Religious Education is one of the core subjects here at John Henry Newman Catholic College. We contribute enormously to the Catholic ethos of the school which is the motivation for everything undertaken at the College. We believe that RE is the foundation for the education offered to all pupils in all subjects. The fundamental mission of John Henry Newman Catholic College is for our pupils to find their path in life though the education we provide and to discover what their link is in God’s chain. In RE students are guided in their search for their own mission in life.
As a Catholic school, we are fortunate to have a Chaplaincy team which works very closely with the RE department. Together, we ensure that the Catholic ethos and spirit is felt throughout John Henry Newman Catholic College, in all subjects and in everything that we do. As a team we lead services in the Chapel each term and during RE lessons, following the Church’s calendar and giving students the opportunity to stop, think and reflect on their lives and God’s mission for them.
Class Masses are held weekly in the Chapel and year Masses are held termly. Students prepare for Mass in their RE lessons and in other subject areas, enabling them to become active members of the congregation during the service. We also provide liturgies and day’s off timetable where students can explore their faith though Creative Impact days with the help of faith organisations such as ‘Soli House’ and the charity ‘Life’.
Students attend RE lessons 5 times over a two week timetable and it is a compulsory subject for all pupils who attend the school, including pupils in Sixth Form. We have 5 designated classrooms equipped with interactive white boards and a wealth of stimulating resources and displays, all situated near the School Chapel.
Key Stage 3
In Key Stage 3 pupils follow a programme of study called ‘The Big Questions’. Each half term students study important questions in life and debate different possible outcomes. It is intrinsically a philosophical approach to RE where students study ethical, moral and spiritual aspects of life. Below are some of the questions we focus on throughout the school year:
- What is the meaning of life?
- Why does the universe exist?
- How do I know what is right or wrong?
- What sort of person do I want to become?
- Why do we have religions?
- How can I find happiness and fulfillment?
- Why do people suffer?
- Should I be free to do what I want?
- Am I responsible for others?
- Is there a spiritual side to life?
- Does God exist?
- What happens when you die?
- Why are relationships important?
- Is peace possible?
- What is Spirituality, faith and diversity?
Key Stage 4
Students in Key Stage 4 follow the GCSE Religious Studies course offered by Edexcel. Namely Unit 3 ‘Religion and life based on a study of Roman Catholic Christianity’ and Unit 8 ‘Religion and society based on a study of Christianity and at least one other religion (Islam)’.
During Unit 3 students look at four key areas:
- Believing in God
- Matters of life and death
- Marriage and the family
- Religion and Community cohesion
During Unit 8 students look at four different areas comparing Christian and Islamic beliefs:
- Rights and Responsibilities
- Environmental and medical issues
- Peace and Conflict
- Crime and Punishment
The department offers an A-Level Philosophy and Ethics course run by Edexcel. Students have the opportunity to study topics such as;
- Philosophy of religion (Miracles/evil)
- Philosophical arguments about the existence of God (Design and the Cosmological argument)
- Ethical concepts and dilemma such as sexual ethics and utilitarianism
These ideas are expanded upon and more in-depth analysis takes place, focusing on life after death, the ontological argument as well as justice, law and punishment.
Allowing every student to develop spiritually, as well as academically, we provide Religious Education to all students, including those in Sixth Form. We run a compulsory General RE course where students have one hour a week to study many different aspects of life including relationships, homelessness and we delve into ethical and moral dilemmas. This course provides students with an accreditation which also has UCAS points attached to the completion of the course, which runs across the two years of Sixth Form.
PSHE and Citizenship
PSHE has become embedded into the RE curriculum. This extra subject area allows students the opportunity to explore issues relating to their heath, emotional and mental well being. These lessons complement the RE syllabus where students can explore these issues in an environment which is underpinned by our Catholic faith.
Citizenship is part of the national framework and as a department we have taken it upon ourselves to allow students adequate time to explore the differing issues that arise, for example:
- Crime and Punishment
- Animal Rights
to name but a few.
In the summer term of KS3 students take on a citizenship project that they complete as a class and then reflect on the issues discussed from a faith perspective.
The RE department at John Henry Newman Catholic College seeks to share with others the vision which lies at the heart of Catholic education; bringing all to Christ and Christ to all. Giving students the opportunities to explore and discover themselves and allow for them to speak ‘Heart to Heart’ with God, strengthening and deepening the faith of the young people that we teach. With energy, imagination and faith, we work hard to make a difference, to enable pupils to realize their potential and to recognise that they are a link in God’s chain.