Religious Education

 The aim of religious education is to promote the spiritual, moral, social, cultural and intellectual development of pupils and of society by encouraging an exploration of and response to those aspects of religion and human experience which raise fundamental questions of belief and value.

 
All schools in the borough are required to follow the Redbridge Agreed Syllabus for RE which was revised in 2008. This document called ‘Exploration and Response’ is regarded as one of the best in the country.
Exploration and Response aims to encourage pupils to have confidence in their own growing sense of identity as well as valuing and respecting diversity in others and to;
·         help pupils in their search for meaning and purpose in life;
·         neither promote nor undermine any particular religious, spiritual or secular stance;
·         and be accessible to pupils and teachers of any religious persuasion or none.
 
Exploring and responding in RE involves the twin processes of exploring and responding to religion and human experience.
 
The process of exploring enables pupils to learn about:
·         what people believe and teach;
·         what people do and how they live their lives; and
·         how people express themselves.
 
The process of responding encourages pupils to engage with issues concerned with:
·         making sense of who we are;
·         making sense of life; and
·         making sense of values and commitments.
world  religions

Assessments

Component 1: The study of religions: beliefs, teachings and practices

Paper one

What's assessed

Beliefs, teachings and practices of two from:

• Christianity

• Islam

How it's assessed

• Written exam: 1 hour 45 minutes

• 96 marks (plus 5 marks for spelling, punctuation and grammar (SPaG))

• 50% of GCSE

Questions

Each religion has a common structure of two five-part questions of 1, 2, 4, 5 and 12 marks.

Each religion is marked out of 48.

Paper two:

Four religious, philosophical and ethical studies themes

• Theme: Religion and life.

• Theme: The existence of God and revelation.

• Theme: Religion, crime and punishment.

• Theme: Religion, human rights and social justice.

How it's assessed

• Written exam: 1 hour 45 minutes X2

• 96 marks (plus 5 marks for spelling, punctuation and grammar (SPaG))

• 100% of GCSE

Questions
Each theme has a common structure of one five-part question of 1, 2, 4, 5 and 12 marks.

Each theme is marked out of 24.

Subject content

This specification covers the content laid down by the Department for Education (DfE) subject content for GCSE Religious Studies. Students should consider different beliefs and attitudes to religious and non-religious issues in contemporary British society. They should be aware that the religious traditions of Great Britain are, in the main, Christian, and that religious traditions in Great Britain are diverse. They include Christianity, Buddhism, Hinduism, Islam, Judaism and Sikhism, as well as other religious and nonreligious beliefs such as atheism and humanism. This knowledge may be applied throughout the assessment of the subject content.

Religion one: Christianity

Students should be aware that Christianity is one of the diverse religious traditions and beliefs in Great Britain today and that the main religious tradition in Great Britain is Christianity. This knowledge may be applied throughout the assessment of the specified content.

Students should study the beliefs, teachings and practices of Christianity specified below and their basis in Christian sources of wisdom and authority. They should be able to refer to scripture and/or sacred texts where appropriate. Some texts are prescribed for study in the content set out below and questions may be set on them. Students may refer to any relevant text in their answers and AQA will publish a list of appropriate texts as part of the supporting material for this specification. These additional texts will not be required for study, alternatives may be used, and questions will not be set on them.

Students should study the influence of the beliefs, teachings and practices studied on individuals, communities and societies. Common and divergent views within Christianity in the way beliefs and teachings are understood and expressed should be included throughout. Students may refer to a range of different Christian perspectives in their answers including Catholic, Orthodox and Protestant. They must study the specific differences identified below.

Beliefs and teachings

• The nature of God:

• God as omnipotent, loving and just, and the problem of evil and suffering

• the oneness of God and the Trinity: Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

• Different Christian beliefs about creation including the role of Word and Spirit (John 1:1-3 and Genesis 1:1-3).

• Different Christian beliefs about the afterlife and their importance, including: resurrection and life after death; judgement, heaven and hell.

Jesus Christ and salvation

• Beliefs and teachings about:

• the incarnation and Jesus as the Son of God

• the crucifixion, resurrection and ascension

• sin, including original sin

• the means of salvation, including law, grace and Spirit

• the role of Christ in salvation including the idea of atonement.

Practices

Worship and festivals

• Different forms of worship and their significance:

• liturgical, non-liturgical and informal, including the use of the Bible

• private worship.

• Prayer and its significance, including the Lord’s Prayer, set prayers and informal prayer.

• The role and meaning of the sacraments:

• the meaning of sacrament

• the sacrament of baptism and its significance for Christians; infant and believers' baptism;

different beliefs about infant baptism

• the sacrament of Eucharist (Holy Communion) and its significance for Christians, including

different ways in which it is celebrated and different interpretations of its meaning.

• The role and importance of pilgrimage and celebrations including:

• two contrasting examples of Christian pilgrimage: Lourdes and Iona

• the celebrations of Christmas and Easter, including their importance for Christians in Great

Britain today

The role of the church in the local and worldwide community

• The role of the Church in the local community, including food banks and street pastors.

