Simon Balle School is a Humanities Specialist School where RE plays a significant role in contributing to the learning ethos that has been established. The department works very closely with the Geography, History and Citizenship departments and has developed a number of exciting joint ventures which combine the skills of these subjects to enhance the pupils experience and understanding of the topics we study. The department consists of 2 full time teachers, a number of committed and enthusiastic non-specialists as well as two departmental assistants; one with a focus on learning, and the other focusing on administration. All staff teach across the age range including GCSE and A Level. Planning of lessons is collaborative with members of the department taking responsibility for co-ordinating particular schemes of work. We have 2 RE classrooms and a third shared room, we are very fortunate that all 3 specialist teaching rooms have a data projector and desktop, so lessons are planned with this in mind. The department is extremely well resourced. All teachers are issued with a laptop. We use a variety of resources in lessons and we have access to a laptop notebus which can be booked and the 16 laptops used in the classroom.
The department has planned for the recent curriculum changes and we are excited about the opportunities for creative and challenging schemes of work. BLP (Building Learning Power) is embedded in all schemes of work. Key Stage 3: Students are taught in mixed ability form groups and have one lesson a week. Our programme of study focuses on the key skills that students will need to study RE and we look at themes within religions such as ‘Do religious people treat animals better than non-religious people?’ or ‘Can religion help to explain suffering?’ Through this themed approach, all 6 of the world religions are explored over the 3 years with an emphasis on Christianity. Each unit of work has a clear unit booklet to accompany it which outlines the unit objectives, lesson objectives, homeworks’ set and assessments set. Each unit of work explores a key question which is evaluated on completion of the unit. Key Stage 4: RE is a popular choice at GCSE. All students in Years 10 and 11 follow an AQA Short Course in RE called ‘Religion and morality’. The topics covered are religion and drugs, religion and crime, religion and life, and religion and death. This course is popular with the students and over 95% of these students in Year 11 are entered for the exam. We also offer an optional OCR Full Course in RE called Ethics and Philosophy, which explores topics such as human relationships and the media from a Christian perspective and life after death and good and evil from a Jewish perspective. There is no coursework for either of these exams. Key Stage 5: RE-Ethics and Buddhism is a popular subject at A Level. We follow the OCR syllabus and study ethical theories such as Utilitarianism, Kantian Ethics, Natural Law and practical ethics such as war and abortion. The Buddhism part of the course explores the life and background of the Buddha as well as his teachings about concepts such as the 3 Marks of Existence and karma. RE is currently the leading subject in the school for its exam results which is something we are very proud of.
Staff Development Simon Balle School is very supportive in developing teachers’ subject knowledge and classroom practice – insets and courses are offered to support good practice. Members of the department have also attended regular inset run by the examination boards. The department has a well stocked library of books, both in the classroom and in the main school library, which has also been newly refurbished and has up to the minute facilities. Staff Qualities We are looking for a colleague who is keen to continue the development of the department and is willing to work as part of a team to achieve the best possible results. They must be able to offer a range of skills and qualities including: • Excellent subject knowledge and a passion for teaching RE • An ability to create and teach both creative and rigorous lessons • The ability to work collaboratively as part of a team • A willingness to deliver GCSE and A Level lessons, and to develop their subject knowledge in areas such as A Level Buddhism that may not currently be within their specialism. • The ability to contribute to the whole school vision