Religious Education

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. 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

Key Stage 3

Religious Education (1)

Key Stage 3 pupils study RE for 3 hours a fortnight and look at all six of the main world religions as well as exploring religious concepts and moral issues.

Year 7 – Key Question: What is religion?

  • What is religion?
  • Wealth, poverty and charity
  • Islam
  • Christianity: Jesus
  • Judaism
  • Inspirational figures

Year 8 – Key Question: What issues face religion in the modern world?

  • Issues facing world religions: Introductory Lesson
  • Hinduism
  • Development of western religion
  • Sikhism
  • Buddhism
  • Rites of passage
Year 9 – Key Question: What issues face humanity in the modern world?
  • Morality and Ethics: Capital Punishment, Abortion, Euthanasia
  • Prejudice and Discrimination
  • Introduction to Philosophy
  • Introduction to Humanism
  • War and Conflict

Skills and Knowledge Checklist

Key Stage 4

Religious Education (2)

If students opt to take Religious Studies at GCSE then they follow the Edexcel specification studying Unit 1 and Unit 8 for five hours a fortnight over two years.

Unit 1: Religion and Life based upon the study of Christianity and Islam

  • Believing in God
  • Matters of Life and Death
  • Marriage and Family
  • Community Cohesion

Unit 8: Religion and Society based upon the study of Christianity and Islam

  • Rights and responsibilities
  • Environmental and medical issues
  • Peace and Conflict
  • Crime and punishment

Religious Education (3)The course is 100% exam with each unit being examined through a one and a half hour exam at the end of year 11.

The specification aims to enable students to:

  • adopt an enquiring, critical and reflective approach to the study of religion
  • explore religions and beliefs, reflect on fundamental questions, and engage with them intellectually and respond personally
  • enhance their spiritual and moral development, and contribute to their health and wellbeing
  • enhance their personal, social and cultural development, their understanding of different cultures locally, nationally and in the wider world, and contribute to social and community cohesion
  • develop their interest in, and enthusiasm for, the study of religion, and relate it to the wider world reflect on and develop their own values, opinions and attitudes in light of their learning.

Similarly to studying at Key Stage 3, students 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.

Key Stage 5

The A Level course is challenging, stimulating and thought-provoking and of interest to anyone who wonders about the nature and meaning of life.  A range of topics are studied within the three modules of Philosophy and Religion, Religion and Ethics and Developments in Christian Thought. The course gives insight into how Philosophers, Scholars and Religions have responded to ultimate questions about the universe, issues of life and death, values and relationships, right and wrong, and examines how these have influenced the culture, thought and values of western society.

Religious Studies A Level is an inclusive subject, designed for students of any faith or no faith.  It is not necessary to have taken Religious Studies GCSE, although the A Level builds on some of this knowledge, understanding and skills. What is more important is a desire to examine and evaluate fundamental questions of human existence. However, all assessments and final examinations are essay based and so a good level of English Language is required.

Each module is examined separately and is worth 33.3% of the final mark

Year 1 Religious Studies Philosophy of Religion:

  • Ancient philosophical influences e.g. Plato and Aristotle
  • The nature of soul, mind and body
  • Arguments for and against the existence of God
  • Nature and impact of religious experience
  • The problem of evil

Year 2 Religious Studies Philosophy of Religion:

  • Ideas about the nature of God
  • Issues in Religious language

Year 1 Religion and Ethics:

  • Ethical theories
  • Application of ethical theories to two contemporary issues

Year 2 Religion and Ethics:

  • Ethical language and thought
  • The idea of the conscience
  • Sexual ethics and influence on ethical and religious thought

Year 1 Developments in Religious Thought in Christianity:

  • Development of Religious beliefs, values and teaching
  • Sources of Wisdom and Authority
  • Practices which shape and express Religious identity

Year 2 Developments in Religious Thought in Christianity:

  • Social and historical developments in theology and religious thought
  • Key themes in the relationship between religion and society

Extra-curricular opportunities include:

  • participation in a nationally recognised Philosophy and Ethics revision conference
  • two students each year become ambassadors for Holocaust Education following a subsidised visit to Auschwitz Concentration Camp in Poland
  • opportunity to participate in a Social Sciences extended visit to Poland including Auschwitz Concentration camp.

Religious Studies at A Level is relevant to the study of virtually any subject. Universities and Colleges recognise the rigour of the OCR course which encourages clarity of thought and argument. The skills and attitudes it promotes are useful for many professions such as the Media and Politics; Social and Personnel work; Medicine; Teaching and the Law. It is also of value in itself as it encourages clear and logical thinking through stimulating topics relevant to modern life. Students are encouraged to express their ideas, engage in debate and present well-reasoned arguments.

Year 13 Student Quotes

“Lessons are really fun and we get to look at really interesting and different topics.”

 “The teachers really know their stuff and are always willing to help.”

“The lessons stretch you and make you think about things differently.”

Course Teachers 2016/17

Mrs J Penney

Mrs P Joyce


Student Quotes

“Lessons are really fun and we get to look at really interesting and different topics”

Year 9 Student

 “The teachers really know there stuff and are always willing to help.”

Year 13 Student

Useful Links

Exam Boards

Department Team

Head of Department:

  • Mr C Wheeler

Departmental Staff:

  • Mrs S Ingman
  • Miss J Hyland
  • Mrs P Joyce
  • Mrs J Penney