Religious Studies in Church of England Schools
As ‘schools of faith’ Church of England schools, including Bury Church of England High School, recognise the common search of all humanity; for ultimate truth and a relationship with the Divine. RS is key to fulfilling the purpose of a church school as described by the late Lord Runcie (when he was Archbishop of Canterbury): ‘to nourish those of the faith; encourage those of other faiths and challenge those who have no faith.’ Inspired by this statement, the North West of England dioceses set out that the principal aim of Religious Studies is to affirm and nourish, encourage and challenge all pupils on their spiritual journey.
In an Anglican school, the educational process is rooted in the Christian foundation of the school community. Therefore, all teaching, learning and planning take place within the ethos of the school community. Religious Studies lies at the very heart of the curriculum, reflecting and conveying the distinctively Christian character of the school community as reflected in the Anglican tradition.
The Principle aim of RS is as follows:
To engage pupils in systematic enquiry into significant human questions which religion and worldviews address, so that they can develop the understanding and skills needed to appreciate and appraise varied responses to these questions, as well as to develop responses of their own.
Within Bury Church of England High School the key focus of RS is to give pupils to opportunity to explore their own beliefs, values, motivations and ideas. Pupils are given the opportunity to consider thought provoking, challenging questions about the meaning and purpose of life, beliefs about God and ultimate reality, issues of right and wrong and what it means to be human.
Pupils have access to religious texts in order to explore their meanings, their beauty and their impact on the world. The beliefs and teachings of Christianity and other world faiths are taught so that pupils can understand, interpret and evaluate their teachings and articulately and coherently express their own personal beliefs.
Pupils are able to evaluate and assess beliefs and ideas, reflecting on the value of received wisdom and develop and express their own insights. In RS, pupils also have the opportunity to develop their own justified opinions whilst recognising the value of the opinions of others, examining religions and world views in local, national and global contexts.
RS has a key 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.
- Live life in all its fullness.
In order for these aims to be fulfilled, pupils are entitled to the highest standards of teaching and learning in Religious Studies. This will enable them to:
- think theologically and explore ultimate questions;
- reflect critically on the truth claims of Christian belief;
- face the challenge of Jesus’ teaching in a pluralist and post-modern society;
- analyse and explain the varied nature and traditions of the Christian community;
- respect those of all faiths in their search for God;
- reflect critically on areas of 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 in world religions and world views
Church schools such as ours have a duty to foster accurate and increasing understanding of world religions and world views. As a result pupils will gain greater insight into the world and the society in which they are growing up. They will also be able to appreciate the faith of others and develop a deeper understanding of their own beliefs and practices. These outcomes must contribute to building up harmonious relations within and between communities, promoting inclusion for all and combating the evils of racism. The principal aim for Religious Studies sets out that all pupils should be enabled to explore and grow in understanding of their own faith or philosophical stance.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.
- 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
In Year 7 pupils are taught RS for three hours a fortnight.
- What makes Bury Church High School a Christian school?
- Introduction to World Religions
- The Old Testament
- Hope and Faith; contributing to the Arch Bishop of York Award’s Personal Volunteering Challenge.
In Year 8 pupils study
- An Introduction to Judaism (which also offers Christian insights into the shared background of Judaism and Christianity)
- An Introduction to Christianity (through deeper study into the life of Jesus Christ)
- An Introduction to Islam (which also offers Christian perspectives on the relationship between Christianity and Islam)
All pupils are entered for GCSE Religious Studies a year earlier than their other GCSEs. Pupils sit their examination in Year 10.
Pupils will sit AQA Specification A. Assessment is purely via two examinations, with each paper lasting for 1 hour and 45 minutes.
Topics covered include:
Paper 1: The Study of Religions: beliefs, teachings and practices.
- Christianity: Beliefs and Teachings
- Christianity: Practices
- Islam: Beliefs and Teachings
- Islam: Practices
Paper 2: Thematic Studies
- Theme A: Relationships and families
- Theme B: Religion and life
- Theme D: Religion, peace and conflict
- Theme F: Religion, crime and punishment
In year 11, pupils study a General RS course designed by the department. This course provides a challenging look at some issues of contemporary debate within theology, including the philosophical arguments for God’s existence and also prejudice and discrimination. The syllabus is delivered during one hour per week throughout year 11.
RS Department News
In December 2019, Eleanor Catterall, accompanied by Mrs Stedman and her parents, travelled to London to be awarded First Prize in the national School's Bible Project Award competition. Eleanor had written an essay giving an eyewitness account of the resurrection of Lazarus. Despite tough competition from many schools nationally, Eleanor’s essay was recognised as being outstanding and was therefore awarded first prize. Eleanor, her parents and Mrs Stedman were given a tour of Westminster Abbey and her prize was presented by Baroness Cox.
- Weekly Mindful Colouring Club
- Annual Faith Trail to places of worship in the local community
- Participation in national competitions, including the School’s Bible Project Award
- Manchester Diocese School’s Pilgrimage to Taizé