Staffing:Mrs Lowe (Head of Department), Miss Chapman, Mrs Schofield and Mr Jackson
As a Church of England school we recognise with other Anglican educational institutions the common search of all humanity for ultimate truth and relationship with God. To this end the life and example of Jesus Christ is both a model and a catalyst for the formation of the whole person and the human family.
Religious Education is crucial to fulfilling the purpose of a church school, described by the late Lord Runcie, when he was Archbishop of Canterbury, as being ‘to nourish those of the faith; encourage those of other faiths and challenge those who have no faith. Therefore in line with the North West of England dioceses we affirm that: “the principal aim of Religious Education is to affirm and nourish, encourage and challenge all students on their spiritual journey.” (Framework for RE in Church of England Secondary Schools)
In conjunction, we uphold that:
“Religious education should enable pupils to consider and respond to important questions related to their own spiritual development, the development of values and attitudes and fundamental questions concerning the meaning and purpose of life.” (QCA 1999)
Religious education provides a rich and wide range of experiences inside and outside the classroom which give pupils opportunities to develop concepts and skills that will help them to make sense of their own experiences and beliefs, and to understand the beliefs and practices of members of faith communities.
The educational process in an Anglican school is rooted in the Christian foundation of the school community. Therefore all teaching, learning and planning occur within the compass of the ethos of the whole school community, where “Religious Education lies at the heart of the curriculum and is recognised as such by the whole school community” (Excellence and Distinctiveness. Guidance on RE in Church of England schools)
Therefore, it reflects and conveys the distinctively Christian character of the school community based in the Anglican tradition.
Religious Education has a major role in helping pupils to:
- engage with the living faith of the school
- understand how religious faith can provide a vision to sustain and develop their spiritual and personal life;
- develop a sense of themselves as significant, unique and precious;
- become active citizens, understanding and serving their neighbour;
- find reason for hope in a troubled world.
Religious Education in this, Bury Church of England High School, is firmly rooted in the basic tenets of Christianity. While the Diocesan guidelines for religious education are incorporated into the schemes of work, our approach is ecumenical and children of all faiths and no faith are encouraged to reflect on what might be learnt from religion in the light of their own beliefs and experiences.
As Bury has a comparatively limited ethnic mix, it is an important part of religious education to encourage tolerance and respect for other cultures and faiths.
The RE Department strives to deliver the highest standards of teaching and learning to enable students to:
- think theologically and explore the ultimate questions
- reflect critically on the truth claims of Christian belief and the person of Jesus
- explore the challenge of Jesus’ teaching in a pluralist and post modern society;
- develop the skills to analyse, interpret and apply the Bible text;
- recognise that faith is commitment to a particular way of understanding and responding to God and the world
- analyse and explain the varied responses to moral problems from the traditions of the Christian community;
- make a well-informed response to Christianity;
- respect those of all faiths in their search for God
- reflect critically on areas on shared belief and practice between different faiths;
- enrich and expand their understanding of truth;
- reflect critically and express their views on the human quest.
Teaching and learning about Christianity and world religions
The principal aim for RE sets out that all students should be enabled to explore and grow in understanding of their own faith or philosophical stance. A Church school such as Bury Church High School is a place where God and faith are respected, and where there is a duty to foster accurate and increasing understanding of world religions and world views. In developing a deeper understanding of their own belief and practices and the breadth of Christianity as a world wide religion, as well as appreciating the faith of others, pupils are encouraged to combat the evils of racism, promote inclusion for all and build up harmonious relationships between communities.
Therefore in Key Stage 3
- two thirds of the curriculum each year is spent in the study of Christianity;
- at least two other religions will be studied overall, and one in depth.
And in Key Stage 4
- the study of Christianity is required as part of an accredited course (GCSE);
- pupils will study at least one other principal religion.
Key Stage 3
Pupils are introduced to the development of religion and the six major world religions though thematic work on festivals, the founders, symbols etc. The stories of the Old Testament are investigated as a common heritage of Judaism, Christianity and Islam. Reflecting on the nature of God, the problem of evil and suffering and other philosophical concepts completes the first year of study. Pupils spend their second year looking at the life of Jesus and the growth of Christianity, and also the beliefs and spread of Islam. The initial GCSE module, ‘Religion and Society’, is covered in Year 9 and includes topics such as how a Christian may make a moral decision, crime and punishment, war and peace, modern medical issues and their religious implications and Christian responses to politics.
Key Stage 4 (Current Year 10)
GCSE RE is completed in Year 10 by pupils studying a second module, ‘Religion and Life’, which incorporates belief in God; matters of life and death such as abortion and euthanasia; marriage and family life and the social issues of racism , sexism and community cohesion between religions. The GCSE module exams ‘Religion and Society’ and ‘Religion and Life’ are sat during the June series of exams in Year 10.
Key Stage 4 (Current Year 11)
Pupils explore a number of topics from the following
- Current issues: Homosexuality and the future of the Church
- Wonder and Contemplation: Life balance and the need for quiet reflection
- Judaism: Beliefs and Practices
- Sikhism: independent research
- What is happiness: In Christian and Buddhist terms
- The cost of freedom: A study of Gandhi and Martin Luther King
- Spiritual expression: Religious themes in art work
- Rastafarianism: Its origins and modern practices
- The Existence of God: An introduction to religious philosophy
- Wealth and Poverty: Confronting personal and global debt
- The Caring Society: Christian Theology of service in the caring professions
- Vocation: The nature and responsibilities of calling
- Media and the Internet: Personal and corporate Morality
The department organises several Flexible Fridays throughout the year including activities designed to deepen pupils understanding of key topics, including a multi-faith day, a trip to Liverpool to visit the Cathedrals and a day looking in depth at the Incarnation.
Extra Curricular Activities
- Scripture Union Bible Quiz Teams
- Schools week by the band ‘Taste’ (with concert held at Metro Christian Centre)
- Visit from the band Malokai (in conjunction with the Music Department)
- Prayer Space week
- Trip to Taize in France
- Gifted and Talented enrichment events
- Riding Lights Roughshod Theatre company visit