In accordance with the whole school policy, the Religious Studies department sees itself as being central and integral to the whole school ethos in promoting our school values. We aim to help each pupil achieve their full potential; academically, emotionally and socially and to provide a secure environment in which this process can take place.
The understanding of the vocabulary and language of Religious Studies underpins all of the work undertaken. All pupils are encouraged to develop a critical, reflective, and ‘open minded’ response to all aspects of the subject.
This will be done through:
• A delivery of Religious Studies which caters for the talents and abilities of all pupils.
• Promoting the qualities of determination, self-motivation and objective self -criticism.
• Promoting teamwork and a sense of place in the local, national and international community.
• Promoting a culture of high expectations and challenging pupils to achieve at the highest levels of attainment.
• Inspiring confidence and innovation by promoting resilience, experimentation and critical thinking skills.
• Creating opportunities for independent, group and collaborative class work.
• Providing a non-threatening environment in which pupils and staff value each other as individuals.
• Learning about Religions: to enable pupils to come to an understanding of religious beliefs and practices.
• Learning from Religions: to help students to develop positive attitudes, respect and sensitivity towards the ethical, moral, philosophical and social issues associated with religious beliefs.
• Encouraging students to examine and reflect upon and value the spiritual aspects of life.
In Religious Studies, students follow the Diocesan scheme of work (Illuminating Pathways) at KS3, beginning in Year 7 with an introduction to the Christian values and ethos of the school (Love, Forgiveness, Peace, Equality and Courage). Students then move on to study 5 further topics; Belonging, people of faith, Where can Christianity be found in the world, the resurrection of Jesus and where do people find affirmation of faith? In year 8 students study Islam and the media, a module on justice called, “is it fair?”, sacred texts, death and the afterlife, and two final modules focusing on the nature of God (where is God? and what is God?) Students are provided with one knowledge organiser per half term which covers the fundamental retrieval of key religious vocabulary.
At key stage 4, the majority of students study AQA GCSE Religious Studies A. Lessons are collaboratively planned to endure consistency across the Religious Studies curriculum. Knowledge organisers/key words are used for all KS4 topic areas and lesson begin with low stakes retrieval quizzes on the knowledge organiser.
Throughout the course students will experience
• Topics taught to a high standard using a variety of learning styles.
• Consistency across lesson structure. Lessons begin with a low stakes retrieval quiz based on the knowledge organiser, quality explanation of lesson content and opportunities throughout the lesson to apply knowledge to exam style questions.
• High quality questioning to establish and develop understanding and to identify misconceptions.
• Key exam technique and skills development.
• Acquisition of a broad religious, ethical and philosophical vocabulary.
• Engagement with key religious beliefs and practices and how these apply to various themes, including relationships, crime and punishment, war and conflict and responses to the environment.
• Development of revision and exam techniques.
• Robust testing and assessment each term, with individual feedback for areas of improvement and strength. This includes a question level analysis so students are able to see exactly where they are succeeding and where they need to develop strategies for improvement.
Students are formally assessed once per term in all key stages. A whole class feedback sheet is completed by the class teacher and shared with the class and a question level analysis is also completed to identify areas for personalised intervention strategies to be implemented.
Students are provided with revision guides and wider reading in the form of religious and, ethical and philosophical articles to further develop vocabulary and to extend the learning. Analytical and evaluative techniques are used to assess student understanding and knowledge of key topics.
Our Religious Studies curriculum is high quality, well thought out and is planned to demonstrate progression. We measure the impact of our curriculum through the following methods:
A reflection on standards achieved against the planned outcomes;
Termly assessment for each Year group ;
Tracking of low stakes testing;
Pupil discussions about their learning;
RS at St Michael’s contributes to the personal reflection and development of our students, but also heightens respect for the beliefs of others and helps contribute to building a diverse and cohesive society.
RS creates a safe space for our students, to test their own identity and beliefs and to reflect with others in a respectful manner on the search for meaning and values.
Over a period of time, RS contributes enormously to the development of literacy across a wide range of texts and resources. The ability to express the big questions in words, story, art, song and ritual has an impact on the development of knowledge, understanding, skills and attitudes of our students.
Through the study of topics such as people of faith and courage, stewardship and the environment and religious responses to the local and world community, students are encouraged to become actively involved in the needs of the world, particularly in support of those in most need.
Through the study of RS, students are able to make links between their own lives and those of others in their community and in the wider world. During lessons students are developing an understanding of other people’s cultures and ways of life, which they engage with in a respectful manner. RS offers our students the opportunity to develop their own values and moral compass in light of the beliefs and religious faith of others. As such, RS plays a valuable role in helping to shape the young people of St. Michael’s and aims to support equipping them for their journey through life.