Religious Studies

Our aim is to develop enquiring minds and confidence in reasoning and understanding.

What will your child learn in our subject?

Students follow the locally agreed syllabus for Religious studies in Year 7 and 8. They then begin the full course GCSE in Religious Studies. At GCSE they can also choose GCSE Citizenship Studies as an additional subject. An A Level in Religious Studies is also available.

Key Stage 3 & 4 



Units to be studied

Year 7

Introduction Unit –Do beliefs affect actions?

Buddhism—Does anything good come out of suffering?

Christianity Module 1—How can something so old still be relevant today?

Year 8

Judaism—A chosen or persecuted people?

Christianity Module 2—Does a life without hope have any meaning?

Islam—What does it mean to be Muslim?

Year 9

Christian teachings

Christian practices

Buddhist Teachings

Year 10

Buddhist practices

Relationships and families

Religion, peace and conflict

Year 11

Religious attitudes towards matters of death

Religious attitudes towards crime and punishment

Religious attitudes towards world poverty


Year 9 and 10 are following the new AQA GCSE full course specification for Religious Studies. Year 11 are following the old specification from AQA for the GCSE full course Religious Studies. These involve two exams at the end of the course in Year 11. There is no coursework or controlled assessment.

Students who opt to take the additional GCSE in Citizenship Studies have to complete two controlled assessments that are worth 60% of their grade. They also sit two one hour exams. Both exams cover content from the whole course but the types of questions are different. They are completing the old AQA GCSE in Citizenship Studies.

Key Stage 5


A Level

Year 1

Ethical theories and applied ethics


Religion  - Christianity

A Level

Year 2

Moral decision making

Philosophy of religion

GCSE Citizenship

Community action and active citizenship

Being a citizen in the UK: democracy and identity

Fairness and justice

Global issues and making a difference


Year one students are completing the new AQA A Level specification for Religious Studies. This will involve two exam papers; a two-hour paper on philosophy and ethics and a one-hour paper on Christianity. There is no coursework or controlled assessment.

Year two students are completing the old AQA A Level specification for Religious Studies. They will sit two exams; a philosophy of religion exam and a moral decision making exam. There is no coursework or controlled assessment.

How this subject promotes British Values:

Below are some of the ways we promote British values. If you wish to see the department's full SMSC (including British Values) documentation please ask.


Enable students to develop their self-knowledge, self-esteem and self-confidence

Encourage respect for democracy and support for participation in the democratic processes, including respect for the basis on which the law is made and applied in England.

Learning about the electoral systems (GCSE Citizenship studies)

Unit on making a different (GCSE Citizenship Studies)

Units on understanding the criminal justice system (Part of the GCSE in Citizenship Studies and in GCSE Religious Studies)

Also in GCSE Religious Studies students examine changes in law, such as the abolition of the slave trade and how what government in power can impact what happens in this country.

Students throughout RS and Citizenship at all key stages (3, 4 and 5) learn about a range of people from different cultures and places around the world. Students are encouraged to think about how a person’s faith can be part of cultures and be an opportunity for celebration, reflection and remembrance

Students across all key stages complete a lot of oral work in lessons, They are encouraged to give their opinion on ethical and moral issues and how society is changing and adapting.  

We also use Philosophy for Children (P4C) to encourage students to discuss and develop their understanding of society. The head of department has completed the level one training to lead this. P4C allows students opinions to be shared in a controlled way.

The rule of law

Enable students to distinguish right from wrong and to respect the civil and criminal law of England.

Students complete units of Rights and responsibilities of students the citizen and the law and the criminal justice system as part of the GCSE in Citizenship Studies. They have completed tasks where they think about what society would be like with no laws and which they consider to be the most important.

In GCSE Religious Studies students complete a unit on Crime and punishment which also asks students to question our laws and whether they should be changed. As part of this unit students also learn about young offenders and the consequences for their actions.

In the religion and work unit students also look at the laws regarding employment including what employees expect from employers and what employers expect from employees and the legal framework that employees/employers must operate within.

In the human rights unit they look at Human rights legislation, laws for the protection of others, equality laws and laws against discrimination.  They also look at key people who have been involved in change sin law such as William Wilberforce.

In the A Level students study key religious laws, such as the 10 commandments, and look at how these are part of our laws in England. They discuss whether Church and state should be so close in our country and how, if this changed, our society might be different.

Individual Liberty

Enable students to develop their self-knowledge, self-esteem and self-confidence

Encourage students to accept responsibility for their behaviour, show initiative and to understand how they can contribute positively to the lives of those living and working in the locality of the school and to society more widely.

In GCSE Citizenship Studies students complete a unit on making a difference. This looks at taking part in democratic processes, community involvement and being an effective active citizen.

Students complete two pieces of controlled assessment where they first advocate a cause of their choice and then secondly complete an active citizenship task to raise money for the cause.  This encourages independence but also team work as they are group projects. Completing presentations to advocate their cause and organising and then completing some active citizenship boosts their confidence and self-esteem.

In GCSE Religious Studies students complete a range of units designed to help them make informed decisions about their own lives, including relationships, their future career and their view of Britain as a multicultural society. Students are encouraged to move away from stereotypes and embrace new ideas and customs.

Students in all key stages are encouraged to think and discuss their opinions. Philosophy for Children is used to do this as well as teacher led discussions.

Students often get the opportunity to pick tasks, making them independently making choices on what work to complete.  We find this allows students the freedom to express their own personality and to allow students to learn in the best way for them as an individual. This in turn aids engagement especially with more challenging students.

Mutual Respect

Encourage students to acquire a broad knowledge of and respect for public institutions and services in England.

Encourage respect for other people

In the GCSE Citizenship Studies there is a whole unit on understanding diversity. This looks at British identity, understanding diversity and opportunities and barriers in the UK for diversity.

Students work in teams to complete their controlled assessments, advocating and then doing something for a cause of their choice. This demands that they show respect to those in their groups but also the choices of the other groups in the class and give each other positive and constructive feedback. They advocate by giving presentations. These have been to year groups, in staff meetings and to visitors.

In GCSE Religious Studies students complete a unit on rights and responsibilities of the British Citizen in which they look at human rights and the importance of respect. Clear expectations are set down for students in relation to giving their views and to think about others in the room and respect their beliefs.

In Key stage three units often tackle questions that relate to respect. For example in year 8 there is a Jewish unit on the covenant. The first lesson focusses on promise keeping and relationships people have.

Class discussions in all key stages also encourage students to respect all aspects of our society.

Tolerance of those with different faiths and beliefs

Further tolerance and harmony between different cultural traditions by enabling students to acquire appreciation of and respect for their own and other cultures and beliefs.

In GCSE Citizenship Studies students complete units on understanding diversity and the effects diversity can have on community life. They also do a unit on the media in which we tackle how religious groups have been portrayed. Students also look at cases when tolerance has not been encouraged; NAZI Germany, The genocide in Rwanda and the Israel/Palestinian conflict are all part of the course and case studies chosen by the head of department.

Throughout Key Stage 3, 4 and 5 Religious Studies tolerance of different beliefs is embedded into everything we do. We study a range of religions (Christianity, Buddhism, Judaism and Islam in KS3, currently Christianity, Islam, Hinduism and Buddhism in GCSE and all of the 6 world religions at KS5).

At GCSE units also look at religion in a multicultural society which includes looking at festivals, the integration of different religions and what faith communities we have on the Isle of Wight.

A massive range of resources have been collected by the department from the 6 world religions and are available to students. We also encourage students to bring things in if they wish to show students items that are part of their faith.


Contact details:

Head of Faculty Humanities: Miss Beth Feltham