Religious Education

Curriculum Intent

In line with our school mission of ‘Aspiring to Be More’ and fulfilling the Catholic values of Faith, Excellence and Respect, our RE curriculum is designed with the intention of developing the whole person. Through an enriched Catholic curriculum, we build on confidence in examining one’s own faith, resilience and independence to build on aspirations and a tolerance and respect of others.

As a Catholic school, Christ is at the centre of all that we do and the life and lessons of Jesus are interleaved throughout the curriculum from KS3 to KS5. Students are encouraged to reflect on their own beliefs and values as well as exploring the faiths, traditions and cultures of those around them, developing their understanding of themselves and the world around them and appreciating the diversity of our community.

For RSE, we use the Diocesan approved TenTen Life to the Full programme, which is a Catholic programme designed to teach secondary students about the following key areas of Relationships and Sex Education, from a Catholic perspective:

  • Education in virtue
  • Religious understanding of the human person: loving myself, loving others and communities
  • Me, my body and my health
  • Emotional well-being and attitudes
  • Life cycles and fertility
  • Personal Relationships
  • Keeping safe and people who can help me
  • Living in the wider world

Our curriculum is designed with the students in mind, we aim to promote a love of learning through engaging our curriculum with core Catholic values and an interest in the wider world, aiming to make our curriculum relevant and enriching as well as challenging and ambitious to stretch our learners and develop their thinking skills. Our curriculum is designed to build on prior learning, recognising the Catholic RE scheme ‘Living and Growing as People of God’ studied across our MAC in KS1-2 and feeding into the secondary Catholic RE scheme ‘People of God’. Through this, we create a bespoke curriculum where every child is known and loved, through the exploration of knowing and loving God and our neighbour. We provide a wide range of opportunities with a focus on building on students oracy skills through philosophical, ethical and critical thinking, which builds resilience and confidence, both academically and socially.

 

KS3

Transition into Year 7 is a pivotal point in the development of key skills and understanding and as a Catholic school, we endeavour to build and sequence a curriculum which embeds core Catholic values and has Christ at the centre.

At St Thomas More, the KS3 curriculum builds on the ‘Living and Growing as People of God’ scheme of learning, where students are immersed into a rich variety of religious, philosophical and ethical issues. Our curriculum is designed to build on the work completed at KS2, where students explore the life and death of Jesus through parables, Bible study and links to RE in the world today. Our curriculum embeds the Catholic scheme of ‘The People of God’, and all students at KS3 follow a well-sequenced scheme of learning which develops their spirituality as a person of God. Additionally, our intent is that all students will have a broader and better developed understanding of the world around them by challenging them to explore wider world faiths and beliefs which differ to their own. In Year 7 particularly, students develop spirituality through sessions with the Lay Chaplain each fortnight which focus on the exploration of Catholic values and virtues.

Furthermore, the RE department ‘aspire to be more philosophical’. Our curriculum explores a wealth of ethical and philosophical realms of which the students in our current cohorts express great pleasure in learning. We endeavour to embed a culture of faith, excellence and respect through our extra-curricular activities at KS3, as well as trips, to help build the cultural capital of all our learners.

 

KS4

At KS4, we study the Eduqas Religious Studies Route B course, which explores Christianity with a focus on Catholicism and Judaism. The course consists of three components which build on the People of God schemes of learning in KS3 and prepare students for A-Level RS:

  • Foundational Catholic Theology (component one) – Good & Evil, Origins and Meanings
  • Applied Catholic Theology (component two) – Sin and Forgiveness, Life & Death
  • Judaism (component three) – Beliefs & Teachings, Practices

Students explore exciting philosophical concepts such as the creation of the universe and the existence of God, looking at the Problem of Evil and the Cosmological and Teleological arguments, as well as ethical themes including the death penalty, euthanasia and abortion. Exploring these themes allows students to become critical thinkers with a sensitivity to the views of others around them.

