Religious Studies

RS has an important contribution to make to the Spiritual, Moral, Social and Cultural development of pupils. By studying religions and learning from them, pupils can examine various moral frameworks so that the fundamental questions of human existence can be considered. However, the purpose of RS is not to convert, but to educate and to give boys the opportunity to consider and explore the Christian faith for themselves.

Quality RS occurs when we relate the beliefs, concepts and values of the world faiths expressed through such things as their scriptures, worship, practices to shared human experience.

The Christian Education Movement argues thus:

“If RE is successful, its fruits will be evident not only in terms of knowledge, or even understanding or skills, though these will certainly be in evidence, but in attitudes. The religiously educated pupil will have reached at least an awareness of a set of beliefs and values by which he or she lives, while respecting the beliefs and values of those who have reached different conclusions. Such a pupil will also remain open to the possibility of further illumination, from whatever source, in a continuing search.” (CEM, The Agreed Syllabus for Religious Education, p.3.)

If Monmouth School is able to produce such pupils, RS will have made a significant contribution to the education and to the lives of those boys who have passed through the Department.

Forms 1-3

Aims/Objectives

The study of the six major World Religions makes up a core component of the RS course, alongside the other secular worldviews. One of the main objectives of both the school and the department is to give boys the opportunity to consider and explore faith for themselves. RS has an important contribution to make to the spiritual, moral, social and cultural development of pupils. By studying religions, pupils can examine various moral frameworks so that the fundamental questions of human existence can be considered. At all times we attempt to create a balance between ‘learning about’ and ‘learning from’ religions.

FORM I (YEAR 7)

The course begins by asking ‘Who is God?’ Looking through the lens of the different world religions, the students learn about the different aspects of the divine. The learning objective is to address the similarities and differences of the nature of God between the different religions. For example, the Creator God in the Christian Trinitarian tradition is juxtaposed against the Trimurti of the Hindu Brahman. The course explores in more depth the religious traditions, worship and practice, of Hinduism, Buddhism and Sikhism. The approach is narrative-based. The Hindu module reveals moral actions and consequences in the epic poem, the Ramayana. The Buddhist module focuses upon the life of Prince Siddhartha and his progress towards enlightenment. The Sikhism module allows the students to discover the contextual difficulties that practising religion in a growing secular society presents. It is hoped that by the end of the course the students will be familiar with, and able to differentiate between, the key beliefs and traditions of Hinduism, Buddhism and Sikhism, ready to explore the Judaeo-Christian tradition in Form 2. A world religions trip to Cardiff takes place in the summer term.

FORM II (YEAR 8)

Pupils first study the Old Testament and the ancient history of the Jewish race, focussing on the key themes of Covenant, Law and Prophecy. Modern Jewish practices and beliefs are considered in conjunction with the Biblical stories. They then move on to a study of the New Testament story, with particular emphasis on the life and teachings of Jesus Christ, the growth of the Church, and modern Christian practice. Crucial to the pupils’ understanding is the way in Christianity grew out of Judaism and the links between the two faiths. In both elements of the course, there is a strong emphasis on making the Bible relevant to a 21st century audience. A trip to local churches/chapels takes place in the summer term.

FORM III (YEAR 9)

In Form III we broaden the spectrum to consider the whole concept of what it means to believe and how belief affects behaviour. Both religious and secular ‘faiths’ are considered, including Islam, Nazism and Consumerism. We also devote time to some contemporary moral issues such as Crime and Punishment, Islamophobia and Anti-Semitism. By the time boys make their subject choices for GCSE, therefore, they will have studied elements of the six main world religions, and will also have had the opportunity to consider some crucial philosophical, moral and spiritual questions. An education visit to a mosque and a synagogue takes place in the Lent term.

GCSE/IGCSE

Head of Department: R.L.Wynne Board: AQA

The Course:

The GCSE course is based around the study of Christianity. However, the ‘specification does not presuppose faith and is designed to be accessible to persons of any religious persuasion or none’ . Rather it gives pupils the opportunity to engage with the world’s largest religion and consider its role in history and shaping the world we encounter today.

The course as a whole encourages students to acquire knowledge and develop understanding of beliefs, values and tradition and the influence these have on the world around them.

