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RE and Ethics

5 out of every 6 people in the world are religious. Religion shapes politics, art, culture, lawmaking, economics, and international relations. Lack of understanding about religion can lead to intolerance, hatred, racism, conflict, and war. Therefore, the KS3 RE Curriculum is designed as an essential introduction to comparative religion, ethics and philosophy that equips them with knowledge and skills which are essential for citizens of a globalized age. 

By studying these different world views they become more informed citizens that learn to show respect for and build bridges between different beliefs and practices, people of different faiths and life stances, as well as reflecting on their own spiritual, moral, social and cultural development. 

It is our hope that the curriculum will play an important and unique role in each student’s education enabling them to understand their spiritual identity, to adhere to British moral values and to learn to play their role in promoting community cohesion and inclusion in our increasingly diverse society

We operate a 3 year KS3 and a 2 year KS4 and a 2 year KS5. Each Key stage works to the same philosophy and principles.

Implementation – how we expose our pupils to powerful knowledge and provide education with character

The RE curriculum in each subject can be accessed HERE/BELOW (Create hyperlink to new subject pages) Subject specialism is at the heart of our curriculum and you will see differences in the way that the curriculum is constructed and assessed in different subjects. Standardised written assessments, for example, play less of a role in performance subjects such as music, drama and physical education. The stability of our curriculum allows subject expertise to develop over time, and we are careful to provide sufficient time for teachers of the same subject to plan together and collaborate. Our timetable on a Monday has been changed to provide “Golden time” to allow our teachers to collaborate and work on subject development as we believe this collaboration is vital.

Further subject specialism is provided by United Learning’s subject advisors. These advisors are subject experts who help teachers link the subject discipline to our pupils’ daily experience in the classroom. Subject advisors meet regularly with Faculty Leaders at Accrington and provide curriculum resources to support the implementation of the subject curriculum.

As a mastery curriculum our pupils study fewer topics in greater depth, with the expectation that we don’t move on to the next topic until all pupils have a secure understanding of the current topic.  A 3-year Key Stage 3 provides pupils with the time and space to gain this secure understanding. In our lessons we expect to see all pupils grappling with the same challenging content, with teachers providing additional support for pupils who need it.  Rather than moving on to new content, our higher attainers produce work of greater depth and flair.

Our approach to teaching and learning supports our curriculum by ensuring that lessons build on prior learning and provide sufficient opportunity for guided and independent practice. We use Barak Rosenshine’s Principles of Instruction to develop our teaching practice. At the heart of Rosenshine’s principles is a simple instructional core:

  • Demonstration: Teacher presents new information in small steps  (I)
  • Guided practice with models, prompts and scaffolds (We)
  • Independent practice with monitoring and feedback from the teacher (You)

At each point, teachers check understanding of all pupils by asking lots of questions and providing feedback. We use a framework of instructional coaching at Accrington to allow our teachers time and space to develop their practice.

The Rosenshine principles support the implementation of the curriuculum by ensuring that pupils regularly recall prior learning. You will often see this at the start of our lessons with our Academy “live in 5 strategy”. When prior learning is committed to long term memory it becomes fluent or ‘automatic’, freeing space in our working memory which can then be used for comprehension, application, and problem solving.

In order to allow the mastery approach to be effective (i.e. children learn what they are expected to in the year they are expected to), early catch-up is essential: we aim to promptly identify and support pupils who start secondary school without a secure grasp of reading, writing and mathematics so that they can access the full curriculum.

Everything from which children learn in school – the taught subject timetable, the approach to spiritual, moral, social and cultural development, the co-curricular provision and the ethos and ‘hidden curriculum’ of the school – are to be seen as part of the school curriculum.  Our principle of ‘Education with Character’ is delivered through the curriculum in this broadest sense.  We are passionate about ensuring this character education  though our “Accrington Aspires” programme of form time/assemblies/Every child matters days and a broad range of extra-curricular activities which ensure we focus on developing the whole child.

With thousands of pupils across United Learning following the same curriculum, we have been able to devleop common assessments in most subjects.  These are summative assessments which allow pupils to demonstrate their growing understanding of their subjects and enable teachers to assess the impact of their teaching. These summative assessments are typically taken once or twice a year, allowing teachers to focus on formative assessment from lesson to lesson.

We are particularly conscious of the role that literacy and vocabulary plays in unlocking the whole curriculum. Our teachers explicitly teach the meaning of subject-specific language, and we expect lessons to contain challenging reading and writing. Knowledge organisers provide students with key information that they are expected to learn and recall with fluency, enabling them to develop their understanding of key concepts outside of their lessons.

The culmination of our curriculum is that pupils leave our school with the confidence and intelligence to thrive. We know our pupils as individuals which enables us to provide curriculum guidance and careers guidance throughout their time with us. We expect all pupils to leave our school with the grades required to progress to their desired destination, and the character required to flourish once they get there.

By teaching our curriculum well, and delivering education with character, we bring out the best in everyone.

To find out more about our curriculum please contact our Vice Principal in charge of Quality of Education Mrs Charlotte Marsden,   or see our Curriculum policy.


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RE & Ethics Staff

Click on Teacher name to read full bio

Mr N Hughes

Mr N Hughes

Assistant Principal - Subject Lead RE and Ethics

After attaining my Theology Degree from Bristol University, I subsequently trained as an actor and...

Mr N Hughes

Mr N Hughes

Assistant Principal - Subject Lead RE and Ethics

After attaining my Theology Degree from Bristol University, I subsequently trained as an actor and pursued a career in the performing arts before committing to a life in education.   As an RE teacher and Associate Assistant Principal, I feel strongly that all students should have an appreciation of different cultures and beliefs and have the confidence and understanding to speak about what they think is right, not only to succeed in RE but also to be well rounded, responsible citizens. I am passionate about teaching and learning and believe in the ability of every student to make a meaningful contribution to their class, the Academy and to the wider community we serve.

Mrs C Marsden

Mrs C Marsden

Faculty Leader - Humanities
Mrs C Marsden

Mrs C Marsden

Faculty Leader - Humanities
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