The principle aims of the Gloucestershire Agreed Syllabus underpins our Key Stage 3 curriculum. Students undertake an exploration of a study of religions and spirituality in the world today, recognising difference this makes to how people live, so that students can gain the knowledge, understanding and skills needed to handle questions raised by religion and belief. Meaningful questions encourage an exploration of different concepts and perspectives, contributing to their own personal development. We aim to help prepare our students for the world around them and to enable them to discern what is of value within and outside religious traditions.
The focus in Key Stage 3 is to engage students in developing a broader understanding of beliefs and the impact of religion on people’s lives and on society. Students are able to express their own responses to the religious, philosophical and ethical issues raised. Deep thinking, debate and experiential activities contribute to the innovative learning environment valued by the R.S. Department.
Year 7: Founders of Religion, Worship, Rites of Passage, Festivals, Religion in the UK
Year 8: Religious dress, Suffering, Ways to live, Life after Death, New age religions, Spirituality
Year 9: Future of Religion, Religion and Tolerance, Can we change our future: exploring activism through religion.
Area of Study 1 – Religion and Ethics: Option 1B – Christianity
Area of Study 2 – Religion, Peace and Conflict: Option 2C - Islam
Students opting for GCSE explore the significance and impact of religious beliefs, teachings and practices of two religions; Christianity and Islam. This gives students a broader understanding of the diversity of these faiths and seeks to challenge misconceptions.
Students benefit from debate and discussion to make connections and apply their knowledge. This also furthers their critical thinking skills. They will be able to articulate their own opinions on a range of topics and offer counter criticisms to the views of others.
Students also have regular opportunities to complete examination style questions, and further develop their revision and synthesis skills.
Area of Study 1 – Religion and Ethics: Option 1B – Christianity:
Belief in God (Trinity, Salvation, Eschatology)
Matters of Life and Death (Abortion, Euthanasia, Environmental Ethics)
Marriage and the Family (Marriage, Divorce, Relationships)
Living the Christian Life (Prayer, Pilgrimage, Mission)
Area of Study 2 – Religion, Peace and Conflict: Option 2C – Islam:
Belief in Allah (Core beliefs of Sunni and Shi’a Muslims)
Crime and Punishment (Justice, Capital Punishment, Forgiveness)
Peace and Conflict (Attitudes towards conflict, Just and Holy Wars, Weapons of Mass Destruction, Pacifism)
Living the Muslim Life (The 5 Pillars of Islam, the 10 Obligatory Acts of Shi’a Islam and Celebrations)
Statutory Religious Studies
All students in Year 10 undertake one hour a week of statutory Religious Studies. The focus is on philosophical and ethical thinking, developing an enquiring mind and be able to articulate difficult concepts and apply them.
AQA: Religious Studies
Paper 1 - Philosophy of religion and ethics
Paper 2 – Option 2B Study of Christianity and dialogues
A Level Religious Studies is a highly regarded academic subject; it demands an enquiring, critical and reflective approach which equips students for a variety of careers and further education courses.
The course focuses on three components: Philosophy, Ethics and Christian Theology. Through lessons and super curricular activities, students pursue a rigorous study of the thoughts of key thinkers and the development of Christianity in the past and present. Through debate and discussion students will have the opportunity to think deeply; reflecting upon and develop their own values, opinions and attitudes. Students think critically, responding to the demands of the ultimate questions raised in the course.
Students are provided with a variety of super curricular opportunities, including ways to apply their knowledge to films and media, further reading, and lectures.
Philosophy: A study of Philosophical Arguments about the Existence of God (Design, Ontological and Cosmological Arguments,) Religious Experience, Problems of Evil and Suffering, Miracles, Life After Death and Religious Language.
Ethics: A study of Ethical Theories (Natural Moral Law Situation Ethics, Virtue Ethics, Utilitarianism) applied to selected Problems in Ethics (Abortion, Capital Punishment, Animal Ethics, Euthanasia). Ethical concepts, including: The role of Conscience, understanding of Meta-ethics, Determinism.
Theology: Christian thinking of the afterlife, God, Religious identity, Christianity and Science, Secularisation, Sexuality and Gender issues, Migration and Pluralism and Sources of wisdom and authority.
Students are encouraged to attend lectures, for example, at the Cheltenham Literature Festival. Speakers are invited into School to enrich students’ knowledge and connection with different perspectives. Trips to local places of worship are organised and festivals from different faith communities are celebrated and commemorated.