In RE, pupils explore the deeper questions of human existence; developing an understanding of how people of different religious faiths, and those with none, have made sense of the world around us. At Cowley, we believe that an understanding of the beliefs and practices of major world religions is paramount within RE, we aim to ensure that students are well-prepared for life in an increasingly diverse society. Students are encouraged and given opportunities to develop critical thinking, analysis and evaluation skills to delve deeper into the topics that we cover. We want to give our students every opportunity to grow in confidence when it comes to sharing their own well-developed opinions respectfully on the topics we cover, supported by the evidence they have studied. We follow the local agreed syllabus as set out by St Helens SACRE to ensure pupils receive a broad curriculum.
Our KS3 curriculum is based on the St Helens locally agreed syllabus for RE. We take an enquiry based approached to learning, with each unit of work focussing on a big question.
In year 9, pupils begin a two year study of Eduqas GCSE Religious Studies, with a particular focus on Christianity and Islam.
Pupils are set regular homeworks which encourage them to further research an area of our work they are particularly interested in, or to consolidate, review and improve on their learning. RE teachers promote high standards of literacy through introducing pupils to complex vocabulary, as well as encouraging students to develop their spelling, punctuation and grammar in longer pieces of extended writing. RE teachers ensure that all students are able to access the curriculum at a level which is appropriate for them.
Curriculum in action
Curriculum Beyond the Classroom
We are keenly aware of the importance of visits from outside agencies within PSHE, allowing students to meet with experts and gain a greater understanding of the topic. We work closely with the health services in St Helens to identify key professionals whom students will benefit from meeting, including the Sexual Health service and the Stop Smoking team. We also make use of offers from charity organisations including Coppafeel. Our curriculum is regularly revised to ensure that it meets emerging needs and current issues.
There are also plans to set up an extra-curricular pupil wellbeing group in September 2019.
We are members of the National Association for Teachers of Religious Education (NATRE). The network gives us valuable support in staying up to date with the most recent curriculum developments, and in providing CPD opportunities which play a valuable role in enhancing the teaching of RE. The RE Subject Lead is also chair of St Helens Standing Advisory Council on Religious Education, ensuring that we are well-connected to this network. We are also beginning to build closer links to our federation partners at Haydock. Members of the department make use of Facebook forums and Twitter feeds as ways of further developing their practice. We currently hold the RE Quality Mark at ‘Gold’ level.
By following the locally agreed syllabus, we ensure our curriculum builds on and develops from the curriculum pupils studied at Key Stage 2.
During Key Stage 3, we seek to begin to build the skills that will enable pupils to be successful in a variety of GCSE subjects – not just religious studies. Pupils are assessed through longer pieces of extended writing where they demonstrate that they are able to critically analyse and evaluate key ideas, at a level which is appropriate for their stage of the curriculum. These skills continue to be developed throughout the GCSE course, giving a good grounding for study in any humanities A Level.
We continue to promote this high level of scholarship at A Level, introducing pupils to themes and concepts which they are likely to come across as a Religious Studies undergraduate. We encourage pupils to read academic texts to ensure they are well-prepared for university study.
Religious Education also ensures that pupils are ready for employment.
A greater understanding of those with different faiths, and those of no faith helps to develop pupil’s cultural understanding in the workplace.
We also study topics such a prejudice and discrimination, ensuring that Cowley students are ready to go into the world as good citizens.