Religious Studies

  • Religious Studies – AQA Specification A

Our GCSE covers two religions and four contemporary ethical themes, ensuring students have a diverse choice of intriguing concepts to explore.  Students will be challenged with questions about beliefs, values, meaning, purpose and truth, enabling them to develop their own attitudes towards religious and ethical issues.  Students will also gain an appreciation of how religion, philosophy and ethics form the basis of our culture.

Students will develop analytical, evaluative and critical thinking skills, the ability to work with abstract ideas, leadership and research skills. All these skills will help prepare them for further study. This course began after Christmas of year 9.

How Will I Learn?

You will learn through a variety of tasks including a mixture of group discussion and written work.  Discussion is an important part of the lessons, as it is vital that students learn to form their own opinions about which argument is the strongest after careful consideration of the various viewpoints from religious and non-religious backgrounds.  You will also have the opportunity to form an evaluative approach to all discussions during the GCSE course.

What Skills Will I Develop?

You will develop skills in research, gathering and collating information, explaining and justifying beliefs, evaluating opinions and arguments and in presenting information and views clearly and confidently in both oral and written form.  You will also develop your own opinions about the world around you.

GCSE Religious Studies complements many subjects, such as Geography, History and Sociology.

How will I Be Assessed?  What Will I learn?

You are assessed through two written examinations; both are 1 hour and 45 minutes in duration.  You will sit these exams at the end of year 11.

Paper One (The Study of Religions: Beliefs, Teachings and Practices) is worth 50% of the GCSE and will consist of Christianity and Islam.

You will study the beliefs and teachings of Islam looking at the nature of God, Prophethood, life after death and holy books. You will also study the Practices of Islam looking at the Five Pillars, the Ten Obligatory Acts and Festivals. You will refer to scripture and/or sacred texts and study the influence of the beliefs, teachings and practices studied on individuals, communities and societies.

In Christianity, you will examine the key beliefs about the nature of God, creation, the afterlife, the life of Jesus, and sin and salvation. You will also study Christian practices looking at different forms of worship, prayer and sacraments. Also you will look at the role of Church in the local community and also helping people worldwide. Students will study the influence of the beliefs, teachings and practices studied on individuals, communities and societies.

Paper Two (Thematic Studies) is worth 50% of the GCSE and will cover the following topics:

Theme B: Religion and Life

This unit will examine abortion, euthanasia and animal experimentation, origins of the universe and the value of human life.

Theme C: The existence of God and revelation

Students will study special revelation such as visions and miracles, and general revelation. Students will also look at the Design Argument and First Cause Argument, and the challenge of science, and evil and suffering.

Theme D: Religion, peace and conflict

This unit will examine causes of war, and different religious beliefs about violence, war and pacifism. Students will also study nuclear weapons and arguments for and against them.

Theme E: Religion, Crime and Punishment

A study of different punishments (such as capital punishment, corporal punishment, prison and community service), different aims of punishment and forgiveness.  This will include the looking at different religious viewpoints about each of these topics.

Further Education/Careers Opportunities

Religious Studies equips pupils with a wide range of skills demanded in the work place.  A huge variety of careers see it as a desirable examination subject including Law, Health Service, Social Work, Civil Service, and Teaching.  This is because these are careers which involve meeting and understanding people of all cultures and faiths.  For these careers you also need to have a good understanding of social and personal issues, which this course provides you with.

Religious Studies is a vibrant, relevant and interesting subject and is open to everyone, whether of a religious persuasion or not.  One thing that is essential is an open and questioning mind!

Any Questions?   Speak to MISS E Whittock or the Religious Studies Department.