Curriculum Vision and Intent
‘You make known to me the path of life’ Psalm 16:11
The Religious Studies department at LMS is dedicated to providing varied and enriching lessons that effectively prepare our students for life in a culturally diverse modern world. Building on the rich Christian heritage of our school and our Christian ethos, we aim to deepen knowledge, understanding and spiritual experiences, primarily of the Christian faith, but inclusive of all major world faiths and those of no faith. RS is a core subject, followed by every student in the school up to GCSE. It remains part of the core curriculum in the Sixth Form through seminars on beliefs and values, which continue to extend students’ skills of reflection, analysis and discussion.
We aim for students to:
- be equipped with the ability to think for themselves and to be curious as they study philosophical, theological and social issues.
- be open minded and listen to other points of view and identify and challenge misconceptions and prejudice.
- be articulate when making their own voice heard, justifying their viewpoint with reasoned consideration.
- be critical thinkers and develop religious literacy ability in order to debate controversial issues without causing offense to others.
- be inspired by Religious Studies, motivated to make a positive difference in the lives of those around them and to be courageous advocates for those who suffer injustice and discrimination.
- aim high and be the best they can be, whatever their situation or starting point. Academically, by reaching and surpassing their expected target or grade, personally by becoming tolerant, respectful and caring individuals, who will continue to be diligent, kind, honest young adults who are well placed to leave the school and make a positive contribution to society.
KS3 curriculum and assessment
Year 7 Curriculum
HT1- Do we need modern day leaders?
An introduction for students to reflect on values and beliefs and to then analyse the work of religious and non-religious modern-day leaders. Students evaluate world leaders’ significance regarding a range of societal issues and what difference these leaders make. Students think about ‘If I were a World Leader…’
HT2 – What are the Christian beliefs about the nature and ways of experiencing God?
Students will understand and use key terminology when describing that God Is-Omnipotent/Benevolent/Omniscient/Transcendent. These are some of the questions and concepts that will be explored in our second unit:
What are some of the ways Christians refer to God e.g. Almighty, Father, and Creator? How does a Christian’s belief in God help him/her make sense of life and death? How might a Christian explain their belief to a non-Christian?
HT3 – What is our religious landscape?
In this unit students learn about how the past impacts on the present and the future, and the positive and negative ways humans respond to different ideas. The unit places the relatively recent appearance of mosques, gurdwaras etc in an historical context. It also encourages students to look at the negative consequences of religious prejudice. Students will consider the significance of non -religious beliefs in the changing religious landscape of the UK and the relevance that Christianity still has.
HT4 – What difference does being Sikh make to their lives?
This unit enables students to explore some challenging questions raised by contemporary Sikhism, including their approach to life and service to the community. Students explore the impact that Sikhism has on individuals and the community. Students are encouraged to think for themselves about questions to do with ritual, community and equality and encouraged to consider what can be learned from the examples given by the Khalsa and the sharing of the Langar.
HT5– Is there a reason to be good without a belief in God?
This introduces students to the key terminology behind Non-Religious world views and gives students a brief introduction to the thoughts of Stephen Fry, Richard Dawkins and Isaac Newton. Students also explore the idea of the ‘good life’ and finding purpose without God. It begins with a brief explanation of Humanist beliefs followed by an introduction to the concepts of eudaimonia and hedonism.
HT6- The spirited Arts project/competition.
A national competition organised by NATRE in conjunction with the Jo Cox Foundation. The project is centred around the theme ‘We have more in common than that which divides us”. Students have the opportunity to work in pairs or individually to create a piece of art to display their learning.
Year 8 Curriculum
HT1 – What are the challenges and successes of being a Muslim in Britain in the 21st century?
Students look at the contribution of the Islamic faith to British society and how this has encouraged further diversity. The unit explores the challenges of being a Muslim in the UK, in relation to specific content, e.g. freedom of expression in Religious dress and being able to follow the five pillars of faith.
HT2 – How is goodness shown in the world?
Students have opportunities to consider a diverse range of views about questions of goodness. In this unit, viewpoints from Christianity, Buddhism, Sikhism, Islam and non-religious life will be considered. Experiences and opportunities provided by this unit include engaging with a range of views about human well-being, goodness, discussion, debate and controversy, and the opportunity to reflect in depth on the links between motives, actions and consequences.
HT3 – Who was Jesus?
Who is Jesus? A key question in the Christian faith.
