Religious Education / Philosophy, Ethics & Religion
Religious Education / Philosophy, Ethics & Religion provokes challenging questions about the ultimate meaning and purpose of life, beliefs about God, the self and the nature of reality, issues of right and wrong and what it means to be human.
It challenges students to reflect on, consider, analyse, interpret and evaluate issues of truth, belief, faith and ethics and to communicate their responses. It develops students’ awareness, knowledge and understanding of Christianity and other principal religions, religious traditions and world views.
Religious Education has an important role to play in preparing students for adult life. It encourages students to develop their sense of identity and belonging. It enables them to develop individually, within their communities, as members of a diverse society and as global citizens. It enables students to develop respect for and sensitivity to others, in particular those whose faiths, beliefs and world views are different from their own. It promotes discernment and enables students to overcome prejudice.
Key Stage 3
In Years 7-9 students are taught Religious Education for one period a week, through a programme which follows Hertfordshire’s agreed syllabus. Six major world religions are covered by studying their historical, cultural and spiritual significance and their effect on present-day life. Students are also given the opportunity to engage with and discuss philosophical and ethical issues. Students will have an opportunity to develop their investigation, interpretation, reflection, empathy, evaluation, analysis, application and synthesis skills.
- How was the universe created?
- Was Jesus man or God?
- How is the Bible used?
- Do our actions influence our future?
- What did Siddhartha teach about suffering?
- How do Sikhs achieve equality within community life?
- Research project: places of worship
- How is self-discipline reflected in the everyday life of a Muslim?
- Ultimate Questions
- How important is home and tradition for Jews?
- Christianity through Art
- Is there a right way to live?
- Currently: Does suffering have a point?
- How can we know anything?
- Why should we remember the Holocaust?
Assessments are viewed as pieces of evidence that, together with other evidence from lessons, homework and discussion, allow teachers to judge each student’s overall performance. Students are given a level for a piece of work on average once every term.
Piece of writing analysing creation stories from around the world
Piece of writing updating the parable of the Good Samaritan
Creating a board game on Hindu beliefs about life after death.
Piece of writing analysing and evaluating equality in Sikhism
A diary of a pilgrimage to Hajj
Piece of writing applying and analysing moral codes in today’s society
Piece of writing analysing ethics in the news
Students will receive shorter tasks to complete at home on average twice a half term. Tasks will include: researching facts, completing pieces of work started in class and answering questions which consolidate work learnt in class.
Key Stage 4
Students will be challenged with questions about belief, values, meaning, purpose and truth, enabling them to develop their own attitudes towards religious issues. They will also gain an appreciation of how religion, philosophy and ethics form the basis of our culture. They will develop analytical and critical thinking skills, the ability to work with abstract ideas and research skills. All these skills will help prepare them for further study and life beyond education.
AQA Philosophy Ethics and Religion
Component 1: Beliefs, teachings and practices in Christianity and Islam
Component 2: Religious, philosophical and ethical studies:
- Relationships and families – Family, Marriage, Divorce, Contraception, Human Sexuality, Gender Equality, Prejudice and Discrimination
- Religion and life – Abortion, Euthanasia, Death and the Afterlife, Use and abuse of the environment, Natural Resources, Pollution, Animal Experimentation, Origins of the universe
- The existence of God and revelation – Design argument, First cause argument, Miracles, Visions, Revelation, Evil and Suffering
- Religion, crime and punishment – Treatment of criminals, Forgiveness, Death Penalty, Corporal Punishment, Types of crimes.
Students complete a formal, usually exam question based, assessment at least once at the end of a topic. They are given a numerical mark, percentage and a grade. Additionally, students will complete more regular, short tests to assess core-knowledge through exit tickets and online quizzes. These will not be graded, but will be scored.
Students will receive home learning about once every two weeks. This takes the form of completing notes started in class, research, completing an exam style question or revision for tests/end of unit exam questions. These tasks will usually take one week’s homework.
Key Stage 5
Philosophy, ethics and religion ‘A’ level (OCR ‘A’ Level GCE Religious Studies H573) is offered as an option. The course comprises three components: Philosophy of religion, Religious ethics and Developments in Christian thought. Students sit three, two hour exams at the end of Year 13.
Students complete a formal, usually exam question based, assessment after each topic. They are given a numerical mark and a subject specific grade or level and constructive written feedback using the A Level assignment mark sheet.
Students will receive home learning about once every two weeks. This will, primarily, take the form of regular testing of core-knowledge through online quizzes and completion of exam-style questions. Additionally, preparation and revision for tests/end of unit exam questions will be set. These tasks will usually take one week’s home learning.
We often have STEP (St Albans and Harpenden Christian Education Project) into our lessons at all Key Stages to help deliver lessons ranging from ultimate questions to Jesus’ parables and Christian beliefs about life after death.
Future trips include a visit to a food bank as part of the GCSE syllabus.
There is also a joint History and RE trip to Poland, including a visit to Auschwitz-Birkenau, run during Curriculum Enrichment Week.
Where can Religious Education take you?
A number of our ‘A’ Level students go on to study Philosophy at university while many others use what they have learnt at school to enhance their study in a wide range of degree courses from primary school teaching to Medicine.
How parents can support their child’s learning
Ensure your child completes all home learning. Encourage your child to watch the news regularly and help and provide access to internet/library resources. Encourage an open, unprejudiced approach to other faiths and beliefs.