Religious and Social Education
Religious and Social Education (RSE)
Welcome to the Religious and Social Education Department
At William Edwards we value and respect one another. In the same way, in Religious and Social Education we try to ensure that our students learn to understand and respect the beliefs and practices shared by the major world religions: Christianity, Judaism, Islam, Hinduism, Sikhism and Buddhism. We encourage students to recognise the similarities and differences in these faiths. Knowledge and understanding of the six world religions’ origins and cultures can only lead to tolerance and respect within our multi-cultural society in Great Britain.
In our lessons we approach common themes and examine religions in this way; we always begin with the students’ own experiences and from there we then explore the experiences, beliefs and values of religious communities. Our approach is always open, recognising that we are individuals with different viewpoints and perspectives; every opinion is listened to and respected.
Key Stage 3
RSE is studied for one hour a fortnight in Year 7 and two hours a fortnight in Year 8 and 9.
Year 7 topics:
Introduction to Religion
In this first unit pupils are introduced to the concept of religion by examining the nature of God, asking the key question ‘What is belief all about?’ And ‘why believe?’ We explore the idea of God from a philosophical viewpoint considering various perspectives and beliefs. We finish the unit with a focus on being an individual and practice explaining and analysing reasons for our own beliefs.
Having explored the idea of a God in unit one we begin to focus on the religion of Judaism, explored through the story of Moses, ‘The Prince of Egypt’. We explore who Moses was and the difference he made to the lives of millions of Hebrew slaves, relating this back to the beliefs and traditions of the Jewish community today. Students are given the opportunity here to taste traditional Jewish foods typically eaten during the religious festival of Passover.
Our final topic in Year 7 is an investigation into the religion of Hinduism, with the opportunity to visit the Shri Swaminarayan Hindu Mandir in Neasden, North London. This building is one of the most beautiful examples of Hindu architecture outside of India and it’s right on our door step. The topic delves into the beliefs and practices of Hindus around the world, beginning with its origin thousands of years ago in the Indus Valley, India.
Year 8 topics:
Our first topic in Year 8 develops on the learning carried out in Year 7 following from Hinduism to Buddhism and the Buddhist way of life. We consider the life and teachings of Siddhartha Gautama (The Buddha) including the Four Noble Truths and the Eight Fold Path. As well as investigating the experience of meditation and of life as a Buddhist Monk. This unit concludes with an investigation into the religious influence Buddhism has had on the life of the Burmese Noble Peace Prize winner Aung San Suu Kyi.
Christianity and Key Concepts
Following on from an exploration of Jewish belief in Year 7, we then move on to consider a number of key concepts within Christianity in Year 8. These include:-
- God as Creator
- Original Sin
- Sacrifice and Atonement
- The Trinity
- Salvation and Redemption
Students have the opportunity to understand the meaning behind these key Christian beliefs and explore how Christians put these beliefs into practice in the modern world.
The following topic in Year 8 is an investigation into Islam along with current issues facing the Muslim community. Our focus is on the life of the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) and the five Pillars of Islam. This topic is focussed on discovering how the life of a Muslim is comparable to the experiences of a person in any other walk of life and how the issues and questions raised can add to further exploration, engagement and enjoyment of the study of religion.
Our final topic in Year 8 surrounds a variety of different moral issues, pupils begin to delve into the ethical issues surrounding some of the events they may have experienced or may go on to experience in later life. Continuing with the theme of learning through film we examine the film ‘Pay it Forward’ and the moral issues it raises.
Year 9 Topics:
Issues of Life and Death
At the beginning of Year 9 pupils follow a scheme of learning that develops on the learning from Year 8, where we explore moral and ethical issues surrounding life and death. We will start by explaining and debating the concepts of the quality and sanctity of life and then explore the following issues;
- When does life begin?
- Organ donation
- Designer babies and
This unit is designed specifically to give our Year 9 students a taster of the GCSE AQA Sociology course that we offer in Year 10 and 11 at William Edwards. We begin with the topic of socialisation; pupils investigate different concepts relating to the nature and nurture theories of behaviour and how sociologists examine the world from a human perspective. We investigate how our upbringing affects our attitude to society which includes education, crime and sport, finishing the topic by examining what happens to un-socialised or feral children.
The following topic in Year 9 is based around the philosophy of religion. Meaning ‘the love of wisdom’ this unit is about searching for ideas and understanding from the world around us. The primary medium in which this topic is studied is through the use of film. Pupils consider how real the world around them is, whether or not they have free will or if their life is determined and whether we can prove or disprove the existence of God, through films such as ‘The Truman Show’ and ‘A.I.’
Religion, Peace and Conflict
The final topic in Year 9 is designed specifically to give our Year 9 students a taster of the GCSE AQA Religious Studies course that we offer in Year 10 and 11 at William Edwards. We take a look at the theme of ‘Religion, Peace and Conflict’. This topic includes;
- Peace and Justice
- The Just War Theory
- Holy War and
Key Stage 4
Year 10 & 11 AQA Religious Studies – Philosophy and Applied Ethics GCSE
GCSE Religious Studies A: AQA – 8062 : http://www.aqa.org.uk/subjects/religious-studies/gcse
In Year 10 students have the option to choose to study GCSE Religious Studies. We offer the full course through the examination board AQA. Philosophy and Applied Ethics is studied in relation to Christianity and Hinduism as well as secular viewpoints specifically.
The course is made up of two religions and four themes to be studied alongside each other. Pupils will sit two examination papers of two hours each at the end of Year 11. There is no option for coursework or controlled assessment in this subject.
This exciting course covers the following topics:
- Religion and life
- Religion, peace and conflict
- Religion, crime and punishment
- Religion, human rights and social justice
AQA Sociology GCSE
Year 10 & 11 Sociology: AQA – 8192: http://www.aqa.org.uk/subjects/sociology/gcse/sociology-8192
In Year 10 students have the option to choose to study GCSE Sociology. We offer the full course through the examination board AQA.
The course is made up of four main units, three to be studied in Year 10 and one in Year 11. Pupils will sit two examination papers of one and a half hours each at the end of Year 11. There is no option for coursework or controlled assessment in this subject.
The main units the course will cover are;
Crime and Deviance
Pupils who opt for this course will also investigate the research methods that sociologists use to discover more about social structures and processes, such as interviews and questionnaires. Finally, they will consider all of these issues and ideas in relation to three sociological theories which include Marxism, Feminism and Functionalism.
For further information, please contact Mrs Score: firstname.lastname@example.org.