“Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith and in purity” 1 Timothy 4:12
“You must not teach just content, but the values and customs of life. … [T]here are three things that you must transmit: how to love, how to understand which values and customs create harmony in society. … [Teachers] must aim to build an educational relationship with each student, who must feel welcomed and loved for what he or she is, with all of their limitations and potential” Pope Francis
Catholic schools serve diverse populations of pupils and within this context the Religious Education Curriculum Directory (RECD) makes the aims of Religious Education explicit:
- To present engagingly a comprehensive content which is the basis of knowledge and understanding of the Catholic faith;
- To enable pupils continually to deepen their religious and theological understanding and be able to communicate this effectively;
- To present an authentic vision of the Church's moral and social teaching so that pupils can make a critique of the underlying trends in contemporary culture and society;
- To raise pupils' awareness of the faith and traditions of other religious communities in order to respect and understand them;
- To develop the critical faculties of pupils so that they can relate their Catholic faith to daily life;
- To stimulate pupils' imagination and provoke a desire for personal meaning as revealed in the truth of the Catholic faith;
- To enable pupils to relate the knowledge gained through Religious Education to their understanding of other subjects in the curriculum;
- To bring clarity to the relationship between faith and life, and between faith and culture.
The outcome of excellent Religious Education is religiously literate and engaged young people who have the knowledge, understanding and skills – appropriate to their age and capacity – to reflect spiritually, and think ethically and theologically, and who are aware of the demands of religious commitment in everyday life- this is what we want the students at The Catholic High School to achieve.
Units of work are in line with the Curriculum Directory and have been approved by the Diocese of Shrewsbury.
Introduction topic - Being in a Catholic School: The aim of this first topic is to ensure that all students are made to feel welcome in our school and know what makes our school distinctive. This short topic will enable students to understand the characteristics and values of a Catholic school and the importance of being part of a Catholic Community. There will be an assessed piece of work titled “What does Christo Fidelis mean to me?” This is seen as a baseline assessment by staff to measure students knowledge, understanding and ability to write an extended piece of work.
Questions in the Search for God: The aim of this topic is that it is a “leveller” for all students regardless of the primary school that they have come from. It will introduce students to the variety of questions which people ask about life such as “Is there life after death?” This will help students to understand that it was largely fear which led to the beginnings of religion, looking at the earliest forms of religion. This in turn will show that certain areas of life are still a mystery to us. Most importantly it will bring an awareness of the transcendent and holy presence of God in the world- an understanding of a numinous experience. There will be a formal assessment on this topic.
i) Beliefs which led to a Christian understanding of God: We are exploring belief chronologically, therefore it makes sense following stone age beliefs to explore ancient gods. Students will explore polytheistic beliefs and we will show how early men and women began to develop beliefs in a variety of different gods. We also want students to start to compare some of the different beliefs which were held.
ii) Hebrew understanding of God: Moving through time students will now explore how polytheistic beliefs changed to monotheistic beliefs. Students will be introduced to Abraham as a 'man of faith', and the Covenant between God and the people of Israel. It also explores the human response to God’s call to a covenant relationship. It is hoped that this unit gives students a full understanding of key characters in the Old Testament. There will be a formal assessment on this topic.
Judaism: As part of the Curriculum Directory students have to study another faith. It makes sense to teach Judaism following the Hebrew understanding of God. In addition, this will provide a foundation for their GCSE course. In this topic we want students to know and understand key beliefs of the Jewish Faith as well as key practices within Judaism. There will be an AFL assessment on Bar Mitzvah.
Myths : The main aim of this topic is to introduce the students to the concept of myth as not something that is not true, but rather to understand the nature of myth and its significance in religious development. We will do this by presenting students with a variety of myths from around the world. One of the main parts of this topic is to examine the Creation Myth found in Genesis Ch1, 2 and 3 and to help the students to interpret the truths it contains. From this they should see how humanity is created by God and be able to examine the problem of human sinfulness, good and evil and God’s call to stewardship.
Signs and Symbols: The intent of this final unit is for students to understand the importance of signs and symbols as a means of communication common to all people. It will help students to understand that some signs have a deep religious significance. We want students to become familiar with some important Jewish and Christian symbols and understand the meaning they convey. In addition, they need to know the place of signs and symbols in the life of the Church.
The Life and the teaching of Jesus: The aim of this topic is to begin a study of the life and teaching of Jesus by exploring certain significant themes identified in the Synoptic Gospels. It is vital to establish the historical truth about the existence of Jesus and to give evidence to support it. Within this unit students will explore the life of Jesus chronologically, focusing on key events in his life and the message in his teaching. This topic will take a term to complete. There will be two assessments: AFL - The Journey to the Holy Land as well as an end of unit test.
Opposition to Jesus : The intent of this unit is to help the students to understand why Jesus faced opposition. They will be able to identify some of the groups who opposed Jesus. In addition, there is an opportunity for students to reflect on why some people who are considered outcasts today. Students will study the events surrounding the trial and execution of Jesus. Then they should be able to consider the faith of the early Christian community by reminding the students of the accounts of the resurrection of Jesus. Very importantly, they will be able to develop some understanding of the resurrection of Jesus and its importance for Christian belief.
