Religious Studies

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At TWGGS, we have developed a Religious Studies curriculum which we believe gives pupils the best chance of engaging with religions and understanding their role in the world community. We present pupils with the spectrum of world faiths in the expectation that they will engage with ultimate questions of value and meaning. At the end of Key Stage 3, we would expect a TWGGS pupil to have a good knowledge of the major world religions, to understand how those religions affect people’s lifestyles (for better and for worse), and to be able to deliver sensitive but robust evaluations of those religions.  All pupils continue with Core Religious Studies throughout Key Stage 4; they also have the opportunity to study GCSE Religious Studies.

Key Stage 3 Religious Studies

Religious Studies at TWGGS makes full use of the ‘Believing’, ‘Expressing’ and ‘Living’ key questions set out in the Kent agreed Syllabus for Religious Education 2017-22. It is a major part of our aims and objectives that Religious Studies should promote tolerance, acceptance of other people’s viewpoints and understanding of other people’s culture, belief and faith.

The syllabus for Key Stage 3 is as follows: 

 

Terms 1 and 2

Terms 3 and 4

Terms 5 and 6

Year 7

Understanding Jesus*

Hinduism*

Sikhism

Stillness and Reflection

Year 8

 

The Bible*

Buddhism*

Judaism

Year 9

 

Christianity*

Islam*

Philosophy

Each of the starred modules is assessed by the TWGGS internal examination for that year. ‘Stillness and Reflection’ in Year 7 is an experiential module, the aim of which is to ‘get inside’ certain generic modes of religious or spiritual experience. Assessment also references how well pupils participate in lessons and offer feedback in their exercise books. 

As set out in the Kent agreed Syllabus for Religious Education, 2017-22, we aim principally, ‘to engage pupils in systematic enquiry into significant human questions which religions and worldviews address, so that they can develop the understanding and skills needed to appreciate and appraise varied responses to these questions, as well as develop responses of their own.’

Our teaching and learning enables pupils to:

  • Know about and understand a range of religions and world views.
  • Express ideas and insights about the nature, significance and impact of religions and worldviews.
  • Gain and deploy the skills need to engage seriously with religions and worldviews.

TWGGS runs an optional GCSE Religious Studies course in Key Stage 4, fulfilling the requirement of the Kent Agreed Syllabus that all pupils in KS3 can reasonably expect that their learning will be accredited. 

Core Religious Studies

In addition to the optional GCSE course in Religious Studies, all Key Stage 4 pupils at TWGGS take a course in Core Religious Studies, for one hour of lesson time per fortnight. Religion is a huge power in the world, and it will impact on the pupils in the course of their lives. Britain is an unusually non-religious (secularised) country, but even here, according to the most recent UK census in 2011, only 25.7% of people describe themselves as definitely having no religious affiliation (as opposed to 59.5% who self-define as Christian, 4.4% as Muslim, 1.3% as Hindus and 0.4% as Jews). Globally, religion is even more dominant. Whatever their faith, or not, pupils need to know about it. 

Core RS at TWGGS fulfils the requirement of the Kent Agreed Syllabus for Religious Education that all students in Key Stage 4 “should extend and deepen their knowledge and understanding of religions and worldviews (including non-religious worldviews), explaining local, national and global contexts.”

Over Years 10 and 11, Core RS will be delivered in five different modules of roughly six topics each:

  • What is Religion? (Autumn Year 10)
  • Religions and Conflict (Spring Year 10)
  • Medical Ethics & Sexual Behaviour (Summer Year 10)
  • Philosophy of Religion (Autumn Year 11)
  • Religion and Society (Spring & Summer Year 11)

GCSE Religious Studies

OCR specification for GCSE Religious Studies All pupils at TWGGS are offered the opportunity to study GCSE Religious Studies. The GCSE specification has been deliberately chosen to prepare pupils to play an active role in the world in which they live. It covers three areas:

  • Christianity: Beliefs, Teachings and Practices;
  • Judaism: Beliefs, Teachings and Practices; 
  • Religion, Philosophy and Ethics in the Modern World from a Christian Perspective.

 

The skills developed by the course include debating, empathising, evaluating and the production of extended writing.

Component 1

 

 

Beliefs and teachings & practices

TWO 1 hour written papers (one on each of the religions below)

63 marks available on each paper

Each paper is 25% of the GCSE

 

In the Christianity: Beliefs, Teachings and Practices module, we examine the beliefs and practices of the Christian faith. Christianity has around 2.2 billion followers, representing between a quarter and a third of the earth’s population. It is the world’s largest religion and the state religion of several countries. Culturally, Christianity is indispensable for understanding much of European history, art and literature.

