Life Skills RE
Curriculum Statement - Life Skills
The National Curriculum dictates that all schools should promote the spiritual, moral, cultural, mental and physical development of pupils at the school and of society, and prepares pupils at the school for the opportunities, responsibilities and experiences of later life.' This is a key focus for us within the Life Skills department.
Covering the requirements of Religious Education, Citizenship and PSHE Education, The Life Skills department aims to provide all pupils with significant knowledge and understanding of their own feelings, views and beliefs as well as the feelings, views and beliefs of others. Students will consider how these impact and shape life in Britain. We aim to prepare students for making informed personal decisions on matters relating to morality, belief, citizenship and their own lives. We will do this by fostering an environment of tolerance and dialogue rooted in an understanding of ourselves and others. We aim to give students the skills to express and explain their own opinions, where applicable supporting them with evidence and examples and to be able to compare these opinions to those of other individuals and groups within society. Students will be able to analyse and critique opinion and evidence considering reliability and intent in order to reach evaluative conclusions. Life Skills is taught within timetabled lessons and tutorial sessions at Key Stages 3 and 4 and by a comprehensive tutorial programme, external speakers and compulsory conferences at Key Stage 5, which enable students to develop their knowledge and understanding from prior learning. A deliberate decision was made not to deliver the new Religious Studies GCSE course, as it was felt that the content limited the opportunities of our pupils to investigate the beliefs and practices of a variety of religions, big questions and moral issues. By following the new course, we would have had to exclude other areas of our intent. We have taken the AQA GCSE essay assessment structure to use at key stages 3 and 4 to ensure our pupils acquire the same challenge and skills as their peers.
Choice of content
Religious Education – The National Curriculum Handbook (DfES 2000) asserts that: ‘Religious Education makes a distinctive contribution to the School curriculum by developing pupils’ knowledge and understanding of religion, religious beliefs, practices, language and traditions and their influence on individuals, communities, societies and cultures. It enables pupils to consider and respond to a range of important questions related to their own spiritual development, the development of values and attitudes and fundamental questions concerning the meaning and purpose of life’ In Life Skills lessons and tutorials we use a range of thematic, conceptual, humanising and world view approaches to give pupils the opportunity to achieve all of the above. We follow the National Curriculum requirements along with the Medway Agreed Syllabus for Religious Education which the Head of Department as an SLE and member of the local SACRE was involved with the development of and have implemented changes required for the new September 2019 version; ensuring pupils have the opportunity to consider a range of worldviews. In addition to the expectations set out in the Medway Agreed Syllabus we cover a wider range of religious groups in order to reflect the variety of religions represented within our school and Britain as a multicultural society. The delivery of our curriculum enables us to assist pupils in the development of the traditional British value of mutual respect for and tolerance of those with different faiths and beliefs and for those without faith. The department works closely with the local authority’s Standing Advisory Council for Religious Education and local RE Hub to ensure best practice is maintained. We also work with the Pop Up literary program which enables us to further develop our cross curricular work by giving pupils the opportunity to read and meet the author of a novel based on Islamic themes and cultures. We utilise the religious places around us by visiting the local Cathedral and gurdwara. Pupils are given the opportunity to express their own spirituality by use of a supervised pupil prayer room.
Citizenship – The National Curriculum for England says that a high-quality citizenship education helps to provide pupils with knowledge, skills and understanding to prepare them to play a full and active part in society. In particular, citizenship education should foster pupils’ keen awareness and understanding of democracy, government and how laws are made and upheld. Teaching should equip pupils with the skills and knowledge to explore political and social issues critically, to weigh evidence, debate and make reasoned arguments. It should also prepare pupils to take their place in society as responsible citizens, manage their money well and make sound financial decisions. Life Skills lessons provide pupils with all of these things. We follow the requirements of the National Curriculum with guidance from the association of Citizenship Teaching where applicable. Pupils gain a strong knowledge base in the subject but also gain opportunities to put the knowledge they have gained into action through activities such as meeting with a magistrate, mock trials, house debating competitions, elections, volunteering through the Duke of Edinburgh scheme and our work as a Rights Respecting School. The delivery of our curriculum enables us to assist pupils in the development of the traditional British values of democracy, the rule of law and individual liberty.
PSHE – The Life Skills department is committed to providing pupils with the knowledge and skills required to meet their needs both now and in the future. We deliver a comprehensive PSHE program which is based on best practice and advice from relevant organisations. We deliver RSE education in line with the Secretary of State’s guidance. In addition to this we also aim to be early providers of the additional statutory elements of PSHE education as well as encompassing much of the non-statutory but advisable (as directed by the PSHE association) content. We are supported in our delivery of lessons on radicalisation and extremism by interactive resources provided by the University of Kent and work closely with advisors from Medway Health Directorate to ensure we are meeting the needs of our pupils at a local level. Lessons and schemes of work are designed to be inclusive and to direct pupils towards additional support where this may be required. Pupils are taught the skills to listen to each other in a sensitive manner. Topics are taught at an age appropriate stage and are often revisited at relevant points during the year, for example Mental Health awareness week or Internet Safety day. At Key Stage 5 pupils continue to be supported in PSHE by their tutorial program and a variety of external visitors to school.
The department adds to this a strong focus on both oral and written communication with students from the start of year 7 being expected to plan, structure and deliver extended evaluative essays which build to a substantiated conclusion. Pupils are provided with individual ‘even better if’ teacher comments on assessed work which enables them to make ongoing progress and develop their essay writing skills.
Please click here to view the Life Skills Tutorial Plan.
Traditional British Values information can be viewed here
Schemes of Work
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