INNOVATE . FOCUS . ACHIEVE
At Boldon School, all aspects of the school ethos, ‘Innovate, Focus and Achieve’ are underpinned across each subject area. In English, we strive to embed these principles within our curriculum:
Innovate: To create innovative and progressive schemes of work which are well-sequenced to ensure excellent student outcomes.
Focus: A clear drive and focus key threads for reading, writing and spoken language;
A relentless drive to sharpen key knowledge concepts and ensure understanding of portable themes.
To ensure that all lessons widen the scope and appreciation of grammar, vocabulary and subject content.
Achieve: The aim is to ensure proficiency in reading, writing and oracy; this is key to social mobility. Our robust curriculum is designed to build strong foundations in knowledge and understanding which lead to academic and personal success. We want our students to enjoy the subject, and be inspired to be innovative in their responses, to focus on skill acquisition and implementation and, ultimately, to achieve their true potential. Students will be well-skilled to succeed in their next steps, whether it be education, further training or the world of employment.
Each of our curriculum areas are carefully designed with the students at the heart of our thinking. The intent is for the framework for each programme of study in the National Curriculum to be well planned and sequenced to enable all students to build their knowledge and skills towards the agreed end points at each key stage. We consider how this is taught in order to support our students and ensure this is implemented effectively. For the desired impact to be reflected in the outcomes that students achieve through the education they have received.
This is embedded across each subject area: Religious Education
The curriculum includes formal teaching through lessons, assemblies, visiting speakers and extra-curricular activities such as educational visits. We aim to equip all students to think for themselves as they study philosophical, theological and moral issues. We encourage them to be open-minded to other points of view and to identify and challenge misconceptions and prejudice. By building our curriculum around the key elements of the locally agreed syllabus, students will be more aware of the communities in which they live and how they can contribute positively to them. The Religious Education curriculum is planned to enable all students to cumulatively develop skills in the following second order concepts:
Core subject knowledge retention and recall
Critical thinking skills
Learning about and from religion
Application of religious teachings to ethical issues
Debate and analysis of key beliefs and ideas
Evaluative skills and persona reflection
As with all schools in South Tyneside, our curriculum is based around the locally agreed syllabus for religious education.
In this Agreed Syllabus these are called the three elements of RE and cover the aims of RE:
- Knowledge and Understanding
- Critical Thinking
- Personal Reflection
“These elements are interlinked and enable pupils to make good progress in RE. Pupils learn to express their insights and to agree or disagree respectfully. Teaching therefore should equip pupils with knowledge and understanding of what is meant by the terms ‘religion’ and ‘worldview’ as well as systematic knowledge and understanding of a range of religious and non-religious worldviews. Teaching should enable pupils to appreciate that worldviews are complex, diverse and plural and have influence on individuals, communities, societies and cultures. RE offers opportunities for personal reflection and pupils’ spiritual, moral, social and cultural development as it encourages pupils to examine the significance of their learning in relation to themselves and others.” (South Tyneside Locally Agreed Syllabus 2020)
RE makes a significant contribution to the active promotion of mutual respect and tolerance of others faiths and beliefs, a fundamental British value. It prepares pupils for life in modern Britain. The teaching in RE at Boldon School promotes openness, respect for others, academic rigour and critical enquiry.
“South Tyneside has a long and proud history of being a diverse and tolerant community, with people of all religions and those with none, living together in unity. This Agreed Syllabus reflects our diverse community, providing opportunities for our young people to explore their own, and other people’s beliefs, values and traditions. It gives young people the opportunity to challenge racism, discrimination and stereotypical views and encourage respect and tolerance of others.”
(South Tyneside Locally Agreed Syllabus 2020)
Our curriculum is split into Key Stage 3 (years 7, 8 and 9) and Key Stage 4 (10 and 11).
All students in years 7 & 8 study elements of Christianity & Buddhism as well as cross-religion topics such as life after death and different beliefs about God and ultimate questions. These topics are structured around the three core elements of the agreed syllabus outlined above.
In year 9, students study topics and develop skills that provide a solid foundation for GCSE study, which is an option to choose later in the year. The focus here is on world issues and how both religious and non-religious people respond to them.
At key stage 4, we offer a full GCSE course, with a focus on the beliefs and practices of two religions, Christianity and then Buddhism or Judaism. The second part of the course covers thematic studies in four categories of ethical issues, such as war and conflict, medical ethics and different teachings about the origins of life. Whilst studying these major world issues, students are always encouraged to consider both religious and non-religious views as well as needing to formulate and give supporting reasons for their own views too, as part of their evaluation.
Staff use collaborative planning via a shared google drive to ensure all pupils receive the same learning experience. This is implemented through the planning of high quality lessons that are shared with other staff and.
Staff have regular access to professional development/training to ensure that curriculum requirements are met and subject knowledge developed.
Curriculum resources are selected carefully and reviewed regularly.
Assessments are designed thoughtfully to assess retrieval practice, apply knowledge and explore key areas. A key focus for our assessments in RE is also to develop evaluative skills that enable students to both express and provide justification for their own views and beliefs. The assessments are designed to build their skills set, so they are equipped for the challenges of GCSE level study.
GCSE pupils are given regular mock exams, model answers to aspire to and constructive feedback to improve.
Assessments are checked for reliability within department and moderated and standardized regularly.
Staff are subject specialists and are experienced examiners.
Staff sometimes work with external providers such as members of the local faith communities, charities and organisations, such as street pastors and foodbank volunteers and media professionals. To support GCSE study, we also have links with religious broadcasting providers and even a prison chaplain team.
Pupils will be given opportunities to use displays in corridors and classrooms to help them further their understanding and present their work.
Educational visits play a key part in the study of RE. They also help students to link up their learning with other subjects across the curriculum, for example in History. Well established trips have included to London for a study of important places of worship and Poland, including visits Krakow, Auschwitz and the opportunity to meet and hear from a holocaust survivor.
Examination results analysis and evaluation
Retrieval practice at the start of lessons and regularly reviews of learning in class.
Termly assessments based upon prior learning for retrieval-analysis and evaluation meetings
Support for GCSE pupils to study A level at other providers.
Learning walks for KS3 and KS4 based upon departmental priorities
Regular feedback from teaching staff during department meetings
Pupil voice and Parental feedback