Religious Studies

Learning in Religious Studies involves lively discussion and debate, creativity and team work, and empathy and compassion. Religious Studies is a wonderful opportunity to learn about, and from, the lives of others, to be inspired by their ability to change the world and, moreover themselves. Most of all, we hope that pupils learn about themselves and develop their ideas and viewpoints about the world and its people around them.

We aim for all of our students to grow and flourish in their understanding of the modern world, its needs – and the gifts our students can offer for future stability and sustainability whilst respecting religious thought passed down through generations of believers and academia.

“A good head and a good heart are always a formidable combination. But when you add to that a literate tongue or pen, then you have something very special.” (Nelson Mandela)

Year 7 Religious Studies

Students learn how to approach RS through ‘ResearcheRS’ characters; one of which asks ultimate and existential questions, which the students reflect on and debate. Students explore the main religions and cultures in Britain and the extent of this in the South West as well as in the UK as a whole; leading to a project and competition on the Commonwealth and how its values are seen locally. Key Christian beliefs and commitments are explored including how the Bible came to us, its literary genre and its importance to Christians past and present, as well as creeds, the Trinity and Arian controversy. Key Muslim beliefs and commitments are explored through a step by step discovery of the Five Pillars of Islam and reflection on the significance of these practises for Muslims today.

Year 8 Religious Studies

Pupils study firstly Buddhism, and secondly Christianity, as the main religions in the continuation of their religious studies at Key Stage 3. Pupils study Buddhism as a diverse world religion and evaluate this in an essay: could Buddhism be a way of life and not a religion at all? Pupils will also compare and contrast their learning about Buddhism with their previous learning about Christianity and Islam in Year 7 and apply all to the evaluation essay: should everyone be expected to give to charity? Christianity is then studied discreetly alongside the topic of Justice. Pupils examine world injustice and focus on two main areas where Christianity had an impact on injustice: in El Salvador in the 1970s and 1980s and in South Africa during apartheid. The last evaluation essay pupils write about is the notion that some freedom fighters hold that justice is worth fighting for – violently. They contrast this viewpoint with Desmond Tutu’s non-violent approach to apartheid in the 1980s and support both viewpoints with biblical evidence.

Year 9 Religious Studies

Students will be able to acquire knowledge, skills and understanding of religion through exploration of the significance and impact of beliefs, teachings, sources, practices, ways of life and forms of expressing meaning. Students will have the opportunities to express their personal responses and informed insights on fundamental questions and issues about identity, meaning, purpose, truth values and commitments and existential questions. There are three topics over the year: Medical Ethics, Justice and Deity. The first unit covers six medical ethics issues from secular and religious viewpoints, as well as the student’s own opinions and views. The second unit also includes the concept of the sanctity of life but this time against the backdrop of the death penalty debate and questions about the legitimacy and humanity of war. The third unit is about different views towards God’s existence and what counts as evidence.

Year 10 Religious Studies

Students explore topics from Christian, religious and secular perspectives and be encouraged to reflect on their own viewpoints on the various issues. There are three units over the year: Sexual Relationships, Conservation and Stewardship and the Media. The first unit explores Christian views on the ethics of sex and sexuality, including religious views towards contraceptives. The second unit explores the issues of conservation and care for our planet. The third unit is about religion in the media.

Year 11 Religious Studies

Students have the opportunity to revisit Islam as a world religion and respond to ‘tricky issues’ which confront the modern world. Learning is aimed at ‘making sense’ of media reporting and representing the faith behind the headlines. Islam is balanced alongside the Commonwealth, within which Islam is a major faith, and also alongside the environment and Christian approaches to conservation – compared and contrasted to secular viewpoints. Lastly, students tackle deep theological and philosophical thinking with the concepts of Good and Evil, how they are connected to beliefs at the heart of Christianity, and how they can help us debate the Problem of Evil and Suffering.