Religious Studies

Overall intent: Valuing individuals, celebrating differences. 

“Not having faith is one thing; not having knowledge quite another.” Therefore, a religiously educated person is someone who has knowledge, understanding, respect and empathy.  Religious Education makes a distinctive contribution to the school curriculum by developing pupils’ knowledge and understanding of differing worldviews and religions in our multi-cultural society. 

It is our intent for Religious Studies to engage, inspire, challenge and encourage pupils, equipping them with the knowledge and skills to examine and answer ultimate questions, exploring different religious beliefs, values and traditions, to develop a more rigorous understanding. The aim is to contribute to the personal development of the individual and prepare for adult life by being able to celebrate diversity, combat prejudice and promote community cohesion.  

Religious Studies contributes dynamically to children and young people’s education in schools by provoking challenging questions. Students are given the opportunity to study both philosophical and ethical issues. For example, students have the opportunity to explore arguments for God’s existence, about meaning and purpose in life, ultimate reality, issues of right and wrong, what it means to be human and whether the right of religious freedom is compatible to modern laws. Students also explore the opportunities, challenges and issues for religious believers in the twenty first century. 

Implementation 

Students arrive in Year 7 with varying experiences of R.S. at KS2. The introductory unit is designed to bring all students to a clear starting point and embed key principles of religious beliefs and practices. Students will explore the importance of belief and religion within society and how this impacts upon the lives of believers and reflect on how this may have affected their own values and beliefs. The rest of the curriculum will revisit the ideas introduced in this unit. 

Embedding literacy 

Communicating opinions and developing arguments are key areas within our curriculum. As a result, we strive to develop student’s verbal and written communication and ability to read around the subject in order to validate their arguments or findings. Students are given a variety of opportunities to practice and display their literacy skills throughout each year.  

For example in Year 7 students complete an extended piece of writing where they keep a journal for the first unit. All end of unit assessments are in preparation for the GCSE examination.  Students plan for the assessment during the lesson before and homework tasks support this. Assessments take place in class to encourage independent work, under time restraints in preparation for exam experience. Students are taught scaffolding and modelling techniques that are used throughout both key stages to enable students to improve and embed their techniques over time. These include Point, Explanation and Example (P.E.E), Teaching, Explanation, Analysis or Application (T.E.A.) and WIRED writing frames. The WIRED writing frame is to support an extended piece of writing which encourages a discussion and evaluation of the topic provided. We also ask students to produce a formal piece of writing in the form of a letter to the Head teacher. 

There are various opportunities for reading including source material, textbooks, and written accounts. Key vocabulary for the unit is provided and referred to during lessons. In addition, pupils are given opportunities to practice their presentation skills and are assessed on their ability of verbal communication.  

 Encouraging independence 

Our aim is to create learners that are intrinsically motivated to learn by using contemporary, and sometimes contentious, lesson themes that spark interest and discussion. Regularly lesson focuses change to contemporary events where we can provide time and space for pupils to reflect on controversial modern issues.  Students are given the opportunity to creative in response to their learning. For example in Year 8 we ask students to create a personal contemplation room that incorporates ideas from a variety of religions. We aim to give some freedom of choice when researching, such as the option to pick between different styles of worship and contemporary issues, so students are engaged by the area that appeals to them. The outcome is that students often go above and beyond to create a thorough and well thought out piece of work. 

Key Stage 3 

RE KS3Assessment 

Students are assessed both summatively at the end of each unit but also formatively using participation in lessons and homework’s. Those summative assessments are highlighted in red above. The frequency of assessment and homework is reflective of the curriculum time we have with students, with years 8 and 9 having three lessons a fortnight and year 7 two lessons a fortnight.  

The style of assessments are consistent across the years (evident in the curriculum diagrams above), but the there is a variety of methods of presentation such as essay writing, modelling, creative writing, letter writing etc. allowing students different opportunities but at the same time checking and building on their religious understanding.  

Year 7 will be assessed using the following banding: (Year 8 will follow the same banding.) 

Exceptional  Advanced   Secure   Foundation   
Students to be able to demonstrate and recall a greater depth of knowledge supported with scriptural reference, text evaluation and analysis. Students are be able to make links across the programme of study. 

Students should be able to confidently discuss and evaluate the differing arguments explored over the programme of study. 

Students should be able to reflect on the meaning and application for their own lives. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Year 7 

Students to be able to explain how using scripture can help a person of faith in their daily life and in times of need, may include an example to support your ideas. 

Students to be able to compare how we can learn from the use of holy books by believers and reflect on this. 

Students to be able discuss confidently historical events and how remembering these events could help religious believers in times of need.  

