Religious Education Staff
For more information about the Subject curriculum, please contact: Miss E Preston the Curriculum Leader.
- Miss E Preston - Curriculum Leader
- Mr S Riley (Head of Farington)
- Ms C Filler
The Religious Studies department follow the Lancashire Agreed Syllabus for Religious Education and we also teach some of the material and content from the Blackburn Diocese Illuminating Pathways Unit. The RS department helps students to explore Balshaw’s Christian values and as a Church of England High School, we predominantly study Christianity, however we also explore different religious worldviews to prepare our students to engage in a multifaith society. Through the study of RS, we enable students to search for answers to the ultimate and challenging question in life of ‘What does it mean to be human?’. The search for the answers to this question involve numerous challenging and provoking questions such as:
What is God like? Is there a God?
Where do we belong?
What unites us?
Where can we seek truth and meaning?
Where can we find guidance about how to live our lives?
Across key stage three we study all six main religions of the world, exploring different religious responses to key questions. Within each unit of work, we explore key questions and look at the possible different religious responses to these questions.
At key stage four, currently all students study the syllabus for the AQA short course in Religious Studies exam, focusing on the religions of Christianity and Islam. It is also an option to take a full course GCSE in RS and over the past four years we have been improving the attainment in GCSE RS. Within RE lessons students are provided with the opportunity to develop spiritually through providing a safe space for students to explore their own beliefs and answers to the questions studied.
Enrichment plays an important part of study in RS and we have been fortunate enough to hear from a range of engaging and inspirational speakers. In 2016 we welcomed Rudi Oppenheimer who shared his incredibly moving and powerful testimony of his experiences as a Holocaust survivor. Some of our students have also taken part in a workshop led by a Holocaust Education Trust representative. During the year we look at religious and non-religious responses to key dates, such as Remembrance and the Holocaust Memorial Day.
Students have also had the opportunity to take part in a variety of trips. We took a group of students to Westminster, to investigate the role of faith, power and authority there. As part of this we were able to visit the Houses of Parliament and we even got to go in the House of Commons! We then went on to visit the beautiful and historic Westminster Abbey where our students were able to take part in some of the St Edwardtide activities. We had the great honour of meeting the Very Reverend Dr John Hall. Overall it was an experience which our students will never forget and gave them the opportunity to experience first-hand the role which faith and authority plays in Westminster.
This year (2019), we are taking a group of students on a trip to Krakow. During the trip students will receive a guided tour around this historic city and will be able to explore the history of Krakow and look at the expressions of religious faith. Students can observe first-hand the role in which religion has played in shaping the city and the expressions of religious belief that are evident in the city. One of the main purposes of the trip is to visit Auschwitz which will enable pupils to develop a thorough, rounded picture of the experience of Jewish communities and the discrimination that groups of people faced in central Europe during the 20th century. The questions which the Holocaust raises are key questions which we study in RS.
Over the last four years there have been various enrichment days which our students have taken part in which have been organised by Blackburn Diocese, such as an RE Treat Day and RE Vision Day. Some of our students have also taken part in able, gifted and talented days at Runshaw College. In lessons, students have heard from guest speakers who have come in to talk to students about their faith, such as speakers from Crossgate Community Church, St Andrew’s and even some speakers who were on a visit from America and some from the Philippines! This gave students a real insight into how Christianity is practiced around the world.