Ms D Lovelock
Fernhill School teaches religious studies according to the locally agreed Hampshire syllabus. Students are taught two lessons a fortnight in Year 7 and 9 and one lesson a fortnight in Year 8. In Year 10 and 11 students have the option to study philosophy as a full time GCSE course, which takes place in five lessons over a fortnight.
When pupils begin in Year 7 they will first begin by looking at different ‘rights, rules and responsibilities’. This takes the form of a variety of lessons, such as looking at different people’s wants and needs, human rights and the importance of religion in the world. This sets a good precedent for the rest of year and sets some baseline, underlying knowledge for the department to build on.
Students then look at the religion of Christianity, exploring sacred objects, memories, stories and parables. They then go on to look at the religion of Islam, exploring similar concepts once again. This allows a good understanding of basic concepts of RS to be formed so that in future years students can build upon this lesson.
At the end of the year pupils find themselves shipwrecked on an island. Through role play and experiential learning they discover the value of community, ceremony and ritual as they go through new experiences together.
Students begin Year 8 by studying a variety of different people who led inspirational lives. They begin their studies by looking at Martin Luther King, before moving on to Muhammad Ali and Malcolm X. This allows the students to see how beliefs they learned in Year 7 have actually been put into practice in the real world.
Students then finish Year 8 by looking at religion and community. They will study events such as 9/11 and the Israel/Palestine conflict and are allowed to make the judgement call on whether religion is violent or nonviolent in the modern day, using what they have learned during their time at Fernhill.
Students begin Year 9 by looking at the concept of equality in the modern world, and are tasked with judging how religion has affected them. Students begin their studies by looking at gender equality before moving on to economic equality. Students will look at these concepts from both a Christian and a Muslim perspective.
Students then move on to studying Morality and whether it is ever possible to make moral decisions. Using what they have learned from previous lessons, students will study concepts such as ‘Just War Theory’, ‘Euthanasia’, ‘Abortion’ and ‘Animal Rights’.
Students will the end the year by studying a variety of new, emerging religions and judging whether they believe these religions will survive and thrive or crumble and fade away.
Key Stage 3 Assessment:
Students are assessed every term through an extended piece of writing. Following this, they are then given their level, whether they are meeting, exceeding or below target and a target with which they can improve their work. We assess students’ enquiry, communication and evaluation skills along with their skills of application.
Students can opt to take GCSE Philosophy when they choose their options in Year 9. The work they do at GCSE will have been touched upon in the previous years at Fernhill. The course we follow is AQA’s Religious Studies and students receive a full course GCSE.
In Year 10 students study the unit ‘Religion and Morality’ and it covers these topics:
Matters of Life
Matters of Death
Crime and Punishment.
Rich and Poor in the UK.
In Year 11 students study the unit ‘Philosophy and Ultimate Questions’. This module consists of the following topics:
The Existence of God
Evil and suffering.
Science and Religion.
The assessment is in the form of two exams, equally weighted at 50% each, which are taken at the end of Year 11. Students can be supported at home through this course by keeping up to date with current affairs, watching and reading the news and discussing work at home to further articulate and develop their opinions.