Mrs A Meredith
Welcome to the Religious Studies department website.
In Religious Studies, students enter into a rich discourse about the religious and non-religious traditions that have shaped Great Britain and the world, enabling them to take their place within a diverse multi-religious and multi-secular society. Religious Studies at WGHS is intellectually challenging and personally enriching. It affords students both the opportunity to see the religion and non-religion in the world, and the opportunity to make sense of their own place in that world.
All pupils take Religious Studies in years 7-9 and are taught in form groups. Many Year 10 and 11 pupils opt to study the subject at GCSE. Religious Studies is also a very popular subject at A-Level.
The aim of studying Religious Studies is to equip students with the knowledge and skills necessary to allowing an academic and critical exploration of key beliefs, practices and sources of authority across the six major World Religions. We explore the influence of such on individuals, communities and societies, and consider similarities and differences within and/or between religions and beliefs.
Key Stage 3:
In Year 7 we begin with an exploration of religion, philosophy and ethics. We consider the nature of ultimate questions and epistemology as a means of understanding both why and how we can effectively and appropriately study this subject. Students consider what it means to hold a worldview, including identifying their own worldview, and how such can impact on the way people might choose to live, or how we respond to different ethical issues.
During Year 7 we also focus specifically on the beliefs and practices in Christianity and Sikhism. Students are assessed according to the GCSE style of questioning and skill-base that is required at KS4. This is to advance the development of these necessary skills in preparation for GCSE study, and therefore encourage greater levels of attainment throughout KS4.
In Year 8 we look at the core beliefs and practices of Judaism, Hinduism and Buddhism. Students are assessed according to the GCSE style of questioning and skill-base that is required at KS4. This is to advance the development of these necessary skills in preparation for GCSE study, and therefore encourage greater levels of attainment throughout KS4.
In Year 9, pupils conclude their study of the World Religions, moving on to the key beliefs and practices within Islam. Pupils will be able to describe, explain and evaluate a range of religious concepts, including the nature of God, and the significance of religious rituals and how they are informed by beliefs. They will be able to interpret and apply religious scripture and other sources of wisdom, recognise and explain differences within and across religions, and describe and justify the influence of religions on how believers live today. Students will also study Philosophy, Theology and Ethics (with taster links to the Religious Studies A-Level syllabus), and end KS3 with a thematic topic that allows them to recall and apply their learning across the six World Religions to issues relating to social justice and human rights.
Key Stage 4:
In Year 10 we study the AQA A Religious Studies GCSE, and there is greater emphasis on the development of examination skills, as well as the need for students to learn a variety of relevant and applicable scripture and sacred writings.
In Year 11 we complete the AQA A Religious Studies GCSE, and ensure that necessary examination skills are fully embedded. There is far greater emphasis on assessment under examination conditions in both the formative and summative assessments.
We follow the AQA Specification A (Christianity, Buddhism and philosophical and ethical themes).
During this course we look at a range of topics from the perspectives of Christianity at least one other world religion.
Philosophical and ethical issues is always an extremely popular part of the course and lively discussions often ensure! We also relate the issues raised to contemporary films where relevant in order to reinforce our studies. Issues studied include medical ethics (abortion and euthanasia), families and gender equality, crime and punishment, and arguments for and against the existence of God. Pupils are encouraged to keep abreast of these issues and to take an interest in the world situation.
Key Stage 5:
Religious Studies continues to be very popular choice in Years 12 and 13, and several students who complete the full A-Level extend their studies at degree level. We follow the OCR A-Level Religious Studies Course.
The aim of studying Religious Studies is to allow students to explore many of the most important questions of human existence, and trying to find truthful, or at least reasonable, answers to such questions is an extremely valuable quest. The philosophy of religion looks at all kinds of aspects of religious belief and practice, through a philosophical lens. Ethics are often linked to things we believe in, whether that means religious ideas or philosophical principles. To study theology is to attempt to look at religion from the inside, using the methods, the language and the view of the world from the insider’s perspective. It explores the doctrines, dogmas and teachings that Christians live by.
We explore a variety of topics taken from across the three A-Level components – philosophy of religion, religious ethics and theology – and apply this learning in the required essay format, developing the ability to retell, explain and critically discuss the views, ideas and practices of others.
Core Religious Education (RE) for 14-19
Religious Education is a statutory requirement for all students, and our 14-19 RE provision aims to broaden and enhance the curriculum by giving students the opportunity to consider a wide range of religious, philosophical, psychological, sociological and ethical issues and to develop their own codes of belief. At WGHS,RE is taught through the PSHCE programme, assemblies and extra-curricular activities, including our student-led RE Working Group that delivers explicit RE content aimed at promoting and celebrating different faiths and festivals to all students via assemblies, form time activities and school displays.