“If we learn to understand each other, we will learn to understand ourselves”.
In many ways RE is the beating heart of the curriculum. It address the ‘things’ that inspire, motivate, give meaning to and often give controversy to life. It informs our understanding of history, politics, conflict, science and the arts, and shows us the ideas that have shaped the world in the past and continue to shape the world today. It gives us the language and perspective to question the world around us, as well as the ability to understand the rituals, beliefs and practices that define communities. RE challenges us to ask questions with deep and personal meaning, whilst allowing us to accept that sometimes there are no definitive answers. It equips us with a cultural, social, moral and spiritual knowledge that aids mental and physical development, and gives us the skills to thrive within a society that is increasingly defined by its diversity and multiculturalism. Notwithstanding, in our complicated and confusing world, RE is the beautiful tool with which we can unpick the misunderstandings, challenge the prejudices and obliterate the stereotypes that cause conflict and tension.
RE is a broad umbrella term that brings together a wide range of different subjects areas and themes, including philosophy, culture, society, ethics and, of course, belief. At Oasis Academy Leesbrook we are proud to offer a bespoke RE curriculum that is designed for our pupils and the unique context of the academy. The Curriculum at KS3 enables pupils to develop the skills essential to academic success (for example the ability to think critically) as well as the curiosity and empathy necessary to develop true understanding. In Year 7 students explore how our identity as humans is created and the factors that make us unique as humans. They explore welcoming ceremonies from different religious and non-religious cultures, in addition to how the clothes we wear and the food we eat affects our identity and shows our identity to each other. Students also investigate how our beliefs and values (religious and non-religious) affect and help to create our identities. Pupils then move on to a unit on Community, starting by examining what community centres are and the purpose that they serve. They move on to a depth study of different places of worship, including the Gurdwara, Mosque, Church, Synagogue and Temple, all the while considering their purpose in the community and the variety of ways in which they are used. Finally, they investigate whether there is any meaning left in modern Christmas with a topic on the culture and history of Christmas celebrations and tradition. They search for the evidence of religion within a myriad of different Christmas rituals and traditions. They move on to examine the ‘evidence’ of the birth of Jesus from the gospels, before investigating how the modern British Christmas is celebrated.
In Year 8 pupils examine the issues of extremism, radicalisation and terrorism. Students start this unit by investigating what extremism is, what causes extremism and how extremism of varying types has affected modern Britain. They move on to explore the nature and history of modern terrorism, including an examination of some recent acts of terror. Finally students examine religious attitudes to terrorism to enable them to evaluate whether it is in fact possible for a religious believer to be a ‘terrorist’. They then move on to a unit entitled “The Great God Mystery”. Students explore beliefs about the nature of God from a number of different religious perspectives, They start with examining arguments for and against the existence of God (including reference to evil and suffering) before embarking on a multi-faith investigation of different beliefs in God. Finally, Year 8 pupils investigate the issues of prejudice and discrimination. The unit starts with an exploration of the causes of racism and discrimination, and the different types of discrimination that exist in modern society. A case study investigation of Martin Luther King and Malcolm X is supported by the examination of Muslim and Christian attitudes to discrimination.
Pupils commence Year 9 with a study on Israel and Palestine. Pupils explore the history of the conflict in Israel and the current nature of the conflict. The role of religion within the conflict is addressed and explored and the work of Wahat-al-Salam/Neve Shalom is examined. Through an extended unit on medical ethics pupils then explore the issues of embryo research and IVF, including the case-study of ‘Octomom’. Religious attitudes towards the use of science to create life are examined, as are the various ethical concerns linked with designer babies and embryo research. Pupils then examine the religious and ethical issues linked with blood and organ transplants and life support before exploring The Right to Die Debate and euthanasia. Pupils conclude the year by exploring the Holocaust through the reconstruction of individual victims’ stories. They will explore the ways in which Jews (and a variety of other minority groups including Gypsies and those with disabilities) were targeted, marginalised and persecuted.
At GCSE pupils will follow the EDUQAS curriculum, taking the following options:
•Issues of Philosophy and Ethics
•Christianity: Belief and Practice
•Islam: Belief and Practice