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Religious Studies and Citizenship

Introduction

To study religion is to examine how religion interacts with many facets of our world. Studying religion improves our cultural awareness as our shared history has been impacted by religious ideas, religious institutions, religious art, religious laws, and religious commitments.

Religious Studies gives students the opportunity to explore the major world religions, what their followers believe, and how these beliefs affect people’s lives. It studies the philosophical nature of these beliefs, and the ethics involved in how these beliefs are interpreted. Religious Studies at Forest Hill is also taught as an option subject at GCSE which focuses on a thematic comparison of core religions through moral and ethical issues in the world today as well as an in-depth study of Islam and Christianity that allows students to learn both from and about religion.

In the Summer term, students will focus on an aspect of Citizenship, looking at the local and global world to consider student’s role as global citizens and to think critically but proactively about a politicised environment. The course encourages students to play an active part in public and democratic life as informed and active citizens.

By studying RE and Citizenship at Forest Hill, students will touch on issues that are covered in our PSHCE curriculum that aim to help students become healthy, independent and responsible members of society, and to understand how they are developing personally and socially by tackling many of the moral, social and cultural issues that are part of growing up and living in the wider world.

Religious Studies & Citizenship Curriculum Map

Religious Studies at Key Stage 3

All students at Key Stage 3 (Years 7, 8 and 9) study Religious Studies at Forest Hill School. This course commences with an introduction to what religion is followed by wide-ranging topics on Hinduism, Buddhism, Sikhism in Year 7 and Islam, Judaism and Christianity in Year 8. Year 9 develops students understanding of religious teachings on key moral and ethical issues that affect the world today and requires students to compare both religious and non-religious teachings such how religion interplays with science, war, morality and human rights. In preparation for Key Stage 4, they are also introduced to the concepts of moral philosophy. Throughout the course, students are encouraged to foster a considerable understanding of a range of religions and how they affect society.

In the summer term, students will study an aspect of Citizenship at Key Stage 3, in Year 7 students will focus on Democracy and Justice, in Year 8 Rights and Responsibility and in Year 9 Identity and Diversity. The course teaches both key aspects of these topics whilst also focusing on the importance of active citizenship so students can engage with topics whilst they develop skills in research and investigation, problem solving, advocacy and campaigning.

Religious Studies at Key Stage 4

At Key Stage 4 Religious studies is an option subject. In this course students study Philosophy and Ethics through four topics and two major world religions. This begins with arguments surrounding the existence of God and religious teachings about the nature of the universe alongside ethical and moral dilemmas. Issues around social justice, human rights, wealth and poverty are examined through both religious and philosophical perspectives.

Structuring well-reasoned and balanced arguments is central to GCSE Religious Studies. Students will develop research skills that allow them to rigorously evaluate complex moral and philosophical positions. They will also apply religious beliefs to real-world ethical situations – expressing their own views whilst demonstrating an understanding of a wide range of religious and non-religious views.

For students not taking RE at GCSE, many of these concepts surrounding religious, philosophical and ethical issues are addressed within our weekly PSHCE lessons. At KS4 we focus on the social, emotional and mental health of our students through lessons that focus on building and maintaining positive relationships, citizenship, health and wellbeing and living in the wider world.

Religious Studies at KS5

Religious Studies at A level lets students study the various philosophies and beliefs that underlie popular religions and helps them understand the perspectives and motivations of believers. The course provides a broader outlook on life and focuses on developing skills in abstract thinking.

As well as studying a specific religion in depth, it also includes a study of Religion and Ethics which provides learners with the opportunity to undertake a broad study of four fundamental ethical themes: ethical thought, Aquinas’ Natural Law, Fletcher’s Situation Ethics, and Utilitarianism. Students are also given the opportunity to learn four fundamental philosophical themes: arguments for the existence of God – inductive; arguments for the existence of God – deductive; challenges to religious belief; and the nature of religious experience.

Enrichment

Students will also have the opportunity for assemblies, visits to significant religious sites as well those pertaining to philosophy.

Useful Links

BBC Bitesize: Religious Studies at KS3

BBC Bitesize: GCSE Religious Studies

A-Level Religious Studies