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Religious Education

Students at The Senior School study Religious Education in KS3 (Year 7 to 9).

The students either follow Greek Orthodox RE lessons, which are taught in Greek and follow the local Ministry of Education requirements, or Comparative RE lessons which are taught in English and follow the Non-statutory guidance of the Department for Children, Schools and Families.

Education shall be directed to the full development of the human personality and to the strengthening of respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms. It shall promote understanding, tolerance and friendship among all nations, racial or religious groups.

UN Declaration of Human Rights, Article 26

Students who follow the Comparative RE programme at The Senior School, gain a deep awareness of their own and others’ identities; they wrestle with the mysteries of life and the answers given by a wide variety of religions and beliefs; they develop a clear sense of what is of real value in world today. Through reflection on their own beliefs and values in the light of their learning, they grow in respect for themselves and others. Students encounter the transformative power of religions and beliefs in people’s lives – in Cyprus and in the wider world. They demonstrate curiosity about men and women of faith and commitment who have changed individual lives, society and culture. Through RE, they feel compelled to imagine and contribute to the creation of a better world for all.

“It is important for young people to acquire a better understanding of the role that religions play in today’s pluralistic world. The need for such education will continue to grow as different cultures and identities interact with each other through travel, commerce, media or migration. Although a deeper understanding of religions will not automatically lead to greater tolerance and respect, ignorance increases the likelihood of misunderstanding, stereotyping, and conflict.”

Toledo Guiding Principles for Teaching about Religions and Beliefs, 2007.

In Religious Education at The Senior School, we look to encourage students to develop by giving them time to ask their own questions, and evaluate the different answers offered by faiths to the questions they are investigating. Lessons are challenging and encourage students to think about the religious experiences and concepts they have learned.

We also want RE students to develop the ability to understand reasons for beliefs and practices, be able to form their own, and justify them. Our lessons encourage the development and practice through discussion and debate.

In RE there are plenty of opportunities to ‘think, pair, share’ in groups of twos or threes. Also, students have more formal discussions in groups of fours and fives, where students might have to represent and argue for particular points of view or religious perspectives, using role play. Then, they are allowed to take a step back and review the arguments they have heard, and evaluate whether their own thinking has changed. Lastly, we also want students to take the time to pause and reflect on the spiritual significance of the profound moral, theological and philosophical messages, answers and truth claims they encounter in RE. This way, students can be supported on their journey of clarifying their own perspectives.  Providing opportunities for students to deepen their thinking and apply their learning about the religious beliefs and practices of others, encourages them to explore their own beliefs in the light of what they learn, whether they are religious or not, and how they impact on personal ethics.

Thinking skills

In RE students are expected to think in increasing depth about complex issues to do with faith, beliefs, ideas and motivation. Philosophical enquiry-based approaches such as mind-mapping help students to think creatively, analytically and critically; to listen to, evaluate and respond to the views and ideas of others; to give reasons for their opinions, make connections and hypothesise; to give both sides of an argument, evaluate and draw conclusions.

Assessment

At the end of each unit there is a final assessment task which draws together students’ learning.

Text books for RE

The Living Faiths series challenges students to develop three approaches to exploring RE, and encourages them to assess their own progression.

Firstly, it encourages students to think inside and around the theological concepts that frame the different religious experiences in people’s lives by explaining various case study families’ beliefs and practices.

Secondly, it encourages them to think about ultimate philosophical questions by understanding fundamental questions that different faiths are seeking to address, and by reflecting on their own opinions to those questions.

Thirdly, it encourages them to undertake their own research in their classes and find out about the thoughts of other students in the class: what does my neighbour believe and how do I interpret what they do and say?

RE is made up of all three of these elements, and tasks challenge students to stretch themselves in these different ways of thinking. – ‘think like a theologian’ – ‘think like a philosopher’ – ‘think like a social scientist’

Year 7 books

Living Faiths Judaism

Living Faiths Hinduism

Year 8 books

Living Faiths Sikhism

Living Faiths Islam

Year 9 books

Living Faiths Christianity

Living Faiths Buddhism

RE is part of the Humanities Faculty and is currently taught by Mrs Helen Kaccoufa  BA, QTS (S) Religious Education

It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it
Aristotle