Religion, Ethics and Politics (RPE)
Thinking through believing. Thinking through thinking. Thinking through living.
- R.P.E will help you develop inter-personal skills that you can take forward into later life.
- R.P.E will help you develop academic skills that you can take forward into later life.
- R.P.E will help you develop knowledge & understanding of religious and world views.
- R.P.E maintains access for all with consistent provision being provided throughout the department.
R.P.E is an essential area of study if pupils are to be well prepared for life in the modern world; controversy over such matters as religion reigns and people should have the knowledge to make their own informed decisions. It is a subject for all pupils, whatever their own family background and personal beliefs and practices. Therefore, as a subject R.P.E is about understanding religion and worldviews for life in a changing world. As a subject we intend to encourage fresh and innovative thinking. Given that 84% of the world's population identifies with one of the major world religions, and that virtually every person on the planet will have some kind of philosophy or ethical world view, studying Religion, Philosophy and Ethics is absolutely vital to understanding ourselves, our own increasingly multicultural society and the wider world we live in.
This curriculum captures a vision of R.P.E that doesn't just give learners the opportunity to find out what others believe and why; but also, to develop and explore their own opinions. When teaching R.P.E we believe that learners have the opportunity to consider the deepest questions human beings can ask and to understand something of what others believe are the answers to these questions. Lessons have been developed with religious literacy at its heart; providing enquiry questions across a unit in order to allow depth of understanding and opportunities for developing skills and extended writing at a deeper level. Our curriculum allows learners to develop an extensive religious and philosophical vocabulary so that they can understand written and aural sources as well as beginning to articulate their own ideas which are then fully recognisable as they reach KS4 and KS5. Students are provided with key religious vocabulary at the beginning of a new topic which is then referred to by teachers and students throughout lessons and homework learning.
The Wymondham High Academy R.P.E curriculum promotes an academic study of religion and worldviews, thus supporting a student’s balanced understanding of the world in which they live. Students make clear and cohesive links to previous learning in past years or before transition to high school and build on it while providing a firm foundation of key knowledge for future learning. Right from the first topic in Y7 learners are encouraged to reflect on what they already know about R.P.E at Primary School (or from the media or personal experience) and then have a brief review of Christianity in the main with the topic of ‘The Island’- linking to what learners already know and understand e.g. rites of passage such as birth ceremonies and festivals. This fits with a strong focus of recapping a student’s knowledge, and finding out as teachers, what they have been taught and have remembered from the various feeder primary schools who teach Christianity (covered in Y1, Y2, Y3, Y4, Y5 and Y6). We will later revisit and develop students’ knowledge and understanding of their primary school foundation in Judaism (Y1 & Y2), Hinduism (Y3, Y4, Y5 & Y6), Islam (Y4, Y5 and Y6) and Buddhism (Y4). We believe that R.P.E helps us to make sense of our own beliefs and attitudes as well as helping us to understand others and why they behave the way they do.
The lessons that are taught are based on enquiry-based pedagogy; they aim to raise expectations of both teachers and students in terms of the scholarly study of religion and worldviews. An enquiry based approach to looking at R.P.E through a variety of different lenses in order to develop understanding is encouraged e.g. Overview of a number of religions reflecting on What is the fundamental basis of the religion all about? and Who is God? and How do religions express their faith?; consideration of the effect on peoples' lives when looking at rites of passage in Y7 or specific religions such as Islam, Judaism and Christianity; in-depth studies on specific religions (Judaism, Sikhism, Hinduism and Islam; as well as the opportunity to consider personal perspectives and religious views on various philosophical and ethical issues during GCSE years including issues such as terrorism, euthanasia, same sex marriage and community cohesion.
High-quality R.P.E will support students’ religious literacy. In the context of this curriculum, being religiously literate means that pupils will have the ability to hold balanced and well-informed conversations about religion and worldviews. Students will be able to make sense of religion and worldviews around them and begin to understand the complex world in which they live. R.P.E is primarily about enabling pupils to become free thinking, critical participants of public discourse, who can make academically informed judgements about important matters of religion and belief which shape the global landscape. Give insights into religion which will help learners to become good citizens. This includes encouraging learners to reflect on the views and attitudes of others as well as their own beliefs. Not only does this give them an opportunity to make an informed contribution to ethical debates such as whether euthanasia should be allowed but also helps them to avoid giving unnecessary offense to people who may hold different views than their own.
It is important to know about and understand a range of religious and non-religious worldviews by learning to see these through theological, philosophical and human/social science lenses. To express ideas and insights about the nature, significance and impact of religious and non-religious worldviews through sharing the pedagogy of learning (e.g. how memory works) with our learners and use our knowledge as teachers of this to develop the learning of students (e.g. through regular low stakes testing to aid factual recall, interleaving of topics from various years in assessments). Students’ progress is assessed in relation to the purpose and aims of the subject such as looking at a student’s use of religious knowledge recall, language and expression and personal thought. Therefore, this primarily concerns how well pupils are able to hold balanced and well-informed conversations about religion and worldviews. In other words, are pupils becoming more religiously literate? Attainment and progress are therefore linked to the approach to R.P.E advocated throughout the Norfolk Agreed Syllabus.
We work towards clarifying what every teacher must cover in terms of topics, key words, content and skills through the use of knowledge organisers, Learning Plans SOW for each topic and standardised assessments while still allowing teachers to play to their strengths (and the nature of their class) in terms of how to deliver the information in a memorable and meaningful way. Students are provided with resources such as revision materials to keep and key word lists to help learners to organise their learning. This will ensure that high quality R.P.E provision is provided across the school to ensure consistency between teaching staff; ensuring that the curriculum is accessible to all, whatever the constraints on some students e.g. by providing support or challenge sheets; directed questioning; using alternative means of communication / tasks (e.g. laptops or providing alternatives to group work when necessary for SEND learners); and by providing an agreeable variety of activities and making reasonable adjustments. Timely feedback is provided throughout KS3, KS4 and KS5 (including through self, peer and teacher assessment - whether one to one, verbal, written or whole class) and G4G time to enable learners to develop their work and supports the aims of the school curriculum which is to be balanced and broad - guiding students to develop and become successful people. Meaningful and varied homework is provided to develop independence, allowing time for extended pieces of work is thought through and considered and it also encourages families to be involved in learning together and discussing some of the key ideas that students learn about in lessons. Pupils who show elements of underachievement are challenged, as is unacceptable levels of work and participation and sloppy presentation; all working alongside the overall school’s attitude to learning and development.
This curriculum must: promote the spiritual, moral, cultural, mental and physical development of pupils at the school and of society. Preparing pupils at the school for the opportunities, responsibilities and experiences of later life. The purpose of R.P.E is to develop religious literacy. The essential outcomes for R.P.E are therefore related to the knowledge and understanding of religions and worldviews. This R.P.E curriculum promotes an understanding of religion and worldviews; providing a balanced overview ensuring that pupils are seeing religion and worldviews through different perspectives. This places R.P.E within a strong, and well-established academic tradition with high expectations within our school.
R.P.E helps pupils to become well-informed young people who go on to hold balanced views because they will have had the opportunity to gain a real breadth and depth of understanding of the world and the people around them by being able to access a wealth of subject expertise and use a range of different methods of exploration to validate knowledge across the disciplines of Thinking through believing, Thinking through thinking, Thinking through living .