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Humanities (including Religious Education)

2020 - 2021

Overview

Humanities includes the delivery of History, Religious Education and the general study of human society and culture. This includes embedding British Values throughout as well as links to themes in PSHE and the Unicef RRS Award.

The overarching aims of studying Humanities will be to help students better understand the world in which they live and where their place might be within it. We focus on an understanding of self, others and the wider world by developing their rational and critical thinking.

Our focus is on the transferable skills and approaches necessary to understand and analyse people, events and ideas. The focus of our work is to prepare each individual for their future beyond Venturers Academy. This means using sensory and functional approaches with the goal of developing and maximising independence, as well as pursuing academic achievement where suitable and at an appropriate level.

Due to having classes of mixed year groups we are working towards producing a spiral curriculum which will expose students to similar or identical topics at various stages throughout their journey through humanities at VA but always adding layers of complexity and depth of understanding as students revisit topics and themes, therefore building knowledge and skills in a sequential way.

At primary level we are also working with the Curious City curriculum to develop enquiry based learning projects that will help us create stimulating and engaging lessons to meet the interests and needs of our students that we can build upon from KS3 onwards.

Religious Education

The Religious Education policy contains more detail but this is an overview of content, knowledge and skills taught in this area.

 

Students will explore the 6 major religions: Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism, Islam, Judaism and Sikhism. This will include religious spaces, practices, rituals and traditions. Students will also learn about humanist perspectives, how these have clashed with religious authorities through history and the current relationship between governments and religions in nation states.

We will cover spiritual, moral, social and cultural ideas and questions such as: what makes up a human being, if we have a soul, the spectrum of right and wrong as well as where morality comes from.

We will explore British Values and societal concepts including multiculturalism, tolerance of others and diversity. We will start from an awareness of our local context and the faiths reflected in our school population. We will look at religion in our communities, its relationship with citizenship and then the relationship of different societies around the world with religion.

 Our focus throughout will be on developing students who are understanding of others, tolerant of their beliefs and able to form their own spiritual and moral identity independently.

History 

The delivery of History at Venturers Academy will focus on how our past influences our personal identity and understanding the wider world in which we live by learning how the structure of our society has developed through history.

 History will be taught initially with a focus on the enquiry; ‘what does it mean to be equal?’. Examples of topics that will be covered are: Black British History and comparisons to global Black history; Bristol’s involvement in the transatlantic slave trade; Prominent women through history and comparisons between them. Through studying these topics, history, religion and geography become intertwined as we explore the complex layers of these topics.

 All topics taught in History will have a direct link to current and contemporary issues to understand information and critically analyse sources. The aim of this will be for student to be able to navigate a world with unprecedented access to information and communication via the internet and how to know what is true and what is real.

The ability to understand identity, not take information at face value, to interrogate evidence and development of the ability to understand information from various perspectives will also tie in with PSHE aims and the Academy’s PREVENT strategy. The same skills that help us understand people from history, who they were, what motivated them and the complex development of morality in society, will help us deal with issues from bullying and internet safety to extremism.

Geography

Geography will not be taught explicitly as a subject in its own right but rather through the delivery of History and RE, as well as during Science and Active Enterprise. The aim will again be to develop a student’s functional understanding of geography that will be useful to them on a daily basis.

 Content covered will range from studying local eco systems to understanding the location and names of cities, countries and continents. The focus will be on understanding the environment in which they live, from how to grow seasonal vegetables to the environmental impact humans are having on the local area and the world.

Holocaust Education

The Centre of Holocaust Education at University College London provides a programme of training and support utilising the newest research and enjoys international recognition. We are the only school for children with SEND to take part in this programme and are using Holocaust Education principles to inform development of a suitable scheme of work for the students to follow.

As the Holocaust is usually taught in mainstream secondary schools in year 9, students at Venturers Academy are mostly too young to access this part of history and all students need to further explore other concepts before taking on this topic. UCL Holocaust Education resources will be adapted and developed for the first time to be used appropriately in an SEND setting as we see how students at VA respond to increasingly challenging subject material.

 The past academic year has seen Secondary students begin to explore the Holocaust. This was delivered in accordance to those it was appropriate for and involved collaboration with the Royal Wooton Bassett Centre for Holocaust Education. The approach to history promoted by this programme are embedded in how Humanities is taught at Venturers Academy such as: telling the stories of individuals to make understanding of the collective more real for students; focusing on perspective and context to emphasise the greyness of morality rather than simplistic polar definitions of right and wrong; encouraging students to critically engage with source materials in a way that develops understanding rather than simply knowledge.

The Holocaust will be revisited this year with the aim to simultaneously develop an understanding of the Holocaust and encourage independent, critical and reflective thinking, to question rather than to take at face value. To explore human difference, personal and societal responses to it. To see why the past helps us better understand ourselves, others and the present world we live in.

 

 

 

Primary

EYFS

In the Nursery and Reception classes, our students are encouraged to develop culturally and are exposed to a variety of religious and cultural experience, through stories, topics, visits and visitors. Students are assessed according to the early learning outcomes of which is the PSED strand which covers making relationships, self-confidence, managing feelings and behaviour. In the understanding the world strand, students are assessed under their knowledge of people and communities and of the World.

Year 1 and 2

Year 1 and 2 students follow the Bristol RE scheme. There are opportunities to take part in our daily act of worship, through assemblies and the Venturers’ Academy Homily. We celebrate Christmas, Harvest and Easter as part of our British culture and also expose our students to religions from around the world. We hold an annual RE day with a different theme each year.

Yr 1

Where do we belong?

Why are some stories special?

Why is our world special?

Yr 2

How do we celebrate our journey through life?

Why is Jesus important?

Why are some places special?

Years 3 to 6

In Years 3 to 6 our students follow the Bristol RE scheme. There are opportunities to take part in our daily act of worship, through assemblies and the Venturers’ Academy Homily. We celebrate Christmas, Harvest and Easter as part of our British culture and also expose our students to religions from around the world. We hold an annual RE day with a different theme each year.

Yr 3

What is important to me?

Why do religious books and teachings matter?

What does it mean to belong to a religion?

Judaism

What does it mean to belong to a religion?

Hinduism

Yr 4

What can we learn from the life and teaching of Jesus?

Who is Jesus?

What can we learn from the life and teaching of Jesus?

Jesus.

The Easter story

What does it mean to belong to a religion?

Islam

Yr 5

What does it mean to belong to a religion?

Christianity

How do people express their beliefs and identity?

Why do religious books and teachings matter?

Yr 6

How should we live and who can inspire us?

How do we make moral choices?

What do people believe about life?

Secondary

Years 7 and 8

Topics studied and content covered include:

Year 7

Year 8

  • In Year 7 students study a variety of topics closely linked with Religion, Culture and Citizenship. Students look at religions of the world and what it means to be a global citizen. Look at key issues and questions of life and death.
  • In Year 8 students look at issues such as prejudice and discrimination and complete a study on Islam and islamophobia. Students also study key issues and debates around topics such as abortion and euthanasia and the religious arguments and debates surrounding them.