Religious Education Department Information
In the current climate of religious confusion and tension in the world we at John Smeaton Academy aim as a department to reflect the reality of what is happening in a world of diverse beliefs and values. We also contribute actively to pupils’ Spiritual, Moral, Social and Cultural development.
We aim to give students the opportunity to focus on the role of religions in encouraging peace and harmony and caring for the poor and the environment, as well as considering the role of religions in reinforcing stereotypes and prejudice around issues such as gender, sexuality, ethnicity and race. We also study how certain groups attempt to use religion as a justification for terrorism.
Students at John Smeaton Academy study Religious Education as a compulsory subject in year 7 and 8. They then have the option to select the subject in year 9 as a pre-option and again at GCSE Level in year 10 or 11.
Students are encouraged to explore their own beliefs and those of others, both religious and non-religious. As well as developing social and literacy skills, we aim to foster an attitude of respect and understanding for those around us, both in school and in the community. Our teaching style is centred on students being creative, reflective, and respectful. We place a huge emphasis on enjoying finding out about the variety of beliefs and values in Britain today.
In Year 7 students sit a baseline assessment to assess the knowledge brought with them from primary school. Throughout Year 7 we study the topics of ‘What is R.E?’, ‘Why do some people believe in God?’ and ‘Why do we need laws and rules?’ Students are encouraged to discuss their beliefs and values but also to respect diversity and to understand the meaning of tolerance.
Students in Year 8 learn about different world religions and the importance of cultural connections between the religion and life. There is emphasis on life in the UK, in particular with regards to places of worship, clothing, food and festivals. Topics studied include those which affect everyone, whether religious or secular: ‘Who should look after the environment?’, ‘Life is a journey –what happens along the way?’ and ‘People who have influenced the world’. In Year 8 Humanist and secular views are addressed to ensure that pupils are receiving a full and rounded understanding of the world they live in.
This is a pre-option year where students study a range of topics including: Religion and Sport; Religion in the Media; and Religion and Violence. The pre-option year allows pupils to develop the skills required before committing to GCSE level, they work on critical thinking and analysis, debating and speaking formally in public, alongside exam skills and techniques.
Some of the questions which you will address at GCSE are: What are asylum seekers? Should people have sex before marriage? What are human rights? You will also consider: What should happen to criminals? Why do people take illegal drugs? Why are some people poor when others are so rich?
You will develop the skills of investigation, analysis, interpretation, evaluation, communication and debate. You will become a more tolerant and resilient person with a better understanding of the various people you will come across in society.
The skills you learn will be useful in a wide variety of careers such as teaching, nursing, journalism, sales, government , civil service and many others.There are also opportunities in library and information management. The course lays a solid foundation for further study at “A Level” including Ethics and Philosophy.
Mr. R. Cook – Head of RE