|About the Faculty|
We are fortunate to have an experienced Religious Education team who are able to impart their expertise through a variety of engaging teaching methods. As a result, Religious Education is a popular subject at Sir John Lawes, where students are given the opportunity not only to learn about religions but also to philosophise about the world around them. We are extremely proud of both our GCSE and A Level results and continually strive to improve achievement and progress across all key stages.
|Curriculum Intent Statement|
In accordance with the Hertfordshire Agreed Syllabus we aim for ‘pupils develop as tolerant young people with respect and understanding of the views of others, including the beliefs and practices of religions and other world views.’ We intend to develop inquisitive learners who can confidently question religious practice and the world around them. They are able to make justified judgements in moral and ethical scenarios.
Key Stage 3 Curriculum
At Key Stage 3 the students are taught in their planet groups and receive one lesson per week in Year 7 and two lessons per week in Year 8. We follow the Hertfordshire Agreed Syllabus for Religious Education which states that pupils should learn about the six major world religions in a greater depth to what they did in Key Stage 1 and 2.
The programme of study is aimed towards contributing to pupils’ knowledge and understanding and provides opportunities for reflection on the six key areas of RE:
- Beliefs and teachings
- Religious practices and lifestyles
- Ways of expressing meaning
- Human identity, personality and experience
- Questions of meaning and purpose
- Values and commitments
- Syllabus Content
In Years 7 and 8, the RE in a thematic way. Students are given a yearly theme, which continually builds their knowledge throughout the terms.
Year 7: Yearly Theme - Understanding God
In this year, students will explore the nature and concept of God, God in human form, teachings of religious figures and places of worship. Each area will help student to examine how religious people understand God. Students will be introduced to key religious terminology and encouraged to ask questions about beliefs and actions.
Year 8: Yearly Theme – Identity and Suffering
During this year, students will explore religious and personal identity, discrimination and equality in society, how religion helps people in times of need and how suffering impacts on faith and everyday life. This year aims to build on pupils understanding of God in Year 7 to draw philosophical and ethical questions surround God in times of suffering.
Students also have the opportunity to complete a variety of research projects, which allow for independent learning and creativity.
Key Stage 4 Curriculum
In Year 9, students begin in-depth study by beginning the GCSE short course. All students have the opportunity to complete a GCSE in RS that will either be Short Course (half) or Full Course (full) GCSE. If a student opts for the Full Course then they receive 3 lessons a week and if they take the Short Course route, they have one lesson per week.
The GCSE Short Course
Pupils follow Edexcel Religious Studies B (Belief in Action), leading to a Short Course GCSE certificate. The syllabus covers knowledge, understanding and evaluation of issues in relation to Christianity and Islam. Over the two years students will study the following two units.
Religion and Ethics - Christianity
- Christian Beliefs: This topic explores key elements of Christian belief including the nature of God, Jesus, Life after Death and problems around Evil and Suffering.
- Marriage and the Family: Through this topic students explore Christian and non-religious attitudes to issues of Marriage, Divorce, Sexual Relationships and Family Life.
Religion, Peace and Conflict - Islam
- Muslim Beliefs: In this topic students develop an understanding of core Islamic beliefs on the nature of God, Life after Death, Angels and Holy Books.
- Crime and Punishment: Students have the opportunity to explore Muslim and Non- Religious views to Crime, Punishment, Good and Evil and the Death Penalty.
The GCSE Full Course
The GCSE Full Course studies all of the above, plus the following topics.
Religion and Ethics - Christianity
- Living the Christian Life: In this topic students study aspects of Christian life including Worship, Pilgrimage and the role and importance of the Church.
- Matters of Life and Death: Throughout this topic we explore Christian attitudes towards Sanctity of Life, Abortion, Euthanasia and Environmental issues.
Religion, Peace and Conflict – Islam
- Living the Muslim Life: In this topic students explore the differing Islamic views on how to live a religious life, looking at the Five Pillars, Struggle for the individual and Community and Festivals.
- Peace and Conflict: Students are able to explore Islamic views on War, Holy War, Peace-making, Pacifism and Weapons of Mass destruction.
Key Stage 5 Curriculum
Board: OCR (H573)
This course is open to people of any religious faith or none.
An enquiring and open mind are essential ingredients when embarking on this course. Good essay writing skills will also be vital to enable you to demonstrate your knowledge and understanding of the issues while sustaining an argument.
General lesson activities will include debates, essay writing, examining current moral issues, student seminars and visiting speakers.
Students will sit 3 papers of equal weighting. Each paper will be 2 hours in length.
At Advanced level this subject examines religious philosophy and ethical issues.
The course will include units studying:
Philosophy of Religion
- Ancient philosophical influences
- The nature of the soul, mind and body Arguments about the existence or non-existence of God
- The nature and impact of religious experience
- The challenge for religious belief of the problem of evil
- Ideas about the nature of God
- Issues in religious language
Religion and Ethics
- Normative ethical theories
- The application of ethical theory to Business Ethics and Euthanasia
- Ethical language and thought
- Debates surrounding the significant idea of conscience
- Sexual ethics and the influence on ethical thought of developments in religious beliefs
Development in Religious Thought (Christianity)
- Religious beliefs, values and teachings, their interconnections and how they vary historically and in the contemporary world
- Sources of religious wisdom and authority
- Practices which shape and express religious identity, and how these vary within a tradition
- Significant social and historical developments in theology and religious thought
- Key themes related to the relationship between religion and society
We would expect you to achieve a grade 6 or above in GCSE RS (Short Course or Full Course) or a grade 6 or above in GCSE English. All students must have an APS of 4.5 or above. The ability to retain an open mind will also be useful.
Core Enrichment RE
Through Core Enrichment lessons, students in Years 12 and 13 have the opportunity to engage with religious, philosophical and ethical issues.
The school has strong links with different groups in the community, which allows students to ask questions directly to specific religious people, and helps them to see religion outside of the classroom. We try to give our students the opportunity to visit religious places of worship. This includes a trip to the Swarminarayan Mandir (a Hindu temple) in Year 7, London Central Mosque and Harpenden Oval in Year 10. We also, offer a residential as part of our GCSE Full Course. We also have members from STEP who come in to school and deliver lessons to all key stages, providing students with the opportunity to ask questions about faith and Christian worship. STEP also provide a lunch time drop in session for students where they explore the Christian faith in a fun and informal way.