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Est. 1921

Religious Studies

CURRICULUM VISION

INTENT:

What is the curriculum aim / vision for this subject?

  • We aim to develop our students into critical open minded thinkers who complement the ideals of modern Britain and worldwide values.

What do we expect students to get from this subject?

  • We expect our students to gain a better understanding of themselves and of others in order to be well rounded individuals who will make a positive contribution to our country and to the world at large.

  • We also expect our students to enjoy learning and attain academic progress within this subject.

IMPLEMENTATION:

How does learning develop over the five years?

  • The Curriculum is structured as a progressive unitary and linear learning, where students in Years 7 to 9 are introduced to the understanding their own values and the values within the six major world religions. 

  • The GCSE and A-level Philosophy courses provides relevant learning contexts by exploring: philosophical, religious, spiritual, moral and cultural aspects of the course with a view of developing creativity, enrichment of cultural diversity and critical thinking.

What principles have guided our decision making in developing this curriculum? What is distinctive about our curriculum?

  • The key principle is based on the idea that students learn best through discussion, evaluation and analysis of issues that are relevant to their lives. This allows for students to enjoy the subject while learning. Underpinning this idea, we have developed a learning process through which we call the themed Big Question approach across all year groups.

  • The aim of assessment is to develop analytical and critical skills which are key to the learning process and the expectations of the GCSE and Advanced Level assessment criteria.

How is the timetabled curriculum supplemented or enriched by other approaches to learning?

  • We enrich our curriculum though what we have called ‘Exploratory Teaching.’  

  • The open ended learning is mostly student led following selected themes on key issues under discussion in the media at the time. These will also involve outside speakers and visits to religious places of worship.

In what ways does our curriculum help to develop…?

  • Cultural diversity and identity: This is at the centre of our curriculum. We promote multiculturalism through an understanding of the value of each culture and the understanding of people/our students as individuals.

  • Physically and mentally healthy lifestyles: We constantly challenge students to adopt mental and physical healthy lifestyles.

  • Community participation: Through outside speakers and visits to places of worship around Liverpool.

  • Careers and enterprise: Through links/awareness of the opportunities and skills needed for various jobs/roles in society.

  • Technology and the media: Use of media and awareness of the benefits and dangers of the modern media.

  • Creativity and critical thinking: Through engagement and love of learning.

IMPACT:

What forms do assessments take? What is the purpose of assessment?

  • Our assessment criteria are mostly geared to developing evaluative skills rather than recalling information, through a themed big question approach.

  • Another key aspect of our assessment is feedback. Feedback is used to inform teachers and learners of what next step to take in the learning journey. Assessment and formative feedback are geared to letting students have a clear understanding of what they have done well and how they can improve in their next piece of work.

How do we know if we have a successful curriculum?

  • Students enjoy and achieve good levels of academic attainment.

  • Feedback through students’ voice suggests that their experience is positive.

  • Feedback from parents is positive.

  • Staff evaluations of the curriculum we offer are positive.

CURRICULUM CONTENT

YEAR 7

TERM

UNITY OF
STUDY

WHAT ARE WE TRYING TO ACHIEVE?
WHY?

KEY CONTENT

KEY
VOCABULARY

AUTUMN 1

An introduction to beliefs and values

We aim to compare and contrast pupils’ personal values with wider secular and religious beliefs

To help students to understand and to respect different viewpoints

To help students to gain critical skills through extended questioning

Pupils can identify what is important to them

Students will understand how secular and religious beliefs influence their lives

Foster respect and mutual understanding of others’ beliefs

Investigate how religious people experience and respond to God

1.  Secular beliefs in our modern society: - the value of family and friends. Secular celebrations whose origin could be religious.

2.  Students will explore what they value most in life, such as future hopes and inspirations.

3. Why do some people believe in God? Pupils will explore and evaluate arguments and counterarguments for the existence of God.

4.  Why some people do not believe in God; arguments for atheism with suffering being the key reason why some people do not believe in God.

5. British Values:- Explore fundamental core British values. Assess the origin of these values.

6. Creationist vs scientific theories. Can the two theories work together?

  • Values and
    beliefs
  • Theism
  • Atheism
  • Agnosticism
  • Deism
  • Secularism
  • Evolution

AUTUMN 2

An introduction to Hindu beliefs.

TBQ1

‘Hindu worship can only be performed in a Mandir’.

Discuss this statement showing that you have considered more than one point of view. (You must refer to religious and non-religious beliefs, such as those held by Humanists and Atheists, in your answer.) 

(15 marks)

Appreciate differences in beliefs and values around the world.

