Religious Studies

Overview

How should society deal with criminality? Is there life after death? How do religious people respond to humanitarian crises? Are religious teachings still relevant in the 21st Century? How should humans treat each other?
These, along with questions surrounding how to live a Christian and Islamic life in modern Britain make Religious Studies a fascinating subject, which helps students to understand and reflect on different worldviews, including their own. The course is designed to allow students to explore this in a creative, interesting and academically rigorous way. The department encourages students to use a variety of approaches, including discussion, debate, presentations, creative projects, art, drama, speaking, listening and writing skills, along with the whole school focus on the Edgbarrow8.
By studying religious beliefs and investigating various worldviews, students develop an understanding of life in the 21st Century. Thanks to its exploration of fascinating questions and concepts, religious Studies is a popular GCSE and A-Level subject at Edgbarrow School.


Key Staff

Mr C Hinz - Head of Department
Mrs Anigbo
Mrs Thurgood


Curriculum Intent

RS encourages students to understand a range of religious and secular worldviews, investigate spiritual and moral questions and identify their own beliefs. By studying religious beliefs and cultures students develop tolerance, respect and an understanding of what it means to be part of a diverse British society.

Key Stage 3

Year 7

In Year 7, students study an extended theme on ‘prophethood’ which allows them to explore religious views from a variety of faiths. Students will investigate the main philosophies of living a good life, according to the major world faiths as well as from a Humanist perspective. This will include an opportunity to compare and evaluate the similarities and differences between the spiritual guidance offered by different religions, such as Christianity and Buddhism.

Year 8

In Year 8, students begin by studying different Rites of Passage through a range of different religions. During the second term, students complete an in-depth study of Christianity, investigating major Christian denominations, as well as learning about the life and teachings of Jesus. Year 8 concludes with a study of Islam, where students consider the challenges of living an Islamic life in modern Britain, through an in-depth look at the Five Pillars of Islam.

Year 9

The final year in Key Stage 3, equips students with the essential skills necessary to continue with Religious Studies at GCSE. In the first term, students study Moral Issues and Ethical Theories. Within these topics, students are encouraged to explore the ultimate and moral questions relating to euthanasia, abortion, and capital punishment, as well as reflecting on their own beliefs and values. Additionally, students study how to make moral decisions, with reference to theories such as Situation Ethics and Ethical Egoism. In the following term, students continue to explore the importance of morality but from a more global perspective, through and an in-depth study of Human Rights and how these were born out of the Holocaust. Students 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.

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 on 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

Year 7 Curriculum Assessment Plan

Year 8 Curriculum Assessment Plan

Year 9 Curriculum Assessment Plan


Key Stage 4

GCSE

GCSE Religious Studies offers more than just learning about different cultures, beliefs and faiths. The WJEC/Eduqas Religious Studies 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 criminality and how society should deal with those who commit crimes; reasons why abortion and same-sex marriage are still contentious; 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 how religious scholars and philosophers have approached the above problems. Students can analyse both Christian, Muslim 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.

Curriculum Map

Year 10 Curriculum Assessment Plan

Year 11 Curriculum Assessment Plan

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 Studied

Module Content

Assessment

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.

Visits

Visits to places of worship in the locality, as well as speakers being invited to lessons, will be offered for some topics e.g. prison chaplains, amnesty international, and religious leaders within Christianity and Islam. Where possible trips abroad are offered; in the past, we have visited Israel, Rome and Morocco, Auschwitz in Poland and Florence.


A-Level Religion, Philosophy and Ethics

Students continue to follow the WJEC/Eduqas course in Religious Studies. Students will have the opportunity to examine questions relating to arguments for the existence of God, the problem of evil and suffering, the possibility of life after death and a range of ethical theories, including Utilitarianism and Natural Law. The course will also entail a close examination of the practices and beliefs of Islam, with a focus on the role of women within society and the Muslim understanding of Jihad. Throughout the course, students will be encouraged to develop an understanding and appreciation of religious thought and its contribution to individuals, communities and societies. Further, students will adopt an enquiring, critical and reflective approach to religion today; enabling them to develop their own values, opinions and attitudes of religion and its place in the wider world.

Year 12 Curriculum Assessment Plan

Year 13 Curriculum Assessment Plan

Minimum requirements

This subject is available to all students with or without Religious Studies qualifications at GCSE level. However, all students will be expected to have achieved at least a grade 5 or above in English Language and any Humanities subject they may have studied.

Learning and teaching styles

A wide range of teaching and learning styles are used throughout the course ranging from active learning, role plays, debates, games, teaching others, as well as the traditional independent learning and essay writing. Most of these lessons are usually characterised by lots of opportunities for discussion and questioning.

AO1 Descriptors

On the road to post-16 study - Ethics

AO2 Descriptors

On the road to post-16 study - Islam

Presentation

On the road to post-16 study - Philosophy

Course details

The course is a linear A2 course, therefore students will be externally examined at the end of Year 13. The following three components will be covered across the two years:
Unit 1 – A study of Religion: Islam (33.3% of qualification)
Unit 2 – Philosophy of Religion (33.3% of qualification)
Unit 3 – Religion and Ethics (33.3% of qualification)

Future opportunities

This qualification is useful for access to a diversity of higher education courses at university and a wide range of careers, which focus on the ability to think clearly and rigorously. This includes those hoping to become business leaders, bankers, lawyers or civil servants or any career associated with dealing with people, such as the emergency services, teaching and the armed forces. The skills developed in 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:
Mr C Hinz  chi@edgbarrowschool.co.uk