Faith, Philosophy and Ethics
The key principle of the Department is to engage the children in their learning and to widen their understanding of Faith, Philosophy and Ethics (FPE) so that, when they leave the Dragon, they will be ready to participate fully in discussions, and be Religiously Literate. Therefore they will be able to communicate about Religions and Life Issues at senior school and beyond into adult life.
FPE was introduced to the Prep school in September 2016, as a new, and in part revised, Scheme of Work (S.o.W.) from Year 4 to Year 8. More than just a name change from Religious Studies to FPE, the department no longer follows the ISEB Common Entrance Religious Studies S.o.W nor do the children sit the RS Common Entrance paper. This does not mean that the subject has any less importance in the whole school curriculum or in the eyes of the staff or children. Freeing up lessons in years 7&8 to focus on Learning and pupils' outcome is of greater benefit than trying to pass another examination. The new syllabus is academically rigorous, engaging and far-reaching, providing the children with a greater understanding of religious belief, of ethical and moral problems and of critical and philosophical thinking.
Spiritual, moral, social and cultural development and fundamental British values are embedded in the syllabus through teaching topics such as: Social Justice, Environmental issues, Prejudice and Discrimination, Rule of Law, Just War, Belief about God, Utilitarianism, Racism, Gender issues, Crime and Punishment, Science and Religion. Topics such as Religion through Art and Architecture, Global Goals, Equal Rights, Animal Rights, Religious texts, Beliefs, Local faith communities and the role of the Established Church in the life of the country are also covered.
The pupils' cultural development is excellent. They have a strong awareness of faiths other than their own, promoted by religious studies lessons and assemblies. In the pre-prep this is enhanced when parents are invited to school to explain their beliefs and customs. Pupils develop an excellent knowledge and understanding of other communities and cultures through many external visits, including abroad, and from shared projects with local state schools.
The FPE syllabus for Year 4 - Year 8 covers all major religious beliefs, ethical and moral ideas and philosophy of religion. There is space in the syllabus to celebrate festivals from around the world and for individuals to express and talk about their particular faith. Visits will also be undertaken and faith visitors and speakers are invited throughout the year. Not all the syllabus can be covered during one academic year. However, during the course of a pupil's five years at the Dragon they will have had an engaging and thoughtful learning experience in this subject.
School assemblies link to the subject material and are inclusive, reflective and appropriate. World events and social issues are not always included in a S.o.W however, with the nature of this subject, sometimes very relevant and recent topics lend themselves to the subject and are taught / discussed immediately. The nature of the subject allows fluidity so that members of the department can amend at the end of the week(s) their teaching. Thus this syllabus is very much a 'live' document.