Give students a contrast of multiplicity of gods in one.

 Understand a unique way of worship using various symbols

Understand various roles and characteristics of Hindu gods and goddesses.

1. The Hindu concept of God: - One God or many?  Pupils are introduced to the idea of God in Hinduism.

2. Hindu teachings on the Trimurti: - The three images of Brahman and their roles. Does a Hindu have to believe in all the gods?

3. Hindu worship at home.  Pupils explore the use of artefacts in worship with particular focus on the five key images of God.

4. Hindu worship in the Mandir: - Pupils assess the key similarities and differences between worship at home and worship in the temple

5. The teaching on life after death in Hinduism. The idea of reincarnation and Karma

  • Trimurti
  • Reincarnation
  • Symbolism
  • Monotheism
  • Polytheism
  • Karma
  • Mandir

SPRING 1

The teachings of the Buddha.

Understand a unique way of dealing with the issue of suffering and causes of suffering

Students understand the secret of a happy life

Evaluate the usefulness of the Buddha’s teaching on suffering in the world today

Relate Buddha’s teaching in the students’ lives

Evaluate the key teachings on the purpose of life.

Evaluate whether it makes sense to follow a religion which doesn’t have a creator God.

1. The early life of the Buddha. Students explore the development of the Buddha’s vision from childhood to the Four Sights.

2. To explore what impermanence means in Buddhism.

3. The problem of evil and suffering. Students assess the cause and solutions or theodicies of evil and suffering.

4. Buddha’s response to suffering. Students explore the application of the eightfold Path in solving the problem of evil and suffering

5. The Four Noble Truths.  Students evaluate how the Four Truths responds to evil and suffering in the world.

6. Meditation in Buddhism and the role of mindfulness in the modern world (yoga)

  • Rebirth
  • Reincarnation
  • Dharma/Dhamma
  • Nirvana
  • Karma
  • Suffering
  • Eightfold path
  • Noble truths
  • impermanence

SPRING 2

The teachings of the Gurus.

TBQ2

‘The 5Ks are the most important part of Sikhism’.

Discuss this statement showing that you have considered more than one point of view. (You must refer to religious and non-religious beliefs, such as those held by Humanists and Atheists, in your answer.)

(15 marks)

Understand characteristics of a good leader

Students will be able to identify the 5ks and to evaluate whether they are relevant in our modern society

Students reflect on the role of uniforms in modern society

Students will understand the importance of the support systems within communities.

Evaluate the role of holy books as sources of authority.

1. Students will explore the early life of Guru Nanak. Students differentiate legends from facts.

2. The Five 5ks and their importance in a life of a Sikh. Students study the importance of 5Ks in Sikhism with a view to evaluating whether they are still relevant.

3. Investigate the qualities of a good leader. With particular reference to the Qualities of the first and the last human Guru.

4. Evaluate qualities needed for a good leader. Students discuss whether human beings can do without leadership/governance.

5. The role of Holy Scripture in Sikhism:-Here students explore the role of the Holy Scripture as a source of wisdom.

A Sikh place of worship: -Students compare and contrast a Hindu place of worship and a Sikh place of worship

  • Gurdwara
  • 5Ks
  • Khalsa

SUMMER 1

The story of Moses and the Passover.

TBQ3

‘The 10 commandments are more important than the Passover.’

Discuss this statement showing that you have considered more than one point of view. (You must refer to religious and non-religious beliefs, such as those held by Humanists and Atheists, in your answer.)

(15 marks)

Students will gain historical analysis and evaluation skills

Develop the art of storytelling and improve literacy skills

Assess scientific and religious explanation of miracles

Understand how faith impacts an individual and society as a whole

Students will develop evaluative skills on how religious beliefs and teachings inform answers to ultimate questions and ethical issues.

1. The early story of Moses and how he became of the the most important Jewish leader.

2. The Passover meal and its significance today. The importance of the Seder meal for Jews.

3. The Ten Commandments and their influence in modern life.

Judaism Today:- Students to explore the implications caused by the historic persecution and discrimination of Jews.

  • Passover
  • Plagues
  • Commandments
  • Kosher
  • Shavout
  • Seder Meal

SUMMER 2

Looking for Meaning

Students evaluate whether life has some particular meaning.

Students critically evaluate the objectivity of religious beliefs

Students formulate their own belief and value systems

An opportunity to question value systems.

