Our curriculum vision for Theology and Ethics is to provide an ambitious, varied and enriching curriculum that ensures our students develop an understanding of the “other”, creating respectful, accepting and intellectually curious individuals. Students will explore the beliefs and practices of religious believers and how they respond to issues facing the human experience within local, national and global contexts. The outcome of this is that students will develop into global citizens who are empathetic and responsive to the socially and culturally diverse world around them.
Our curriculum vision for Theology and Ethics is to provide an ambitious, varied and holistically enriching curriculum that ensures our students develop an understanding of the “other”, creating respectful, accepting, critically discerning and intellectually curious individuals. Students will explore the beliefs, expressions and practices from the perspective of religious and non-religious worldviews alike, describing and evaluating how various worldview holders respond to issues facing the human experience within local, national and global contexts. The outcome of this is that students will develop into astute global citizens who are empathetic, perceptive and responsive to the socially and culturally diverse world around them.
We firmly believe that Theology and Ethics lessons at Magna play a vital role in preparing students to develop a greater understanding of others, as well as themselves and their own beliefs and morality. The Theology and Ethics curriculum is designed to enhance our students’ understanding of the issues we face in an increasingly globalised community, and the factors influencing the ways others respond to them.
To achieve this, students will study and understand the core principles held in 6 major theistic worldviews; the theistic worldviews of Eastern origin- Buddhism, Sikhism, and Santana Dharma (previously known as Hinduism); the theistic worldviews of Western origin- Judaism, Christianity and Islam- and the atheistic worldview of Humanism. The curriculum is taught thematically through an enquiry-based approach, which will enable students to acquire knowledge of beliefs, expressions and practices, and encourage the progression of students’ critical thinking, speaking and writing skills. We aim to challenge every student to describe and critique the philosophical ideas that are embedded in these faiths, applying them to theological thought. Enquiry-based topics such as the existence of God, establishing right and wrong, absolute and relative morality, ultimate meaning and purpose of life, finding one’s vocation in life, and what it truly means to be human.
As well as encouraging students to think philosophically, our curriculum will equip students for future success by extending their understanding of social, political and economic issues and ability to identify religious and non-religious worldview attitudes towards these issues. This combination of approaching the subject through the perspective of theology, philosophy and social science will enable students to come to a reasoned conclusion about how religious believers may respond to the issues that they face. As a result, students will finish their Theology and Ethics studies with the understanding and acceptance to support their functioning as an adult in an increasingly globalised and religiously diverse community. The level of empathy that is created through an ambitious and varied Theology and Ethics curriculum will equip students with the capacity to build strong relationships based on mutual respect and acceptance of others beliefs, an essential skill in the workplace.
At Magna Academy, our Theology and Ethics curriculum is delivered at KS3 during one lesson per week, with supplementary assemblies based on celebrations throughout the year. As we are an academy without a religious character, we follow the locally agreed Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole (BCP) syllabus for Religious Education in schools. This embraces the three aims of the 2013 NCFRE. This will ensure all students:
- Know about and understand a range of religious and worldviews
- Express ideas and insights about the nature, significance and impact of religious and non- religious worldviews.
- Gain and deploy the skills needed to engage seriously with religious and non-religious worldviews.
Over the course of the three years from Years 7 to 9, our curriculum will continue to place emphasis on the following five big enquiry questions and compare the beliefs, expressions and practices of each of the three principle religions, as well as non-religious humanist beliefs, towards them.
- Is there a God?
- Why is there suffering?
- What happens when we die?
- Is social justice possible?
- Does the environment matter?
As students progress into KS4, Theology and Ethics is taught one lesson per fortnight, with supplementary input through assemblies and Personal Development sessions. The main character of the lessons is thematic, where students continue the enquiry-based approach by analysing matters from a range of differing worldview perspectives, both religious and non-religious. Topics studied include the effectiveness of prison, the ending of life through abortion and euthanasia, and the nature and purpose of families to name a few examples
At KS5, Theology and Ethics is delivered once a fortnight through tutor time sessions and through Personal Development sessions. These sessions build upon students’ prior knowledge of a range of religious and non-religious worldviews, enhancing their ability to apply these in a local, national and global context. Each unit develops students’ ability to analyse and synthesise personal and critical responses to different philosophical, moral and ethical issues, such as criminal behaviour, the role of the State in resolving the reasons behind criminal behaviour, and contrasting attitudes towards different types of crime. The overall focus is contemporary issues which impact on the lives of individuals and communities.
The Theology and Ethics curriculum is full of opportunities to be immersed in challenging content and literature, with appropriate scaffolding to enhance students’ philosophical, theological and sociological thinking. The knowledge to be taught has been carefully selected to ensure students learn how belief influences the expressions and practices of religious believers and their responses to various issues around the world. As a result, the curriculum ensures connectivity between all key stages by encouraging pupils to explore various aspects of the human experience, both now and historically. Subsequently, this encourages empathy and critical thinking from students and prompts them to make links across the curriculum where appropriate to other academic disciplines, such as English, Science, History, Geography and Social Sciences.
Students will be exposed to a wider range of religious and non-religious sources and interpretations. This will provide opportunities to engage critically with material which stretches their knowledge and understanding. We aim to actively promote fundamental British values and citizenship by tackling extremism and religious discrimination, encouraging ideals of social cohesion and religious diversity within the wider community.
All learning is presented through well-researched lessons which ensure consistency of learning and opportunities for students to build upon prior knowledge through retrieval practices, independent research and group based projects. A breadth of knowledge across all five big enquiry questions is supported by an assessment structure that monitors students progress towards the three aims of the 2013 NCFRE. Through oracy and discussion, students are encouraged to reflect on and effectively communicate their own responses to the attitudes, beliefs and themes discussed. Knowledge organisers are used to support students in learning the fundamental facts of each topic, incorporating both tier 2 and tier 3 vocabulary.
We deliver a challenging and thought provoking Theology and Ethics curriculum, which instils fundamental British values, global awareness, acceptance and cultural capital. We embed knowledge which provides foundations for the spiritual, moral, social and cultural development of students as both individuals and wider members of a collective community.
Students are provided with the opportunity to develop skills and confidence in order to think critically and creatively, solve problems and simplify complicated ideas into accessible content. We engage and enthuse our students to debate and discuss complex philosophical and moral issues that humans face in an increasingly globalised community, enlightening students of current issues such as human rights, global warming, genocide and extremism in order to make our pupils more informed, morally educated citizens.
Ultimately, we in the Theology and Ethics department at Magna Academy will equip our pupils with the knowledge and skill necessary to leave the academy as global citizens who are empathetic and responsive to the socially and culturally diverse world around them. This will ensure our students continue to use their Theology and Ethics education as a foundation for promoting fundamental British values of democracy, the rule of law, individual liberty, mutual respect and tolerance of those with different faiths and beliefs as they progress into adulthood.