During both of these units, students will be able to study and link key events in the life of Jesus to festivals that are remembered / celebrated today. There will be an AFL assessment on Holy Week and a further formal assessment on Festivals.
The Early Church: We will carry on studying the Church chronologically, therefore students will now look at the origins of Christianity by studying the birth of the Church at Pentecost. This in turn should lead the students to a deeper understanding of the Pentecost story. From this we will familiarise the students with some of the opposition which confronted early Christianity, this will include the martyrdom of St. Stephen. It is important that students understand the effect which persecution had on the Church. In this topic, students will become familiar with some early Christian symbols. Students will then move on to be able to compare the life of the early Church with the Church today, by identifying their fundamental beliefs. We will also explore the structure of the Church.
The Church Today: The aim of this topic is to provide an experience with which the students are familiar to begin a study of Christianity. We will study church buildings and places of worship and give an understanding of the reasons for the design of church buildings. We will also study the inside of a church building and look at objects that are used for worship. It is important that students have a greater understanding of 'Church' as not buildings but people who share a common belief. From this, students can consider the types of activities that occur within the Church as a community. The students will be introduced to the notion and belief of the Church as the Body of Christ. To this end, students will explore the work of CAFOD which will take the form of an assessment and study the life of an exemplary Christian.
Islam: Students will undertake a study of Islam focusing on the main beliefs and practices of the religion. They will have the opportunity to explore the similarities between Christianity and Islam. We will also discuss the importance of respecting another person’s religion.
Making Choices: This is the year which marks the transition from KS3 to KS4. The aim of this unit will be to reflect upon the responsibilities which are implicit in making decisions as students grow towards adulthood and to draw the them to an understanding of accepting responsibility for their decisions and the affects they will have on others. We will let students reflect upon their opportunities to make choices every day and examine the ways in which external pressures can sometimes control and affect the choices we make. Students will explore the idea of conscience and how it works in decision making. They will also look at how a Christian makes a moral decision and then apply this to a number of moral issues. As part of this unit we will explore sexual responsibility and the sanctity of life. There will be an assessment on Teenagers Rights, Teenage Pregnancy and the Sanctity of Life.
Light: The aim of this unit is to give the students some insight into the concept of 'Light' and its symbolic significance in religion. The theme will be developed around the Church's preparation for Christmas and will be related to the previous unit on sin and responsibility. Students will explore the symbol of light and the variety of meaning which it conveys. They will look at some festivals of light which occur in other religions. They shall develop an understanding of the importance of the symbol of light as it occurs in Christian tradition. There will be an formal assessment on Light.
Year 10 and 11 - GCSE Course (Edexcel)
Beliefs and Teachings: Students study the main beliefs and teachings of Catholic Christianity. Staff will ensure that exam technique is embedded by students practising the questions in most, if not all, lessons.
Practices: Exploration of the main Catholic practices. Staff to teach students how to compare different Christian denominations.
Sources of Wisdom and Authority: Study of the main sources of wisdom such as the Bible and the teaching of the Catechism.
Forms of Expression: Students to explore the varied ways that Catholic express their faith.
Philosophy and Ethics
Philosophy: Students to study arguments for the existence of God. Students study the main beliefs and teachings
Ethics: Students to explore relationships in the 21st century- this links to SRE.
Beliefs and Teachings: Students study the main beliefs and teachings of Judaism.
Practices: Exploration of the main practices within Judaism
There will be keywords tests and formal assessments at the end of each unit, as well as mock papers.
Year 12 & 13
Year 12 and 13 - General RE
We are all on a faith journey. We want to ‘help each student to develop and articulate their own faith positions’ as well as ‘respecting different faith traditions within contemporary society’.
Our aim, in essence, is to lead students as they enter into adulthood into constructive self-questioning of their beliefs and opinions, and to provide a framework in which these beliefs, values and opinions can be tested against the message of the gospel and within the context of the Church.
It is vital that the young adults attending this non-examined course see the value and purpose of attending General RE lessons. To this end, the RE department have designed a course that is relevant to our students and to help prepare them for when they leave school.
In Year 12 we will focus on who they think they are, and how others see them. They will then study moral issues where there will be opportunity for students to reflect on their own moral reasoning.
In Year 13 we will continue to reflect on moral issues such as human rights and war.
Students will also experience in Advent, Ash Wednesday, Lent and Holy Weeks services.
During the school year world issues may arise that we feel are important to address such as the migration crisis in 2016, in these situations we will plan lessons accordingly. In addition, there may be opportunities for guest speakers to come into school and this will always be welcomed. As a result, the scheme of work may have to be altered to accommodate.
A Level - Religious Studies course (OCR)
The transition from GCSE to A level can be a big step, hence, we have chosen OCR Religious Studies. A number of the topics that students will study at A level they have had some experience of before in their GCSE course. Students will study Philosophy, Ethics and Developments of Christian Thought. The assessment is essay based which we believe provides students who want to go to university with excellent transferrable skills of research and extended writing.