Welcome to the Religious Studies Department

Because we are "inspired by the knowledge and love of God", Religious Studies is a central part of our curriculum.

Intent

In a city famous for its ecumenism (in both religion and sport!), we see RS as being critical in helping to educate for dignity and respect, encouraging all to live together well. By studying RS at SMA, students will further develop their understanding of what it means to BELONG to a religion, what the key BELIEFS are of that religion and how an adherent of that religion may BEHAVE as a result of those beliefs.

The 'big ideas' we teach are: God; Creation; The Fall; The People of God; The Incarnation; The Gospel; Salvation; and The Kingdom of God.

Implementation

In Key Stage 3, our knowledge-rich curriculum is based on Diocese's 'Illuminating Pathways' scheme. Topics fit with times in the calendar (eg 'Belonging' at the start of Year 7). Content includes Belonging to the Christian faith; the Bible; Jesus; Places of Worship; Holy Books (building on previous work); Leaders/Special People. Given their increasing ability to abstract, philosophical questions (eg the Nature of God) are introduced later in the Stage. Biblical literacy and its influences on both Christians and Jews today pave the way for Key Stage 4 study.

By the end of Key Stage 4 learners will demonstrate a deep understanding of Christianity's and Judaism's key beliefs, including how different traditions interpret their Holy Books and apply them to modern-day life. Religious responses to moral issues develop these applications further.

In Key Stage 5, students apply ideas underpinning Schools of Philosophical Thought to ethical dilemmas, and analyse Philosophical Concepts through Religious Language, Conscience and Meta Ethics. Students will explore more deeply the interrelationship between Christianity and Feminist Theology as well as that between Christianity and Science (as many of our students go on to study Science at University).

Sequencing and Assessment: We sequence our curriculum using 'Spiral Learning', revisiting topics throughout the year/Key Stages, making links with prior learning and the 'big ideas' (see 'Intent' above). This form of learning helps ensure long-term retention of knowledge within our subject, as does our linking of 'Ten Facts' homeworks with the content of current RS lessons. (Reading homeworks are also set). In this way we systematically check learners' understanding and retention. We use low stakes testing and questioning as part of our Responsive Teaching. Within each lesson students use Green Pen to correct and enhance their work. A summative assessment concludes each unit.

All resources are shared centrally. We make good use of resources from the Diocese and ensure the content is accessible for all.

Guest speakers (from a range of Christian traditions) are invited into school. We take part in a number of national competitions and initiatives.

Impact

In this Department, we evaluate the development of the student 'holistically' and recognise the impact of explicitly making connections between our Christian Values and appropriate Life Skills. Pupils' commitment (eg) to charity and to volunteering reflects their learning in RS.

There are, therefore, several ways in which we measure how well we have achieved our intent – most obviously, our student's external exam results; but we also evaluate the impact of our curriculum through an annual Pupil Voice survey and their enjoyment/ engagement over the year.