“Whether one believes in a religion or not, and whether one believes in rebirth or not, there isn’t anyone who doesn’t appreciate kindness and compassion.”

Dalai Lama

Click here for Religion, Philosophy and Ethics curriculum outline

Why do we study Religion, Philosophy and Ethics (RPE)?

High quality RPE makes a positive contribution to the learning of students. This agreed syllabus will enable students to develop their knowledge and skills through RPE in order to prepare them for life in a modern, diverse Britain and in a plural world. It is structured so that students are challenged to think rigorously and creatively, to make informed judgements and to understand that it is acceptable to have doubts and to disagree in a reasoned and sensitive way. Through this process they can examine and reflect upon a range of questions about spirituality and identity, morality, values and commitments. Living in and growing up in the world of the 21st century will challenge all students. RPE is important to help students to become literate and articulate about religions and beliefs, and to be thoughtful members of society. In learning from religion they are able to make informed choices about how they want to live their lives whilst also understanding more about the faith of other people they meet. RPE is therefore relevant to every student and every citizen of Studley High School.

RPE programme of study at Key Stage 3 (Years 7-9)

Our Key Stage 3 programme of study is designed to encourage learners to be inspired by following a broad, coherent and worthwhile course of study. It will prepare learners to make informed decisions about further learning opportunities and career choices and to use language to participate effectively and sensitively in society and employment. Our Key Stage 3 RPE curriculum covers Years 7, 8 and 9 with students studying both world religions and an introduction to Philosophy.

Our Key Stage 3 units of study are grouped together under a key heading for each term in order to encourage deeper thinking and an understanding of how RPE lessons fit in with a broader educational framework. This also allows our students to make connections between their different units.

During Years 7 and 8 we will focus on the importance of studying RPE and then move on to understanding the core principles from Islam, Buddhism, Sikhism, Hinduism and Christianity. Throughout Year 9 the curriculum creates a more Philosophy based platform using the previous two years as a foundation. This focus on Philosophy creates a strong academic link between Key Stage 3 and Key Stage 4.

RPE programme of study at Key Stage 4 (Years 10-11)

Students begin more in-depth studying for their GCSE in RPE in Year 10. This enables learners to revisit topics over the 2 years and to secure their understanding and use of key skills.Β 

The GCSE is split into the following areas:

  • Thematic Studies (Philosophy and Ethics)
  • Christianity (Beliefs, Teachings and Practices)
  • Judaism (Beliefs, Teachings and Practices)

All assessments are exam based, with no coursework or controlled assessments to complete:

  • Thematic Studies (Philosophy and Ethics): 1 x 1 hour 45 minute exam (50%)
  • Christianity and Judaism (Beliefs, Teachings and Practices): 1 x 1 hour 45 minute exam (50%)

Where students do not select RPE as one of their GCSE Options, students have the opportunity toΒ meet the statutory requirements for studying Religious Education at Key Stage 4 through targeted lessons in our SPE programme where key content is covered.Β Β Our assembly and tutor time sessions also incorporate opportunities to explore this content in further detail.

Homework expectations

Homework is an important aspect of the RPE curriculum. Not only does it offer the opportunity for students to consolidate their learning within lessons, it also offers a chance for them to enhance their understanding of key topics found within the curriculum. At Key Stage 3, students are expected to complete one piece of homework every three weeks and spend between 20-30 minutes on this piece. At Key Stage 4, students are expected to complete one piece of homework every two weeks and spend at least 30 minutes on it.

How can parents and guardians support at home?

As well as monitoring homework and supporting independent reading and research, there are a range of ways in which parents and guardians can help to support their child with developing their RPE skills. Students cannot take any resources into the exam at GCSE, so unless they know a range of relevant quotations or sources of wisdom and authority, they are not going to achieve the higher marks. Teachers will incorporate effective revision strategies into their teaching, but we are always grateful for the support offered at home to reinforce these techniques.

Some other techniques that might help students when preparing revision materials are:

  • Using images (not works of art, just simple sketches) to connect key quotations together.Β  Such images can really help some students to remember content;
  • Using colour – this will often help students to remember different concepts as well as the different sections in the exam;
  • A different mind map for the different themes;
  • Identifying and recording a wide range of short quotations and sources of wisdom and authority – this will help make them easy to remember;
  • Encourage your son/daughter to keep up to date with news, locally and internationally;
  • Ensure your son/daughter has prepared revision cards;
  • Help with short spelling tests of key words identified at the start of every Theme and every lesson;
  • Useful websites for revision:

https://www.bbc.co.uk/bitesize/subjects/zb48q6f

https://www.aqa.org.uk/subjects/religious-studies/gcse/religious-studies-a-8062

Extra-curricular opportunities

We pride ourselves on providing a range of excellent opportunities outside of the classroom. As well as helping to consolidate students’ understanding of the themes studied, these experiences help to develop an interest and true appreciation in what our subject has to offer. An example of these extra-curricular activities would be one of our trips to a place of worship where we get to witness how religions are celebrated. These are vital for students to understand that what we study is lived and not just stories kept within the pages of a textbook.