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Religious Education

Religious Education

I believe that religious education must be the sole concern of religious associations. - Mahatma Gandhi

Religious Education at Darwen Aldridge Community Academy is delivered by a team of enthusiastic and dedicated professionals, who realise the importance of this subject in enhancing students’ lives and developing a wide range of transferable skills. We aim to encourage students to be reflective, thoughtful learners, who are appreciative of diversity, and at all times aim to enhance their spiritual, moral, social and cultural experience. Religious Education is taught to all year groups for one hour each week at Key Stage 3, and students are provided with the opportunity to complete a GCSE qualification in Religious Studies.

What we teach and when we teach it - KS3 & KS4

What we teach and when we teach it - KS5

Religious Education Team

The RE faculty comprises a committed and hardworking team with a range of experiences and skills.

Miss Nasira Patel - Teacher of R.E. and Humanities
Mrs Kate Gould - SENDCO and Teacher of R.E
Mrs Andrea McGovern - Lead Coach and Professional Mentor and Teacher of Humanities 
Miss Louise Jones - Teacher of History and R.E

Intent

Passion for RE

Students who study Religious Education at DACA will leave with a passion for exploring, discussing and challenging interpretations of religious ideals. The theologians from DACA will be edgy and controversial by refining their thoughts in a gritty and dynamic environment. Classroom debate and argument will be built around interactive teaching over our five-year journey together. Religious enquiry across the 5-year learning journey will equip students with the empathy skills and the confidence to challenge current worldviews. With discussion-based learning, students will achieve successfully at the end of KS4 in public examinations, opening the door to wider opportunities in an ever-changing world.

Personal Development

Students will become critical thinkers in the tasks and problems that they

are set, driven by real life situations filled with controversy, conflict and control. Controversial topics such as abortion, capital punishment and war will challenge students’ moral compass and provide them with an explicit awareness of the importance of tolerance, mutual respect and diversity in society. The drive to make students feel outstanding will be complimented by the provision of experiential learning through meditation and the use of artefacts to bring the curriculum to life. Through spiritual, moral, social and cultural education in R.E, students will be able to see their role in a diverse British society and have the confidence to make the right choices for their future.

Broad and Deep Knowledge

DACA theologians will be challenged to develop and be critical of their own thinking. They will have a broad and balanced understanding of British laws, current affairs and controversial topics that will equip them with the confidence and ability to express well-grounded opinions. Acquisition of knowledge will be crucial for students to be able to explore, imagine and discover new ideas that are different to their own and develop the resilience needed to argue and counter-argue a philosophical position. Deeper questions will challenge ideals on terrorism, British laws and on euthanasia. How religion is depicted in the media will also challenge students to reflect on the power of TV and emerging technologies.

Skills for the Future

The skills developed by DACA students will create confident individuals who are able to develop their own personal viewpoints. These skills will enable our theologians to become fully functioning members of society in a diverse community in which they hold no stereotypes or prejudices. They will know that their opinion is valued and through transferable skills such as empathy and interpretation, which are embedded in the five-year learning journey, they will be able to weigh up different attitudes and worldviews and decipher the right one for them.

Implementation

Key Stage 3 comprises of Year 7, Year 8, and Year 9, set in mixed ability groups and the curriculum closely follows the Blackburn with Darwen Locally Agreed Syllabus.

Key Stage 4 comprises of Year 10 and 11 and this follows the Edexcel Religious Studies B GCSE Area of Study 1 Christianity and Area of Study 2 Islam.

There are three core types of knowledge that we develop through the teaching of R.E:

Substantive knowledge

Students understand why there is a need for collective beliefs, ideas and practices through the island, which is referred to as we go through R.E. We look at important moral questions throughout, such as ‘do we need religious buildings?’ ‘Do you need God to be moral?’. We will examine different concepts that relate to religious and non-religious traditions, such as ‘afterlife’, ‘ritual’, ‘authority’, ‘prayer’, ‘sacred’ and these are linked and questioned throughout the religions. We ensure we allow the students to see artefacts hands on for each world religion.

