Religion and Worldviews (RW) will help students access and understand the world by encouraging them to reflect, be self-aware and be able to use that self-understanding to help them understand others (empathy). Many contemporary issues require an understanding of religion to help interpret them. Likewise, people’s beliefs and actions are often informed by religious ideology or in response to it so understanding that is essential.
RW also helps with students’ personal development and supports an understanding of the spiritual, moral, social and cultural questions that surface again and again in their lives. The RW curriculum will help to develop responsibility and respect for all aspects of diversity, whether it be social, cultural or religious, and prepare students for life in modern Britain.
Religion and Worldviews at Whitelands will ensure that all students receive an up to date, academic curriculum based on high standards of scholarship, intellectual and personal challenge and enrichment that is characterised by both breadth and depth. This will be achieved by giving students a scholarly framework for understanding the nature, diversity and complexity of religion and non-religion and enabling them to understand the impact that it has had and continues to have on the world. Furthermore, we will ensure that students are able to raise questions and constructively assess different religious and secular perspectives and develop and understand their own position in relation to them. Understanding and experiencing the diversity of belief / non-belief and practice in the world will be a key outcome of RW. Knowledge of the influence of religion and non-religion is a core component of understanding people and society and is therefore essential in order that young people succeed in life.
Our curriculum is academic and ambitious:
Students are taught in mixed ability groups, where the lessons are planned to the top and scaffolded down using strategies such as the SEN. The same aspiring learning objectives are written with the aim for all students to achieve.
The KS3 curriculum will be cumulatively sufficient in terms of knowledge and skills for all students to be able to understand the complexity and diversity of religion in order that they can interpret and understand the modern world in relation to belief and practice and thus their place among the global population and society. The units teach the nature and development of religion alongside how it is academically studied and how knowledge operates within religion. Students study both Semitic and Vedic religion to give them breadth in terms of groups of religions that originated in different parts of the world. Students also learn about the interrelation between religions for example Judaism, Christianity and Islam. To add to that diversity students also do a unit on new religious movements and secular worldviews. By year nine students will have the basic foundations (substantive knowledge and conceptual framework) they need so they can study controversies within religion. This will enable them to link their understanding more clearly to some of the contemporary issues in the news. This grounding this will also enable students to pursue GCSE studies in the subject.
Our curriculum is broad and enriching:
The curriculum reflects the fact that ‘The religious traditions in Great Britain are, in the main, Christian whilst taking account of the teaching and practices of the other principal religions represented in Great Britain.’ This is achieved through overall topic choices as well as the selection of material within individual topics and lessons.
The knowledge needed to succeed in life that is found in RW is especially important for those who are most vulnerable, who lack access to cultural capital and who are not exposed to local, national and global diversity of thought and practice.
Students at Whitelands will additionally have the opportunity to undertake field visits to enable them to contextualise their learning. They will also have the opportunity to engage with speakers and academics to enable them to engage with current issues relevant to the subject.
We will begin to build a provision of field trips:
- At KS3 we will develop a humanities visit to Oxford and one to London.
- At KS4 for full course GCSE we will develop a field visit that supports the students in their chosen programme of study.
- Additionally, we will develop relationships with local universities and religious communities to provide visiting speakers.
Our curriculum promotes core literacy:
We promote literacy in Religious Education through the introduction and use of tier 3 vocabulary, whilst also comprehending and inferring texts. Literacy is a vital part of the whole curriculum which is subject and topic specific. Literacy is engrained into all lessons alongside comprehension tasks. This literacy focus increased in difficulty and application of text get more challenging as students move through the curriculum. Students have access to key terminology and knowledge organisers introduced using dual coding. Regular extended writing allows students to develop their language and vocabulary.
We deliver a values-based curriculum:
At Whitelands Academy we have a cohort with 84% White British. We promote respect and tolerance within the school and Religious Education plays a crucial aspect in students understanding and becoming inclusive of diversity.
Religious Education has never been more relevant, engaging or challenging as religion and religious issues are in the news every day. The recent events in France are just a reminder of the dangers of religious extremism and how religious education can play a vital role in addressing these matters. This will be addressed by teaching all students the importance of understanding that different people have different views within modern day society and that these communities can coexist peacefully. For students to be able to understand our constantly changing world they need to be able to interpret religious issues and evaluate their significance. From the students first day at school RE gives students valuable insights into the diverse beliefs and opinions held by people today. It helps with their own personal development and supports an understanding of the spiritual, moral, social and cultural questions that surface again and again in their lives.
We deliver a knowledge-rich curriculum:
A successful RW student at Whitelands will ‘Know more and remember more.’ Knowledge is presented through knowledge organisers and students complete low stake quizzes through DNAs and home learning. These knowledge quizzes are mapped using the theory spaced learning to support students in retaining the knowledge into their long-term memory.
- They will have excellent substantive knowledge and will have the following skills and attributes:
- Knowledge and understanding about religion and non – religion and its impact on the world.
- Knowledge and understanding about the relationship between the ideals of a tradition and the realities of how it is understood and lived by communities.
- Knowledge and understanding about the complexity, commonality, diversity, and exceptions in belief and practice within religious traditions and non-religious worldviews
- Knowledge and understanding about the fluid boundaries between religious traditions.
- Knowledge and understanding about debates between religious traditions and non-religious worldviews
- Have knowledge and understanding of current debates in the subject.
- Have an understanding of different ways of knowing within the academic field e.g. using historical, sociological, phenomenological or theological methods. Knowledge of what each method reveals and conceals.
- Have an understanding of critical tools that may be used in the study of religion, for example reliability, audience and bias.
- Have an understanding of the impact of a person’s position (including their own) in relation to the material.
- Have an understanding of the issue of representation. (For example, whose representation is this? What is the status and authority of the content? What is the status of the claim being made?).
- Have an understanding of the role and importance of scholarship.
- Be able to use their knowledge of religion and non-religion to help them interpret the world.
- Be able to interact with both the pleasant and unpleasant manifestations of religious thought and practice.
- Be conceptually adept. Be able to link concepts within and between traditions. Be able to apply knowledge and ideas to a new situation.
- Be curious and able to raise pertinent questions about the subject matter, challenge assumptions and suggest alternative possibilities and lines of argument.
- Be a critical thinker of their own ideas and the ideas of others
- Be reflective. Be open to challenge to the extent their own ideas and values may change or be reinforced and be able to articulate this