KS3 philosophy & Religion
Philosophy and religion offers pupils a profound insight into the beliefs and practices of the world faiths and has a central role in promoting respect, appreciation and understanding of people's religious beliefs and values, which is at the heart of our syllabus. Philosophy and religion also has a substantial contribution to make to the spiritual, moral, social and cultural development of young people whilst most importantly promoting a respectful and tolerant attitude towards the varying religions and cultures within society.
Although our curriculum is split into distinct topics there are four core threads that run through all of these topics. As students progress through the topics and years they will have an increasingly sophisticated understanding of each:
- Key concepts - Religion is underpinned by key concepts such as resurrection. As students progress through the curriculum they will have a wider and deeper understanding of these concepts.
- Religious beliefs and teachings - Each religion has its core beliefs and teaching. Our curriculum will introduce the students to the core beliefs of Christianity and Islam as well as touch on the other significant world religions.
- Religious practices - How religious beliefs are then translated into practice can vary between religions and even within a religion. This will appear in all of our units.
- Philosophy and Ethics - Underpinning all of this is the core thread of ethics, the moral principles that govern a person's behaviour. We will introduce this throughout Yr7 and 8 and consolidate this more completely in Yr9.
|Year 7||Year 8||Year 9|
|Focus for the year: Establishing the foundations of the key beliefs of Christianity||Focus for the year: Building our understanding of Christianity and establishing the foundations of the key beliefs of Islam.||Focus for the year: Applying our understanding of religious beliefs to ethical situations.|
Intro to RE
This unit aims to establish the fundamental place and purpose of religion in society by addressing key beliefs and practices of various world religions. We give students the chance to explore their own beliefs on fundamental spiritual questions about God and life.
We find many of our students have not studied Sikhism before so this unit aims to teach them about the youngest of the 6 world religions. A religion that is often referred to as the 'jewel' of the religions.
Foundations of Christianity
This unit focuses on the historic and Biblical stories of Jesus. We look at the fundamental concepts of the Trinity, divinity, crucifixion, resurrection and ascension of Jesus - all of which are crucial for future thematic topics.
Creation v Science
We now look at a single Christian idea in depth - Creationism. It allows us to look at how some religious people have religious explanations for scientific events. We also importantly look at how different people within the same religion might have different views.
At a time of climate crisis it is important for our students to realise the religious perspective on an issue that is key to our students. In this we continue to look at religious practices that stem from religious beliefs.
In this unit our students can reflect on their philosophical and ethical beliefs and their role within their community, society and the wider world.
Commitment to a set of beliefs, and then following through with specific practices is at the heart of every religion. It allows students to reflect on what it takes to make a commitment at this stage in their life as well as introducing the idea of future commitments such as marriage. Students will learn about the importance of joining a religion and taking on the responsibilities that this brings.
Poverty and Charities
We look at the causes and effects of poverty which is another issue that is very relevant to our city. We focus on the Salvation Army as this is a charity that works locally. This allows us to really look in depth at religious beliefs in practice.
Islam is the second biggest religion in the UK, in Bristol and in our school. As a result it is fundamental that students have an understanding of the 'fastest growing religion in the world'. Islam is regularly in the news and this unit allows us tackle pre-conceived ideas and misconceptions around topics such as Jihad.
Pilgrimage is something that is directly relevant with our student body as a number go on Hajj and celebrate Eid al-Adha. Pilgrimage allows us to look at a theme with the application of multiple religions, this is a progression from Year 7 where we only looked at a theme within a single religion.
Freedom and Justice
The aim of this unit is to introduce pupils to key issues surrounding social justice, freedom of speech and action, and prejudice and discrimination. It introduces pupils to important religious figures such as Martin Luther King and Oscar Romero. As a topic it is easy to update to keep the issues and beliefs relevant to pupils today.
Buddhism is one of the six major religions followed by approximately 500 million people worldwide. This unit is a good contrast to Christianity, Sikhism and Islam as the religion is not based on a monotheistic belief system.
The study of philosophy provides the foundation for developing critical thinking. It addresses fundamental questions and helps students work towards answers. Ethics provides an insight into what guides people in their moral behaviour and choices. All religions have an ethical component that is influenced by key beliefs and directly impacts their practices.
One of the strongest philosophical arguments against God's existence. This unit continues to build on understanding Buddhism and Philosophy and Ethics.
Flowing from the previous unit this builds on the concept of moral evil. War and conflict are current and in the news, this unit helps students to understand the ideas behind the causes of war, how wars are justified; and the real concept of Jihad.