Religious Education develops many valuable and transferrable skills for our students at Barnsley Academy. Through studying RE, students will be able to understand how multi-faith, multi-cultural and secular societies, much like their own in Barnsley and the UK overall, function. RE enables students to understand and show respect for the beliefs and teachings behind the diverse views and practices of individuals and societies. RE allows students to engage in debates in such a way that recognises the right of others to hold different views, which might challenge and change your own personal knowledge, whilst still having the informed conviction to decide on your own viewpoint. Students begin to figure out how the substantive knowledge they learn about other worldviews fits in with their own worldview.
The subject develops clear communication skills in both discussion tasks and in extended writing tasks. Students will develop their ability to construct well-informed and reasoned arguments that can be justified, considering these arguments through the theological, historical, philosophical, or human/social science lenses. RE promotes the use of critical thinking skills to interrogate accepted norms and media output; students begin to question and have a deeper curiosity about the world around them. The curriculum is thematically sequenced; in each year, students consider the origin of some of the world’s major religious or non-religious worldviews, the identity of these worldviews and what makes them unique and develop their connectivity through understanding people who follow different faiths.
RE is a subject in which all our students at Barnsley Academy can academically and personally flourish; it continues to develop our key values of ambition, determination, and respect.
In Year 7, students consider the origins of the Abrahamic faiths- Judaism, Christianity, and Islam- which will show them how these distinct faiths with their own traditions and variations, are related through shared narratives and ideas, highlighting the similarities and differences. Students will then analyse the teachings, beliefs, practices, and denominations in core units on Judaism and Christianity in more detail. Both faiths will be assessed in the end of year United Learning assessment. After the assessment, students will use the remainder of the academic year to learn about the beliefs, practices, and teachings of Buddhism.
In Year 8, students start by learning about the third Abrahamic faith, Islam, building upon the prior knowledge from Year 7. In the core unit on Islam, students will trace the beginnings of the Islamic faith through the life of Prophet Muhammad to the Sunni/Shia Split, all the way up until the modern day. Students will then complete a core unit on Philosophy of Religion, considering the belief and disbelief in God, and the arguments made for both sides. Both units will be assessed in the end of year United Learning assessment. After the assessment, students will use the remainder of the academic year to complete a unit on the beliefs, practices, and teachings of the Hindu Dharma and a unit on Atheism, the belief in a lack of God(s).
In Year 9, the substantive and disciplinary knowledge gained in Year 7 and Year 8 through the units on the Abrahamic faiths, Buddhism, Hindu Dharma, Philosophy of Religion and Atheism is then built upon and applied to modern-day issues. The first core unit is on Life and Death, where students enquire about what is considered ‘right’ and ‘good’. After this, students look at major ethical questions in our society such as ‘capital punishment’ and ‘abortion’. The second core unit is on equality, and looking at the fight for racial, gender, LGBTQ+ and disability equality in the UK, and the religious and non-religious perspectives on equality.
Year 10 and Year 11
In Year 10 and Year 11, three main components are studied. Component 1 is Religious, Philosophical and Ethical Studies in the Modern World, which provides students with the opportunity to study four Philosophical themes: Issues of Relationships, Issues of Life and Death, Issues of Good and Evil and Issues of Human Rights. Component 2 is A Study of Christianity which provides students with the opportunity to undertake an in-depth study of Christianity as a world religion. Students will look at Christian beliefs, teachings and practices and the impact they have on communities and individual believers. Component 3 is A Study of a World Faith- Islam and students will study Islamic beliefs, teachings and practices and the impact they have on the lives of these believers.