Religious Studies


Religious Study is a fascinating subject which helps students to consider different worldviews. Religion has always been and continues to be for us today, a powerful driving force in society. Religion affects everyone, the course is designed to allow students to explore this in a creative, interesting and academically rigorous way.
The study of Religious education encourages pupils to examine their own ideas and raise questions of a spiritual and moral nature whilst developing the skills to fully engage with challenging concepts. There is a strong focus on developing student’s knowledge and understanding of different faiths through the development of analytical and reflective skills based on factual knowledge and developed evaluation. The department encourages students to use a variety of approaches, including discussion, debate, speaking, listening and writing skills, with a whole school focus on literacy whilst studying Religious Education.
By studying religious beliefs and investigating cultures, students develop an understanding of the world in which we live and of the people with whom we work alongside. Ultimate questions of human existence are explored, which leads to Religious Education being a popular choice within Edgbarrow School.

Key Staff

Miss Lyness - Head of Department
Miss Miles
Mrs Thurgood
Mr Birch

Key Stage 3

Year 7

In Year 7, pupils investigate a variety of challenging themes helping them recognise how Religious Education has a role in the wider world. During the first term, an introduction to world religions is studied. Students go back in time in a tardis, and with the help of Doctor Who, investigate the main facts of the major world religions. In the second term, students study Religion and the environment, focusing particularly on how and why religious people think it is important to care for the world we live in. In the final term, students focus on an extended project researching a famous religious believer who has shown courage and conviction, such as Martin Luther King, Gandhi or Mother Teresa.

Year 8

Year 8: In Year 8, students begin with studying the concept of Rites of Passage through a range of different religions. During the second term, students complete an in-depth study of Christianity, investigating major Christian denomination as well as learning about the life and teachings of Jesus. Year 8 concludes with a study of Islam, where students consider different beliefs and practices and are given the opportunity to reflect on their own beliefs and values.

Year 9

The final year in KS3 equips students with the essential skills necessary to continue their Religious Education studies at GCSE. In the first term, pupils study Buddhism. They are given the opportunity to explore the main beliefs and teachings of the Buddha while also reflecting on how Buddhism could be relevant today. During the second term, students study the Holocaust. They investigate what happened to the Jews during the Holocaust and are asked to reflect on whether or not the Holocaust disproves the existence of a God. In the final term, students study Moral Issues. Within this topic, students are encouraged to explore ultimate and moral questions related to euthanasia, abortion and capital punishment, as well as reflecting on their own beliefs and values and religious faiths.

KS3 Banding

Students will follow national guidelines throughout Key Stage 3 to support and prepare them for their Key Stage 4 courses. The school operates a banding system of 1-9 (9 being the highest band). Students will be given a target based upon their Key Stage 2 scores and baseline assessments on arrival at Edgbarrow.  The band they are awarded at the end of the Key Stage is intended to be indicative of the grade they may achieve at GCSE.

Banding Curriculum Map 

Key Stage 4


GCSE Religious Studies offers more than just learning about different cultures and beliefs. The course gives pupils the opportunity to analyse and try to understand more clearly the causes behind many major concerns and issues in our world today - for example: the causes of war and attitudes to war; reasons why some people become pacifists; why prejudice exists; what is being done about hunger in the developing world; why we should care about pollution; whether marriage is still worthwhile today and the various attitudes towards abortion. Pupils can analyse both Christian and other religious and secular views on these issues. They can decide for themselves whether there is a right, wrong or best answer for any issue discussed. Looking at these issues gives pupils the opportunity to understand more fully the world they live in and develop the ability to form their own opinions, based on facts and informed discussion.

Course Content and Assessment
Religious Studies GCSE is divided into 3 different modules. There is no coursework module, which allows pupils to fully explore the course without the extra pressure of completing coursework. Therefore, as shown below, pupils will be fully assessed by 3 written examinations at the end of Year 11.

Modules StudiedModule ContentAssessment
Component 1
Study of Philosophical & Ethical Issues in the world

A philosophical and ethical investigation of issues concerning relationships, life after death, good and evil and human rights

2 hour written exam (50% of grade)
Component 2
Study of Christianity

An in-depth study of the beliefs, teachings and practices of Christianity

1 hour written exam (25% of final grade)
Component 3
Study of Islam

An in-depth study of the beliefs, teachings and practices of Islam

1 hour written exam (25% of final grade)

Religious Studies is beneficial to pupils who wish to have a firm humanities base to their qualifications, a wider understanding of what issues are important to people today and an opportunity to develop their skills of evaluation and analysis, which are of great importance for further education. Religious Studies is a popular subject with many employers and is highly recommended for any job which involves working with people; such as journalism, business, tourism, social work, law, teaching and nursing.

A visit to places of worship in the locality is linked to the course in year 11 and speakers are invited to lessons for some topics e.g. abortion, war and peace, poverty and environmental issues. Where possible trips abroad are offered; in the past, we have visited Israel, Rome and Morocco, including a visit to Auschwitz in Poland last October 2014.

A Level Religious Studies/Philosophy

The A-Level course offers an exciting and challenging opportunity for students to be introduced to philosophy, ethics and issues about contemporary society. Students will have the opportunity to examine questions relating to philosophical arguments for the existence of God, the problem of evil and suffering, the possibility of life after death and the nature of religious language. A wide range of teaching and learning styles are used throughout the course ranging from active learning, role-play, debates, games, teachings other, as well as independent research and essay writing. Lessons are characterised by lots of opportunities for discussion and questions to help develop higher level thinking skills.

AS Level

Unit 1 - An introduction to the Philosophy of Religion, 50% of AS (25% of A Level).
Unit 2 - An introduction to Contemporary Society, 50% of AS (25% of A Level).

A2 Level

Unit 3 - Philosophy of Religion 25% of A Level.
Unit 4 - Synoptic paper: Religion & Human Experience; life, life after death and the meaning of life, 25% of A Level.

This qualification is useful for access to a diversity of higher education courses and a wide range of careers. Anywhere, in fact, where importance is placed on the ability to think clearly and rigorously. For example, those hoping to become business leaders, bankers or civil servants and any career associated with dealing with people. The skills developed on this course are generally regarded to be ‘softer’ skills, which are highly favoured by today’s employment market.

For further information regarding our Religious Studies Curriculum please contact:
Miss Lyness  [email protected]