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All pupils study RE throughout foundation and examination stages to prepare them for life in Modern Britain. The intention of the RE department is to encourage religious tolerance and an appreciation of different cultures. This is achieved by teaching an understanding of the 6 major religions found in Britain today. Pupils also look at the links between religions to assess which structures and values they have in common. Pupils will be encouraged to show respect to those of all faiths and of none. They will use Ninian Smarts ‘Seven Dimensions of Religion’ as a guide to thinking about the purpose and value of religion in society. They will also look at ‘Humanism’ as a current belief system. There are opportunities for moral and ethical discussions and for critical thinking tasks that challenge and inspire pupils. Pupils will look at these issues from both a religious and a secular perspective encouraging them to question and formulate their own viewpoints.
Religious Education at Birkdale seeks to inspire awe and wonder in students by looking at the ‘Big Questions ‘like Where did the Universe Come From?’ and ‘Where do we go when we die?’ balancing religious ideas with scientific discoveries to allow pupils to make up their own mind about their personal beliefs.
All pupils will have the opportunity to take a GCSE qualification in Religious Studies. We follow the EDUCAS syllabus, which gives pupils the opportunity to think about a range of current ethical and philosophical issues in depth as well as continuing to increase their knowledge and understanding of at least two discrete religions in. This syllabus gives opportunities for students to enhance their critical thinking skills, refining moral arguments and justifying their own viewpoints.
Pupils will study four topics (Relationships, Life and Death, Good and Evil and Human Rights) from a philosophical and ethical point of view as well as looking at the beliefs and practices of Christianity and Islam.
The department has two experienced specialist teachers, one of whom is a leader of Teaching and Learning and is able to contribute evidence based techniques for maximising learning. The Head of Department is an experienced examiner and therefore has a grasp of what is required to increase good outcomes at examination level whilst not stifling pupils’ interest and curiosity by teaching only ‘to the test’.