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Religious Studies (KS4)

Religious Studies GCSE gives you the chance to study the major world religions, what their followers believe, and how these beliefs affect people’s lives. It is also explores the philosophical ideas behind these beliefs, and the ethical implications of following religious rules. As such, it is the perfect GCSE for those who enjoyed Philosophy, Religion and Ethics (PRE) in Years 7-9.

You will be challenged with questions about belief, values, meaning, purpose and truth, enabling you to develop your own attitudes towards religious issues. You will also gain an appreciation of how religion, philosophy and ethics form the basis of our culture. You will develop analytical and critical thinking skills, the ability to work with abstract ideas, analytic, evaluative and research skills. All of these will help prepare you for a range of options after your GCSEs – although it is not a necessary requirement, Religious Studies GCSE is a very good way to prepare yourself for Philosophy A Level. It will also equip you for further study in many related A Level subjects including Politics, Sociology, History, English and Classical Civilisation. The GCSE is taught in two equal parts –

Component 1 - Religion

We study Buddhism and Christianity. You will learn about the founders of each religion, and the teachings on an afterlife, and the existence (or not) of God. You will read and analyse scriptures from both religions, and then look at how these teachings can applied in modern British society.

Component 2 - Philosophy and Ethics

We study Philosophy and Ethics through four topics, using beliefs from Christianity, Buddhism and Humanism.

  • The Existence of God and Revelation – philosophical arguments for and against the existence of God, the characteristics of God and knowledge of God.
  • Religion and Life – the origins and value of the universe and the origins and value of human life.  Religious teachings and beliefs about animals, the environment, abortion, euthanasia and death.
  • Religion Crime and Punishment – the causes of crime, and attitudes towards punishment.
  • Religion, Human Rights and Social Justice – Knowledge of human rights, justice, equality and freedom of expression. Attitudes towards prejudice and discrimination and wealth and poverty.

The main skills you will gain in Religious Studies GCSE include…

  • Learning about and analysing the key teachings of two religious traditions
  • Gaining an understanding of religious and non-religious attitudes towards contemporary ethical  issues
  • Critical analysis of how relevant religious beliefs and values are to these ethical issues
  • Evaluating philosophical ideas about the origin of the universe and life on earth
  • Exploring and evaluating a wide range of religious and non-religious views on the nature of society
  • Textual analysis and ability to identify different interpretations of scripture and religious writing
  • Expressing and developing your own views using reasoned arguments.

You will sit two exams at the end of Year 11, one on component 1 and one on component 2.  Each one is one hour and three quarters. You will be tested on your knowledge and understanding, and also your skills of analysis and evaluation.

Religious Studies students have often commented that this is their favourite GCSE subject. It will challenge your existing beliefs, even if you think you don’t have any, and it will provide you with new ways of thinking about the world. Lessons always include the opportunity to debate and discuss ideas, and many of the issues we discuss will have a real and lasting effect on how you live your life.

Contact the RS Department

Aldridge, Mr S Head of Philosophy, Religion & Ethics
Arrowsmith, Ms J RS Teacher (KS4)