The theme for the second of our Curriculum Enrichment Days this academic year was Religious Education. Students across all year groups and key stages took part in a range of activities, workshops and tasks with links to different faiths, representing a range of beliefs from today’s contemporary British society.
Year 7 spent the day working with STEP (The St Albans and Harpenden Christian Education Project). It is a statutory requirement of the Hertfordshire Agreed Syllabus for RE that through Key Stage 3, schools should undertake an in-depth study of Christianity. Verulam School is proud and lucky to have a strong working relationship with STEP to deliver a strong Christian education to our students. There have even been some follow up visits in classroom sessions to discuss and debate the existence of God.
Many Year 8 students visited The British Museum to partake in a religious artefacts treasure hunt, seeking treasures from all six major world religions – just like Indiana Jones! Students had the opportunity to explore and experience cultures across the globe from the dawn of human history to the present day. There were also many cross-curricular links to enrich other subject areas, including Art, Geography, History, D&T and Citizenship.
Other Year 8 students remained on site and completed some beautiful pieces of spirited arts, considering the relationship between religion and art. Students used different artistic styles, including Chinese paper lanterns, Buddhist mandalas, Islamic pattern stencils and stained-glass designs.
Verulam is a UCL Beacon School centre for Holocaust Education. Year 9 students received important Holocaust Education on this day in the lead up to Holocaust Memorial Day on Friday 27 January 2023. A challenging but necessary day of staff-led workshops covered the topics Being Human, What was the Holocaust?, Authentic Encounters and Resistance. They also watched a documentary with Holocaust survivor Freddie Knollers. This was further supported by an assembly the following week.
Year 10 were visited by a number of guests speakers for a multifaith panel. Guests from Humanists UK, Mitzvah Day (Judaism), Hinduism, Islam and Buddhism. It was a great opportunity for students to engage with different members from local faith communities. There will be some further works with Mitzvah Day in the Summer Term.
Two external companies presented to Year 11 students in support of their GCSE Religious Studies content and revision. Mitzvah Day spoke about Judaism and the Jewish beliefs concerning social action and justice. Stand Up! Education against Discrimination is an interfaith programme led by facilitators from Jewish and Muslim backgrounds, demonstrating how groups often perceived as oppositional can work together successfully. Through debunking myths and challenging stereotypes about the communities, young people's critical thinking skills are developed, enabling them to identify and counter discrimination safely and responsibly. Students also had the opportunity to develop their revision skills with a focus on their current GCSE philosophical unit of work about the existence of God and revelation.
A spiritually enriching day was had by all. Year 13 even managed to demonstrate mindfulness by practising yoga. Namaste.