RE and PSHE Curriculum Overview

The grid below gives an overview of the curriculum for this academic year:

Year 7

In RE,  students are introduced to the concept of belief, and what determines our individual beliefs. They investigate aspects of Christianity and learn how to navigate the Bible, as well as its significance to Christians. Students also study Sikhism and Islam and investigate beliefs, practices and lifestyles. Lessons involve a reflective and spiritual element, allowing students to learn from religion, as well as about it.

In PSHE, students cover a wide range of topics including feelings, emotions, puberty, smoking, internet safety, and money management. Students are encouraged to talk openly in PSHE and learn in a variety of ways, such as through documentaries, discussions and groups work.  

Year 8

In RE, students investigate Hinduism and Buddhism, from their context and history to beliefs, practices and lifestyles. They learn to respond sensitively to the faiths of others. Students also study a unit entitled 'Is Religion Dangerous?' which looks at religion historically and currently.

In PSHE, students are given the opportunity to develop their knowledge of key issues facing teenagers, to enable them to make well-informed and considered choices. They cover healthy eating, eating disorders, alcohol, drugs, and crime, as well as citizenship issues such as the role of the criminal justice system.

Year 9

In RE, students cover Christian beliefs on God and miracles, and study the history and practices of Judaism. Furthermore, they investigate the role and significance of influential individuals who have been motivated by religion or morality, such as Mahatma Gandhi, Nelson Mandela, Martin Luther King, Muhammad Ali, and Malala Yousafzai.

In PSHE, students investigate and encouraged to talk openly about body image, eating disorders, alcohol and substance abuse, sexually transmitted diseases, and mental health. They also study current citizenship issues such as the short and long term impact of leaving the European Union, and the role and reforms of parliament.

Course Title:  GCSE Religious Studies

Awarding Body:  AQA

Why study Religious Studies?

Religious Studies is a popular option which develops critical thinking in the search for truths in uncertain fields. It encourages philosophical thought, decision making skills, collaboration and independent working skills and the search for compromise and conflict resolutions that work. It creates opportunities for students to develop their skills of debate, interpretation and analysis in a coherent context. Religious Studies has a multidisciplinary nature involving philosophical thinking, study of teachings, ethics, social understanding and the skills of analysis and reasoning, developing core skills of literacy. All these are vital skills in a modern workforce where communication, collaboration and cooperation are core skills. Furthermore, Religious Studies makes a key and unique contribution to understanding British heritage, values and futures. It provides an excellent opportunity for young people to engage with contemporary contentious issues, developing social, cultural, political, philosophical and historical awareness.  

Course Outline

Religious Studies at GCSE builds on the knowledge, skills and understanding developed in the lower school. There is only one tier of entry with all students completing the same examination papers.

The course consists of 2 examination papers. One focuses on the beliefs and practices of two faiths, and the other is based on themes. See below.

Paper 1: Beliefs and Practices

Paper 2: Themes

Christianity: Beliefs

Relationships and Families

Christianity:  Practices

Religion and Life

Islam: Beliefs

Religion, Peace and Conflict

Islam: Practices

Religion, Crime and Punishment

Assessment Format

AQA (1-9) Religious Studies 8062

Students will be assessed by two final examinations of 1 hour and 45 minutes each.

What skills will I need to be successful in this subject?

There is a strong emphasis on critical thinking, explanation, and above all, essay writing. Background knowledge of faith is not crucial; personal beliefs are always considered relevant. The most important skills for a successful student of Religious Studies is having the ability to critically apply knowledge and understanding to extended answers. Students need to be open minded about contrasting religious viewpoints as well as being able to evaluate key beliefs, teachings and opinions. 

Possible Careers and Future Education

Religious Studies is a totally different subject from any other in the curriculum. It can prepare students for any job that involves working with people, and is becoming more popular with the growing need for religious tolerance and understanding in our society. Many students of Religious Studies go on to undertake careers in Teaching, Counselling, Social Work, the Armed Forces, the Prison Service, Medicine and Health, as well as The Civil Service. Indeed, there is no job or career that Religious Studies is not relevant to.

As Radhanath Swami said:

“Religion is meant to teach us true spiritual human character. It is meant for self-transformation. It is meant to transform anxiety into peace, arrogance into humility, envy into compassion, to awaken the pure soul in man”