Religious Education

Religious Education/Studies

The Religious Education Department promotes an open, critical and sympathetic study of religion. Students explore the nature of human experience and are encouraged to mature in relation to their own patterns of belief and behaviour. In RE lessons at Helsby, pupils are encouraged to explore religious beliefs, practices and values through a variety of learning styles. The purpose of this is to assist their development spiritually, morally, socially and culturally. We encourage an academic awareness of modern Britain and empathy towards diversity.

We believe this helps them to:

• Formulate their own sense of purpose in life
• Recognise the ways in which religions have given their adherents a sense of purpose and community
• Understand the religious beliefs of others
• Develop their own beliefs, values and ideals in light of their learning
• Relate their beliefs, values and ideals to their actions and their relationships with others
• Appreciate what is involved in both individual and corporate responsibility
• Develop respect for other people, their beliefs and lifestyles

Religious Education at KS3

Subject Content

Students at Key Stage 3 study RE for 3 hours a fortnight covering the following topics:


Students will be assessed through a key term spelling test and a longer answer written test.

Religious Studies at KS4 (Core & GCSE)

If students opt to take Religious Studies at KS4, students will study beliefs and issues relating to Christianity and Judaism. They will learn through discussion, debates, group work, video clips, articles from the media and music. As well as developing skills in evaluation, analysis, interpretation and communication, students also develop their writing skills through the frequent practise of answering exam style questions.

Subject Content

Students who opt to take Religious Studies for GCSE will follow the Edexcel (9-1) Religious Studies B: Beliefs in Action specification covering the following topics:

Area of Study 1: Religion and Ethics Christianity (50% of GCSE) Area of Study 2: Religion, Peace and Conflict Judaism (50% of GCSE)
Ø  Christian Beliefs

Ø  Marriage and Family

Ø  Living the Christian Life

Ø  Matters of Life and Death

Ø  Jewish Beliefs

Ø  Crime and Punishment

Ø  Living the Jewish Life

Ø  Peace and Conflict


Students’ progress will be assessed throughout the two years through key term tests and end of unit topic tests as well as during whole school Pre-Public Examinations.

Students are assessed based on the following assessment objectives:

AO1 Demonstrate knowledge and understanding of religion and belief,


● Beliefs, practices and sources of authority

● Influence on individuals, communities and societies

● Similarities and differences within and/or between religions and


AO2 Analyse and evaluate aspects of religion and belief, including their

significance and influence.

Student sit two written examinations at the end of year 11 as follows:

Paper 1: Religion and Ethics: Christianity
It is worth 50% of the GCSE. This is a written paper, has a total of 102 marks & will last for 1hr45mins.

Paper 2: Religion, Peace and Conflict: Judaism
It is worth 50% of the GCSE. This is a written paper, has a total of 102 marks & will last for 1hr45mins.

Both papers consist of short open response questions as well as extended writing questions that also carry marks for spelling, punctuation and grammar (SPaG)

Useful Links

Edexcel specification and resources:

Religious Studies at KS5

Religious Studies A-Level will encourage learners to: develop their interest in a rigorous study of religion and belief and relate it to the wider world, develop knowledge and understanding appropriate to a specialist study of religion, develop an understanding and appreciation of religious thought and its contribution to individuals, communities and societies, adopt an enquiring, critical and reflective, approach to the study of religion, reflect on and develop their own values, opinions and attitudes in the light of their study.

Subject Content

We follow the OCR A-Level specification for Religious Studies studying the following topics:

Philosophy of religion Religion and ethics Development in Christian thought
Ø  Ancient philosophical influences

Ø  The nature of the soul, mind and body

Ø  Arguments about the existence or non-existence

of God

Ø  The nature and impact of religious experience

Ø  The challenge for religious belief of the problem of evil

Ø  Ideas about the nature of God

Ø  Issues in religious language.

Ø  Religious normative ethical theories (Situation ethics, Natural Law and Euthanasia)

Ø  Secular normative ethical theories (Utilitarianism, Kant and Business ethics)

Ø  Meta-ethics

Ø  Conscience

Ø  Sexual ethics and the influence on ethical thought of developments in religious beliefs.

Ø  Religious pluralism and theology

Ø  Religious pluralism and society

Ø  Gender and society

Ø  Gender and theology

Ø  Secularism

Ø  Liberation theology and Marx

Ø  Human nature

Ø  Death and the afterlife

Ø  Knowledge of God’s existence

Ø  Who was Jesus?

Ø  Christian Moral Principles

Ø  Christian moral actions


Students are assessed based upon the following objectives

AO1: 40% Demonstrate knowledge and understanding of religion and belief, including: • religious, philosophical and/or ethical thought and teaching • influence of beliefs, teachings and practices on individuals, communities and societies • cause and significance of similarities and differences in belief, teaching and practice • approaches to the study of religion and belief.
AO2: 60% Analyse and evaluate aspects of, and approaches to, religion and belief, including their significance, influence and study.

Students sit three exams at the end of the second year with each lasting 2 hours and carrying equal weighting:

• Philosophy and Religion
• Religion and ethics
• Developments in religious thought: Christianity

Next Steps

Religious Studies (Philosophy and Ethics) is a highly regarded subject by universities and the analytical skills developed through the subject is attractive to employers. The subject can be useful for many careers such as politics, marketing, advertising, PR, journalism, law or teaching.

Student Quotes

“Teachers are helpful and knowledgeable”
“My skills in questioning and evaluation have improved lots with this course”
“It is really interesting to find out about how different people view religion and the world”
“It really makes you think”

Useful Links

OCR specification:
Supporting material:

Department staff

Departmental Leader

Mr C Wheeler

Deputy Departmental Leader

Mrs P Joyce

Departmental teaching team

Mr C Wheeler
Mrs P Joyce
Mrs S Ingman
Mrs N Barrett
Miss S Corlett

Mr C Wheeler
Mrs P Joyce
Mrs S Ingman
Miss S Corlett

Mrs P Joyce
Mrs J Penney
Miss S Corlett