“Be a free thinker and don’t accept everything you hear as truth. Be critical and evaluate what you believe in”
It is the entitlement of every student in every school to receive a Philosophy, Religion and Ethics education (PRE) education. It is essential to both the academic and personal development of young people, and supports their journey of understanding about the world and their place and role in it. PRE sits at the core of any school curriculum and unlocks the door to other subjects. It shines a light on crucial cultural, moral, religious, ethical, spiritual beliefs and ideas and, in doing so, it addresses key questions and debates that our students will come across in both their and childhood and adulthood. PRE champions difference and diversity and provides a safe space for students to ask big questions and share and develop their own viewpoints about the beliefs and lives of others. We ensure our students are intellectually challenged and stimulated and are well equipped with the knowledge, understanding and academic literacy they require to flourish in their local, national and international communities and make a positive contribution. They are kind, responsible, tolerant, compassionate and critical and independent thinkers as a result of their time with us and leave us free from misconceptions and cultural stereotypes and bias.
Mindful of the lack of diversity that exists in Newark, our RS curriculum has been carefully designed to expose students to a wide range of religious beliefs and practices. We challenge our students to carefully consider the impact of these beliefs and practices on individuals and wider societies and sequence our learning journey thoughtfully and skilfully, building towards rich, enquiry questions such as ‘What is the impact of misrepresentation of religion today’ or ‘Does the soul exist’? We place great importance of PRE being delivered by highly enabled subject experts who love facilitating discussion and are specialists in creating safe spaces for discussion. They also promote the academic nature of the subject, framing the curriculum around core themes of religion, philosophy and ethics and teaching the significance of symbolism and rituals. We work hard to instil in students a thirst and love for learning that goes beyond the classroom through our active encouragement that they engage through books, documentaries and travel.
Our PRE curriculum is therefore designed to:
- Guide students to become reflective thinkers who are open to change and discourse.
- Equip students with core knowledge and understanding of vital issues than fall under three themes, religion (what people believe and how this effects their practices), ethics (moral principles that guide people) and philosophy (the love of knowledge, answering open ended questions).
- Develop student’s skills of analysis and reason so they can confidently assess knowledge of all major world faiths which they can then discus and ponder.
- Teach and model tolerance of others’ beliefs, life choices, religion and race.
- Develop the attitudes and attributes of a critical thinker such as observation, problem solving and decision making.
- Develop students’ ability to assess what, why and how beliefs impact people’s decisions and apply these to current situations.
- To develop an inquisitive nature, one that wants to understand people, places and beliefs.
- Help enable students to know how and why then can contribute to a diverse and multi-cultural society.
- Develop a scheme of learning that will unlock the content of other curriculum areas such as history, Geography, English Literature and Sociology
- Promote high level of oracy and literacy by encouraging students to think, speak and write with confidence and fluency.
- Make serious and meaningful attempts to approach difficult stories and scenarios with compassion and expertise in dialogue with students.
- Key action points:
- Application of knowledge though more My Time activities
- Development of the curriculum at KS3 to include more theology and philosophy
- Use of homework to go beyond the classroom and engage with academic stories
- Promotion of high levels of oracy and literacy e.g. shaping sentence, improving on written answers, SHAPE learning.