• The place of mission, evangelism and Church growth.

• The importance of the worldwide Church including:

• working for reconciliation

• how Christian churches respond to persecution

• the work of one of the following: Catholic Agency For Overseas Development (CAFOD),

Christian Aid, Tearfund.

Religion two: Islam

Students should be aware that Islam is one of the diverse religious traditions and beliefs in Great Britain today and that the main religious tradition in Great Britain is Christianity. This knowledge may be applied throughout the assessment of the specified content.

Students should study the beliefs, teachings and practices of Islam specified below and their basis in Islamic sources of wisdom and authority. They should be able to refer to scripture and other writings where appropriate. Some texts are prescribed for study in the content set out below and questions may be set on them. Students may refer to any relevant text in their answers and AQA will publish a list of appropriate texts as part of the supporting material for this specification. These additional texts will not be required for study, alternatives may be used, and questions will not be set on them.

Students should study the influence of the beliefs, teachings and practices studied on individuals, communities and societies.

Common and divergent views within Islam in the way beliefs and teachings are understood and expressed should be included throughout. Students may refer to a range of different Muslim perspectives in their answers, including those from Sunni and Shi’a Islam. They must study the specific differences identified below.

Beliefs and teachings

Key Beliefs

• The six articles of faith in Sunni Islam and five roots of Usul ad-Din in Shi’a Islam, including key similarities and differences.

• The Oneness of God (Tawhid), Qur’an Surah 112.

• The nature of God: omnipotence, beneficence, mercy, fairness and justice (Adalat in Shi’a

Islam), including different ideas about God’s relationship with the world: immanence and transcendence.

• Angels, their nature and role, including Jibril and Mika’il.

• Predestination and human freedom and its relationship to the Day of Judgement.

• Life after death (Akhirah), human responsibility and accountability, resurrection, heaven and hell.

Authority

• Prophethood (Risalah) including the role and importance of Adam, Ibrahim and Muhammad.

• The holy books:

• Qur’an: revelation and authority

• the Torah, the Psalms, the Gospel, the Scrolls of Abraham and their authority.

• The imamate in Shi'a Islam: its role and significance.

Practices

Worship

• Five Pillars of Sunni Islam and the Ten Obligatory Acts of Shi’a Islam (students should study the Five Pillars and jihad in both Sunni and Shi’a Islam and the additional duties of Shi’a Islam).

• Shahadah: declaration of faith and its place in Muslim practice.

• Salah and its significance: how and why Muslims pray including times, directions, ablution

(wudu), movements (rak’ahs) and recitations; salah in the home and mosque and elsewhere;

Friday prayer (Jummah); key differences in the practice of salah in Sunni and Shi’a Islam, and different Muslim views about the importance of prayer.

Duties and festivals

• Sawm: the role and significance of fasting during the month of Ramadan including origins,

duties, benefits of fasting, the exceptions and their reasons, and the Night of Power, Qur’an

96:1-5.

• Zakah: the role and significance of giving alms including origins, how and why it is given,

benefits of receipt, Khums in Shi’a Islam.

• Hajj: the role and significance of the pilgrimage to Makkah including origins, how hajj is performed, the actions pilgrims perform at sites including the Ka’aba at Makkah, Mina, Arafat, Muzdalifah and their significance.

• Jihad: different understandings of jihad: the meaning and significance of greater and lesser

jihad; origins, influence and conditions for the declaration of lesser jihad.

• Festivals and commemorations and their importance for Muslims in Great Britain today, including the origins and meanings of Id-ul-Adha, Id-ul-Fitr, Ashura.

Paper 2: Thematic studies

Students should study a total of four themes from Component 2. Students may study either four religious, philosophical and ethical studies themes or two religious, philosophical and ethical studies themes and two textual studies themes.

Religious, philosophical and ethical studies

Students should be aware of different religious perspectives on the issues studied within and / or between religious and non-religious beliefs such as atheism and humanism.

Students must also study religious, philosophical and ethical arguments related to the issues raised, and their impact and influence on the modern world.

Students will be expected to show their understanding of religion through the application of teachings from religion and beliefs. They will also be expected to make specific references to sources of wisdom and authority including scripture and/or sacred texts. They may refer to any relevant religious text such as the Pali Canon, the sermons of the Buddha, the Bible, the

Catechism of the Catholic Church, the Vedas and Upanishads, the Qur’an and Hadith, the Torah and Talmud, and the Guru Granth Sahib.

As part of the supporting material for this specification, AQA will publish a list of appropriate texts; alternatives may be used and no questions will be set on them.

Students must demonstrate knowledge and understanding that:

• the religious traditions of Great Britain are, in the main, Christian

• the religious traditions in Great Britain are diverse.

Students may draw upon Christianity, Buddhism, Hinduism, Islam, Judaism and Sikhism, as well as other religions and non-religious beliefs such as atheism and humanism.