Jesus spent three years meeting and teaching people. When he died, he left a devoted group of a few hundred followers. Today, 2 billion people worldwide call themselves Christians. But what makes Jesus so central to Christians’ lives today? For Christians, Jesus makes it possible for all people to know God. This unit of faith also includes reflecting on Jesus’s daily practices as a person of the Jewish faith.
HT4 – How can Spirituality be found in the journey of British Gospel and soul music?
Students learn that in all times and religions people have used music to express their deepest feelings and spiritual yearnings. Students begin to understand which songs and pieces of music touch them deeply; they also have a sense of their own experience of ‘soul’. Students study the history of gospel music and how this is used in Christian worship worldwide, by all races and nationalities.
HT5 – What is the significance of the Torah as a Source of Authority for Judaism?
Students examine the structure of the Torah and the Authority of the Torah. This includes the significance of the Torah to Orthodox and Liberal Jews, for example, the importance of the Torah portion at Bar Mitzvah and food dietary rules. In preparation for GCSE, students will start to use the Source of Authority to reflect on how Christians and Muslims use the Bible and Qur’an in similar ways.
HT6- The spirited Arts project/competition.
A national competition organised by NATRE in conjunction with the Jo Cox Foundation. The project is centred around the theme ‘We have more in common than that which divides us”. Students will have the opportunity to work in pairs or individually to create a piece of art to display their learning.
Year 9 Curriculum
HT1 – What is the purpose of Life?
This study enables students to learn in depth about Buddhism teachings around happiness, forgiveness and the goals of human beings. We also touch on non-religious viewpoints. Is it morally acceptable to pursue happiness? The investigation implements one of our aims, which is to engage students into significant human questions, which worldviews and religion address, so that they can develop the understanding and skills needed to appraise varied responses and their own.
HT2- How can we build a cohesive community?
Students will understand the skills and attitudes that are needed to build a community that is cohesive and harmonious, both inside our school community and outside in the wider community. Students will examine how religions and non-religious organizations are working to promote peaceful communities.
HT3– To what extent is our morality influenced by religious beliefs/belief in free will?
Students study and explore a fundamental question about human existence and how the beliefs we hold determine how we act. Students analyze how we make moral decisions and to what extent they are informed by our religious beliefs. The unit also includes an examination of how much free will we have when making our moral decisions.
HT4- Does Religion help us understand human suffering?
Students interpret Jewish and Hindu sources, explaining reasons that are used in different ways to provide answers to this ultimate question. They explore the impact of religious and secular beliefs on individuals and communities. Students will use reasoning and examples to express insights into their own and other’s views on the question of suffering.
In the summer term students begin the GCSE RS course, as outlined below.
Assessment at KS3
A variety of formative assessment opportunities embedded in the curriculum.
In years 7 and 8, at the end of each unit there is a formal assessment based around a criterion of progression in knowledge, understanding and skills.
In year 9, at the end of each unit there is an assessment that has a similar criterion of progression. These encompass and develop the skills deemed to be essential at GCSE level.
KS4 curriculum and assessment
All students in Years 10 and 11 follow the Religious Studies GCSE course as part of their core curriculum. The GCSE allows students to study two religions, integrated with the key philosophical and ethical issues facing the local, national and international community. The syllabus followed is that set by Edexcel B. This specification allows beliefs, teachings and practices of two religions to be brought to life as well as exploring different viewpoints within religions. We cover Religion, Philosophy and Social Justice through Christianity and Religion and Ethics through Islam.
Topics covered in Year 10:
- Christian Beliefs: Students explore the nature of God and how this can is known to us.
- Philosophy of Religion: Students will explore the arguments for and against the existence of God
- Living a Christian life: Students explore how Christians put their beliefs into action.
- Social Justice: Students explore topics around equality and prejudice and discrimination.
Topics covered in Year 11:
- Islam beliefs: Students explore the nature of Allah and how can is known to Muslims and the difference between different sects of Islam.
- Marriage and the Family: Students explore how Islamic teaching influences Muslim marriage and the family.
- Living a Muslim Life: Students will explore how Muslims put their beliefs into action in daily life.
- Matter of life and death: Students look at the ethical issues of such controversial issues as abortion and euthanasia.
KS5 curriculum and assessment
What will I study?
Paper 1: 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.
Paper 2: Religion and ethics
- normative ethical theories
• the application of ethical theory to two contemporary issues of importance
• ethical language and thought
• debates surrounding the significant idea of conscience
• sexual ethics and the influence on ethical thought of developments in religious beliefs.
Paper 3: Developments in religious thought
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.
How will I be assessed?