 

In the Judaism: Beliefs, Teachings and Practices module, we examine the beliefs and practices of the Jewish faith. Judaism is one of the oldest of the major world religions. All the other major monotheistic religions claim descent from it. Its influence on western civilisation has been incalculable and it continues to be a major presence in current affairs.

 

Component 2

Religion philosophy and ethics in the modern world from a religious perspective

2 hour written paper

126 marks

50% of the GCSE

 

In this module, we examine such diverse subjects as war and peace, marriage and divorce, the family, atheism, philosophical arguments for God’s existence. Christianity is used as a starting point for a consideration of these issues. Pupils are not expected to agree with its perspectives, and all views are respected. A variety of perspectives are thoughtfully considered, as appropriate – perspectives such as Humanism, Individualism and occasionally, other religious traditions. By ranging across a wide variety of moral topics and considering them from a selection of different angles, pupils are encouraged to develop their analytical skills and broach a number of issues that will undoubtedly continue to pose a dilemma for society throughout their lives.

 

AS and A Level Religious Studies

OCR specification for A Level Religious Studies OCR specification for AS Level Religious Studies In Religious Studies, we examine some of the deepest questions underlying human existence.

  • Is there an ultimate intelligence behind the universe and, if so, how could we ever know?
  • Why are we here?
  • Is there such a thing as good and evil, right and wrong – or are they just human inventions, to keep people in their place?
  • If there is a God, and God is both good and all-powerful, why is there so much evil in the world?

Over the centuries, some of humankind’s greatest thinkers have suggested answers to these questions, and pupils grapple with these answers, as well as (hopefully) suggesting answers of their own.

A third of the course is devoted to an examination of Buddhism and the most enduring ideas of China, Japan, Korea and Thailand.

Religious Studies is an essay-based subject that requires the ability to argue and debate and also the ability to think for oneself. The teachers have tailor-made a textbook to the exact requirements of the specification, so that note-taking during lesson-time is reduced to a minimum and discussion can range widely. Sessions vary: there are lecture-style lessons, seminars and small-group discussions. Everyone is encouraged to take an active involvement in the lessons. The subject is valued by universities because it develops critical analysis and gives pupils the confidence to deal with the abstract.

TWGGS offers both Advanced Level and Advanced Subsidiary Level Religious Studies, although in years where insufficient pupils opt for the full A Level, only the AS will be offered. Both courses involve studying the same three units in the same proportions. The AS covers half the ground in each unit that the full A Level covers.

A Level Religious Studies Assessment Overview

Paper 1

 

 

Philosophy of Religion

2 hour written examination

120 marks

33.3% of A Level

Content Overview:

  • Ancient philosophical influences
  • The nature of the soul, mind and body
  • Arguments about the existence or non-existence of God
  • The nature and impact of religious experience
  • The challenge for religious belief of the problem of evil
  • Ideas about the nature of God
  • Issues in religious language

Paper 2

Religion and Ethics

2 hour written examination

120 marks

33.3% of A Level

Content Overview:

  • Normative ethical theories
  • The application of ethical theory to two contemporary issues of importance
  • Ethical language and thought
  • Debates surrounding the significant idea of conscience
  • Sexual ethics and the influence on ethical thought of developments in religious beliefs

Paper 3

Developments in Buddhist Thought

2 hour written examination

120 marks

33.3% of A Level

Content Overview

  • Examination of the central theological ideas of Buddhism
  • Zen and Pure Land Buddhism
  • Tibetan Buddhism
  • Schools of Japanese Buddhism
  • Nagarjuna and the significance of ‘nothingness’

AS Level Religious Studies Assessment Overview

Paper 1

 

 

Philosophy of Religion

1 hour 15 minutes written examination

60 marks

33.3% of AS Level

Content Overview:

  • Ancient philosophical influences
  • The nature of the soul, mind and body
  • Arguments about the existence or non-existence of God
  • The nature and impact of religious experience
  • The challenge for religious belief of the problem of evil

Paper 2

Religion and Ethics

1 hour 15 minutes written examination

60 marks

33.3% of AS Level

Content Overview:

  • Normative ethical theories
  • The application of ethical theory to two contemporary issues of importance

Paper 3

Developments in Buddhist Thought

1 hour 15 minutes written examination

60 marks

33.3% of AS Level

Content Overview

  • Buddhist beliefs, values and teachings
  • Sources of Buddhist wisdom and authority
  • Practices which shape and express religious identity and how these vary within a tradition
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