Theme one: Religion and life

Students should study religious teachings, and religious, philosophical and ethical arguments, relating to the issues that follow, and their impact and influence in the modern world. They should be aware of contrasting perspectives in contemporary British society on all of these issues.

They must be able to explain contrasting beliefs on the following three issues with reference to the main religious tradition in Britain (Christianity) and one or more other religious traditions:

• Abortion.

• Euthanasia.

• Animal experimentation.

The origins and value of the universe

• The origins of the universe, including:

• religious teachings about the origins of the universe, and different interpretations of these

• the relationship between scientific views, such as the Big Bang theory, and religious views.

• The value of the world and the duty of human beings to protect it, including religious teaching about stewardship, dominion, responsibility, awe and wonder.

• The use and abuse of the environment, including the use of natural resources, pollution.

• The use and abuse of animals, including:

• animal experimentation

• the use of animals for food.

The origins and value of human life

• The origins of life, including:

• religious teachings about the origins of human life, and different interpretations of these

• the relationship between scientific views, such as evolution, and religious views.

• The concepts of sanctity of life and the quality of life.

• Abortion, including situations when the mother's life is at risk.

• Ethical arguments related to abortion, including those based on the sanctity of life and quality of life.

• Euthanasia.

• Beliefs about death and an afterlife, and their impact on beliefs about the value of human life.

Theme two: The existence of God and revelation

Students should study religious teachings, and religious and philosophical arguments, relating to the issues that follow, and their impact and influence in the modern world. They should be aware of contrasting perspectives in contemporary British society on all of these issues. They must be able to explain contrasting beliefs on the following three issues with reference to the main religious tradition in Britain (Christianity) and non-religious beliefs such as atheism and humanism:

• Visions.

• Miracles.

• Nature as general revelation.

Philosophical arguments for and against the existence of God

• The Design argument, including its strengths and weaknesses.

• The First Cause argument, including its strengths and weaknesses.

• The argument from miracles, including its strengths and weaknesses, and one example of a miracle.

• Evil and suffering as an argument against the existence of God.

• Arguments based on science against the existence of God.

The nature of the divine and revelation

• Special revelation as a source of knowledge about the divine (God, gods or ultimate reality) including visions and one example of a vision.

• Enlightenment as a source of knowledge about the divine.

• General revelation: nature and scripture as a way of understanding the divine.

• Different ideas about the divine that come from these sources:

• omnipotent and omniscient

• personal and impersonal

• immanent and transcendent.

• The value of general and special revelation and enlightenment as sources of knowledge about the divine, including:

• the problems of different ideas about the divine arising from these experiences

• alternative explanations for the experiences, and the possibility that the people who claimed to have them were lying or mistaken.

Theme three: Religion, crime and punishment

Students should study religious teachings, and religious, philosophical and ethical arguments, relating to the issues that follow, and their impact and influence in the modern world.

They should be aware of contrasting perspectives in contemporary British society on all of these issues.

They must be able to explain contrasting beliefs on the following three issues with reference to the main religious tradition in Britain (Christianity) and one or more other religious traditions:

• Corporal punishment.

• Death penalty.

• Forgiveness.

Religion, crime and the causes of crime

• Good and evil intentions and actions, including whether it can ever be good to cause suffering.

• Reasons for crime, including:

• poverty and upbringing

• mental illness and addiction

• greed and hate

• opposition to an unjust law.

• Views about people who break the law for these reasons.

• Views about different types of crime, including hate crimes, theft and murder.

Religion and punishment

• The aims of punishment, including:

• retribution deterrence

• reformation.

• The treatment of criminals, including:

• prison

• corporal punishment

• community service.

• Forgiveness.

• The death penalty.

• Ethical arguments related to the death penalty, including those based on the principle of utility and sanctity of life.

Theme four: Religion, human rights and social justice

Students should study religious teachings, and religious, philosophical and ethical arguments, relating to the issues that follow, and their impact and influence in the modern world.

They should be aware of contrasting perspectives in contemporary British society on all of these issues.

They must be able to explain contrasting beliefs on the following three issues with reference to the main religious tradition in Britain (Christianity) and one or more other religious traditions:

• Status of women in religion.

• The uses of wealth.

• Freedom of religious expression.

Human rights

• Prejudice and discrimination in religion and belief, including the status and treatment within religion of women and homosexuals.

• Issues of equality, freedom of religion and belief including freedom of religious expression.

• Human rights and the responsibilities that come with rights, including the responsibility to respect the rights of others.

• Social justice.

• Racial prejudice and discrimination.

• Ethical arguments related to racial discrimination (including positive discrimination), including those based on the ideals of equality and justice.

Wealth and poverty

• Wealth, including:

• the right attitude to wealth

• the uses of wealth.

• The responsibilities of wealth, including the duty to tackle poverty and its causes.

• Exploitation of the poor including issues relating to:

• fair pay

• excessive interest on loans

• people-trafficking.

• The responsibilities of those living in poverty to help themselves overcome the difficulties they face.

• Charity, including issues related to giving money to the poor.