Big questions are at the heart of our Religious Studies curriculum. We encourage students to critically study the beliefs and practices of the major world religions, as well as those of atheism and humanism.
Religious Studies helps to increase the understanding and awareness of different faiths and non-faiths, as well as provide the opportunity to explore the impact different beliefs have on people's lives. It is an opportunity to debate and reflect upon deep philosophical and ethical questions. In studying these, students will demonstrate and develop the key skills of analysis and evaluation.
All students study the subject at Key Stage 3 and Key Stage 4. In the latter, Religious Studies is a popular and successful GCSE option. For those who do not choose it, Core RS is studied which helps deepen understanding of key religious beliefs and ethical issues at the heart of our society.
In year 7 students start the year with an engaging philosophical course: What is truth? They then explore the Abrahamic Religions of Judaism, Christianity and Islam through the questions: What is God like? Who was Jesus? and How do beliefs affect actions?
In year 8 students explore further key philosophical questions: Does God exist? Why do we suffer? Is there life after death? Are we equal? When do we become an adult? Within these the views of Christians, Hindus, Sikhs and Buddhists are particularly explored.
In year 9 students explore further ethical issues: How do we know what is right? How do we respond to wrongdoing? Is it ever right to take life? and How should we treat the world and each other? Again, religious responses to these questions are considered.
At GCSE and A Level, students study the AQA Religious Studies course. At both levels, the emphasis is on Religion, Philosophy and Ethics.
Grouping & Setting
Religious Studies is taught in mixed ability form groups at Key Stage 3. At Key Stage 4 students will be in mixed ability option groups. Core Religious Studies is taught in English sets.
RS students are regularly assessed through their class work, mini and end of topic assessments, contributions to discussion and homework. Students are given feedback on their work based on both of these assessments and complete improvement prompts based on these, ensuring that they know how to improve their work.
The department runs a Philosophy Club every week for students in each Key Stage where philosophical questions are debated.
The Ashmolean Scholars Programme provides an enrichment focus for year 12 and 13 students, within which extra seminars, trips, peer support and online resources are also a feature.