WHY ARE WE TEACHING A KNOWLEDGE-RICH CURRICULUM; HOW IS IT DIFFERENT?
The RE curriculum is designed to develop knowledge of human beliefs and over time gives pupils a sense of their ‘place’ within and alongside many worldviews, both religious and non-religious. Pupils are entitled to the opportunity to develop such knowledge, which in turn develops their sense of where their own worldview sits, not only within the society in which they live, but within the worldwide community.
A knowledge-rich curriculum enables pupils to understand key vocabulary, cultural significance and religious content. The curriculum will equip pupils with the knowledge and skills to answer challenging questions on the meaning and purpose of life. This curriculum will help to develop responsibility and respect for all aspects of diversity, whether it be social, cultural and religious, and prepare pupils well for life in modern Britain.
WHY ARE WE TEACHING THIS CONTENT?
The key stage three curriculum has been written in line with the Norfolk locally agreed syllabus. Pupils will develop different skills used in RE. These skills are then used throughout key stage three by studying different religions, worldviews, different practices, contemporary issues, philosophy and ethics. Within each unit, the content is sequenced to enable pupils to make meaningful connections.
In year 7, pupils will develop a knowledge and understanding of religious and non-religious beliefs and practices as a foundation to then build on in subsequent years. In year 8, the curriculum adopts a thematic approach which allows pupils to apply, compare and contrast some of the world’s major beliefs, religious and secular, to some of the ‘Big Issues’ we are faced on a day to day basis. Pupils will have knowledge of how the six largest religions have played an important part in this, along with understanding of how philosophical ideas, including non-religious views (such as Humanism) have shaped society. In year 9, the curriculum focuses on philosophy and ethics.
WHY ARE WE TEACHING IT IN THIS ORDER?
Pupils study a breadth of interdisciplinary topics during each year, these are theology, social sciences and philosophy. Units are ordered in such a way that concepts learned in one unit lay the foundation for content in a subsequent unit. For example, in the Year 7 unit ‘World religions and rule systems’, where pupils study the two greatest commandments and the ten commandments, this lays the foundation for studying Christian beliefs towards prejudice and discrimination in Year 8. Studying aspects of the six main world faiths in Year7 lays the foundation for comparing different responses to issues such as war and peace in year 8 and crime and punishment in year 9, along with providing building blocks that underpin our GCSE course.
Within each unit, the content is sequenced to enable pupils to make meaningful connections. The curriculum uses the structure of the Norfolk Agreed Syllabus. Every unit of work is linked to Theology or Philosophy or social sciences. This brings continuity throughout key stage three.
WHAT DO PUPILS NEED TO REMEMBER AND BE ABLE TO DO IN THIS SUBJECT?
Knowledge in RE is derived from world views developed from stories, narratives and historical information. Concepts are flexible, a core part of cultural literacy and strengthened by their links with many other concepts within this subject and other curriculum subject areas.
WHAT METHODS DO YOU USE TO HELP PUPILS SECURE THIS KNOWLEDGE IN LONG-TERM MEMORY AND APPLY IT IN COMPLEX TASKS?
Teaching is adapted to the topic and the type of knowledge which we are handling and also to particular classes and pupils. Retrieval quizzes are used to teach and test items such as vocabulary and key facts. The knowledge organiser is used as weekly homework. Questions are used at the end of lessons to check understanding. Teachers diagnose gaps in knowledge and plan future quizzing to address these gaps. Dual coding is used in lessons to help recall knowledge.
We draw comparisons and connections between current and previous units so that pupils can find religious themes that run throughout. These connections enable them to produce extended writing which analyses a range of concepts such as evaluation, similarity and difference. This is in line with the Smithdon style paragraph extended writing policy.
To view the RE Curriculum Overview click here.
More information on the RE Department can be found here.