Students to be able begin to analyse the points made, recognise  potential problems and begin to suggest solutions 

Students to be able to use the philosophical arguments to prove the existence of God, arguing that these do provide evidence.  

Students to be able confidently use the traditional arguments surrounding and use scientific and historical arguments to counter these.  

Students to be able discuss and evaluate how effective these arguments are. 

Students to be able to describe the importance of keeping a record of events that have affected communities.  

Students to be able to make links and describe how we learn this through studying the traditions and practices of those believers.  

Students to be able to demonstrate the importance of keeping holy books. 

Students to be able to make a comparison between why religions keep holy books. 

Students to be able to refer to events and how these inform religious practices and holy books. 

Students to be able to describe the traditional arguments for God with examples and the challenges /arguments against God’s existence. 

Students to be able discuss if these arguments work and started to evaluate how useful these arguments are. 

Students to be able to explain the different approaches to expressing God within the religious traditions. 

Students to be able to comment on why recording and remembering is important for all religions. 

Students should be able to give some examples of important events within different religions. 

Students should be able to recall important holy books and describe why they are important to believers of that faith. 

Students should be able to comment on why some people believe in God. 

Students should be able to give some examples of arguments that people give for believing in God 

Students should be able to give some reasons why believe there is little evidence for God. 

Students should be able to describe some religious traditions express their beliefs through different forms of media. 

 

 

Homework 

Homework set is reflective of the point in the curriculum the students are at. On average students are set between 4-6 pieces of homework a term dependent on the type of activity. For example, a modelling homework is more demanding on time and therefore students will have less homework that term. Some of the types of homework students may be asked to complete: 

  • Journal extended writing 
  • Reflection piece of work 
  • Revision for assessments 
  • Complete assessments started in class 
  • Complete research for assessments 
  • Prepare for verbal assessments 

All homework will be set on SMHW for both students and parents to view. 

Key stage 4  

The current curriculum follows the OCR specification (J625). The current specification is a three-year course that is examined at the end by one paper on Christianity and one paper on another religion that comprises 50% of the course. The third paper is on philosophy and ethics in the modern world, which is worth 50%.  Year 9-11 will follow the 9-1 grading system. 

The course was chosen as it allows students to study a variety of topics over two religions and philosophical and ethical issues, which strikes a balance between breadth and depth of knowledge. There is also a variety of skills used and examined making it a challenging yet engaging course.  

RE KS4 9 and 10RE KS4 11

 Assessment 

At KS4 students undergo three mock examinations, one at the end of Year 9, another at beginning of the summer term in April in year 10 and in year 11 at the end of the autumn term in December. These will be past exam papers and the truest likeness to the exams the students will undergo in the summer of year 11. In order to prepare students to answer these, there will be exam questions. In addition, students will continually be assessed using practise questions throughout the topic and various self and peer assessment used to help students to understand how to attain the highest possible level in answers.  

Homework 

Students will be set work appropriately depending on the part of the course that is being taught. Most often homework will either be revision for a practise question in class, revision for an end of unit test or for the mocks. However in addition to this, students will be asked to carry out independent research or other smaller tasks based on classwork. They should have at least three pieces of homework a half term of varying length. If they are revising for an end of unit test they should spend at least 3-4 hours doing this, therefore revising for a mock should be reflective of the number of units covered e.g. 3 units in year 10 therefore 9-12 hours. A practise question would only require 30 minutes of revision on average. 

 

Key Stage 5 

Currently students follow the OCR specification as a linear A-Level. Three members of staff teach a different exam simultaneously (Philosophy, Ethics and Developments in Christian Thinking). 

Year 12: 

  • Philosophy – Plato and the forms, Aristotle and the four causes, Soul, mind and body, Cosmological argument, Teleological argument, Ontological argument, Theodicies for Evil and Suffering and Religious experience. 
  • Ethics – Ethical theories, Natural Law, Situation Ethics, Kantian Ethics, Utilitarianism.  
  • Developments in Christian Thinking – Human Nature, Death and Afterlife, Knowledge of God’s existence, The person of Jesus Christ, Moral Christian Principles, Christian Moral Action (Dietrich Bonhoeffer).  

Year 13  

  • Philosophy – Nature of God including God’s omniscience, Omni benevolence, omnipotence and eternity, religious language including apophatic way, cataphatic way, symbolic language, verification and falsification principle and Wittgenstein Language games. 
  • Ethics – Euthanasia, Business Ethics, Sexual Ethics, Conscience, Meta Ethics 
  • Developments in Christian Thinking – Attitudes towards other religions and Religious Pluralism, Attitudes towards gender and Feminism, the challenge of secularisation and Liberation theology and Marx. 

