Key Stage 3

Key Stage 3

This syllabus is to be used in conjunction with the AMV 2016 assessment document that provides a summary of the religious beliefs to be covered. Taken collectively the units provide an important balance between AT1 and AT2. These units of work take the form of a key question followed by a series of supplementary questions which provide the structure and direction of the individual unit. Coverage of religions recommended at KS3 is Christianity plus Buddhism and two other religions from: Hinduism, Islam, Judaism and Sikhism. Non-religious views must also be represented.  This document is statutory.
1. What experiences and beliefs are important to me and to others? This unit explores ideas of what it is to be human and relates them to religious and other beliefs.
(a) What makes human beings special?
(b) What do we mean by the human spirit?
(c) Why is prayer, reflection and contemplation important for some people?
(d) What do we mean by religious experience?
(e) What do I think about the value and purpose of human beings?
2. Does our planet have a future? This unit explores the purposes of life on earth which are reflected in the pattern of religious and other practices/lifestyles.
(a) What attitudes do people have towards the environment?
(b) Do animals matter and how should they be treated?
(c) What do religions and beliefs say about conservation and stewardship?
(d) How do religions and beliefs reflect the preciousness of the world in some of their festivals and celebrations?
(e) Are things getting better or worse for the environment? Why?
3. Where are the answers to life’s big questions?

This unit explores how religions express values and commitments in a variety of creative ways.

(a) How do people express in creative ways their deepest values and commitments?
(b) What is meant by truth?
(c) Why are, for some people, sacred texts, teachings and places really important?
(d) In what ways might religious teachings and beliefs matter today?
4. What can we learn from religions, beliefs and communities today? This unit explores ideas of those aspects of human nature which relate to religious practices, communities and celebrations
(a) What is the impact of religion and belief in the:
i. local community
ii. wider area in and around Somerset
iii. diversity of the UK
iv. global community
(b) Why does hatred and persecution sometimes happen and what can be done to prevent it? (Focus on the Holocaust and subsequent genocides)
(c) If religion did not exist who would miss it? Can religions and beliefs support people in difficult times?
5. How are religion and belief portrayed in the media? This unit explores how big questions of faith and truth are portrayed in a variety of media.
(a) Is reporting in the local and national press, radio and television on religion and belief fair and accurate?
(b) How do religious groups use the media today? What are the potential benefits and problems of this? (E.g. Internet, television, radio, press and arts)
(c) What criteria can we use to analyze the portrayal of religion and belief in the media?
(d) How would I portray religion and beliefs through a variety of media?
6. How might beliefs affect my thoughts, ideas and actions? This unit explores beliefs affect approaches to moral issues.
(a) What codes of behaviour exist in religions and beliefs?
(b) How relevant to modern life are religious values and codes of behaviour?
(c) How might beliefs, values and moral codes apply to ethical situations today?
(d) What are my most important values and codes of behaviour?
7. How do people express their beliefs and identities? This unit explores how religions and beliefs express aspects of human nature in a variety of creative ways.
(a) What are the different ways in which individuals express their sense of identity and key beliefs?
(b) How do faith and belief communities express their identity and key beliefs?
(c) What influences do religious and other leaders have in local, national and global communities?
(d) How might I best express my own identity and beliefs?
8. What do people believe about life and the place of religion and belief within it? This unit explores ideas about the nature of life on earth and relates them to religious and other beliefs.
(a) What might be the different purposes of life on earth?
(b) Why is there suffering in the world?
(c) What beliefs do people have about life after death?
(d) How did the world begin?
9. What’s to be done? What really matters in religion and belief? This unit explores how people’s values and commitments might be demonstrated in the lives of individuals and communities.
(a) What rights and responsibilities do I have?
(b) Why does there seem to be so much poverty and injustice in the world?
(c) How do religions and beliefs encourage their members to be a force for good in the world? (Religious practices such as prayer, meditation, charitable giving, giving time to those in need, spoken and written advice and guidance, etc.)
(d) How do religions and beliefs engage in dialogue with one another?


Characteristics of learning

Throughout Key Stage 3, students are introduced to Buddhism and Sikhism and extend their understanding of Christianity plus ONE religion from Hinduism, Islam and Judaism. They also revisit prior learning in RE, applying their learning to the key themes being studied. They deepen their understanding of important beliefs, concepts and issues of truth and authority in religion. They apply their understanding of religious and philosophical beliefs, teachings and practices to a range of ultimate questions and moral issues. They enquire into and explain some personal, philosophical, theological and cultural reasons for similarities and differences in religious beliefs and values, both within and between religions and beliefs. They consider how the media portray religion and belief in the modern world. They develop their evaluative skills, showing reasoned and balanced viewpoints, when considering their own and others’ responses to religious and spiritual issues. They reflect on the impact of religion and belief in the world, considering both the importance of inter-faith dialogue and also the tensions that exist within and between religions. They interpret religious texts and other sources, recognizing both the power and limitations of language and other forms of communication in expressing ideas and beliefs.

Experiences and opportunities

  • encountering people from different religious, cultural and philosophical groups, who can express a range of convictions on religious and moral issues
  • visiting, where possible, places of major religious significance and using opportunities in ICT to enhance students’ understanding of religion and belief
  • discussing, questioning and evaluating important issues in religion and philosophy, including ultimate questions and ethical issues
  • reflecting upon and carefully evaluating their own beliefs and values and those of others in response to their learning in Religious Education, using reasoned, balanced arguments
  • using a range of forms of expression (e.g. art, dance, drama and creative writing) to communicate their ideas and responses creatively and thoughtfully
  • exploring the connections between Religious Education and other subject areas, such as the arts, humanities, literature, science.