Ethos and Aims
The Religious Studies curriculum aims to help our students understand and respect the importance of religion as part of society and a critical influence for many people. The curriculum is structured around philosophical enquiry questions, which use religion as one possible answer, to be compared to the students’ own views.
Religious Studies aims to pose challenging questions about different beliefs, values and ethics. Students will have the opportunity to explore a range of different world views and beliefs, to weigh up different perspectives and arguments, and learn to express their own views respectfully. Students will engage with current examples of ethical, religious and philosophical issues from the news and media, and we actively encourage them to develop empathy and a sense of global citizenship.
Our ethos is that all view points are to be valued, respected and explored. Our lessons are characterised by an open and inclusive atmosphere, a fascination with new ideas and deep thinking, and debate and discussion.
KS3 Curriculum Content
At Key Stage 3, students have 2 hours of taught content per fortnight. All students are taught RS in mixed classes.
RS at Key Stage 3 aims to set students on their journey towards a deeper understanding of the world around them, and to begin their development as a critical thinker. The subject involves engaging students with current debate focused on the role that religion plays in the world and the effect it has on believers’ and non-believers’ actions. In Key Stage 3, we focus on developing the skills of evaluation, analysis and interpretation, as well as developing students’ extended writing in preparation for GCSE.
Each programme of study is based around an enquiry question that is addressed from a range of different perspectives.
• What is the difference between belief, fact and opinion?
• How has the Jewish identity changed over time?
• What responsibilities does a Christian have towards the wider world?
• Does Sikhism promote true equality?
• Who is the real Jesus?
• Is Islam fairly portrayed by the media?
• What does Hinduism teach about our existence?
• Is there evidence of life after death?
• Does Humanism lead to true happiness?
• Does Buddhism help end suffering?
KS4 Curriculum Content
Students who opt for RS GCSE follow the OCR Religious Studies specification.
Students will study the beliefs, teachings and practices of Christianity and Islam, as well as philosophical themes relating to issues in the modern world. They will be made aware of contrasting perspectives in contemporary British society on all of these issues including non-religious views.
Term 1: Religion, Peace and Conflict
Students will examine the ethical issues relating to warfare, including reasons for going to war, weapons of mass destruction and terrorism. They will consider the arguments for and against pacifism from religious and non-religious thinkers, and explore the work of organisations which work for peace and reconciliation, such as the Anglican Pacifist Fellowship and the Christian Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament. As part of this, students will discuss Christian attitudes to warfare including Just War theory and Holy War.
Term 2: The existence of God, gods, and the ultimate reality
In this unit, students will explore Christian and non-religious views about the origins of the universe. This will include studying a range of philosophical arguments for and against the existence of God including the Teleological, Cosmological and Moral Argument. Students will explore where morality comes from and whether we all have a conscience. Students will also have the opportunity to analyse a range of examples of miracles and religious experiences to evaluate whether they is evidence for the existence of God.
Term 3: Islam Beliefs, Teachings & Practices
Students will examine the six articles of faith in Sunni Islam and five roots of Usul ad-Din in Shi’a Islam, including key similarities and differences. This will include the concept of Tawhid, the nature of God, angels, predestination and life after death.
They will study the role and significance of sources of authority for Islam including risalah, the holy books and the Imamate in Shia Islam.
Students will also study the Five Pillars of Sunni Islam and the Ten Obligatory Acts of Shi’a Islam. These incorporate Shahadah, Salah, Sawm, Zakah and Hajj and they will also examine the concept of Jihad.
Students will examine festivals and commemorations and their importance for Muslims in Great Britain today.
Term 1: Christian Beliefs, Teachings & Practices
In this unit, students will explore the core Christian beliefs, including the nature of God, theories about the origins of the universe and the life and teachings of Jesus. They will evaluate the problems evil and suffering pose for Christians as well as possible solutions to this problem.
Students will also gain an understanding of some key Christian practices, including pilgrimage, evangelism and missionary work, the observance of the sacraments and different types of worship.
Term 2: Relationships & Families
Students will examine issues around sex, marriage, divorce, abortion and fertility treatments. This will include heterosexual and homosexual relationships, sexual relationships before and outside of marriage, contraception and family planning. They will also consider the nature and purpose of marriage, same-sex marriage and cohabitation and issues around divorce.
Students will study the nature and purpose of families, the roles of men and women, gender equality and discrimination.
Term 3: Dialogue within and between religious and non-religious beliefs and attitudes
In this final unit, students will compare the similarities and differences between Christian and non-religious values and ethics. This includes a particular study of religious and non-religious perspectives on euthanasia, abortion, genetic engineering and fertility treatment.
Enrichment/Extra Curricular Opportunities
The RS department supports the school debating club, organising annual trips to take part in debating competitions. We also aim to visit a range of religious places of worship throughout the year.
RS is provided for all students, and is inclusive and broad minded. Parents do have the right to withdraw students from RS. If you wish to do this, please make an appointment with the Principal.