'Just as a candle cannot burn without fire, men cannot live without a spiritual life' - The Buddha
Religion, Ethics and Philosophy go to the very core of what it means to be human. Through a variety of world faiths we can understand and empathise with others; we can find what links us all and find our own truths. Through Ethics we can explore what it means to be good and how we can put beliefs into action in the real world. Through Philosophy we can challenge ourselves to think deeply about the questions that concern us most.
In RE we look to explore all three aspects of the subject so that students learn about different beliefs, values and cultures that are relevant to the UK and our globalising world in the 21st century. We study all six major world religions as well as non-religious perspectives and encourage students to come to their own conclusions regarding the questions explored in lessons and beyond.
'We are not human beings having a spiritual experience. We are spiritual beings having a human experience' - Pierre Teilhard de Chardin
In Key Stage 3: The students will be exploring a number of key questions which allow them to learn about the six main world religions and other key beliefs and groups. Throughout this time each student will be developing four skills sets which we have identified as sitting at the heart of RE: Analysis & Reasoning; Explanation & Application; Investigation & Enquiry; Reflection & Empathy. These skills sets are introduced over the three years, starting with Analysis & Reasoning and Explanation & Application in Year 7.
In Year 7: Students learn about key beliefs about belief in God, Sikhism, Islam, Christianity and Spirituality by putting key questions at the heart of their work. These are: How has belief in God developed? Sikhism: Living as a Sikh in Britain; The Five Pillars: What impact do they have in individual’s lives? Forgiveness: an impossible task? How do people express their spirituality?
In Year 8: Students ask a series of key questions from all six main world faiths starting with an exploration of what it means to be a Hindu in modern Britain. The subsequent units ask these questions: Happiness: is it the purpose to life? Who are the Jewish Peoples? Good, bad, right, wrong: How can I decide? Life after death: does it exist?
In Year 9: Students focus more on key philosophical and ethical questions, starting with a look at the many questions raised by the ethics of war and conflict. Next is a study of the key elements of the Buddhist faith and how Buddhist navigate the modern world. The next unit considers the responses from religion to the problem of evil, with a focus on the story in the diary of Anne Frank and, subsequently, suffering and the Holocaust. Students then look at the religion of Islam and how this is practised and complete the year exploring the ways in which religion and society have developed.
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In Key Stage four: Students have the option to take the RE GCSE. We use the Edexcel Philosophy & Ethics specification which covers units such as Belief about God, Crime and Punishment, Peace and Conflict and Medical Ethics. We study eight units over the two years, focusing on Christianity and Buddhism, with two exams at the end.
We also run a Core Ethics course for all Year 10 and 11 students during one lesson a fortnight. Students explore key ethical themes of Values and Commitments, Freedoms, Genetic Engineering, Capital Punishment and the purposes of Punishment, Religion and the Media and a research task, chosen from a range of questions such as ‘Can you talk to the dead?’ and ‘Pooh’s Philosophy is the best Philosophy: Discuss.’
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In Key Stage Five: We use the Edexcel RE: Philosophy, Ethics & Belief Course which is split into three main units. The first, Philosophy, covers key themes including arguments for the existence of God and counter arguments such as the Problem of Evil and questions about Religious Experience. The next, Ethics, explores units such as Utilitarianism and Situation Ethics alongside practical issues such as War and Peace and Sexual Ethics. The last unit, Buddhism, explores the Life of the Buddha, key texts and beliefs, alongside critical analysis, anthology pieces plus practical implications.
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