The Religious Studies department offers Key Stage 3, GCSE, and A Level courses and also contributes significantly to the delivery of Core Religious Studies in the Sixth Form.
Religious Studies asks challenging questions about the ultimate meaning and purpose of life, beliefs about God, the self and the nature of reality, issues of right and wrong and what it means to be human. It develops pupils’ knowledge and understanding of Christianity, other religious traditions, and alternative world views that offer answers to these challenging questions. It offers opportunities for personal reflection and spiritual development. It enhances awareness and understanding of religions and beliefs, teachings, practices and forms of expression, and of the influence of religion on individuals, families, communities and cultures.
Key Stage 3
The scheme of work for KS3 meets the Curriculum Directory requirements to teach on the four main areas which are: Revelation, Church, Celebration and Life in Christ. Resources for the teaching of the topics consist of textbooks, worksheets (differentiated), DVDs, PowerPoints and the use of iPads.
In the construction of the syllabus we have tried to take into account prior learning as acquired through the ‘Come and See’ syllabus. We aim to stimulate a curiosity in religious and moral matters, develop a deep understanding and appreciation of the Catholic faith and explore how other religious traditions answer questions about the meaning and goal of life.
Homework tasks will focus on the effective use of the knowledge organisers. Pupils must be set a weekly homework to learn key terms in RS and, on occasion, biblical or Church quotes in relation to the topics currently being studied.
In Key Stage 3, pupils receive 10% of their learning time in RE.
By the end of Key Stage 3 pupils will have gained a secure grounding in the main beliefs of the Catholic Church as expressed first and foremost in the Bible and also through the Church’s traditions and Catholic Social Teaching. They will understand how God has intervened in history through key figures in the Old Testament and how his salvation reaches its culmination in the Person of Jesus Christ, his parables, miracles and saving death and resurrection. They will be able to link biblical stories with the seven sacraments and be able to explain the signs, symbols, biblical basis, importance and effects of each one upon the life of a modern Catholic. All pupils will have opportunities to prepare and lead acts of worship based on the topics studied. They will be able to link religious beliefs and practices with lifestyle and decision-making, especially with regard to some modern social issues such as poverty (and the work of CAFOD), the environment, and religion and science. They will understand how we are the Body of Christ on earth which can be fulfilled through various vocations within the Church and will have had the chance to explore the ideas of discipleship and vocation with either a member of a religious community or a parish priest, to understand how some people commit their lives to service to God. As members of a multifaith society, pupils will have explored key aspects of Hinduism, Islam and Judaism, resulting in an appreciation and tolerance of other religions in contemporary Britain. Over the course of the three years, pupils will increase their confidence in articulating religious and moral ideas in verbal and written form and will have developing evaluative skills.
Key Stage 4
Religious Studies GCSE is taken by all students. We follow the Eduqas syllabus.
Students will sit three exam papers at the end of Year 11; Foundational Catholic Theology, Applied Catholic Theology and Judaism. The Foundational Catholic Theology and Applied Catholic Theology papers are both 1 hour 30 minutes long (both worth 90 marks) while the Judaism papers is 60 minutes long (worth 60 marks). Students receive 5 lessons per fortnight, and homework is set weekly on examination style questions.
By the end of Key Stage 4 all pupils will have completed study for three GCSE examination papers: Foundational Catholic Theology, Applied Catholic Theology and Judaism. They will know and understand what Catholics believe about the origins and meaning of the world, good and evil, life and death, sin and forgiveness, and Jewish beliefs and practices, and will be able to explain and evaluate a range of positions held by Catholics, and how these may be held in common, or diverge, from other Christian traditions. They will be able to clearly articulate and give reasons for non-religious beliefs, such as humanism, and be able to draw comparisons and contrasts with Catholicism. Pupils will be able to confidently use religious scriptures from the Christian and Jewish traditions to form clear explanations of how beliefs impact upon lifestyle and decision-making, and will be able to construct well-argued, well-informed, balanced and structured written evaluative arguments. As a result of studying the course, pupils will be able to appreciate how religion gives meaning to life for believers and this will form part of their personal contemplation of their experiences as a young person in modern Britain.
Key Stage 5
At Key Stage 5 pupils follow the OCR Religious Studies scheme which incorporates three units: Philosophy of Religion, Religion and Ethics and Developments in Christian Thought.
At the end of the course they will sit three external examinations of two hours each. In each exam, pupils will choose three from four essays to write. The course enables learners to respond critically and engage with a wealth of philosophical, ethical and religious concepts, equipping them with analytical skills readily transferable to other areas of life.
The subject is taught by experienced staff members who offer continuous support through the course.
This course is suitable for anyone who achieves a grade 6 or above at GCSE.
By the end of Key Stage 5 pupils will have engaged with some of the larger, more pervasive questions of Philosophy, Ethics and Christian Thought over the centuries. They will have considered the enduring quality of influential ideas from the Greek philosophers right up to the present day and contemporary scholars who write both in support of and against Christian ethics and theology. They will have considered how normative ethical approaches influence, or should influence, aspects of modern life in the field of sexual ethics, business ethics and euthanasia and will have engaged in a deep and searching examination of the arguments in favour of or contrary to God’s existence. They will have critically engaged with a number of classical and modern questions in theology such as predestination, pluralism, liberation theology and gender issues and, as a result, be able to express an enquiring, reflective and evaluative response to Theology, Philosophy of Religion and Ethics.
Those students who solely cover the Core RE content in the Sixth Form will have had an opportunity to examine and discuss a variety of key topics including poverty, human rights, automation and AI, pilgrimage and stewardship. They will be able to draw links with morality and practice and have developed an increasing confidence in articulating their ideas in front of others. They will have considered the role of religion and religious ethics in these issues and will have practised engaging with opinions contrary to theirs and forming their own, balanced conclusions.
Religious Studies teacher
Civil Service administrator
We are based on the Beechdale site with a suite of 6 classrooms plus 1 A-Level teaching rooms in the Sixth Form block. We have a set of 16 iPads in the department for use within lessons along with one interactive whiteboard. We have a colourful and vibrant departmental area with many displays reflecting the work completed within the department by the pupils.