In Form IV pupils will have the chance to engage with a unique text in the form of Mark’s Gospel and to consider the figure of Jesus, his life and teaching and continuing global importance.

In Form V pupils will be encouraged to identify, investigate and respond to fundamental questions raised by religion and human experience, including the meaning and purpose of life. Religious and other responses to moral issues such as abortion, euthanasia, justice and punishment, conflict, prejudice, the environment and poverty will be considered.

Assessment:

Candidates sit two papers, both at the end of Form V:

Unit 5 – St. Mark’s Gospel
Unit 2 – Christianity: Ethics

Each paper comprises 50% of the total mark awarded.
There is no coursework requirement.

http://www.aqa.org.uk/subjects/religious-studies/gcse/religious-studies-a-4050/subject-content/unit-5

http://www.aqa.org.uk/subjects/religious-studies/gcse/religious-studies-a-4050/subject-content/unit-2

AS/A Level

Religious Studies is a diverse and challenging A level, which fits well both as a complement to other arts and humanities subjects, and also as a contrast to science subjects. Its breadth means that it provides excellent preparation for a huge variety of university courses and careers, including Law, Medicine, Journalism and Education, to name but a few.

Throughout the course, students will engage with some of the deep philosophical questions with which mankind has always wrestled, as well as examining moral and ethical principles from a variety of standpoints. Through their study of the New Testament, pupils will engage with an ancient text, both as it was originally written and read, and also as the foundation for life and behaviour in the 21st century. Through their studies of this subject, students will enhance their ability to argue and to communicate, as well as their skills of research, evaluation and analysis. If you are interested in life’s big questions, if you enjoy lively discussion and debate, and if you want to examine the impact of religion on cultures and societies, Religious Studies could certainly be the subject for you!

Religious Studies Trips

RS Trip March4

Form III Trip – March 2016

Every year all of Form III have the opportunity to visit a mosque and a synagogue before completing a project on prejudice and discrimination. This year after spending time in lessons looking at examples of Islamophobic attitudes and the rise of Anti-Semitism, we were fortunate enough to visit Dar Ul Isra Mosque in Cathays Cardiff and the Cardiff United Synagogue in Cyncoed. The mosque provided a very hands on experience where the boys were able to have a go at writing their names in Arabic and listening to the Quran being read in Arabic then English on mp3 players. At the synagogue, the Rabbi gave the boys a clear understanding of what it meant to be Jewish and what life was like for a C21st Jew living in Wales. It was an incredibly valuable experience and trips to places of worship remain an important part of the RS curriculum.

Here is a report of this year’s trip by Adam in Form III:

The trip was very enjoyable and the whole year learned a great amount. We first went to the mosque in Cardiff. It was in the middle of a street and looked like a normal house and not the exotic building with domes and towers that we expected.

The imam was very welcoming and gave us a long talk about Islam and how he felt a belonging to the religion and how it gave him an identity. He also gave us the meaning of Islam and how you follow it. The rest of the visit consisted of several stations and all of us either listening to interesting facts or doing some kind of activity. The favourite activities were calligraphy where we were shown how to write our names in Arabic and the talk on the Qur’an was also very interesting. We also had talks on the history of Islam, key objects of Islam and related things, also a talk on the prophets. That talk was particularly interesting as all of us had seen Islam as a particularly alien religion but it showed links between Christianity which we are all familiar with.

Afterwards we went to the synagogue where we learnt a lot about prejudice and discrimination. The building was in a new and modern estate and the synagogue did not stick out as a place of worship.

The Synagogue was a very modern building in an estate with very high security. It almost felt a little bit uncomfortable with such high amounts of security, the doors all had bolts on them and the whole place looked rather over the top. Much of the talk consisted of accounts of anti-Semitism and most of the time there showed that anti-Semitism was a very current and alive event. The Rabbi talked to us about cases of anti-Semitism that he had faced and how he attempted to deface prejudices. He held coffee mornings and events outside of the synagogue all to show that they were normal people and meant no harm. We were also shown the way in which a service works and he also showed us how songs were sung and how prayers were done.

The day was very enlightening and we found it all very interesting and the trip was very well worth it.

Watch a short video of the day here: