Theology and Philosophy
‘We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act but a habit.” Aristotle
The curriculum for Theology and Philosophy has been reviewed, along with other subjects in light of impending curriculum changes at both KS3 and GCSE level to ensure that from Year 7, students are being introduced to skills, knowledge and an approach to study that will ensure our students are well prepared for when reach Year 11 and public examinations.
Our programme of study is based on the Somerset Agreed Syllabus ‘Awareness, Mystery and Value’. This syllabus provides balance, depth and breadth as the six main faiths in Britain are explored during the course through six areas of focus. Students are encouraged to think deeply for themselves and reflect on the issues and topics being studied.
Progress of students will be assessed in different ways, such as formal assessment, continual monitoring of progress in lessons, and less tangible observations such as discussion, insight and questioning.
Key skills will be constantly developed and embedded; knowledge, understanding, evaluation and familiarity of key terms.
The approach at Sexey’s School is non-confessional but as a Church of England School, our lessons are underpinned by the core Christian principles of Tolerance, Respect and Kindness, linking in with core British Values. We have strong links with our local church and students have the facility to make use of the school Sanctuary whenever possible.
Theology and Philosophy provides an opportunity for the spiritual, moral, social and cultural development of the student through being able to:
- discuss and engage with ultimate questions
- explore moral influences in society
- investigate how society is influenced by religious leaders, texts and beliefs
- consider the relationship between religion and cultures and how religious beliefs contribute to cultural identity and practices
In Key Stage 3 the students are taught in three mixed ability groups. The legal requirement for Religious Education is met as Theology and Philosophy is timetabled for two periods of 1 hour per fortnight.
Students are introduced to Theology and Philosophy with a short unit of work which explores student’s identity, own values and beliefs. Key concepts and subject specific vocabulary are introduced with the aim that students become fluent in discussing the big questions in life. Leading to explorations of celebrations, pilgrimage and the environment. In this first year, students will discover core beliefs of Christianity, Judaism, Hinduism and Islam.
In Year 8, we build upon the understanding, knowledge and skills developed in Year 7. Topics studied include an exploration of experience and belief through Sikhism, how belief affects action based on Judaism and Buddhism and the challenging topic on the purpose of life explored through Christianity and Islam.
In Year 9 students will be grappling with a diverse range of topics, such as faith in action and religion and the media. Religions studied are Christianity, Islam and Sikhism.
By following this approach and by utilising and deepening skills and knowledge throughout Years 7, 8 and 9 students will be well prepared for moving on to their publically examined courses in Years 10 and 11.
At Key Stage 4, students may choose to follow a GCSE option subject in Religious Studies. Currently the course followed is Eduqas (Route A) Religious Studies with Christianity and Islam being the focus religions. This specification allow students to adopt an enquiring, reflective, critical approach to religion whilst engaging with fundamental questions in an intellectual way but being able to respond personally. We believe it is essential that students explore the issues of belief and faith both intellectually and from their own perspective using a wide range of approaches. Key skills are developed throughout the course such as knowledge, understanding and application. Teacher assessment is on-going, through questioning, discussion, written responses and practice papers. The course is a linear course with final examinations at the end of the two year programme.
As a Church of England Academy we aim enable students to encounter Christianity and other major religions that have shaped our heritage and influenced the lives of millions of people every day. At both KS3 and KS4, we believe that Theology and Philosophy contributes holistically to the personal growth of our students, as the subject contributes to their spiritual and moral development as well as enhancing the personal, social and cultural development of the individual.
In addition, Year 7 and 8 students will be introduced to Philosophy, using an approach called Philosophy for Children. This approach enables young people to develop their own deep, philosophical questions following the introduction of a stimulus. Stimuli presented are varied including art, animation, stories, Greek myths, poetry and music. Central to the lessons are a ‘community of enquiry’. The lessons are student led, with the teacher being a facilitator.
The course aims to allow our students to become critical thinkers, to question and to use reasoned argument. Not only are these skills essential to subjects within the school curriculum, but they will equip our students for life beyond the classroom.
Further information about the P4C approach can be found here.