mental, cognitive and linguistic development, RS offers distinctive opportunities to promote pupils’ spiritual, moral, social and cultural development. RS lessons should offer a structured and safe space during curriculum time for reflection, discussion, dialogue and debate. Lessons also allow for timely and sensitive responses to be made to unforeseen events of a religious, moral or philosophical nature. Students  learn to weigh up the value of wisdom from different sources, to develop and express their insights in response, and to agree or disagree respectfully.

Students are encouraged to take ownership of their learning above and beyond the RS classrooms. Students could participate in other opportunities the RS department have to offer including Generation Global Video-conferencing, Philosophy Club and many RS department challenges. Please follow our twitter page(@HelesRS) for more information.

‘All children need to acquire core knowledge and understanding of the beliefs and practices of the religions and worldviews which not only shape their history and culture but which guide their own development. The modern world needs young people who are sufficiently confident in their own beliefs and values that they can respect the religious and cultural differences of others, and contribute to a cohesive and compassionate society.’
(The Right Hon, Michael Gove, former Secretary of State for Education, 2013 RE Review and new ‘non-statutory’ National Curriculum Framework for RE)

RS is a statutory subject of the school curriculum of maintained schools. Academies are contractually required to make provision for the teaching of RS to all pupils on the school roll. The curriculum at Heles meet the requirements of the Plymouth Agreed Syllabus. RS is provided for all students, and is inclusive and broad minded. Parents do have the right to withdraw pupils from RS: if you wish to do this, make an appointment with Miss Mason or Mrs Skingle (subject leader). The school does not support selective withdrawal from RS.

Year 7 The Big Myth: Creation Stories Study of Major World Religions (Hinduism, Judaism, Sikhism, Islam, Christianity, Buddhism)

Students will be taken on a journey to explore different Creation myths across the globe and grapple with ultimate questions.  Students will explore the key beliefs, teachings and practices of the major world religions and develop core skills of knowledge, empathy and reflection. Students will consider numerous different understandings of the term spirituality from a religious and non-religious perspective and consider what inspires different people spiritually. From the concept of awe and wonder to all the different things that inspire human beings students will be taken on a creative journey surrounding spirituality and learn what inspires them to what inspires other people – religious and non-religious.  Students also gain essential skills that help them to understand and respect difference. Students also develop their debating skills and learn how to strongly agree or strongly disagree with someone in a respectful way. Within the RS department the following methods are utilised to bring the world to the students and develop debating of issues, aid understanding of and learning from religions and cultures whilst simultaneously bringing them alive: creative tasks, music, incense, drama/role play, practical tasks, stilling, international videoconferences, reflection on current or past media stories, guest speakers, treasure hunts, reflective tasks,

Year 8 Ethic: Prejudice and DiscriminationIs the standard of morality that we have in a 21st century western world the best standard of morality we could hope for? Where does our sense of morality come from? Should we move away from an ethical framework that has its roots in religion, especially the 10 commandments? This scheme of work deeply considers the nature of right and wrong from a global and personal perspective. Students reflect upon right and wrong within different cultures and religions and learn to develop their ability to critically analyse them. Students will be studying a variety of ethical frameworks, some of which displace God as a source of morality. Areas of study will include utilitarianism, which is essentially the greatest good for the greatest number, Situation Ethics (the application of love), Just War and whether it is ever morally permissible to kill. Students will also be invited to apply their morality and studied ethical frameworks to themes such as capital punishment, racism, Islamaphobia and homophobia.

Students will consider what human rights are, where they came from and why we have them. Students will focus on activists / inspirational people such as Mandela, Martin Luther King and Gandhi who have all strived to change human rights for the better. Students will focus on the different methodologies these people used to bring about change. Students will be encouraged to critically reflect on whether their sacrifices were ultimately worth while

The Holocaust: Students actively learn in a safe and nurtured environment about the suffering of the Religious and Non-Religious Jews during the Holocaust. Students also deeply engage with the concept of evil and reflect upon events that occurred during the Holocaust to piece together an understanding from a spiritual, emotional and physical sense. At the end of this unit students will have highly developed their ability to empathise, to notice details, to make links, to hypothesise, to question, to collaborate, recognising relevance and learn from a period of history that is difficult to find adequate words to describe.

Year 9 – 10 All students take a full course GCSE Religious Studies (Eduqas) which will be examined at the end of year 11.Component 1: Religious, Philosophical and Ethical Studies in the Modern World (50% of qualification, 2 hour written examination)

Theme 1: Issues of Relationships

Theme 2: Issues of Life and Death

Theme 3: Issues of Good and Evil

Theme 4: Issues of Human Rights

2. Academic Study of Buddhism (25% of qualification, 1 hour written examination)

3. Academic study of Christianity (25% of qualification, 1 hour written examination)

The specification is designed to provide a broad structure for the study of religion and caters for candidates of any religious persuasion or none. Students are required to express an informed and justified personal viewpoint on the issues showing empathy, reflection  and analyses. In all topics students are strongly encouraged to articulate their own viewpoint and to bring in wider religious knowledge.

Year 11 Students currently in year 11 are studying GCSE Edexcel. This explores the following:Religion and Life (50% of qualification, 1 hour examination)

Believing in God

Matters of Life and Death

Marriage and the Family

Religion and Community Cohesion

 

Religion and Society: (50% of qualification, 1 hour examination)

Rights and responsibilities

Environmental and Medical Issues

Peace and Conflict

Crime and Punishment

Students discuss these topics and apply the views from the Christian, Muslim and non-religious perspectives. The specification is designed to provide a broad structure for the study of religion and caters for candidates of any religious persuasion or none. Students are required to express an informed and justified personal viewpoint on the issues showing empathy, reflection  and analyses. In all topics students are strongly encouraged to articulate their own viewpoint and to bring in wider religious knowledge.

Year 12 All students take a full A Level  Philosophy, Ethics and Buddhism (Eduqas) which will be examined at the end of year 13.1: Academic Study of Buddhism (33% of qualification, 2 hour written examination)

2. Philosophy of Religion (33% of qualification, 2 hour written examination)

3. Religion and Ethics (33% of qualification, 2 hour written examination)

 

Year 13 All students take A2 Philosophy and Ethics (OCR) which will be examined at the end of the academic year1: Philosophy of Religion (50% of qualification, 2 hour written examination)

2. Ethics (50% of qualification, 2 hour written examination)

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