Exam Board: OCR
3 PAPERS EACH 33.3% OF THE TOTAL MARKS AWARDED.
Non-Examined sixth form RS
Beliefs and Values
What will I Study?
All students entering the Sixth Form are required to attend Beliefs and Values lessons. These form a central part of the Christian ethos of the school and provide students with an understanding of different religious and non-religious perspectives and the reasons behind these views. Lessons are fortnightly and students are encouraged to discuss and debate topics relevant to religion and morality, often based on current affairs. Tasks include class discussions, use of media, group work, research and presentations, all of which aim to examine and celebrate the religious and ethnic diversity of the school, and the local global communities to which we belong.
At the end of Year 13 students vote for topics they think would be valuable and relevant for the following cohort to explore, in the past this has included topics such as: global citizenship; homelessness; inter-faith dialogue and LGBTQ+.
How will I be assessed?
Beliefs and Values will not be formally assessed; however, students will be able to achieve a school-based qualification for passing the course. Students will be provided with reading to complete for each session, and they will reflect on the discussions they have taken part in. Higher awards are available for those who have completed additional reading or who make outstanding contributions to sessions. Awards can be referenced on UCAS applications to demonstrate that a student has an in-depth understanding of different communities, and that they have developed a range of relevant skills.
KS5 Religious Education Entitlement
Beliefs and values
At LMS, in addition to a very successful A Level RS course we also have our Beliefs and values programme for KS5. This is a non-examined opportunity (one lesson per fortnight) that is given to every Year 12 and Year 13 student and is delivered by members of the RS department and the School Chaplain.
The Beliefs and values programme is carefully planned to ensure that students have the opportunity to study and debate a wide range of religious, philosophical, psychological, sociological and ethical issues and to develop their own codes of belief. The course is designed to enable students to develop a range of skills and understanding, that will also enhance learning in their other A Level subjects.
In Year 12 students study topics such as women’s rights, the justice system and religion and the arts. In Year 13 students study identity within the Christian Church (women, LGBTQ+, slavery, relationship with other religions), the environment and new age spirituality and cults. These topics are highly engaging and current; they allow our Sixth Formers to have time to reflect upon belief systems and principles that are integral to our society. Furthermore, the topics allow students to consider what is important to them in their role as a global citizen. This reflects our school aim for our leaners to be curious, compassionate, confident and creative.
Extra and super-curricular opportunities
Lady Margaret School provides highly successful and well attended extra-curricular activities:
- Philosophy for Children Club – Aimed at years 7 and 8, where students start to explore and have fun with key philosophical concepts.
- GCSE RS Masterclass: – Students in from Years 10 and 11 participate in weekly discussions and debates around religion, ethical issues and morality
- Philosophy queens- Students from Year 12 take part in our weekly extended reading extra-curricular group, usually held as Socratic seminars.
Visits and speakers
The department offers a range of educational visits including trips to St Paul’s Cathedral, Wimbledon Buddhist Centre and St Regents Park Mosque. We also invite speakers into the school from the Christian Faith but also from other world faiths and those who have no Faith. These sessions give critical insight to how beliefs are put into practice in a variety of contexts. In the sixth form we attend Peter Vardy A Level conferences and the RS department will be looking at organizing a 6th form trip to Rome.
Future opportunities (careers, university courses)
Philosophy, Ethics and R.S at A level provides students with the opportunity to develop key skills that are essential for success on most degree courses.
Good interpersonal skills: It is important within Philosophy to develop life skills that students will use every day to communicate and interact with other people, both individually and in groups. These include empathy and compassion, intrigue and questioning skills as well as a critical and philosophical approach to key ideas and opinions.
Problem-solving: Philosophy focuses upon discovering, analyzing and solving problems especially dealing with current ethical issues or finding solutions to philosophical questions.
Time management and ability to work to deadlines: These are very important within Philosophy. The course can be very demanding so students must organise their time sufficiently in order to cope with the requirements.
Good verbal and written communication skills: A lot of time during Philosophy is spent discussing and debating important questions, developing an open mind and listening as well as finding ways to support ideas. Written skills are developed throughout the year with specific focus on written language, essay writing skills and development of a written argument.
Analytical skills: Philosophy develops the ability to gather information (often through research), articulate, analyse, solve complex problems and make decisions based on the research or information found.
Independent learning: A key skill in Philosophy is developing students’ ability to think, act and pursue their own studies autonomously, often through independent work and research.
Medicine, nursing, law, teaching, journalism, politics, social work.