Religious and Personal Studies (RPS) is a popular and respected subject in The Highfield School. This subject is a combination of Religious Education and PSHE (Personal, Social and Health education). Our curriculum provides opportunities for students to explore personal and social issues alongside religious belief and practice.
We aim to educate our students in the main tenets and practices of world faiths, of which there are adherents in this country. This is to prepare students for living and working in a modern multi-cultural society. We wish to encourage our students to respect and understand diversity in faith and practice and to develop critical and analytical faculties.
Our PSHE curriculum helps students to develop the knowledge, skills and attributes they need to manage many of the critical opportunities, challenges and responsibilities they will face as they grow up and in adulthood. By teaching our students to stay safe and healthy, and by building self-esteem, resilience and empathy, we feel that we can tackle barriers to learning, raise aspirations, and improve the life chances of our students.
Ms H Cannon - Head of Humanities with responsibility for RPS, Teacher of RPS
Mr P Deavall - Teacher of RPS
Mr J Masvikeni – Teacher of RPS/Geography
The students in Year 7 will start with the UK Resilience programme (UKRP). This aims to improve the emotional well-being of our students by building resilience and promoting accurate thinking. The programme enables young people to develop skills that empower them to be more resilient in dealing with situations both in and out of school. It develops skills in emotional awareness and intelligence; problem solving; assertiveness; peer relationships and decision making. The programme helps students develop a more sophisticated understanding about their thinking style and how this impacts both on how they feel and what they do.
The next topic is a short six lesson module introducing religious education and PSHE. They will create their own parable as an assessment. We then explore the concept of community through the religions of Sikhism and Islam. We consider what it means to belong to a community and the idea of commitment and conflict within communities. The students look at the concepts of prejudice and discrimination through the life and teachings of Martin Luther King. We explore the civil rights movement and the concept of justice.
Our final module ‘Me, now and the future’ explores personal and social issues relating to health, development, careers, money, and risks that arise from them.
The students in Year 8 begin with a module titled ‘Me, my family and community’. We explore different family units and common issues in family life. We re-visit some of the resilience strategies (taught in Year 7), followed by Hindu worship in the home.
We next examine the life of Moses and how Jews today remember the events of the first Passover through the rituals associated with Pesach. The following module is ‘Moral issues’, where we consider the concepts of lying and forgiveness, we then move into the risks and moral issues surrounding the use of alcohol and illegal drugs. The students watch the film ‘Pay it Forward’ and explore questions about making the world a better place.
Students examine the meaning of temptation through Jesus and explore the nature of evil and goodness. The question of Jesus’ identity and meaning is explored through image, teaching, society and healings. This module ends with the Case of the Missing Body – "Did Jesus rise from the dead?"
In Year 9 students begin with the idea of commitment through Buddhism focusing on teachings and the Buddhist way of life. They explore the life and beliefs of the Burmese pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi and the dilemma she had to face. Our next module is called ‘Me, my future and money'. This focuses on aspirations, skills, careers, enterprise, risk, and money. This is in preparation for the students choosing their GCSE option subjects. Students next examine issues of life and death through the study of abortion, organ donation, crime and punishment, and euthanasia. We consider questions raised through the sanctity of life argument and the quality of life argument.
Our next focus is relationships and sex education for three lessons. Students explore relationships, how the media portrays sex and relationships, the dangers of pornography and STI’s, and an introduction to contraception. Finally, students explore the concept of genocide through the Jewish Holocaust and its effects on individuals and society.
Core Religious and Personal studies:
All students in KS4 follow a non-examined Core RPS course exploring contemporary religious, moral and philosophical issues.
In Year 10 students have one lesson per fortnight. The course focuses on wealth, poverty, war and peace, and philosophy through the media. Although this is a non-examined course, students complete three pieces of extended writing across the year.
In Year 11 students have RPS for one hour per week. The course begins with the module ‘World of work’ in preparation for their work experience week. We look at aspirations, letter writing for job applications and interview strategies. Our next module focuses on relationships and sex education. We cover issues such as consent, marriage, STI’s, contraception, abortion, sexuality and divorce.
