At Valley Gardens Middle School, we believe that it is important for all our students to learn from and about religion, so that they can understand the world around them. The aim of Life Studies in our school is to help children to acquire and develop knowledge and understanding of the principal religions in the world today; to appreciate the way that religious beliefs shape life and behaviour and to develop the ability to make reasoned and informed judgements about religious and moral issues and enhance their spiritual, moral, social and cultural development.
Life Studies is taught in such a way as to reflect the core values of kindness, resilience and respect, through topics such as Islam, moral dilemmas, Christianity, ultimate questions and religion in British society. It plays an important role, along with all other curriculum areas, particularly PSHE, in promoting social awareness and understanding in our students. We encourage them to ask questions about the world and to reflect on their own beliefs, values and experiences.
Our curriculum is designed to encourage creativity, imagination, enquiry, debate, discussion and independence There are no presumptions made as to the religious backgrounds and beliefs and values of the children and the staff. We value the religious background of all members of the school community and hope that this will encourage individuals to share their own experiences with others freely. All religions and their communities are treated with respect and sensitivity and we value the links, which are, and can be made between home, school, and a faith community. We acknowledge that each religion studied can contribute to the education of all our pupils. We promote teaching in Life Studies that stresses open enquiry and first-hand experiences wherever possible for both staff and children.
The students at Valley Gardens Middle School enjoy learning about other religions and why people choose, or choose not to follow a religion. Through their Life Studies learning, the students are able to make links between their own lives and those of others in their community and in the wider world, developing an understanding of other people’s cultures and ways of life. As such, the subject is invaluable in an ever changing and shrinking world. In Year 8, students develop aspects of critical thinking by investigating a range of moral issues, so that they can gain a better understanding of the complexities of thought and belief in contemporary society. Students are encouraged to form their opinions based on evidence and enquiry.