Faith, Belief, Culture & Society
‘Faith, Belief, Culture and Society’ is not simply a rebranding of traditional Religious Education.
We are working to enhance students’ understanding of how society works, and the role that faith, beliefs and culture have in everyone’s life, regardless of whether they’re religious or not. We look at the personal impact of beliefs on the way that people live, and consider what the behaviours of others can tell us about what they value and believe in. Our aim is to develop students’ understanding of complex social issues like identity, forms of oppression like racism, sexism and homophobia and to appreciate the importance of human rights and democracy, The department currently teaches GCSE Religious Studies and Psychology; Psychology, Social and Cultural Anthropology and Philosophy within the IB, as part of this broader approach to the study of what makes us human, which is what we’re really trying to think about in class.
key stage 3
The KS3 curriculum has been devised with the intent to provide students with knowledge and skills necessary to be responsible global citizens. We constantly review it in order to ensure that the topics covered are relevant and current.
In year 7, students will learn about the main world religions as well as Humanism, as an alternative non-theist way of life. We start with Abrahamic Religions to appreciate the shared origins of Judaism, Christianity and Islam. This unit will hopefully instil in students the understanding that these three religions actually share a lot of their beliefs and practices, and will challenge common misconceptions. We will then look in more depth at the world religions that are most prevalent in the surrounding area, so that learning about them becomes more relevant to students' experiences.
In year 8, students will learn about important local and global issues, such as Identity, Diversity and Equality, Human Rights and Justice, Democracy and Healthy Relationships. Students will not only become knowledgeable on these topics, but also develop important skills of evaluation of different points of view and advocacy. Students will be encouraged to question stereotypes (for example by questioning the gender stereotypes that underpin many relationships and cause conflict within them, or stereotypical ideas about race and immigrants/refugees), and to make a positive impact on the world they live in. They will be encouraged to take part in campaigns, such as advocating for a human rights issue of their choice (also part of their KS3 Diploma task for FBCS).
In year 9, students will develop their understanding of important ethical issues such as abortion and euthanasia. This year, a new addition has been a whole unit on anti-racist education, in which students critically examine the social construct of race, and how racism is deeply embedded in our social structure. The aim is to empower students to not only recognise the various forms racism takes, but also to be able to tackle it. Another recent and very successful addition has been the unit on Media, which takes a sociological approach and it also promotes students’ media literacy and helps them navigate their way through what is reliable information and what isn’t.
key stage 4
RELIGIOUS STUDIES: AQA Examining Board
The RS GCSE follows the AQA specification, and covers the study of beliefs and practices of Christianity and Islam, and the study of social issues such as relationships, crime and conflicts. Students will be challenged with questions about belief, values, meaning, purpose and truth, enabling them to develop their own attitudes towards religious issues.
Students will also gain an appreciation of how religion, philosophy and ethics form the basis of our culture. They will develop analytical and critical thinking skills, the ability to work with abstract ideas, leadership and research skills. All these skills will help prepare them for further study.
Students will sit two exams at the end of the two-year course, and the full list of topics will be:
|Religious beliefs and practices:||Thematic studies:|
|Christianity||Relationships and Families|
|Islam||Crime and Punishment|
|Peace and Conflict|
|Human Rights and Social Justice|
Psychology GCSE follows the AQA syllabus which offers an engaging and comprehensive introduction to Psychology. We cover a range of Psychological topics including:
Language, thought and communication
Brain and neuropsychology
The course covers a variety of disciplines within Psychology, and also complements the IB course, although it is not necessary to take GCSE Psychology in order to study the subject in the sixth form. Students will be expected to draw on knowledge and understanding of the entire course of study to show a deeper understanding of these topics.
Assessment is by two written examinations, taken at the end of Year 11.
key stage 5