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Religious Studies

“We are what we repeatedly do; excellence, then, is not an act but a habit” Aristotle

Philosophy of the department

By teaching students about the six main faiths in the world, with a focus on what we can learn from these faiths, we provide students the opportunity to consider the deeper questions about meaning and purpose in life, such as ‘Why is there something, rather than nothing?’ and ‘Why am I here?’. Giving students the arena to develop their opinions, allows us to contribute to their spiritual, moral and personal development, in addition to developing academic skills such as balanced evaluations, critical awareness and the ability to understand and to empathise with the beliefs and experiences of others.

What we expect from our students

Students do not have to be religious to study this subject. However, they should be open-minded and interested in reflecting on their own experiences of faith, as well as those of others. A willingness to think about their own opinions and an ability to respect the views of others will allow students to grow up with tolerance, understanding, as well as an appreciation of their own beliefs.

Your teachers will assist your general learning, allowing you to become life-long learners, but knowledge and wisdom can be achieved only by your own reflection and consideration of what you have learned.

Teachers are committed to the learning of their students, enabling them to attain and even exceed their minimum expectations. We are rigorous in our planning and have a vast amount of experience and expertise within the team. We implement different teaching strategies in our lessons to provide students with challenging objectives, a variety of choice and assessment, including collaborative tasks, all of which is underpinned by a sense of enjoyment.

Key Stage 3

At the start of Year 7, students will spend some time examining their own beliefs and the beliefs, if any of their peers. This allows for important interaction and dialogue about the need to learn Religious Studies. In a respectful manner, students will explore key difference and similarities between them including their morals, values and traditions. The students will then go on to consider six religions in depth for the duration of Year 7 and Year 8: Judaism, Christianity, Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism and Sikhism. Year 9 is spent undertaking ethical studies, with the focus on issues, which help to lay the foundations for GCSE. They include Euthanasia, Crime and Punishment, Animal Rights, Prejudice and Discrimination and Medical ethics. 


Year group Autumn  Spring Summer

Judaism Beliefs and teachings

  • Creation stories
  • Prophets
  • Worship
  • Festivals
  • Jewish teachings
  • Jewish way of life



Christianity: The Life of Jesus

  • Birth stories and early life
  • Baptism and temptations
  • Beliefs and teachings
  • Parables and miracles
  • Holy week
  • Crucifixion, resurrection and ascension Islam

Islam Beliefs and teachings

  • The prophet Muhammed
  • Articles of faith · Prayer
  • Fasting
  • Alms giving
  • Religious pilgrimage





  • Beliefs and teachings
  • Gods and Goddesses
  • Hindu worship
  • The caste system
  • Mahatma Gandhi


Beliefs and teachings

The four Nobel truths and Eightfold Path

Buddhist worship

The Five Precepts

Monks and Nuns 


  • Beliefs and teachings
  • Sikh Gurus
  • The Khalsa and Amrit
  • The 5 K’s
  • Sikh worship
  • The Langar and Sewa

Ethical Studies

Animal rights and Euthanasia

Ethical Studies

Prejudice and discrimination and Crime and Punishment

Ethical Studies

Prejudice and discrimination and Medical ethics


Key Stage 4: GCSE Religious Studies

Students will be challenged with questions about belief, values, meaning, purpose and truth, enabling them to develop their own attitudes towards religious issues. Students will also gain an appreciation of how religion, philosophy and ethics form the basis of our culture. They will develop analytical and critical thinking skills, the ability to work with abstract ideas, leadership and research skills. All these skills will help prepare them for further study. 


PAPER ONE: Component 1: The study of religions: beliefs, teachings and practices

What's assessed 

Beliefs, teachings and practices of two religions: Christianity and Islam

How it's assessed

  • Written exam: 1 hour 45 minutes
  • 96 marks, plus 6 marks for spelling, punctuation and grammar (SPaG) 
  • 50% of GCSE


PAPER TWO: Component 2: Thematic studies

What's assessed

Four religious, philosophical and ethical studies themes:

  • Theme A: Relationships and families.
  • Theme B: Religion and life.
  • Theme C: Religion, peace and conflict.
  • Theme D: Religion, crime and punishment.

How it's assessed

  • Written exam: 1 hour 45 minutes
  • 96 marks, plus 3 marks for spelling, punctuation and grammar (SPaG)
  • 50% of GCSE


Support material:

AQA GCSE Religious Studies A: Christianity

  • Authors: Cynthia Bartlett (series editor), Marianne Fleming, Peter Smith, David Worden
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press
  • ISBN-13: 978-0-19-837033-8
  • Price: £17.99
  • Publication date: April 2016 AQA


GCSE Religious Studies A: Islam

  • Authors: Cynthia Bartlett (series editor), Marianne Fleming, Peter Smith, David Worden
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press
  • ISBN-13: 978-0-19-837034-5
  • Price: £17.99
  • Publication date: June 2016

Key Stage 5: A Level Philosophy & Ethics

Description of Course

All learners will study two components;

  • Component 1: Philosophy of Religion and Religions Ethics
  • Component 2: Religion and Dialogues-Study of religion with Christianity as the main focus.


Skills Required

You will have to develop skills in essay writing, analysis, dealing with large amounts of material and selecting relevant information, and discussion.


Entry Qualifications

The AQA A-Level in Religious Studies will build on the knowledge, understanding and skills established at GCSE. Learners will be introduced to a more advanced, complex approach to Religious Studies, and will develop a deeper understanding of the beliefs, teachings and philosophy they study. It does not require any previous study of RS at GCSE, but it does provide a good foundation. Vital requirements are an enquiring mind and a grade 6 or higher in English Language.


Method of Assessment

There will be two 3 hour written papers at the end of Year 13. Each examination will assess one of the two components. Each paper is 50% of the final A-Level.

Component 1:

Philosophy of Religion: Students will study philosophical issues and questions raised by religion and belief. They will also explore philosophical language and thought, and the works of key thinkers, as illustrated in issues or debates in the philosophy of religion.

Religion and Ethics: Topics include normative ethical theories and key ethical concepts, as well as developments in the way these ideas are applied to significant issues in religion and belief. These will be illustrated in issues or debates in religion and ethics, and also by the application of ethical theory to current moral issues.


Component 2

Religion and Dialogue: This unit provides an opportunity for the systematic study of one religious tradition (Christianity). This will include exploration of religious beliefs, values and teachings, sources of wisdom and authority. It will also include religious practices and the different ways in which these are expressed in the lives of individual, communities and societies.


Contact Name Mrs Catherine Shelley (Head of Department)


Educational Progression and Career Opportunities

In the world of work employers look for someone with an enquiring mind, an appreciation of different viewpoints, an ability to come to clear, balanced decisions. These skills all develop through RS. If you want to work with people, in caring work, teaching, journalism, publishing, policing, with children, health, catering, leisure and tourism or to work abroad in a cosmopolitan setting, RS will give you plenty to think about, and valuable expertise.

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