We are a Catholic school, therefore, the Catholic ethos is present in everything we teach. Our teaching staff are some of the most qualified and experienced teachers of Religious Education, and 2015 proved the dedication and hard work of both them and the students when St Brendan-Shaw College students received some of the highest marks in the state for Studies of Religion at pre-tertiary level.
So the question really should be: Why wouldn't we teach Religious Studies?
St Brendan-Shaw College endeavours to educate students in accordance with such Gospel values as community, faith, hope, reconciliation, courage, service, commitment, justice, forgiveness and love. We also aim to develop within students, greater self-discipline, resilience and a greater sense of individual responsibility.
Every member of our community - students, staff and parents - has the right to:
Rights are always associated with responsibilities and procedures have been established to ensure the welfare of all in our community.
In practice, at St Brendan-Shaw College:
College expectations are framed to encourage respect, support learning and highlight that an individual's responsibility to a community comes at the expense of individual freedoms. It is difficult to pre-empt every situation, so we encourage the following practice:
All students in Years 7 to 10 participate in the College's Liturgical life, Reflection Day program, and complete a course of Religious Studies as summarized below:
Year 7 Religious Studies
Year 8 Religious Studies
Year 9 Values and Traditions in Society
Year 10 Religion and Philosophy
In Year 11, all Senior Secondary students participate in the Religious Education curriculum at St. Brendan-Shaw College. This programme includes TASC courses and the Year 11 Leadership Camp (Tir na nOg). Opportunities for participation in Liturgy and Pastoral Outreach initiatives are also provided. Students are not required to complete a formal religious course of study in Year 12, however, the Year 12 Retreat is an expectatiion and a highlight that is valued by the students.
In the classroom in Year 11, students elect to study either a pre-tertiary Level 3 course (Studies of Religion) or a non pre-tertiary course (Religion in Society - Level 2). It is important to note that only Studies of Religion - Level 3 provides input to a Tertiary Entrance (TE) score. Both courses provide 15 points towards a student's Tasmanian Certificate of Education (TCE).
Other options for Year 11 include Youth Ministry and Spirituality (which also includes completing the TASC Level 2 course - Community Service Learning), which specifically looks at teaching senior students to become youth ministers in their own right. The course covers the definition of Youth Ministry, growth in spirituality and Youth Ministry Outreach where students participate in events like Reflection Days. Students may also elect to complete 'Learning For Life' which is a combination of the Community Service Learning course and the ethics focused Making Moral Decisions Level 2 course. Further details are provided in the online student subject handbook.
These TASC subjects open a window into different ways to view the world. They help students to appreciate the diversity and richness of life, and help them to develop their own capacity for ethical decision making. Such skills and insights will prove invaluable for students pursuing a range of careers, as well as nourishing their own personal and spiritual development.
The Year 11 Leadership Camp (Tir na nOg) and Year 12 Retreat are excellent opportunities for students to explore issues in an informal and relaxed atmosphere away from the school. They are traditionally well received, especially the three day residential Retreat which is a highlight of the students' lives at St. Brendan-Shaw College (and is always a highlight of the year for the teachers that attend as well).
Every staff member takes responsibility for the ethical formation of students in a Catholic school, either indirectly in their every-day dealings with them, or more directly in the classroom. To critically examine what some media portrays as the norm of social behaviour is not an easy task, but is of great import. Thankfully, the importance of such a responsibility is recognized by all staff at St. Brendan-Shaw College, and they are affirmed in the work that they do.