Religious Studies at Harris Church of England Academy is taught across all key stages in line with the Warwickshire Agreed Syllabus. This covers all of the major world religions whilst recognising the role of Christianity as the principle religion in this country. The Religious Studies at Harris seeks to promote the core values of empathy, respect and a deeper understanding of the beliefs, values and cultures represented across the world. Students are encouraged to develop their skills of analysis, critical thinking and evaluation. They also have the opportunity to work creatively and collaboratively with other students.
All students from year 9-11 are entered for full course GCSE Religious Studies. The RS department actively seeks to bring in outside speakers and provides students with the opportunity to visit places of worship and attend annual events such as Youth SACRE.
Our KS3 curriculum is enquiry based allowing students the opportunity to explore ‘big’ questions such as ‘is there life after death?’ and ‘why is there evil and suffering’. Students are able to learn and analyse the beliefs of major world religions through a thematic and enquiry based approach. Students study all of the major world religions with a focus on Christianity, Islam and Judaism in preparation for their GCSE studies. In year 7 students begin with ‘The Island’ which is a scheme of learning designed to enable students to learn about community, beliefs, practices and moral issues in an experiential way. Students then go on to study ‘Belief in God’ where students begin to explore philosophical theories surrounding the existence of God. They will also study the concept of Prophet hood in Islam and the importance of the covenant in Judaism. In Year 8 students will learn about what it means to be committed to a faith. They will they look at the importance of salvation within Christianity, the moral issues surrounding peace and conflict and life after death. Our KS3 curriculum is designed to ensure that students are provided with the foundations of knowledge, understanding and skills they will need for their GCSE studies in year 9.
Year 11 students are currently studying the EDEXCEL Religion and Life and Religion and Society units. There are two papers of 90 minutes each and assessment is by those two examinations. There is no coursework or controlled assessments in RS. The Religion and Life paper explores Christian beliefs and the Religion and Society paper covers both Christian and Hindu beliefs.
We study topics which impact the world and the individual; Belief in God, Issues of Life and Death, Community Cohesion, Environmental and Medical issues, Peace and Conflict and Crime and Punishment. These studies allow students to deepen and develop skills that they started at key stage 3 and enable them to explore, question and consider their own and other people’s beliefs.
Year 9 and 10 students are studying the new Eduqas GCSE Religious Studies exam course. Students are required to study four themes including Relationships, Human Rights, Good and Evil and Issues of Life and Death. These themes are examined through a 2-hour Philosophy and Ethics paper which is worth 50% of the overall marks allocated. Students will also study the beliefs and practices of Christians and Jews. The Christianity and Judaism exam papers are 1 hour long each and together they make up the other 50% of students overall marks. The new GCSE exam course places emphasis on the diversity within and between religions, sources of moral authority and gaining a deeper understanding into how theological beliefs and teachings apply to modern day ethical dilemmas.
SMSC IN RELIGIOUS STUDIES
Religious Studies makes a significant contribution to both the spiritual, moral, social and cultural education and the Christian Distinctiveness of Harris Church of England Academy. We encourage students to think about others and the part we as individuals play in the world. We do this as part of the curriculum in studying religion and the impact on the individual, but we also consider some thought provoking and difficult topics e.g. death and the afterlife, as well as considering our responsibility to others in all parts of the world.
SPIRITUAL DEVELOPMENT IN RELIGIOUS STUDIES
Religious Studies allows students to ask questions about the search for the meaning of the purpose of life. They are able to consider this ‘big’ question in an environment of enquiry; they have an opportunity to learn from their own and others experiences and to reflect on and interpret spirituality in different ways including discussion, questioning and creativity.
MORAL DEVELOPMENT IN RELIGIOUS STUDIES
Religious Studies gives students the opportunity to learn about and share differing moral values. We encourage students to discuss different moral dilemmas about right and wrong or good and bad. It also helps students to think about their own and others responsibilities towards the world and future generations. Through RS students have the opportunity to make a personal response and consider other peoples responses to moral issues and try to evaluate them.
SOCIAL DEVELOPMENT IN RELIGIOUS STUDIES
Religious Studies affords students the chance to explore similarities and differences in religions and cultures. We encourage students to link religious beliefs to personal and community action in everyday life. We also promote positive social development within the classroom by interaction between students and staff and students with other students. We encourage and reward cooperation within the classroom and outside.
Cultural Development in Religious Studies Since RS involves learning about other religions it provides good opportunities for cultural development. It encourages students to consider differences with religions and to ask questions and make links between those different groups and to consider how culture impacts in differing ways on people’s lives. It also helps students to develop confidence in themselves and encourages them to respond positively to issues of similarities and differences within our multi-faith and changing society.