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Religious Education's position in the curriculum is to give space and priority for children and young people to make sense of their own and other people's deepest beliefs and values by which they will live their future lives.

- Professor Brian Gates, Chair of the Religious Education Council of England & Wales

It doesn’t teach us what to think but how to think.

- Twynham student, 21st Century CE

The Religious Education Department at Twynham follows the guidance laid down by the Dorset Agreed Syllabus.

We encourage our students to reflect upon their own religious or non-religious beliefs and learn about and from others. We want our students to be inspired and challenged and as such Philosophy for Children and questioning techniques such as the learning pit are embedded in our lessons.

These strategies encourage our students to become independent and enthusiastic learners with transferable skills. Our schemes of work provide students with knowledge, skills and understanding of religion and beliefs.

Students study the six main world faiths and then aspects of other principle philosophies and ways of life. Students study courses that provoke challenging questions about the ultimate purpose and meaning of life, beliefs about God, issues of right and wrong and what it means to be human. Students are encouraged to develop a sense of identity and belonging and we aim to enable them to flourish individually within their communities and act with personal responsibility as citizens.

Key Stage 4 Core Subject Information

From September 2016, Year 10 students are entered for the new OCR GCSE Religious Studies Short Course qualification. This specification is designed to help students develop knowledge and understanding of religions and non-religious beliefs and in particular focus on the dialogue between these two perspectives. The programme of study is designed to tackle relevant issues for learners in modern British society.

Students have one lesson per week with a specialist teacher and over the duration of their studies will complete the following units:

- Christian beliefs and teachings

-  ‘Relationships and families’ from a Christian perspective

- Islamic beliefs and teachings

- Dialogue between religious and non-religious groups

Built in to the programme are exam technique-focused lessons, mock examinations and end of unit assessed tasks.

There are no coursework components to the qualification and students will sit two examinations at the end of Year 11.

Key Stage 3

Year 7

We start with a personalised learning and thinking skills project entitled ‘Invent your own religion’ where students work together in groups to complete a project which is presented in class on all the basics elements that form religion. This is closely followed by Planet X which evaluates different forms of guidance. This allows students to reflect upon their own attitudes towards moral living. The next challenge that students face are ultimate questions over the existence of God as well as why there is suffering in the world. As a result students learn to share their own thoughts and then to tolerate the beliefs that are held by others. We then study distinctive characteristics of Sikhism and Christianity where students learn about the key beliefs for each of these religions such as worship, concepts of God and the lives of religious figures. Students learn about equality, tolerance and respect through a Sikh perspective and then complete a comparative reflective task where students contrast the two religions. We then study a unit on belief and the Environment, which examines creation theories and the issue of stewardship. From the very start of this course students are encouraged to question and discuss issues. They will start to see what role they have as stewards to the environment.

Year 8

We begin Year 8 with a brief reflection on why we study RE and the importance of RE for our community. We then complete a detailed study of the distinctive characteristics of Hinduism where students learn about key beliefs and practices such as the concept of a polytheistic god and the scriptures as well as a comparison of Mandirs in India and the UK. Students then complete a short comparative study on beliefs about life after death from a variety of perspectives including Humanist, Hindu, Christian, Muslim, Jewish and Buddhist concepts of what happens when we die. Students explore key questions such as why do some people believe in life after death and what evidence there is for their beliefs. It will allow students to reflect on their own views. We then study what it means to be a Muslim in Saudi Arabia and in Britain. Students will look at key Islamic teachings and appreciate the difficulties of following the faith in a non-Muslim country. We will explore stereotypical misconceptions, Jihad, Muslim women, Islamophobia and the role media has in influencing the public. This provides the foundation in the key Muslim beliefs required for the OCR GCSE RE course. Finally students will explore the concepts of rights and responsibilities from a religious and non-religious perspective. The unit looks at the issues of human rights which continue to be an issue in society today as well as how religious beliefs motivate the actions of key people such as Aung San Suu Kyi, Chico Mendes, Maria Cristina Gomez and Oscar Romero. A key part of this unit is for students to reflect on their own rights and responsibilities now and in the future and to consider the violations of rights in countries such as South America and Africa whilst exploring the work of different charities including Amnesty International.

Year 9

In Year 9 students first take an in-depth look at distinctive characteristics of Buddhism and the Buddha’s teachings with students questioning and exploring the issue of suffering from the Buddhist perspective. They will look at the different types of suffering and the ways in which people react to suffering. Students will also complete comparative work on life as a Buddhist in India and the UK. We then study a unit which has links to GCSE concepts of peace and justice, focusing on the concepts of suffering, responses to suffering and the Jewish response to the Holocaust. There is the opportunity for collaborative work with the History department within this scheme of work. Students finish their Key Stage 3 studies exploring a flavour of other world beliefs and secular philosophies such as Zoroastrianism, Maori beliefs and the Bahai traditions. This colourful unit of work embraces a range of thinking skills and challenges students’ understandings of global beliefs and practices. With the introduction of the new GCSE, students will regularly gain experience of extended and critical writing in Year 9 in preparation for these challenging elements in Key Stage 4.