At its heart the school curriculum represents the empowering transmission from one generation to another of its accumulated knowledge, wisdom, skills, traditions, beliefs and aspirations.

The whole curriculum

The whole curriculum expresses the school's educational commitment to pupils. This embraces the areas of study it considers important, the skills it believes are needed and the underlying philosophy of education it holds.

Determining the school curriculum is a key function of school leadership. The curriculum is more than just material to be conveyed – or 'delivered', in the functionalist language of current educational discourse. The curriculum embodies a vision of education, and a view of learning and development: both curriculum content and teaching and learning methodologies are involved.

The whole curriculum and spirituality

SCALA's commitment to the development of spirituality means that we see the whole curriculum as a space where pupils may develop their understanding of the world and their place in it as persons created by God. We seek to encourage all educators to view the curriculum as an exploration of human meaning, values and creativity across all subject areas. This implies a view of education as at heart a process of personal formation. The term 'formation' is used frequently within religious circles to summarise the journey of enquiry undertaken by every person during which that person is changed by his or her experiences and enabled to become wiser, more knowledgeable and more understanding of his or her relationships with others and with God.

Religious Education

We see Religious Education as a key subject area, especially given the post-modern, one-world, many-cultured environment of the twenty-first century. RE has the responsibility to ensure that pupils are aware of the many and varied faith traditions and cultures of the world, and have an empathetic understanding of the major world religions, notably those whose members they are most likely to meet and work with in adult life. Equally, pupils should have a grasp of non-religious world-views.

In the light of this, RE has become more to do with world citizenship than with knowledge of one faith tradition, although we take the view that Christian schools have a special responsibility to nurture the development of their pupils in the Christian tradition. Within the maintained sector of education RE has indeed become a very broad - brush subject in an attempt to deal not only with the characteristics of world faiths and other belief systems but also to encourage an awareness of the global context in which we live. This has, in the eyes of some, diminished it as an academic subject, much to the dismay of RE 'professionals' and there is now considerable effort being expended by the RE Council (of which SCALA is a member) to redefine the identity and curricular place of RE. Within independent schools similar academic reservations are being expressed and there are now the first signs of initiatives to reconstruct RE syllabi at both GCSE and A-Level   

For practical advice on RE, go to the Culham Institute website.