In Years 7 and 8, students explore a wide range of religious and non-religious worldviews including humanism and six major world religions.
As well as developing their subject-specific knowledge and vocabulary, students are gradually introduced to key disciplinary skills such as analysing sources of wisdom and authority, describing diversity within religious traditions, explaining the impact of religious belief on individuals today and evaluating religious and philosophical arguments. These skills contribute to students’ spiritual, moral, social and cultural development and provide a solid foundation for later study.
An introduction to religious studies: Students are introduced to religion and the different ideas and concepts that make up a religious belief.
What is philosophy?
What are dimensions of religion?
What is God like?
How do people pray?
Why are holy books important?
Christianity (1): Students explore some of the main Christian beliefs with a special focus on God and Jesus.
Who is the Christian God?
Who was Jesus Christ?
Why is the Bible important?
What are the Gospels?
Did Jesus really perform miracles?
Hinduism: Students explore the key features of Hindu beliefs and practices and how these ideas may affect the lives of Hindus in modern society.
What do Hindus believe about Gods?
What do Hindu’s believe about reincarnation?
Why are Dharma and Karma important in Hinduism?
How do Hindu’s pray?
Human Rights: Students explore how religious and non-religious beliefs may affect the way individuals treat others and the impacts this can have on society.
What are human rights?
What is justice?
What are religious and non-religious views on justice?
What is prejudice, discrimination and racism?
What different views are held about wealth?
Islam (1): Students explore some of the main Islamic beliefs with a special focus on Allah and Muhammad.
Who is Allah?
Why is the Qur’an important?
Who was Muhammad?
What makes Muhammad special?
How do these ideas link to the five pillars of Islam?
Buddhism: Students explore the key features of Buddhist beliefs and practices and how these ideas may affect the lives of Buddhists in modern society.
Who was Siddhartha Gautama?
What does the Buddha teach about suffering?
What is the Eight-Fold Path and Enlightenment?
Why is meditation important?
Judaism: Students explore the importance of the figures of Abraham and Moses for Jewish people today.
How is Abraham the father of the Jewish people?
What is a brit milah?
Why are slavery and freedom important themes in Judaism?
How is the Passover celebrated today?
Islam: Students develop their knowledge of Islam by exploring the meaning of the five pillars.
What does the Shahadah mean?
How do Muslims pray?
How do Muslims practise charity?
What is the purpose of fasting?
What happens on the Hajj?
Sikhism: Students explore key Sikh beliefs and practices with a special focus on the importance of equality in Sikhism.
Who was Nanak and how did he spread his message?
Why did Guru Gobind Singh found the Khalsa?
What do Sikhs believe about God?
How important is Sewa?
Ethics: Students explore a range of ethical questions and approaches including:
What does it mean to be human?
Are human beings special?
Is there life after death?
Is morality absolute or relative?
What difficult issues are raised by the development of Artificial Intelligence?
Christianity: Students explore the importance of baptism in different Christian traditions.
How does the Bible describe the baptism of Jesus?
How did the first Christians celebrate baptism?
How and why are infant baptisms celebrated today?
Why do some Christians practise believers’ baptism?
Sacrifice: Students explore how religious beliefs and non-religious worldviews affect the people’s actions and reflect upon a range of examples of sacrifice motivated by personal conviction.
What is sacrifice?
Why do people make sacrifices for their beliefs and worldviews?
Is religious belief a force for good in the world?
The GCSE Religious Studies course develops students’ ability to construct well-argued, well-informed, balanced and structured written responses to religious, philosophical and ethical questions and helps them to prepare for adult life by challenging them to reflect on and develop their own values and beliefs.
The course consists of three components: religious, philosophical and ethical issues in the modern world, study of Christianity and study of a world faith (Islam). The elements of each component are interwoven throughout the course to support students in remembering and applying the content.
Introduction to religious studies: Students begin their GCSE studies with an overview of the different religious beliefs and non-religious worldviews studied in the course.
The life of Jesus and the development of Christianity: Students explore the theological meaning of Biblical accounts of the life of Jesus and the early church. The theological concepts of incarnation, salvation and atonement are introduced.
The life of Muhammad and the development of Islam: Students explore the impact that the life of Muhammad had on the development of Islam together with the emergence of the division between Sunni and Shi’a.
The nature of God: Students explore beliefs about the existence and nature of God including Christian teaching about the Trinity and Islamic teaching about Tawhid.
The origin and value of the world: Students explore beliefs about the creation and the origins of the universe from religious and scientific perspectives.
The origin and value of human life: Students explore beliefs about the origins of human life from religious and non-religious perspectives.
Crime and punishment: Students explore the ideas of morality, types of crime and the reasons why people may commit them, the concept of forgiveness and the impact religious and non-religious views may have on those who commit crimes and those who punish offenders.
Core Christian beliefs: Students explore the impact of the Bible on Christian belief, the ideas of salvation and grace, and Christian teachings about the afterlife.
Core Islamic beliefs: Students explore Islamic beliefs about angels, prophethood, holy books, destiny and the afterlife.
Christian practices: Students explore Christian Holy Sacraments in particular, baptism and the eucharist. Also, key celebrations in the Christian calendar: Christmas and Easter, places of pilgrimage and the role of the church in the local and world-wide community.
Muslim practices: Students develop in depth knowledge about the 5 pillars of Islam: Shahadah, Salah, Zakat, Sawm and Hajj and the concept of Jihad.
Relationships: Students explore issues of relationships such as marriage, divorce, sex, contraception and homosexuality and apply these concepts to beliefs held by religious and non-religious individuals.
Human rights: Students explore the rights of individuals and apply these to religious and non-religious views about equality, prejudice, discrimination, racism, poverty and wealth.
After completing the course content, students spend the remainder of year 11 revisiting and reviewing what they have learned and practising the skills that they will need in their summer examinations.
Key Stage 5
The optional A-Level Religious Studies course is a rigorous programme of study which prepares students for progression to Higher Education. It allows students to explore a range of religious, philosophical and ethical issues and develops their ability to analyse and evaluate arguments and to present their ideas in rigorous, sophisticated and critical essays.
The course consists of three components: philosophy of religion, ethics and developments in Christian thought.