Beliefs and Values

Beliefs & Values picture & quote

Beliefs and Values Curriculum Intent Statement

The main objective of our department is to provide challenging, varied and enriching lessons that effectively prepare our pupils for life in a culturally diverse modern world. Our department aims to promote an awareness of the usefulness of Beliefs and Values to everyday living, to encourage enthusiasm for interest in the study of other people’s beliefs and to promote mutual respect, tolerance and understanding across different cultures and communities. Clyst Vale students should be fully prepared for success in an increasingly globalised and interdependent world, and aspire to be responsible local and global citizens.

Britain is now a very diverse society; finding out about the beliefs and values of all people makes us think about what we believe, and reflect on our own choices. Students should consider how they can draw parallels to other people’s lives and beliefs and to lead them to a deeper understanding and respect of a range of ethical/religious concepts and ideas, and to challenge views which are rooted in prejudice and ignorance. As a Rights Respecting School, the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child is fully embedded throughout our curriculum. This helps build our students’ confidence to make informed decisions. They have a moral framework, based on equality and respect for all that lasts a lifetime, as they grow into engaged, responsible members of society. Children and adults develop an ethos and language of rights and respect around the school. Rights and principles of the Convention are used to put moral situations into perspective and consider rights-respecting solutions – this all has a huge impact on relationships and well-being. We encourage our young people to get very involved in raising awareness about social justice issues, both at home and abroad. They become ambassadors for rights and take part in campaigns and activities to help to bring about change.

We aim to encourage all of our pupils to think critically about challenging moral questions. This helps them to develop their own ideas and opinions, and ultimately shapes who they are. Learning to express our own beliefs and to listen to the views of others is an important life skill and this is something the staff within our department have a passion for. Students should leave with an open mind and a love of learning.

Beliefs and Values (RE) is a statutory subject that aims to promote tolerance and understanding of others through the exploration of different faiths, beliefs and traditions, as well as helping students to reflect upon their own ideas and opinions in response to ‘big questions’ and  moral issues.


Beliefs & Values Staff Teaching Team

Year 7

Beliefs and Values is taught as part of the Integrated Humanities program. This provides a transition period for our students coming up from Primary into Secondary school. Each term we explore a different concept/theme and a big question through the 3 Humanities disciplines. As part of this, students will investigate a variety of worldviews, including Christianity, Paganism, Islam and Eastern religions.

Year 8

This is very much a foundation year for GCSE (which students begin to study in Year 9). Students learn and develop key skills such as analysis and application through the exploration of topics like ‘Poverty’, ‘Animal Rights and the Environment’, and ‘Myself, My World’ – which looks at a variety of topical issues such as immigration, and racism. We end this year exploring the Holocaust and its impact on modern society. Students explore Christian and worldviews surrounding these issues.

Year 9

In Year 9 we begin the GCSE in Beliefs and Values. Students will explore the Eastern religion of Sikhism before moving on to our first theme of ‘War, Peace and Justice’. Students will explore Christian and Eastern religious views towards this topic.

At Key Stage 4 all students have the opportunity to gain a qualification in Religious Studies AQA Specification A. All students will obtain a full GCSE in this subject.

The course is examined by two exams of 1hr 45min each at the end of Year 11. There is no coursework component.

In Year 10 we study our second Eastern religion Buddhism. Later in the year, we explore our second theme ‘Crime and Punishment’. Students will explore Christian and Eastern religious responses to this topic.

In Year 11 we explore our final two themes, ‘Religion and Life’ and ‘Human Rights and Social Justice’. Students will explore Christian and Eastern religious views towards these topics.

At Key Stage 5, the department offers a popular A level course (OCR) studying Philosophy of Religion and Eastern Thought. Students attend two philosophy and ethics conferences each year to hear contemporary philosophers explaining and debating a variety of theories and moral issues.

All Post 16 students take part in a conference organised by the department titled ‘The Day of Evil’. Students spend the day debating and taking part in different philosophical activities as well as listening to a variety of visiting speakers, where students will debate and explore religious and secular responses to the concept of evil, and whether evil really does exist.

An exciting new addition to the Humanities Department at KS5 is the introduction of A-level Sociology from Sept 2017.

We will be following OCR specification (H580).

Students will study the following components:

Year 12 – Component 1 – Socialisation, Culture and Identity (Section A)

Component 1 – Youth Subcultures (Option 2)

Component 2 – Researching and Understanding Social Inequality

Year 13 – Component 2 – Understanding Social Inequality

Component 3 – Crime and Deviance (Option 1)

Course leader: Z Brotherton

The Beliefs and Values curriculum is enriched by a diverse range of additional events and visits, designed to bring classroom learning to life. We invite guest speakers into school to meet our students, and we also take our students out of school on trips.

Typically, students benefit from the following additional activities:

Year 7 – we invite a Muslim guest speaker to talk about faith and culture

Year 8 – a representative of St Petrock’s in Exeter comes to talk about issues surrounding homelessness

Year 9 – students travel to London to visit an exhibition about the Holocaust

Year 10 – students meet a Buddhist speaker to discuss faith and culture.  Two trips are offered, one to Southall Gurdwara Buddhist Temple in London and a second trip also takes place, usually abroad.

Year 13 – Exeter Crown Court hosts our Post-16 students for a visit which informs the Sociology component on the Criminal Justice System.  For Philosophy students, we invite guest speakers to discuss philosophical and moral issues throughout their study.  We also incorporate a trip to Exeter Buddhist temple.