Why do we teach Religious Studies?
The Religious Studies department at Hele’s School is committed to helping all students engage with and understand the world around them through the disciplines of theology, philosophy, and social science. Religion has played a significant role in history and the development of society, and the study of religion empowers students with a deeper understanding that helps them to connect ideas in many different subjects. The principle aim of RS is to, ‘explore what people believe and what difference this makes to how they live, so that pupils can gain the knowledge, understanding and skills they need to handle questions raised by religion and belief, reflecting on their own ideas and ways of living.’
We aim to teach all students to think for themselves, to be open-minded to the views of others and to be able to raise questions and challenge ideas in a respectful and logical manner.
Theology is dedicated to helping students understand key concepts that are important to religions and worldviews. It helps students to understand where beliefs have come from and how they influence the lives of believers in the world today. It involves the study of key texts, sources of authority and the ability to explain the importance of these in the context of the lives of believers and understand how these can be interpreted differently. It also allows students to assess the claims made by sources of authority and evaluate the arguments surrounding them in both a religious and non-religious context.
Philosophy enables students to engage with deeper questions about meaning and purpose and our place within the universe. It encompasses issues to do with morality and ethics. Students at Hele’s will enjoy studying philosophy through dialogue and debate. Everyone is encouraged to take part in discussions and be accountable for their contribution.
Social science is a part of RS at Hele’s because we study how religion has impacted on how people live their lives and the development of society, individuals and culture. Religion has been and continues to be a big influence on social issues such as diversity, families, gender and relationships.
The RS curriculum at Hele’s enables students to build on their understanding of religion with a focus on Christianity, Islam, Buddhism and Sikhism at Key Stage 3. At Key Stage 4 students will continue to study Christianity, Buddhism and Islam. In conjunction with the religious views students will encounter humanism and other non-religious worldviews. At Key Stage 5 students study Philosophy, Ethics and Buddhism.
It is our intention in the RS department to equip students with the necessary literacy skills to enable them to write, read and speak like a philosopher. We aim to promote tolerance and respect for the beliefs of others and to increase the confidence of pupils so that they can give opinions and join in with debate and discussion in a meaningful way.
The RS department aims to deliver a curriculum that increases tolerance, respect and understanding of the diversity of beliefs and practices that exist in society today. We strive to equip students with the necessary skills that are needed to be successful and thrive as well-rounded individuals who can communicate and show empathy with others. Students will engage with subject material that is highly relevant whilst taking part in a range of learning activities from debate and discussion to constructing written arguments. We aim to make students think critically and deeply by challenging their own views and shaping their own perspectives on life.
Key Stage 3
Key Stage 3 RS revolves around the core pillars of, understanding beliefs, understanding the influence religion has on society and people, being able to justify a personal viewpoint and the analysis of beliefs and word perspectives. Students will study a range of religious and non-religious beliefs and perspectives. They will do this through the lenses of theology, philosophy, and social science. We try to develop key skills at key stage 3 so that students can think critically and raise questions about the world around them, at the same time embedding core knowledge so that they understand concepts in depth.
Key Stage 4
At Key Stage 4 students may take GCSE as an option. We follow the AQA exam and the two religions that we currently study are Islam and Buddhism. Year 10 are doing Islam and Christianity. Assessment for this is 100% exam based.
All students continue to study RS and those who do not opt for this will have 1 lesson a fortnight. They will further their understanding of religion and beliefs by studying a range of topics that include Philosophy and Ethics.
Key Stage 5
Students follow the A level RS Eduqas specification. The course is divided into three components that are outlined below. Assessment for this is 100% exam based.
- Philosophy of Religion
- Religion (currently Buddhism)