Assessment and homework 

Students are expected to complete various tasks on a weekly basis.  

Each unit will have an end of unit essay questions worth 40 marks, or at least to plan and revise for those being timed in lessons. In addition, they will be given reading and research to do to enhance their understanding. Each unit will be assessed once, which would roughly be six assessments a term over the entire specification. Students will sit a mock exam in the summer term of Year 12. 

Independent study 

Year Group  Books/literature   Online sources 
Year 7 
  • Mercier Skills in Religious studies Books 1,2 and 3 
  • Aylett The Muslim Experience 
  • Kirkwood Looking for God 
  • Tames The Muslim World 
https://request.org.uk/   

Website with huge number of videos and info on Christianity 

https://www.truetube.co.uk/ 

Year 8 
  • Mercier Skills in Religious studies Books 1,2 and 3 
  • Emmett The Sikh Experience 
  • Thompson The Buddhist Experience 
https://request.org.uk/   

Website with huge number of videos and info on Christianity 

https://www.truetube.co.uk/ 

Year 9 
  • School Typed notes – Christianity Booklet 
  • Mayled & Oliphant 2009 GCSE RS Hodder Ed (Old Spec) 
  • O’Donnell 1998 Christianity – A new approach Hodder 
  • Abbott 2016  Religious Studies OCR (9-1) Hodder Ed 
https://request.org.uk/   

Website with huge number of videos and info on Christianity 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VY-KTQz7DyI  

BBC video about two young Christians in 21st century Britain 

 

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCtOLJIWPWAcxFa37iQOUtOA  

Mr MacMillan has produced some fantastic revision videos 

Year 10 
  • School Typed notes – Hinduism Booklet 
  • Hinduism – A new approach Hodder 
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Hfhka-OvLSA  

BBC video about two Hindu teenagers in 21st century Britain 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p1GK2RTRkVQ  

BBC video about Hindu Gods presented by two Hindu teenagers 

Year 11 
  • Mayled & Oliphant 2009 GCSE RS Hodder Ed (Old Spec) 
https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCtOLJIWPWAcxFa37iQOUtOA   Mr Macmillan has produced some fantastic revision videos 
Year 12 
  • Wilkinson & Wilcockson 2016 OCR RS Year 1 A Level textbook Hodder Ed 
  • School Typed Notes for Philosophy, Ethics and DCT 
  • DCT work booklets 
  • Arliss & Vardy 2003 A Thinkers guide to Evil 
  • Taylor 2009 OCR Philosophy of Religion Routledge 
  • Oliphant 2009 OCR Religious Ethics 
  • RS Review  
  • Dialogue (See independent reading booklet) 
https://eitheroressays.com/category/developments-in-christian-thought/?fbclid=IwAR16HKgSH6mesS53QqAihfZ0xu18cgujdMC64WNUx4vRzgT64E_FgpsubJc How to write A-Level essays 

 

https://thepanpsycast.com/panpsycast/  Podcasts on all the A Level Topics 

 

http://www.philosopherkings.co.uk/  Articles on A-level topics 

 

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCf3Ve0LB9Z_CM5jMg7LIQmg?app=desktop Site by an A-Level teacher which covers the spec 

 

https://www.myheplus.com/post-16/subjects/religious-studies/the-historical-figure-of-jesus-of-nazareth Site concerning the person Jesus 

Year 13 
  • Wilkinson & Wilcockson 2016 OCR RS Year 2 A Level textbook Hodder Ed 
  • Eyre & Waterfield 2018 OCR My Revision guides Hodder Ed 
  • Arliss & Vardy A Thinkers guide to God 
  • School Typed Notes for Philosophy, Ethics and DCT 
  • DCT work booklets 
  • RS Review  
  • Dialogue (See independent reading booklet) 
 https://eitheroressays.com/category/developments-in-christian-thought/?fbclid=IwAR16HKgSH6mesS53QqAihfZ0xu18cgujdMC64WNUx4vRzgT64E_FgpsubJc How to write A-Level essays 

 

https://thepanpsycast.com/panpsycast/  Podcasts on all the A Level Topics 

 

http://www.philosopherkings.co.uk/  Articles on A-level topics 

 

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCf3Ve0LB9Z_CM5jMg7LIQmg?app=desktop Site by an A-Level teacher which covers the spec 

 

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCtOLJIWPWAcxFa37iQOUtOA  

Mr MacMillan has produced some fantastic revision videos 

Remember there are many other books to borrow from either the LRC or the department, especially for A-Level.