By Mr R Dallas, Head of RE at Felsted Prep
"Religious education provokes challenging questions about the ultimate meaning and purpose of life, beliefs about God, the self and the nature of reality, issues of right and wrong, and what it means to be human”. Quote from SACRE (Standing Advisory Council on Religious Education)
I have included the above quote from Sacre in the hope to convey my feelings of the subject’s invaluable place for our students’ school life and journey at Felsted Prep. The pupils really have had a fantastic term and I have yet again been astounded and delighted at their progress, opinions and participation. My colleagues in the department (Rev. Little & Mr Manson) have been leading the Year 5 pupils in a series of lessons entitled ‘How does a Christian show commitment to God?’ where they have been gradually ‘unpacking’ this question through the investigation of various stories and religious lessons that when adhered to demonstrate dedication and commitment as a Christian. Pupils in Year 6 have been exploring ‘Islam’ where we have been learning about how the 5 Pillars, the story of Muhammad and various other religious traditions shape a Mulsims life and religion. We have also been recognising the many similarities that Islam shares with Christianity as both are part of the Abrahamic faiths. These links have been very useful in allowing the students to develop a ‘multicultural’ point of view when considering the different traditional world faiths that are practiced in our society.
Year 7 pupils have been learning about the key events and teachings of Jesus Christ to gather an understanding of how these stories and messages have impacted and continue to impact our culture. They have also considered the societal value of these spiritual and moral messages and how despite originally gospelised to address issues in a Roman ruled Middle-Eastern region 2000 years ago still hold immense importance and utility to today's society in contemporary Britain. This included a project/presentation on the works of the Salvation Army to gain an understanding of their mission statement of ‘Faith Into Action’.
The Year 8’s have been following a series of lessons designed to allow them to investigate the significance of Christmas for Christians. This has involved them identifying the many similarities and crossovers of religious symbolism/traditions with that of the secular symbols and customs. They have also participated in a small project where they have considered the other ways in which Christmas is celebrated in other parts of the world and have drawn comparisons of these to our own culture. In addition to this, Year 7 & 8 Philosophy sessions have proved to be a valuable and insightful method for providing the students with some higher order thinking activities in addition to their R.S. work. They have taken a slightly different shape this year due to covid safety restrictions. However, the students have been enjoying debates, discussions and thinking surrounding huge societal questions such as ‘Where do our laws come from?’, ‘What are our human rights?’ and ‘Should Britain have the Death Penalty?’.