At Key Stage 3 the syllabus covers a broad range of issues and themes. Catholicism, is of course, at the heart of all that we do - but within that a multitude of ideas and concepts are addressed. In Year 7 the department plays a key role in supporting new students and welcoming them to our school. Issues like self-esteem, identity and bullying are addressed throughout, as well as a focus on the cultural celebrations and events taking place throughout the world and within the Christian calendar.
In Year 8 students are encouraged to get right to the heart of the matter, questioning the nature of God as one and reflecting on ancient religions which followed a polytheist approach. This leads to a long and detailed study of Judaism, going back through its history, ideas of covenant and prophesy to living as a Jew today. Students spend a long time reflecting and exploring the Holocaust through the personal experiences of Anne Frank and other individuals famous for their actions during this time. In Year 8 students are then encouraged to look at a the idea of a new covenant given to us by Jesus and the new commandment to love one another. This is followed by a detailed focus on the history of the Christian Church in England.
In Year 9 students begin to prepare for their GCSEs which they actually begin in February. The work prior to this explores pilgrimage in detail and then Islam before embarking on the GCSE units. In Year 10 and 11 the topics are developed and in-depth and reflect upon differing opinions and beliefs. Issues such as human cloning, stem cell research and just war are prevalent and lend themselves to a wealth of discussions and debate. The course culminates in two exam assessments – one at the end of Year 10 and the second at the end of Year11. All students study RE throughout both Key Stage 3 and 4.
The course throughout the school very much focuses on the Christian values of love and forgiveness, along with tolerance and justice. As such, issues such as racism and prejudice are constantly challenged and addressed. Media also plays a crucial role within the syllabus and forms part of the assessment for the GCSE course. Consequently, a wealth of stimulus materials are used throughout.
The aim of the department is make the living Christ evident in all that we do and to celebrate the vitality and relevance of the spiritual self. We strive to make the subject real and alive – often through the external stimulus of external visitors and visits. Our pilgrimages to Walsingham and Lourdes form a very memorable part of the school experience for students at Holy Family. So too do the visits to the Jewish Museum in London, local mosques and other spiritual centres.
Ultimately, research tells us that the students at Holy Family value and enjoy RE tremendously and parents value all that it has to offer.