"The academy actively encourages the understanding and tolerance of different views and religious and cultural practices." (Ofsted June 2012)
The principal aim of Religious Studies at The Bishop of Winchester Academy is to affirm, encourage and challenge pupils on their understanding, attitudes and values.
The subject is taught in an open, critical and empathetic manner in which the student can enquire and raise questions without always being given any firm or conclusive answers. There is never any question of imposing particular religious values or beliefs on the students, although the Christian values of education and of the Academy will be supported. Religious Studies is an essential part of all students’ education because:
- It addresses the fundamental questions of life which affect us all.
- It helps the student to develop their own beliefs and values.
- It exposes the students to some of the greatest thinkers the world has ever known.
- It helps to prepare the students to take an active role in the multi-cultural society in which we live.
- It promotes respect and critical tolerance of difference.
- It contributes to the personal, social and spiritual development of the students.
In Years 7 and 8, Religious Studies is taken by all students and covers four of the major religions within the locally agreed syllabus to ensure students have a firm foundation on which to build their understanding for GCSE. As a Church of England Academy there is also a focus on Christianity particularly around the major Christian celebrations.
In Years 9, 10 and 11 students follow the AQA A GCSE course – pupils will sit two exams at the end of Year 11, one for each module studied. The modules encompass a wide range of topics, helping students consider their own beliefs and their opinions regarding life experiences. The course is designed to allow debate about these questions and provides scope for investigation into the ways that religious belief and values are relevant to moral issues and behaviour in today’s society.