During their time at Northgate High School the students have the opportunity to explore a wide range of religions and world views through their Religious Education lessons. The Year 7 visit to Norwich Cathedral and Dereham Road Islamic Centre provides an excellent platform from which students can launch into the rest of the Religious Education course at Northgate, and, whilst still some way ahead, will give the students important knowledge and understanding in preparation for their GCSEs, where the main focus of RE is Christianity and Islam, with both religions being explored in depth. The students had the opportunity to consider the views of others, the reasons behind religious belief and the impact this belief can have on the lives of others. They were able to enquire, challenge and reflect on the views that they encounter.
Emma, from 7 Tenacity, gives an insight into the trip below.
‘On Monday 26th November, around 55 year 7 pupils travelled to the Dereham Road Islamic centre and Norwich Cathedral. To begin the day, we met in the bus park to be registered and be put into three groups, with a teacher leading each, (Mr Oldfield, Mrs Chapman and Mrs Graves.) After, the majority of us filed onto the coach, with the extra few into a couple of mini-buses. To start the day, we stopped off at the Mosque. A Mosque is a building where Islamic people pray. The building is in a roughly rectangular shape, painted yellow. From the outside, it looked like an ordinary building. But as you walked inside, you can tell that it is a Mosque. Just as we entered, we were asked to take our shoes off and leave them on a rack to show respect and keep the building tidy. We began by having a talk in the main area, where most of the praying happens. Here, the real basics were explained, including some foundational rules. Then, after a few questions, we were divided into two groups and explored with the guidance of two kind volunteers.
One group was looking at the upstairs area, containing an airy room with praying mats at one side, whilst the other searched the rest of the building, including a closed off praying area, ladies and men’s toilets and a cafeteria. Then, we regrouped back in the main area to learn some more about the Islam religion. They showed us a video of an Islamic boy named Yousef, and his friend Alex. Yousef was trying to explain his religion to his friend. We learned that Islamic people pray 5 times a day (at dawn, midday, late afternoon, sunset and night. This is why they have 6 clocks on the wall) They must clean their bodies in a certain way before they pray to show respect, and that Muslims don’t have to pray at the Mosque but can pray at home.
Afterwards, they answered some of our questions that we offered, giving us more resources to look back on when needed. Lastly, they showed us a demonstration of them praying, including an example of speaking Arabic about Allah, their God. With a sweet or a chocolate and a goodbye, we left to go to the Cathedral.
We arrived at the Cathedral about 10 minutes later. We disembarked the bus again and wandered inside, taking in the breath-taking view. However, before we began, we stopped and had lunch. Next, we split into three groups, each with a Guide, to discover more about the Cathedral.
Group 1 started by exploring St Luke’s Chapel. It was a beautiful chapel, a reasonably small, airy room with large stained glass windows facing towards us. There was also a hanging Chrismatory that looked like jewels bouncing off the walls. Whilst there, we looked at objects that relate to Christianity, such as: crosses, bead necklaces and a dove. The second group first investigated the Nave, the area in the cathedral where the main section is. It held rows and rows of seats and patterned ceilings, with some stones representing Jesus’s life. Here, we baptised a doll baby, blessing for the Father, the Son and Holy Spirit.
Finally, the last group began their investigation into the history with the choir area. Here, they explained that Monks used to go to the choir area and sing carols at the dead of night, until the sun came up, and they had to do so every day. Also, Monks were not allowed to speak for about 97% of the day. Then, we saw the Bishop’s Throne, and one of us dressed up as a priest. The priest wears different colours for different occasions, in this case, the person who had tried it was wearing purple. After we had all rotated around the three areas, we met back again in the Nave to talk about what we had discovered. We also lit a candle for our school and placed it in a holder on a sphere filled with candles. After our final thank you, we got back on the coach and returned to school.’
Thank you to Mr Oldfield for organising such an informative trip and to staff for supervising.