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Religious Studies

Head of department  Ms A Qamar
Email a.qamar@habstrustsouth.org.uk


Subject Overview

Religious Studies is an exploration of today's world through comparative religion, theology, philosophy, anthropology and ethics. Pupils are encouraged to explore questions of faith, morality, proof, belief and non-belief, and the nature of reality. Religious Studies will equip pupils with the literacy, knowledge and critical thinking skills to explore a range of religions and world views so that they can understand religious beliefs and practices and philosophical and ethical ideas. It will also cultivate their insightful curiosity, and imaginative empathy to explore and to answer challenging questions about their place in the world, their relationship to others and their relationship to the environment. Religious Studies contributes significantly to the ethos of the school in which diversity is celebrated, and all pupils are valued. It enables pupils to ask deep and often searching questions about their own beliefs and the beliefs and opinions of others regarding pertinent contemporary moral issues.


Key Stage 3 Overview

Religious Studies looks at a wide range of religious, ethical and philosophical questions and explores how they are addressed by the six major world religions. Pupils will have the opportunity to evaluate the impact of religious beliefs and practices on individuals and society. The intention in is to develop knowledge and understanding of religious beliefs, values and traditions, whilst at the same time considering a wide range of ethical and philosophical issues and thereby developing important critical thinking, evaluative and analytical skills.


Year 7 topics

  • What is faith? An introduction to religion, philosophy and ethics
  • Setting the scene for the Messiah: An introduction to Jewish beliefs and practices
  • Was Jesus the Messiah? An introduction to Christian beliefs and practices
  • What can Islam teach us about faith in practice? An introduction to Islamic beliefs and practices
  • Where did we come from? A religious and scientific investigation into creation stories

Year 8 topics

  • What can Hinduism teach us about how we are connected to the universe? An introduction to Hindu beliefs and practices
  • What can Buddhism teach us about how to deal with suffering? An introduction to Buddhist beliefs and practices
  • What can Sikhism teach us about charity and selflessness? An introduction to Sikh beliefs and practices
  • How should we treat others? An ethical and religious introduction to social justice and human rights
  • What is the importance and purpose of family for religious people? An ethical and religious introduction to relationships and family

Year 9 topics

  • What happens when we die? An ethical and philosophical introduction to matters of life and death
  • Who or what is God? An investigation into the nature of God and prophethood
  • Is violence ever acceptable? An ethical exploration of crime, punishment, peace and conflict

Key Stage 3 Homework

Pupils can expect to receive an extended piece of homework twice per term. This might include a research project or creative assignment which will encourage pupils to take what they have learnt in the classroom and apply it to real life scenarios and the world around them.


Key Stage 4 Overview

GCSE Religious Studies plays a key role in developing pupils’ understanding of the increasingly diverse and globalised world around us. The course aims to equip pupils with a sound knowledge and understanding of people’s values, beliefs and cultures as well as the most pressing and important ethical issues of our time. From the morality of cloning to the ethics of marriage and divorce, the course covers numerous issues concerning both religious and secular society.


Year 10 topics

  • Christian beliefs and teachings
  • Christian practices
  • Relationships and family
  • Religion, peace and conflict

Year 11 topics

  • Muslim beliefs and teachings
  • Muslim practices
  • Religion and life
  • Religion, human rights and social justice

How is this qualification assessed?

Exam board: AQA


Specification A: Christianity and Islam

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

  • Beliefs, teachings and practices of Christianity
  • Beliefs, teachings and practices of Islam

Written examination: 1 hour 45 minutes

50% of GCSE


Component 2: Thematic studies

  • Relationships and family
  • Religion and life
  • Religion, peace and conflict
  • Religion, human rights and social justice

Written examination: 1 hour 45 minutes

50% of GCSE


Key Stage 4 Homework

Pupils are set homework once per week. This might include an exam question, a revision task or a research assignment which encourages them to apply what they have learnt in class to examples in the real world.


How is this subject assessed?

Assessments in Religious Studies are used to develop pupils’ essay writing skills, as well as encouraging evaluation and analysis. Our intention is not for pupils to memorise a list of religious facts, but rather for them to have the confidence and ability to critically engage with religious and philosophical beliefs.


All assessments are structured in a way that mimics the GCSE exam, which prepares pupils for formalised examinations. Assessments include a range of multiple choice questions, short answer questions and longer essay-style questions in which pupils have to give a balanced response to a quotation and reach a justified conclusion. Pupils are taught to successfully utilise sources of wisdom and authority to strengthen their responses. This might include relevant quotations from the Bible or teachings of the Prophet Muhammad.


All year groups are formally assessed two to three times a year, in line with the Hatcham College assessment calendar. Assessment is formative as well as summative, and pupils can expect to receive regular written and verbal feedback on the work they produce. The department makes use of regular live marking, in which pupils are given instantaneous verbal feedback during written tasks. Once per term pupils will receive more detailed written feedback on a piece of extended writing, in the form of WWW and EBI.


How does this subject fulfil SMSC needs?

Social: Social education in Religious Studies involves exploring the similarities and differences in religions and cultures, which enables pupils to make links between faith and personal action in everyday life. This is reflected in their relations with others through activities such as discussion and debate, and in their ability to work co-operatively with those around them.

Moral: Pupils learn about shared moral values from religious and secular perspectives. Religious Studies provides opportunities for pupils to debate moral dilemmas about matters of life and death, relationships, the environment and conflict. Pupils engage with the most divisive yet exciting moral issues of the day.

Spiritual: The subject involves engaging with questions about the meaning and purpose of life and the values by which we live. In learning about a range of different religious traditions and belief systems, pupils have the opportunity to learn from their experiences, to reflect on and interpret spirituality in their own lives and to engage with ultimate questions.

Cultural: In studying faith and belief systems, pupils are naturally engaging with culture, exploring how religion is part of people’s cultural identity. The subject gives pupils an opportunity to learn what it means to belong. Pupils are given the tools to be able to respond positively the benefits and challenges of living in a multi-faith and multi-cultural society.


How does the subject challenge more able pupils?

More able pupils are challenged through effective questioning that encourages pupils to explore and engage with higher level philosophical and theological concepts. More able pupils will be given regular reading and research recommendations that will allow them to further their learning from class. Extension work is built into the curriculum and often gives more able pupils the chance to consider complex and exciting moral and philosophical issues.


What provision is made for pupils with SEND?

Quality first teaching in all of our lessons places an emphasis on high-quality inclusive teaching that utilises a range of strategies to support the learning of pupils with SEND in the classroom. Pupils with SEND are also supported through effective use of learning support assistants and through the development of specific classroom materials designed to give additional support to pupils who require it. All pupils are given appropriate modelling and scaffolding to encourage their learning; for pupils of SEND this is carefully designed to support their varying needs.


Enrichment and extra-curricular opportunities

The Religious Studies department at Hatcham College intends to encourage learning beyond the classroom wherever possible. Pupils will be given the opportunity to visit places of worship and attend philosophy and theology lectures and seminars at a variety of institutions. The department runs a student-led Philosophy Club, in which pupils debate a wide range of topical issues such as abortion, life after death and evil and suffering.


Useful websites

AQA GCSE Religious Studies A website

BBC Bitesize Religious Studies website