Understand the origin of British values

1. This unit is an open-ended questioning of the ultimate questions on life.

2. Does life have a meaning?

3. Does science make religious teachings invalid?

4. How do we deal with suffering?

5.  Does the universe show signs of a designer at hand?

6. What is the place of human beings on this planet?

7. Should we experiment on animals for medical research?

  • God
  • Awe
  • Experience
  • Faith
  • Atheist
  • Agnosticism
  • British values
  • Ultimate questions
  • Culture and Community

Year 8 

TERM

UNITY OF STUDY

WHAT ARE WE TRYING TO ACHIEVE? WHY?

KEY CONTENT

KEY VOCABULARY

AUTUMN 1

Inspirational people who have made a difference to this planet.

TBQ1

‘Equality can never be achieved, there is no point trying.’

Discuss this statement showing that you have considered more than one point of view. (You must refer to some of the inspirational people studied as well as religious and non-religious beliefs, such as those held by Humanists and Atheists, in your answer.)

(15 marks)

At the start of year 8, we are trying to introduce to our students key religious personalities whose vision has shaped our world.

We are trying to inspire our students to develop their own visions and find their place in the world

Students can identify what is important to them

Students can explain how personal or religious beliefs can influence them

1. The vision of Martin Luther King and how this still shapes the world today.

2. The vision of Malala Yousafzai as a human right campaigner for social justice

3. G. Walker: - The story of a mother who forgave against all odds.

4. Oscar Romero on social justice: - The man who laid down his life for others while following the teaching of Jesus.

5. Raheel Raza and her vision of reforming Islam to empower women in the 21st century

  • Human Rights
  • Social justice
  • Equality
  • Discrimination
  • Prejudice
  • Censorship
  • Personal conviction
  • Extremism

AUTUMN 2

Do miracles really
happen?

(Sacred Places)

Year 8 students will be introduced to special places that evoke awe.

Students will learn the historical factors on the events that made these places special.

Students will be supported to understand the religious benefits of visiting these special places.

Students to investigate the benefits of going on a pilgrimage.

Students to critically explore the view that miracles do not happen.

1. Taize in Burgundy, France. A place for mostly the youth to meet and share their faith.

2.  A visit to Lourdes in Southern France.  A place of prayer and healings for Roman Catholics.

3. A visit to Jerusalem as the centre of faith for the three Abrahamic religions.

4. A pilgrimage to Mecca. This is a duty of every Muslim who can afford to go to Mecca.

5. Secular special places of interest. Students with the help of their teachers to identify secular special places of interest around the world.

6. Is it reasonable to believe in miracles?

  • Pilgrimage
  • Obligations
  • Secular
  • Ecumenism
  • Awe
  • Miracles

SPRING 1

The media and Religion in the modern world.

TBQ2

‘The media portrays religion in a negative way.’

Discuss this statement showing that you have considered more than one point of view. (You must refer to religious and non-religious beliefs, such as those held by Humanists and Atheists, in your answer.)

(15 marks)

To understand the role of the media in the students’ lives.

Students to evaluate how the media impacts on their lives

Evaluate the dangers of peer pressure through the modern media

Evaluate the key religious teachings on the purpose of human life.

To evaluate the role of religion in the modern world

To explore the need for more censorship of the media today.

1. Brainstorm different forms of media and the audiences they reach. 

2. How does the media portray religion and religious leaders in Britain and around the world? How do religious people respond to these stereotypes?

3. What is censorship and why is it is need in our modern world.

4. How do Films or comedies depict religion? ( Teachers to choose two )

5. The modern media and young people. How should young people respond to peer pressure?

6. The Big Debate:- Is the media a force for good or bad?

  • Censorship
  • The media
  • Freedom of speech
  • Extremism

YEAR 9

TERM

UNITY OF STUDY

WHAT ARE WE TRYING TO ACHIEVE? WHY?

KEY CONTENT

KEY VOCABULARY

AUTUMN 1

Issues of Prejudice and Discrimination.

 

TBQ1

‘Religion should promote equality’.

Discuss this statement showing that you have considered more than one point of view. (You must refer to religious and non-religious beliefs, such as those held by Humanists and Atheists, in your answer.)

(15 marks)

To explore attitudes and religious teachings on issues of equality and human rights.

To discuss and evaluate the prevailing attitudes to sexism and racism

To evaluate the progress made towards issues on Islamophobia in our society

To help our students in the understanding and appreciation of the inherent dignity in every person regardless of our differences.

1. An introduction to issues of prejudice and discrimination including various forms of discriminations in our society.

2. Explore the issues and history of racism and the steps that the government and leaders have taken to stop it.

3. Sexism:- The roles of men and women today. The men-women pay gap and factors that still perpetuate sexism in our society.