GCSE Religious Studies:
We follow the AQA specification. This course examines the beliefs and practices of Christianity and Hinduism, and the application of these religious traditions to philosophical and ethical issues.
Christianity belief and practice: What is the Judaeo- Christian God like? What is the Trinity? Who was Jesus? What impact did the death of Jesus have? What is meant by sin and salvation? How do Christians worship? What is prayer? What festivals do Christians celebrate? What is pilgrimage? How do Christians try to help others?
Hindu belief and practice: What is Hinduism? Who is Brahman? Who are the Tri-murti? What are avatars? What do Hindus believe about how the universe was created? What are samsara, karma and moksha? How do Hindus respond to suffering? How do Hindus worship? What festivals are celebrated? How is yoga a form of worship? How do Hindus treat other people and the environment?
Thematic studies: Applying Christian and Hindu belief and practice to the following:
Relationships and families: sexuality, marriage, co-habitation, divorce, sex and contraception, the roles of men/women, families.
Religion and life: where did the universe come from, the purpose of humans, how should the environment be treated, is abortion and euthanasia ever right, what happens when we die?
The existence of God and revelation: the philosophical arguments for the existence of God, special and general revelation, different ideas about the divine.
Religion, human rights, and social justice: what are human rights? What is social justice? What is prejudice and discrimination? What is racism, sexism, and homophobia and how do Christianity and Hinduism respond to them?
There are three examinations only at the end of Year 11 and no coursework.
A Level Religious Studies - OCR specification
The course is split across two members of staff. There are no official examinations at the end of year 1, or coursework. There are three elements to year 1:
Plato and Aristotle, Soul, mind and body, Arguments for God’s existence –teleological, cosmological, ontological and challenges (Hume, evolution), The problem of evil, Religious experience
Normative ethical theories – natural law, situation ethics, Kant, utilitarianism, Applied ethics – euthanasia, business
Developments in religious thought – Christianity:
Foundations- The origins and development of Christianity, and the sources of wisdom on which it is based- knowledge of God’s existence, the person of Christ, Insight- Beliefs, teachings and ideas about human life, the world and ultimate reality- Augustine
The course will be split across at least two members of staff. The students will sit three examinations for their A Level qualification in the summer term. There is no coursework. There are three elements to year 2:
Ideas about the nature of God, Issues in religious language
Ethical language- metaethics (naturalism, emotivism, intuitivism), Conscience, Sexual ethics – application of natural law, Kant, situation ethics, utilitarianism
Developments in religious thought – Christianity:
Development - Significant social and historical developments in Christian thought, such as those influenced by ethics, philosophy or studies of religion- religious pluralism and theology, pluralism and society. Society - The relationship between religion and society, including issues such as how religions adapt when encountering different cultures; religious tolerance, respect and recognition and views of other religions and non-religious worldviews; religion, equality and discrimination; the political and social influence of religious institutions. Challenges - Challenges facing religious thought from areas such as science, secularisation, migration and multi-cultural societies and changing gender roles
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To what extent does Christianity play in the curriculum?
50% at Key Stage 3 and Key Stage 4
100% at Key Stage 5
Why does my child have to study RE/PSHE?
RE is a non-statutory subject and the law states every child should follow a course of religious education throughout their schooling; this goes back to the 1944 Education Act.
PSHE education is also a non-statutory subject on the school curriculum. The national curriculum also states that ‘all schools should make provision for personal, social, health and economic education (PSHE), drawing on good practice'.
Can I withdraw my child from R.E/PSHE?
Parents/carers have the right to withdraw students from all or part of the religious education/PSHE and collective worship provided. Such a request needs to be made in writing to the Headteacher.
What trips do students attend?
Every year the RPS team take Year 7 to Neasden Temple to experience a Hindu place of worship for a morning in the Summer Term.
Students studying the GCSE syllabus will have the opportunity to visit a Hindu and/or a Christian place of worship.
Year 12 and 13 are given the opportunity each year to attend the Peter Vardy A Level conference in Cambridge for the day. The topics covered in the conference support their A Level studies.