Preparing students for life after school
The multi-faceted nature of REP means that students are prepared for life after school in a variety of ways. Viewing REP as a theological discipline, students become critically aware thinkers who are able to analyse information, understand its context, perform textual analysis and consider multiple interpretations from different perspectives. Students will also be able to understand the translation between a belief and a practice/action. In looking at REP from a philosophical and societal lens, students develop an appreciation for worldviews and consider other people’s experiences of the world, debating and arguing well. Empathy, compassion and oracy skills are developed here.
The importance of REP and its place in the modern world, with particular reference to Careers, is signposted. (For example, after the 2008 financial crash major banks explicitly focused on employing Theology graduates to inform the moral implications behind financial trading.) Understanding the routines and rationale behind different faiths makes for a more cohesive working environment in any Careers setting.
Knowledge acquisition as a measure of progress
Our curriculum and lessons will give students the knowledge to understand, analyse, evaluate and critically synthesise information relating to REP. A particular measure of successful knowledge acquisition is when students are able to compare, contrast and link theological concepts to modern-day practices, be it verbally or in written pieces.
The needs of our community
Teaching of REP at KS1 and KS2 is inconsistent - pupils are either taught by non-specialists or REP is sidelined for other subjects such as Maths and English.
At KS3, we work on the basis of little-to-no prior knowledge. Lessons are low threshold, high ceiling and focus on exploring challenging concepts within familiar stories.
The main belief groups in Lockleaze are Christian, Muslim and ‘Nones’.
The KS3 curriculum begins with the Abrahamic Faiths to ground student understanding and reflect the majority beliefs. Different religions are introduced in order to give a broader understanding.
Self-esteem and sense of belonging are important to foster in young people.
The curriculum provides plenty of opportunity for debate, understanding self awareness and sharing views to build self-esteem and create a greater sense of self.
Typically, students from Lockleaze are less likely to go on to higher education
The REP curriculum covers disciplines which would be studied at a Russell Group university: Theology, Religion, Philosophy and Ethics. High level language is used through KS3-5, and degree-level ideas are introduced as hinterland knowledge.
Teaching REP for its intrinsic value
We believe that the world is an amazing place, but that there are many sources in a young person’s life which may misrepresent people in the world. REP is intrinsically valuable at a societal and individual level. There is an inherent value in seeing and experiencing how other people view the world, in addition to unpicking dangerous stereotypes whilst helping to develop a student’s worldview. Whether religious or otherwise, no-one can deny the impact religious ideas have had, and continue to have, on the world. It is important that, as a people, we see value in understanding this.
What do we teach and why do we teach it?
We believe that REP should equip students with a sound understanding of the origins, as well as the core stories, beliefs and practices of major world religions. This is in order that they can recognise the influence of religion on modern culture and values and become increasingly curious about, and accepting of, other world views. This feels particularly important in our religiously diverse community. We feel strongly that a grasp of Biblical stories is important both for understanding the Abrahamic faiths and for appreciating important aspects of world culture. For this reason, we begin with Biblical Literacy, studying the major stories of the Old and New testaments. Thereafter, we spend Years 7 and 8 teaching the history, beliefs and practices of Christianity, Judaism and Islam. Students are then given the opportunity to apply their understanding of these different world views to interesting ethical challenges in Year 9, before moving onto Hinduism and Buddhism.
Why do we teach it in that order?
We begin REP in Year 7 by studying Judeo-Christian stories from the Old Testament. This is for two central reasons. Firstly, because these stories form the basis of both Christianity and Judaism and are therefore a logical chronological starting point. Second, because many of these stories are also shared across the three major Abrahamic faiths and we want to highlight the common ground between these religions before highlighting the differences. The decision to teach philosophy and ethics in Year 9 reflects the more cognitively demanding nature of this material. Similarly, Hinduism and Buddhism are more complex than the straightforwardly monotheistic Abrahamic faiths studied earlier in the curriculum.
(A note on apportioning curriculum time in REP: We have made the decision to apportion the most significant amount of curriculum time to studying Judaism and Islam. This reflects the fact that (a) Judaism is the least well represented of the major religions amongst our cohort and therefore the least well understood and (b) that a significant proportion of our students are Muslim and therefore a shared understanding of this religion is important in helping build an inclusive community.)