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Higham Lane School

Higham Lane School

Modern Ethics

Modern Ethics encourages students to think about the connection between religion and the important issues people face in life. This course develops learners’ critical thinking and debating skills. Students are encouraged to engage in discussions on challenging moral issues, to develop their own views and to consider alternative viewpoints on the important questions of life. To enhance learning and to stimulate discussions, students have the opportunity to draw on a range of resources, from religious artefacts, music, film, literature, art and ICT.

Year 7 Curriculum 

In Key Stage 3, students broadly follow the principles of the Warwickshire Agreed Syllabus. Students begin the course with an introductory unit entitled Why Religion? In this unit, students explore questions such as: What is religion? Why do some people believe in God and others not? What are the key morals required for a harmonious society? Why do people suffer and how do religions respond to suffering?

Following this, students undertake a unit of study on the Life of Jesus which covers the gospel accounts of Jesus’ life from his birth to death and resurrection. Students debate topics such as: Did Jesus really exist and can miracles happen? Students explore the historical and political context of the time that Jesus was living in using source material from ancient historians and religious texts. They develop their evaluative skills by questioning whether Jesus’ teachings are still relevant today and debate whether Jesus was triumphant or defeated.

In the summer term, students explore the lives of inspirational figures such as Jackie Pullinger, Gandhi and Martin Luther King. Students reflect on how these people used their faith to change the society they were living in and analyse what can be learnt from them today. By exploring these inspirational figures students are challenged to consider the impact they will have on the world.

Year 8 Curriculum

The autumn term of Year 8 begins with a study of Sikhism. Students explore Sikh teachings on equality and treatment of the poor. They examine how religious identity can be portrayed using symbols such as the 5 Ks and whether a sacred writing can hold authority over your life.

Students then go on to explore a range of ethical issues in the topic ‘What does justice mean to Christians?’ In this unit, students evaluate a range of issues including: Should we forgive everyone, has slavery really been abolished and do Christians have a duty to help the poor? Students also explore religious teachings in action by looking at the concept of Zakah and the organisation Christians Against Poverty.

Following this, students lay the foundation for their GCSE course by exploring the fastest growing religion - Islam. Study of the life of the Prophet Muhammad and his influence on Muslims today lays the foundation of this module. Students then explore the key beliefs and practices of Muslims such as fasting for Ramadan and going on hajj.

Many people have asked the question ‘How did our world begin?’ and this is what is addressed in the final topic of Year 8 -  ‘Our world-creation or chance?’ - which students study in the summer term of Year 8. Students contrast creation myths such as the story of Pan Ku to the Biblical account and scientific explanations.

Year 9 Curriculum

Students undertake their study of GCSE Religious Studies in Year 9 and follow the AQA Religious Studies Specification A. All students will have the opportunity to obtain a GCSE full course qualification at grades 9-1. There is a single tier of entry for this subject.

Students begin with the first of the two world religions they will study - Christianity. Students commence the course with an in-depth study of key Christian beliefs and practices. Areas of study include; the incarnation, trinity, sin and salvation, street pastors, prayer and baptism.

Following this students explore their first ethical topic for GCSE - Crime and Punishment. Questions debated include: Is the prison system effective? Should we bring back the death penalty? and `Is corporal punishment effective?

Year 10 Curriculum

In Year 10, students complete an in-depth study of a second world religion - Islam. Beginning with key Muslim beliefs such as Tawhid and Risalah, students then go on to explore a range of Muslim practices such as Zakah, Sawm and Hajj.

The moral issues covered in Year 10 centre around the theme of relationships and families. This unit encourages students to evaluate a range of religious perspectives on topics such as : Is sex outside of marriage wrong? Are women’s roles equal to men and should contraception be used?

Year 11 Curriculum

Students complete their study of Modern Ethics by debating two ethical areas: religion and conflict and religion and life.

Students begin the year by exploring whether war is ever right? This is evaluated in the context of the just war theory, the holy war principle, terrorism and the use of nuclear weapons.

The religion and life module explores some key modern ethical issues such as: should euthanasia be legalised? Is abortion morally right and do animals have rights?

ROMAYNE CHARLES, Subject Leader for Modern Ethics