Our aim in RE, across all year groups, is to build challenge, critical thinking and a love of learning, meaning that we integrate debate and discussion across all of our units, as well as extended writing tasks and creative work, such as when we study art and artefacts in Christianity and Judaism. Students are assessed every 8th lesson and have curriculum maps to identify when they are assessed throughout the course to encourage them to independently track their own learning and prepare for upcoming assessments.

 

KS5

Religious Studies is a popular subject broadened out at A-Level as ‘Philosophy, Ethics and Theology’. It is an academic subject that allows students to write well and produce balanced and supported arguments. It is valued by employers and universities for these transferable skills.

Philosophy asks the big questions like ‘If the universe started with the ‘Big Bang’, then who caused the ‘Big Bang’? It also examines other questions that religious people have tried to solve such as ‘How can a loving God allow evil?’. CS Lewis who wrote ‘The Chronicles of Narnia’ had one solution, he said that ‘in suffering God’s voice booms’ and that is when we hear him loudest. We examine arguments for and against, the strength of evidence and the use of language. These are great skills for careers in law and journalism for example.

Ethics allows us to understand what is ‘good’ and what is the correct or moral course of action. We study different philosophers’ ideas from St Thomas Aquinas’ Natural Moral Law and Divine Command Theory which puts God at the centre of deciding what is right or wrong to Max Stirmers ‘Ethical Egoism’ which says that the best thing to do is to please yourself! Being able to make moral ethical decisions is invaluable in health, social work, the police.

Theology allows us to study religious sources of wisdom and gain a greater understanding of our faith and its meaning for us today. This course is aimed at students who have a commitment to the idea that religion and religious belief motivate people to make significant decisions in their lives.

If you enjoyed GCSE R.E., this course will allow you to take your studies further. If you enjoy debating and being able to form strong and interesting arguments, whilst also considering other viewpoints this course is also for you.

 

Curriculum Implementation

In RE we centre our ways of knowing through how we act and respondhelping pupils to reflect personally, with integrity on what they have learned and consider the implications for actions on our own lives and the world in which we live; through how we see and understand helping pupils to understand deeply the meaning of sacred texts, beliefs, rites and the lives of individuals and communities;  through how we judge and discernhelping students to judge wisely in response to different interpretations of meanings, significance and implications of texts, beliefs, rites and ways of life.

Students are supported through a consistent approach to teaching and learning across the department, providing all students with an inspiring and challenging environment. In RE, we dedicate time to define, understand, verbalise and apply key literacy in all units, this is completed in lessons, assessments and fortnightly key literacy quizzing. Such a focus develops student confidence in terms of speaking and writing in RE.

Students are further enriched in RE through our extra-curricular opportunities which include Philosophy Club and RE Speaks, clubs which are tailored to improving student oracy and resilience, as well as a range of external speakers and visits to explore the world around us.

End of Course Assessment

  • Exam board: Eduqas (GCSE and A-Level)
  • GCSE Assessment: students will sit 3 written exams which all take place in the summer term of year 11; GCSE RE is a full GCSE which will be graded from 1-9
  • All components will be assessed by compulsory questions focusing on knowledge, understanding and evaluation of the identified themes, using the ABCD structure which we use in class
  • A-Level Assessment: At the end of year 13, students will sit 3 exams all worth 33% of their final mark. The units are: Philosophy of Religion, Religion and Ethics and Christianity.

 

Career Links

St Thomas More has its very own dedicated careers team.  To find out more about careers at St Thomas More, please click here. 

 

Tips and Advice

Places of worship in our local area:

St Gregory’s Catholic Church: saint gregory’s catholic church, Longton – Home (longtoncatholic.org.uk)

City Central Mosque: City Central Mosque Stoke-on-Trent – Home

Stoke-on-Trent and North Staffordshire Reform Synagogue: Stoke-on-Trent and North Staffordshire Hebrew Congregation – Jewish Small Communities Network (jscn.org.uk)

Further Information

Eduqas Exam Board Specification and Resources: GCSE Religious Studies | Eduqas

Useful YouTube Channel for GCSE Revision: MrMcMillanREvis – YouTube

Subject Leader Information

For more information or if you have any questions please use the contact details below.

Miss G Murphy gmurphy@stmca.org.uk

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