"It is impossible to interpret world events today if one does not grasp the role of religion. From Poland to the Philippines, from Soweto to San Salvador and from India to Ireland, the fundamental issues of existence are permeated by religious ideas, institutions and loyalties." James W Malone, U.S Religious Leader
Head of Department
Mr M Tither
Powerful knowledge in Religious Studies is having an awareness of different religious traditions and non-religious worldviews which enables you to understand the world, its history and how people respond to issues in diverse ways.
The Religious Studies Department at the Kingsway School aims to equip our students with a deep knowledge and understanding of different religious traditions and non-religious worldviews. Studying religion increases a student’s cultural capital by giving them an insight into humanity’s history and it’s present. The Kingsway is a diverse school with students from different backgrounds and religions. We are also situated in a diverse setting with significant Christian, Muslim and Jewish communities. Having a good knowledge and understanding of what different religious people believe and practice helps promote inclusivity both in school and in our local community. We are a safe space for students to be able to discuss the big questions in life, formulating and challenging their own views. We also aim to prepare students academically for GCSE and beyond by equipping them with key skills such as critical thinking and analytical writing.
At Key Stage 3, students will cover the six major world religions, developing their knowledge of beliefs and practices. Students will use this knowledge to critically evaluating varying perspectives of these beliefs and practices both from within and from outside a particular religious tradition. In addition, students will consider the big questions in life and how religion relates to 21st century Britain and the wider world. In year 9 students take a more thematic approach, applying the beliefs and practices studied in year 7 and 8 to ethical issues.
At Key Stage 4, students follow the GCSE curriculum and study Christianity and Islam in depth. Students will build on their knowledge of beliefs and practices from Key Stage 3 and continue to debate ethical issues, using the religious teachings and non-religious worldviews they have learned about.
Topic 1 (September - January): Belief in God
If God exists what is he, she or it like? Why do people disagree about God’s existence? What are the main arguments for and against God existing? Why does the design of the world lead some people to believe God exists? Why does evil and suffering in the world lead some people to believe God does not exist?
Topic 2 (January - May): Judaism
How did the Jewish faith begin? How did God test the faith of Abraham, Joseph and Moses? Is God really in control of everything that happens in the world? How and why do Jewish people celebrate Passover? Are the 10 commandments still relevant today? Is the idea of Sabbath rest still practical in the 21st century? Why is the Torah important to Jews today? How do Jewish people worship?
Topic 3 (May - July): Buddhism
The final topic of Y7 is a self-directed project exploring the beliefs and practices of Buddhists.
Topic 1 (January - February): Christianity:Jesus
What is meant by the term Messiah and why is it important for Christians? Why do Christians believe that Jesus fulfilled the role of Messiah? How do Jews respond to these claims? What are some of the miracles of Jesus? How might sceptics respond to these stories? Are the teachings of Jesus still relevant today? What happened during Holy Week and how do Christians celebrate? Did Jesus deserve to die? Did Jesus rise from the dead? Why is the death and resurrection of Jesus so important to Christians?
Topic 2 (Febuary - May): Islam
Who was the Prophet Muhammad and why is he important to Muslims? What areThe Six Articles of Faith in Islam and how do these impact the lives of Muslims today? How do Muslims worship? What are the 5 Pillars of Islam? Why are the five pillars important and how are they expressed in the lives of Muslims today?
Topic 3 (May-July): Sikhism
The final topic of Y8 is a self-directed project exploring the beliefs and practices of Sikhs.
In year 9 students move to a more thematic approach to religious studies applying the knowledge and understanding they have gained to moral issues. They will study the following:
Topic 1 (September - January): Animal Rights
How should we treat animals? Should all religious people be vegetarian? How does a person’s worldview (including non-religious views e.g. humanism / atheism) affect their treatment of animals? What do different religions teach about using animals for food? How does a person’s worldview impact their beliefs about using for experimentation?
Topic 2 (January - May): Matters of Life and Death.
Why do some religions teach that life is sacred? Is it a human right to have children? What fertility treatments are available to those who cannot have children naturally? Why might religious believers disagree about fertility treatment? When does human life begin? Why do religious believers disagree about this? Is there life after death? Why might non-religious people, including humanists and atheists still believe in some form of life after death?
Topic 3 (May- July): Religious Attitudes to Drugs and Alcohol
What do we mean by the term ‘drug’? How do different types of drug affect the body and mind differently? How are drugs controlled in the UK and is this effective? What social problems can be caused by misuse of legal and illegal substances? How does a person’s religion impact on their use of drugs? Should cannabis be legalised in the UK?
At GCSE, students study a range of issues that are important to life in today’s world. They study these from a secular point of view as well as looking at the teachings of Christianity and Islam. Students are encouraged to critically evaluate the various points of view studied, express their own opinions and engage in respectful debate.
Area of Study 1: Religion and Ethics through Christianity
Module 1: Christian Beliefs (Year 10 - September - November)
Including what Christians believe about God, creation, the problem of evil and suffering, the need for salvation, the life, death and resurrection of Jesus, and what will happen when we die.
Module 2: Marriage and the Family (N.B. This module will also explore non-religious views) (Year 10 - November - February)
Including the purpose of marriage, sexual relationships, the importance of family life, contraception, divorce, gender prejudice and discrimination.
Module 3: Living the Christian Life (Year 11 - September - November)
Including how Christians worship, why they pray, where they might go on pilgrimage, how they celebrate festivals, the local church and the worldwide Church.
Module 4: Matters of Life and Death (N.B. This module will also explore non-religious views) (Year 11 - February - March)
Including origins and value of the universe, sanctity of life, origins and value of human life, abortion, life after death and euthanasia.
Area of Study 2: Religion, Peace and Conflict through Islam
Module 1: Muslim Beliefs (Year 10 - Febuary - May)
Including the six beliefs of Islam, the nature of Allah, the prophets, the holy books, the nature and importance of angels.
Module 2: Crime and Punishment (N.B. This module will also explore non-religious views) (Year 10 - May - July)
Including attitudes to crime and justice, causes of crime, the nature of forgiveness, treatment of criminals and arguments for and against the death penalty.
Module 3: Living the Muslim Life (Year 11 - November - February)
Obligatory acts of Shia Islam, the five pillars of Islam, the significance of salah, sawm, zakah and hajj, origins and meaning of jihad, origins and significance of Eid celebrations.
Module 4: Peace and Conflict (N.B. This module will also explore non-religious views) (Year 11 - March - April)
Including Muslim attitudes towards peace, the role of Muslims in peace-making, attitudes to conflict, pacifism, Just War theory, Holy War, weapons of mass destruction, Muslim views on terrorism.
Assessment will take place at the end of each module in the form of a written test. Students will sit formal examinations for both units of work at the end of the course.