KS3 Religious Education

Year 7: Who am I? Questions of identity, belonging and diversity, learning from Sikhs, Muslims and Christians.

Term 1: What does it mean to be human?

Concepts and themes: beliefs and teachings, ways of living, identity.

Pupils enquire into how people express themselves and their beliefs in the religions being studied. Using amazing, artistic and creative examples, they consider what is being expressed. Examples might include Christian identity, Sikh ideas about belonging or Muslim understandings of Ummah and beliefs about Allah.

Pupils raise and consider their own questions about spirituality, identity, living together, and cohesion, distinguishing prejudices and superstitions from facts, opinions and religious beliefs. RE is introduced as a journey in which the pupil’s life is part of what is studied, and learning from religions is personal. Pupils develop their understanding of religion as a web of meanings: beliefs, values, connections,relationships, community, the sense of wonder.Pupils explore and express their own sense of meaning using examples such as dance, art, worship, protest, architecture.

Pupils design a building with four rooms that reflect four aspects of their own spirituality/humanity.

Term 2: What does it mean to belong?

Concepts and themes: expressing meaning, ways of living, sources of authority, questions of meaning.

Pupils enquire into the ways in which Sikh worship, festival and scared text express belonging and identity. They learn about langar, Gurdwara, Guru Granth Sahib, Vaisakhi, sewa and the 5Ks.

They raise and answer questions about how Christian community life and worship has an impact on ways of living and the sense of belonging. They learn about the church as a community, Christian activism on issues like anti-racism or global equality.

Pupils compare the ritual practices of adulthood and coming of age, explaining similarities and meanings in Sikh and Christian practices such as adult, baptism, confi rmation, Amrit.

They compare the ways in which leaders like Dr Martin Luther King or Bhagat Puran Singh worked with their communities of faith to inspire change in the ways of life people follow.

Term 3: What is my place in the world?

Concepts and themes: beliefs and teachings,

Pupils learn about contemporary Christianity, a global religion. From statistics of Christian belonging in Rotherham, Yorkshire, UK and the world they develop their understanding of religious identity, and consider what Christians believe and how this impacts on their lives in different ways, locally, nationally and globally.

They raise and enquire into questions about the teaching of Jesus about issues such as money, forgiveness, awareness of God, prayer and prejudice. They are given creative opportunities to respond to these ideas with their own thinking. They learn about young Christians in Britain today, and their connection to the older traditions of the faith. 

From visits, visitors or other authentic encounters with Christian faith, pupils are enabled to open up their own ideas about what they believe and why, exploring the reasons, experiences and infl uences that shape their views and identity.

Year 8: Who influences me? What’s my philosophy for living? 

Term 1:What inspires and motivates me?

Pupils look at examples of motivation and inspiration inside religious traditions, asking ‘why’ questions about Buddhist, Sikh and Christian practice and commitment.

Examples might include the Mozambiquan project ‘Swords into ploughshares’ (Christian Aid), the impact of the teaching of the Guru Granth Sahib on Sikh living in Britain today, or the life and work of Aung San Suu Kyi, Burma’s Buddhist Nobel Peace Prize winner.

Teachers might run a spiritual ‘Dragon’s den’, studying the leaders who inspire, and linking to media. 

Pupils should consider questions of influenceand inspiration such as: how am I pushed around? Who pulls the strings? Whose influence is good for me? What ambitions and aspirations do I have, and how have they been shaped?

Inspirational people, leaders, texts, music, and stories are a part of the materials pupils will encounter and consider in this unit.

Term 2: Why am I here?

Pupils develop and consider questions of origins, destiny, science and religion, the sense of purpose in life.

They learn that the debates between religion and science pose easy questions with difficult answers. From studying creation narratives and a range of views about ‘where we come from’ they explore the ways science and religion might give humanity knowledge or guidance in life, and learn about the thinking of
some scientists who are Christians and some who are agnostics or atheists.

The second part of the unit considers questions of meaning and purpose in life: what is the point of living as we do? What rules or principles could we follow / should we follow, and why? What do we live for? Why are some people willing to die for their ideas or beliefs?

Pupils also consider why people from different religions and from no religion disagree about questions of purpose, and respond to the question: what goals is it good to pursue in my own life? Why?

Term 3: How do we know anything?

Pupils enquire into some examples of what we know about religions: how are stories of the Buddha used in Buddhist communities today? Why do Christians believe that ‘Jesus lives’? What do Buddhists and Christians think and do
about the suffering in the world?

Links with the history curriculum use sources, weigh up the evidence for Jesus in history, find out about the Buddha’s life story and the different ways it is told, consider meanings in these ancient narratives.

Questions of meaning, purpose and truth, identified by the pupils, can be considered in this philosophical unit that engages with the teachings of two religions. Learning comes from the engagement of different opinions and
teachings.