Religious Studies at Helenswood School
Our society has become so multi-cultural that issues of religion are headline news. What people believe and how they behave has become a fascinating area for study. At Helenswood we aim to give students the skills required in a modern day society; Religious Studies encourages students to adopt an enquiring, critical and reflective approach to the study of religion and teaches the knowledge, critical thinking and reasoned argument to express their own and others beliefs through philosophical thought, analysis, evaluation, empathy and research.
In all areas of study, we aim to combine learning about religions with reflection on the students' own viewpoints and experiences. No assumptions are made about individual students' beliefs and we aim to provide an environment where students of all faiths or no faith feel confident to be themselves. Students are able to gain accredited GCSE qualifications while fulfilling their statutory Religious Studies requirements. A level Religious Studies is also offered at Parkwood Sixth Form Centre.
At Key Stage 3 Students are taught of some of the key features of the worlds major religions. An introduction to religion, the life and teachings of Jesus, Hinduism, Sikhism, Chrisitan teaqchings and the role of the Church, Buddhism, Judaism, Islam, Secular belief systems (such as Humanism), A person of Faith project and an introduction to moral and ethical issues.
At KS4 students are expected to consider different viewpoints and to make informed judgments and decisions evaluating a range of moral issues. The Edexcel GCSE in Religious Studies (Units 1 and 8) focus on the study of Christianity and Islam, along with secular and personal views, in relation to a range of moral and ethical issues from genetic engineering to euthanasia. Students take two written papers at the end of year 11 in the following units:
Unit 1 (Religion and Life)
Believing in God
Matters of Life and death
Marriage and the family
Unit 8 (Religion and society)
Rights and responsibilities
Peace and conflict
Environment and medical issues
Crime and punishment
Students who opt for A level Religious Studies at Parkwood are taught on the Helenswood and William Parker sites, and follow the Edexcel Religious Studies course focusing on Philosophy of religion and ethics. The course gives students the opportunity to develop their philosophical thinking skills through discussion, engagement with primary texts and independent research, evaluation and analysis skills. Success in religious studies gives access to a range of careers and higher education opportunities. The transferable skills it provides such as empathy, research, interpretation of data, evaluation and communication are in great demand and the academic rigor of this A Level is recognised by employers and Russell Group universities.
There are three main ways of 'using' religious studies in the world of work:
1.Careers where it is important or useful to have knowledge of what really matters to people: health care, child care, medicine, psychologist, customer services, politics.
2.Careers which make good use of the research, investigatory and report writing techniques learned in studying religion: law, police work (forensic), psychology, public services, management.
3.Careers where you need specific knowledge of religions: teaching, social work, archaeology, museum work, fine art, conservation/natural history, architecture, youth work and ministry.
History at Helenswood School
“History: Gossip well told” Elbert Hubbard
At Helenswood, History is never simply about learning just facts such as names of King and Queens and key dates, rather we aim to bring History alive. Throughout the KS3, 4 and 5 curriculums we offer a varied approach to lessons including role plays and re-enactments (from the Battle of Hastings to the realities of trench warfare during World War One), debates, speeches, presentations and peer teaching. It is also expected that pupils will develop the ability to make analyse interpretations and therefore be able make informed judgments and decisions on Historical events. As a department we also seek to engage pupils in the past by understanding how it has impacted upon their own life through local studies (St Helens Church) and personal History sessions, where pupils plan remembrance services for war and Holocaust victims, research their own family History and the History of WW1 soldiers all of which allows Helenswood pupils to develop into independent students, who question the past.
Trips are also catered for in the History department including trips to Hever Castle, the Imperial War Museum and planned trips to visit WW1 trenches.
What do we study in History at KS3?
Year 7: 1066 and The Battle of Hastings, Norman Control, Medieval Life and Times, War of the Roses
Year 8: The life and times of the Tudors, The causes and consequences of the English Civil War, The Industrial Revolution, The development of the British Empire in the 18th and 19th century and the Save Trade.
Year 9: Votes for women, WW1, The rise of Hitler and The Nazi party, WW1 and the Holocaust
What do we study at KS4 (GCSE)?
Helenswood history follows the AQA SHP specification A syllabus incorporating units on Medicine and Health through time, the rise of the Nazi’s between 1919-1939, and a controlled assessment on the development of Bodium Castle.
History is also an extremely popular subject at A Level where students are given increasing opportunities for in depth discussion and research. For many students each year their Historical studies lead to further education at colleges and Universities in fields such as politics, archaeology
Three reasons to study History:
1: You learn and develop the skills of analytical thinking and critical writing that all potential employers seek
2: You can understand the world around you
3: You will never be bored!