Religious Studies

Department vision:

"Our students will grow to become respectful young adults who are able to embrace and value all that diversity brings to our communities. Our students will have the skills that will enable you to confidently articulate, and be faithful to your own worldview and values. Our students will to prosper and discover their own future pathways in a multicultural society."

Key Stage 3

What will I learn?

Religious Studies at Key Stage 3 reflects the fact that our students come to Bishop Young Academy from a wide variety of faith backgrounds. Whilst the curriculum reflects our status as a Church of England school, we are also committed to ensuring that our students have a sound knowledge and understanding of the wide range of core beliefs and religious practices that are present in the communities that we live in. We also consider reasons why some people might not have faith, and how other forms of knowledge, such as philosophy and the sciences influence an individual persons’s worldview.

In Year 7, the focus is enabling all students to have a solid foundation in their knowledge and understanding of the main world faiths. Students are given the opportunity to reflect on our school vision and consider the importance of values such as community, faith and respect as core principles for living. They are also asked to reflect on the ways in which food is used within religion to express beliefs, and how religious practices help to shape religious identity. Students are encouraged to reflect on their own beliefs and values in relation to moral questions such as how and why we should care for the planet, if human lives have more value than animal lives, and how believers can demonstrate their beliefs in a multi-cultural world.

In Year 8, students are encouraged to explore specific aspects of religious beliefs in greater detail, for example students are asked to look at the role of prophets within Judaism, Christianity and Islam, and if there is still a need for people to speak out for what they believe is right in the modern world. Students will look at the life, death and teachings of Jesus and reflect on his role as Messiah or prophet. Students continue to explore the role of the prophet with reference to both traditional prophets and modern day people who have tried to implement change for the better. The final term explore the relationship between religion and science and addresses some of the ‘big philosophical questions’ in life, such as why do people suffer, and where did the universe come from.

In Year 9, we continue to develop core study skills such as text reading, interpretation and their application to contemporary issues, as well as continuing to support students to ‘disagree well’ and share and express their personal views. The curriculum focuses on the ways in which key life events, and religious occasions are celebrated and used to create a sense of identity and belonging. Students are asked to reflect on the ways in which our personal beliefs and worldviews are expressed collectively in the life of the Church or faith community, as well as individually in terms of social justice and our connections with those around us.

How will my child be assessed in Key Stage 3?

Each unit of topic of work is assessed during the topic as well as at the end of the unit to ensure that students are making sound progress and are developing the necessary subject knowledge and study skills. The assessment program at key stage 3 is modelled on the AQA GCSE Religious Studies format of examination so that students are learning developing the essential exam skills that they will require at GCSE level.

What type of homework will be set?

Homework set in Religious Studies is aimed to help students develop their independent study skills or to consolidate understanding of an issue.

This can involve students extending their vocabulary through learning key terms, researching the work of organisations or specific individuals or creative tasks that encourage student to reflect and consider how a particular belief or value could be expressed. Students are also expected to prepare and revise for assessments.

How can I support my child's learning at home?

  • Ensure that your child arrives to lessons with their planner, pen, pencil and ruler.
  • Support your child with their homework, project work and revision, or preparation for assessment tasks that are given.
  • Be aware of current affairs and be open to discussions about what questions being alive and contributing to the world in the 21st century generates!

Key Stage 4

Course Name: Religious Studies GCSE

What will I learn?

Religious Studies is an ever-popular and relevant GCSE course, which covers a range of contemporary moral issues as well as addressing the fundamental questions of life. It is a subject that enables you to think for yourself about religious and moral issues in a critical and enquiring way. Students will be challenged with questions about belief, values, meaning, purpose and truth; enabling them to develop their own attitudes towards religious issues, reflect on their own faith and support the Christian ethos of the academy. Students will also gain an appreciation of how religion, philosophy and ethics form the basis of our culture. They will develop analytical and critical thinking skills, the ability to work with abstract ideas, leadership and research skills. All these skills will help prepare them for further study. All students follow a compulsory GCSE course in Religious Studies. The course is taught in 4 lessons per fortnight and covers TWO units of work both of which are examined in Year 11.

Paper 1: The study of religions: beliefs, teachings and practices

Students will explore the beliefs, teachings and practices from a Christian, and from an Islamic perspective. Students will learn about the nature of God, beliefs about the afterlife and their importance to religious believers today, as well as exploring different forms of worship, religious festivals and the role of the Church/Mosque in the local and worldwide community.

Paper 2: Religious, Philosophical and Ethical Issues

In this paper, students will study how Christian and Muslim beliefs and teachings influence key issues of modern life. These include debating and considering the nature and purpose of marriage, the origins of the universe, animal experimentation, medical issues (abortion and euthanasia), and war and violence in the contemporary world. Students are also encouraged to express their own beliefs and opinions, whether from a faith background or not.

How will I be assessed?

There is no coursework in GCSE Religious Studies.

You will sit two exams at the end of Year 11. Each exam will last for 1 hour 45 minutes.

What could I move onto?

Religious Studies is a very traditional academic subject and is highly regarded at all the major universities. At A Level Religious Studies is of interest to both Arts and Science students. It compliments both English and History as it also requires text and source analysis and demands a deep understanding of culture and the development of ideas. By introducing ethical and philosophical issues and through helping students to develop an enquiring, critical and reflective approach to ideas it is also useful for students who wish to further studies in medicine, ethics and healthcare. Students find the skills and knowledge gained in Religious Studies useful in careers such as law, journalism, social care, the army, child care, the police, probation work, counselling, teaching, nursing and leisure and tourism.

Examination Board: AQA