4. Issues of poverty, wealth, and the social economic gaps in our society.

5. Issues of Islamophobia in this country and around the world

6. Examples of religious people who have fought for social justice

  • Prejudice
  • Discrimination
  • Equality
  • Stereotypes
  • Islamophobia

AUTUMN 2

Medical Ethics.

To help students to understand the differences in opinion on matters of life and death informed by religious teachings

To understand the underlying ethical grounds medics take on issues of abortion and euthanasia.

Explore the issues of person-hood. Students will have a deeper understanding of what makes a person a person.

Students to develop their views on the value of human life.

Discuss the issues of embryonic /stem cell research in developing our medicine.

Students to evaluate the moral and religious implications of genetic engineering and stem cell research

1. A general introduction on the sanctity of human life

2. Issues of person-hood. When is a foetus a person?

3. Issues of abortion with reference to religious teachings.

4. Issues of euthanasia and the law of the land

5. Issues surrounding surrogate motherhood. Is having a child a right or a gift? Should money exchange hands in order to have children?

6. Stem cell research and the dignity of human life

7. Issues of genetic engineering. Is GM food safe to it?

8. Animal experimentation for medical research. Do animals have rights? Should they suffer for us to have the development in our medicine?

  • Medical ethics
  • Euthanasia
  • Sanctity of human life
  • Genetically modified food
  • Embryo research
  • Animal experimentation

SPRING 1

War and Conflict.

TBQ2

‘Religious believers should not take part in war’.

Discuss this statement showing that you have considered more than one point of view. (You must refer to religious and non-religious beliefs, such as those held by Humanists and Atheists, in your answer.) (15 marks)

Students to explore whether we can ever have a Just War

To understand the root causes of conflict in our world

To explore ways of avoiding conflicts/wars

To help students understand why some people are pacifists

Students to reflect on the vision of two peace activists

1. The rationale behind the Just War Theory

2.  A look at the rationale behind the Lesser Jihad in Islam

3. Pacifism:-Is this a justifiable position to hold today?

4. Forgiveness and reconciliation as a way forward before the war/ after the war.

5. Case studies of peace activists (two lessons)

  • Reconciliation
  • Peace activists
  • The Just war
  • Jihad

SPRING 2

Identity and Belonging.

Students to reflect on what it means to belong to a particular community and the worldwide community of nations

To develop the students’ understanding of themselves

To critically learn to think outside the box on ultimate questions based on identity and belonging in our modern society

1. An introduction to beliefs and values. What is the difference between beliefs and values

2. Arguments for the existence of God:-The Design Argument, Cosmological argument and the Ontological argument ( Two lessons at least) Students to critically evaluate the validity of these arguments

3. Reasons for the none existence of God/Atheism

4. The problem of evil in reference to God being All-powerful and all-loving

5. What does it mean to belong to a religious community? Faith and community cohesion

6. The power of symbols in religious communities and the secular world.

  • Secular
  • Ontological
  • Moral and natural evil
  • Cosmology

SUMMER 1

An introduction to Philosophy.

 

TBQ3

(Research based TBQ)

In reference to a philosopher(s) you have studied, evaluate the view that reality is subjective.

(15 marks)

To develop critical thinking and evaluative skills through an introduction to philosophy.

Understand a range of philosophical arguments from three key modern or ancient philosophers.

Students start developing a line of reason with a view of showing intent

1. An introduction to Philosophy:- How do we form knowledge?

2. Teachers are at liberty to choose any three philosophers for their students on which they will base their research.

3. Research the ideas of Descartes on how we form knowledge

4. Research David Hume on how we form morality or knowledge

5. Utilitarianism:- What is the best way to form a moral judgement

6. Are we born with innate ideas/knowledge or does all of our knowledge come from experience?

  • Innate knowledge
  • Utilitarianism
  • Empiricism
  • Epistemology

SUMMER 2

Religious Philosophies through stories and Myths.

The aim of this section is to prepare our students for the GCSE RS through themed religious stories and parables.

We aim to deliver key religious teachings through hidden messages in religious myths, stories and parables.

It is envisaged that these stories will be the basis of religious teachings in year 10

1. The creation story through the eyes of Genesis 1 and 2

2. The story of Job and how he deals with suffering

3. The parable of the Good Samaritans and how it deals with the issue of who is a neighbour

4. The parable of prodigal son and how it deals with the issue of forgiveness

5. The night of Thunder in Islam

6. Prophet Mohammed’s journey to heaven

  • Creationist
  • Parables
  • Myths

KEY STAGE 4

For more information, click here to visit the Key Stage 4 courses page.

KEY STAGE 5

For more information, click here to visit the Key Stage 5 courses page.