Philosophy, Religion and Ethics
In the Philosophy, Religion and Ethics (PRE) Department, we aim to provide high quality education for all our students. The scheme of work is planned so that students engage with some of the best that has been taught and done by spiritual teachers of all ages and cultures. In the process they learn from religion as well as about it. All personal faith positions are respected and a tolerant attitude towards people of different faith positions or none is expected both in and out of the classroom.
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In Years 7-9, we use a thematic approach to study a variety of topics from the six major world religions. Students have the opportunity to research, analyse, discuss, debate and reflect on issues and evaluate different responses to them. They are also encouraged to compare and contrast beliefs and practices, develop thinking skills and learn independently and co-operate with others.
PRE enhances the multicultural nature of the school. Students are happy to share the way they practise their faith and this adds a special dimension to lessons. We are continually encouraged by the amazing pieces of work produced by our students and, as teachers, we have been impressed by the creative approach and empathy shown by our students in this subject.
To extend their learning, we give students an exciting range of homework tasks. For example, Year 7 students design an icon for a competition once they have studied a unit on saints, while Year 8 students run a business on Buddhist principles and make Rosh Hashanah cakes, and Year 9 students produce a ‘personal response’ to the Holocaust. At our open mornings, parents have been deeply moved by the maturity of these responses made through art, poetry, literature and music.
Students enjoy visits to places of worship and are always eager to hear about the nature of worship from a practising member of the faith. In Year 7 we visit an Orthodox Synagogue and an Anglican Church in Leeds or Sheffield. In Year 9 our visit to the Holocaust Centre near Newark is one that students never forget. They all appreciate the opportunity to hear a talk from a Holocaust survivor.
PRE is a very successful subject at GCSE. Students currently follow the AQA Specimen A Course and study Christianity and Judaism, and then they look at four ethical themes through the lens of these faiths. The themes are: religion and life, religion and families, religion crime and punishment and religion and justice.
As part of the course, Year 11 pupils have an ethics conference with visiting speakers. Year 10-11 students have opportunities after school to study ethical films like Malala and Suffragette.