  • The very concepts of ‘religion’ and ‘non-religion’ and debates around these ideas 
  • Concepts that are common to religious and non-religious experience (such as ‘interpretation’, morals) 
  • Concepts that are common to multiple forms of religious experience (such as ‘sacrifice’, rites of passage, examining religious buildings)
  • Concepts specific to a religious tradition (such as the Christian notion of ‘incarnation’) 

We ensure the students understand key content, concepts and vocabulary they need for subsequent topics. The importance of this is very clear in the case of controversial and sensitive topics. We order the curriculum to shape this, for example building up to moral issues and examining key issues such as abortion, Euthanasia, and saviour siblings in Year 9. 

Discipline  

We need to ensure that students have ‘ways of knowing’: pupils learn ‘how to know’ about religion and non-religion - analysis of a belief’ within the future. Within R.E. we examine religious text’ and we look at philosophical arguments focusing on philosopher and theologians that have made a huge impact in R.E. We do this through important skills which allows them their way of knowing: 

  • Engaging information around the topic 
  • Enquire around a topic 
  • Explore key moral issues/religions/ideas 
  • Express 
  • Reflect on their views and others 

The students spiral their skills throughout the curriculum, building skills such as outline, explain, evaluate. Starting off in a simplified way – one argument for, one against and then building to justification, ensuring they know how that knowledge was established. Students will build up to deciding on its degree of certainty, what scholars believe and how certain religious ideas have been revised. 

Personal development 

We also need to ensure that students have ‘personal knowledge’: students build an awareness of their own presuppositions and values about the religious and non-religious traditions they study, and we need to look at their ‘personal worldview’. When students study R.E. content, they do so ‘from a position’. This position is their ‘viewpoint’ or perspective on the world, which is influenced by, for example, their values, prior experiences and own sense of identity. Students often have their own personal backgrounds and influences. We ensure that they can be expressed without any tensions between their own perspectives and the perspectives of others, through structured/guided discussion. We examine concepts such as ‘forgiveness’ in Christian traditions or ‘sewa’ (‘selfless service’) in Sikh traditions, together with rich detail about how they form parts of Christian and Sikh ways of life, this provides opportunities for students to see how these concepts may relate to their own position. Students might consider how the insights of religious people relate to the way that student themselves see the world. 

Impact

Religious Education at DACA develops student's...

  • Knowledge and understanding of, and their ability to respond to, Christianity, other principal world religions, other religious traditions and worldviews.
  • Understanding and respect for different religions, beliefs, values and traditions (including ethical life choices), through exploring issues within and between faiths;
  • Understanding of the influence of faith and belief on individuals, societies, communities and cultures;
  • Skills of enquiry and response through the use of religious vocabulary, questioning and empathy;
  • Skills of reflection, expression, application, analysis and evaluation of beliefs, values and practices, and the communication of personal responses to these.

Religious Education at DACA encourages students to:

  • Consider their own thoughts and opinions on the challenging questions of the meaning and purpose of life, beliefs about God, their own self and the nature of reality, issues of right and wrong and what it means to be human;
  • Understand the influence of religion on individuals, families, communities and cultures
  • Learn from different religions, beliefs, values and traditions while exploring questions of meaning and their own beliefs;
  • Learn about religious and ethical teaching, enabling them to make reasoned and informed responses to religious, moral and social issues;
  • Develop their sense of identity and belonging in the world, preparing them for life as citizens in a multi-cultural global society;
  • Develop respect for and sensitivity to others, in particular those whose faiths and beliefs are different from their own.

Religious Education at DACA offers:

  • Opportunities for all pupils for personal reflection and spiritual development;
  • Preparedness for life in a multi-cultural global society where they can exist in harmony with others and live life to the full.