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The UK and London, in particular, has a rich heritage of culture and diversity. This is continuing today in an era of globalisation and an increasingly interdependent world. Religion and belief for many people forms a crucial part of their culture and identity. Religion and beliefs have become more visible in public life locally, nationally and internationally. The impact of religion on society and public life is constantly brought to public attention through extensive media coverage. The rapid pace of development in scientific and medical technologies and the environmental debate continue to present new issues which raise religious, moral and social questions. The internet enables learning and encourages participation in public discussion of issues in a new and revolutionary way and thus Religious Studies must be seen as an important curriculum subject and one that we value greatly at Harris Academy Wimbledon. It is important in its own right and makes a unique contribution to the spiritual, moral, social and cultural development of students and supports wider community cohesion.
Through the Religious Studies curriculum we aim to allow students to explore how religion and beliefs inform our values and are reflected in what we say and how we behave. The curriculum develops student knowledge and understanding of the religions and beliefs which form part of contemporary society. This will allow students to think about challenging questions about the ultimate meaning and purpose of life, beliefs about God, the self and the nature of reality, issues of right and wrong and what it means to be human. Our curriculum design aims to develop student knowledge and understanding of all principals of religion and world views that offer answers to the questions above.
The Religious Studies curriculum also aims to contribute to students’ personal development and well-being and to community cohesion by promoting mutual; respect and tolerance in a diverse society. It will offer opportunities for personal reflection, deepening the understanding of the significance of religion in the lives of others – individually, communally and cross-culturally. Religious Studies plays an important role in preparing students for adult life, employment and lifelong learning. It helps children and young people become successful learners, confident individuals and responsible citizens. It gives them the knowledge, skills and understanding to discern and value truth and goodness, strengthening their capacity for making moral judgements and for evaluating different types of commitment to make positive and healthy choices. With this in mind it is clear that the curriculum will also make important contributions to other parts of the school curriculum such as the Human Life Skills, the Humanities, Science, English and the arts both in terms of knowledge and in terms of skills learnt through the curriculum.
The Key Stage 3 Religious Studies curriculum must:
- provoke challenging questions about the meaning and purpose of life, beliefs, the self, issues of right and wrong, and what it means to be human
- develop students’ knowledge and understanding of Christianity, other principal religions, and religious traditions that examine these questions, fostering personal reflection and spiritual development
- encourage students to explore their own beliefs (whether they are religious or non-religious), in the light of what they learn, as they examine issues of religious belief and faith and how these impact on personal, institutional and social ethics; and to express their responses
- enable students to build their sense of identity and belonging, helping them to flourish within their communities and as citizens in a diverse society
- teach students to develop respect for others, including people with different faiths and beliefs, and help to challenge prejudice
- prompt students to consider their responsibilities to themselves and to others, and to explore how they might contribute to their communities and to wider society.
- encourage empathy, generosity and compassion
The Key Stage 4 Religious Studies curriculum must:
- develop students’ knowledge and understanding of religions and non-religious beliefs, such as atheism and humanism
- develop students’ knowledge and understanding of religious beliefs, teachings and sources of wisdom and authority, including through their reading of key religious texts, other texts and scriptures of the religions they are studying
- develop students’ ability to construct well-argued, well-informed, balanced and structured written arguments, demonstrating their depth and breadth of understanding of the subject
- reflect on and develop students’ own values, belief, meaning, purpose, truth and their influence on human life
- reflect on and develop students’ own values, beliefs and attitudes in the light of what they have learnt and contribute to their preparation for adult life in a pluralistic society and global community