Fairfield High School for Girls
Tradition. Vision. Learning.
"It is not just a matter of helping pupils to obtain qualifications and a career with some emotional value added on, but of helping them to find passions and enthusiasms, drawing on their inner resources so that they have these to rely on whatever life brings; nurturing a sense of purpose and motivating a vision."
The principal aim of Religious Studies at Fairfield High School is to affirm, encourage and challenge students on their own individual spiritual journey, to prepare them for life in the future.
Looking beyond school life and to society today, people of many different faiths and beliefs live side by side. We believe we have a responsibility through dialogue and effort, to work together to build and maintain a society rooted in the values we hold to be of great worth. This society can only be built on a foundation of mutual respect, openness and trust. This is mirrored through our lessons and the ethos of the Department. Our different religious traditions offer us many resources for this and teach us the importance of good relationships characterised by honesty, compassion and care.
We aim to provide an understanding of the beliefs and practices of the major world religions; Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism, Islam, Judaism, and Sikhism, alongside other approaches such as Humanism and Atheism. Learning activities aim to explore the impact of these belief systems on individual and collective moral behaviour, attitudes and lifestyles. Through the subject we encourage pupils to investigate the nature of religion and search for meaning in life by tackling the ultimate questions of human existence.
Key Stage 3
All pupils are taught RS for one lesson per week. We aim to encourage pupils to explore different faiths with open minds, understanding and acceptance. Throughout KS3 pupils use a variety of skills and Cross Curricular links to develop respect for the diverse society around us.
Some of the topics covered and key questions of lessons are:
- Human Relationships: Self others and God: What does it mean to belong to the Human Family? Who am I? What would you ask God? What do religions have in common? What can I contribute to society?
- Sikhism and Equality: How do Sikhs show commitment to God and each other? Why is the Guru Granth Sahib so important? How did the 10 Gurus establish Sikh identity? How do Sikhs demonstrate equality for all in their daily living?
- Religion and the Environment: Is God green? What do Christians believe about creation? What is Stewardship? Why do religions care about the environment? Can we rate some of creation of greater value than other parts? What is our responsibility?
- What does it mean to be a Muslim: Why do Muslims go on Hajj? What are the 5 pillars? What does it mean to be a Muslim in Britain today? What role does the mosque take in the local community?
- What can we learn about faith from Art, sculpture, music film and poetry?: What can we learn from Islamic Art? What can we learn about the nature of Jesus through art? What would you do with the power of God? What ‘spirited artwork’ would you like to create?
- How do Hindus live?: How do Hindus understand God? What is reincarnation? If the soul is reborn does that impact how we choose to live now? How do Hindus worship? What impact does pilgrimage have on a believer?
- Women in Religion: What is expected of women in religion? Who deserves the FHS ‘Women in Religion’ award? Who are key women in each religion? How has the role of women within religion changed? What can we learn from these exemplary women?
- Insight Spiritual Month
- Buddhism: Who was Siddharta Gautama? What does it mean to meditate? Why do we suffer? What is enlightenment? Can we find the answer to life’s big questions? What are the Four Noble Truths? What is the Eightfold Path?
- Judaism through the Holocaust: What can we learn about Judaism from History? What was the Holocaust? If God loves us, why is there pain and suffering in the world? How have the Jewish community maintained their faith even after such events in history?
- Human Rights, Human Wrongs: Why do we have human rights? Are rights universal? Can violence be acceptable if it is for the common good? Do we need a moral code? Is capital punishment morally acceptable?
Key Stage 4
During the Summer Term of Year 9, pupils start a specially-designed programme of RS and PSCHEE. Pupils start to study the short-course "Religion and Society" interspersed with PSCHEE topics. Starting in Year 10, running simultaneously, pupils all complete a complimentary short course "Religion and Life". This enables all pupils to achieve a full RS GCSE by the end of Year 11.
Some of the topics covered and key questions include:
Religion and Life:
- Believing in God: Why is there evil and suffering? How does the media affect a person’s attitude to belief in God? Why do people believe in miracles? How can God be omnipotent and benevolent? Why do some people claim to have had conversion experiences?
- Matters of Life and Death: What happens beyond the grave? Is abortion wrong? Should we have the freedom to choose how and when we die? Is life sacred? What does the media say about issues of Life and Death?
- Marriage and the Family: How has family life changed in the UK? Is it right to use contraception? How do different groups view homosexuality? Is family life important anymore? How do religious groups see divorce?
- Religion and Community Cohesion: How have the roles of men and women changed in the UK? Do we have a state of equal rights? How can we promote racial harmony? What issues are raised by living in a multi-faith community? How is the government acting to promote community cohesion?
Religion and Society:
- Rights and Responsibilities: What is the conscience? Why does the church have authority? What are human rights? Why is it important to take part in democratic processes? What are Christian attitudes to genetic engineering?
- Environmental and Medical Issues: What should we do about global warming and pollution? What is taught about stewardship? Is it right to have medical treatment for infertility? Is transplant surgery right?
- Peace and Conflict: Why do wars occur? What is the purpose of the United Nations? What do religions do to promote peace? What is a just war? What are Christian and Muslim attitudes to war? What is taught about forgiveness?
- Crime and Punishment: Why do we need the law? What do Muslims teach about justice? Should we execute murderers? What problems are caused by drugs? What do Christians teach about alcohol?
Tameside Agreed Syllabus 2010
The department follows the Tameside Agreed Syllabus for Religious Education; which encourages pupils to learn both about religion and from religion AT1 and AT2.
The key aims as stated in the Syllabus and supported by the school are:
- To enable pupils to learn about religious beliefs and practices in order that they may understand the significance of religion and appreciate the distinctive nature of faith communities
- To enable pupils to develop their own responses to questions about the meaning and purpose of life
- To encourage pupils to respect self, others and the natural world
- To encourage pupils to appreciate diversity and variety in religion and cultures