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Religious Studies

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Religious Studies aims to develop students as successful learners, confident individuals and responsible citizens. The Religious Studies curriculum emphasises the importance of key concepts and promotes the development of personal, learning and thinking skills.

The purpose of Religious Studies is to support students in developing their own values and principles and support their spiritual, moral, social and cultural development. A further purpose of Religious Studies is to foster mutual understanding between students of differing religious and cultural backgrounds.

Key Stage 3

KS3 Religious Studies at Bitterne Park School follows the Locally Agreed Syllabus “Living Difference”. This Agreed Syllabus is based upon understanding and responding to the key concepts within the major religious traditions and non-religious beliefs represented in Great Britain.

Religious Studies uses a cycle of enquiry which develops student’s skills at each stage of the process.


  • Reflect on their own experience of, and responses to, the concept.
  • Respond to others’ ideas and situations.
  • Recognise human experience which may be different to their own.


  • Express how their responses to the concept may be applied in specific situations.
  • Identify the issues raised in applying their responses to specific situations.
  • Recognise some of the difficulties or problems involved in developing a coherent set of beliefs and values.


  • Recognise the complexity of concepts.
  • Frame questions (problematising the concept).
  • Define and analyse concepts by forming criteria.
  • Construct explanations.
  • Give good reasons and distinguish good from bad reasons.
  • Construct inferences (if … then …).


  • Explore the interpretation of concepts.
  • Recognise that differing religious, social and cultural contexts influence interpretations and raise sometimes controversial issues that demand further engagement.
  • Express and communicate their understanding of why context influences interpretation of a concept.
  • Build capacity to compare different interpretations of concepts by giving examples.


  • Show sensitivity to the interpretations of the concept in the context.
  • Form an evaluative judgement about the significance of the concept within the given context and without.
  • Discern and clarify the reasons behind different judgements, including their own and those of others.
  • Recognise specific characteristics which make a difference in forming a judgement.
  • Express the value the concept has beyond the context.

The students are taught Religious Studies through Geography and History, three weeks every term from each subject will be given to deliver Religious Studies to years 7, 8 and 9.

Topics studied throughout KS3:

Year 7

YEAR 7 – RS is taught during ETT in conjunction with SMSC & PSHE


Seeing Things Differently: Introduction to Religion

Faith in Action Charity


Wonders of Creation


Freedom & Law Judaism

Year 8

YEAR 8 – RS is taught at the end of each term in Geography & History


Geography – An Idiots Guide to Religion: The 6 Major religions

History – Nature of God: Christianity, Islam & Hinduism


Geography – Religion and Media

History – Worship: Places and Types


Geography – New Religions: Alternative religions (Rastafarianism, Paganism & New Religious Movements)

History – War and Peace: Christianity & Islam

Year 9



  • What is Philosophy?
  • What is Reality?
  • Is it possible to be both Good & Evil?
  • Why must people suffer?
  • Does God exist?


  • What are Ethics?
  • What is meant by the Sanctity of life?
  • When does life begin? – Should abortion laws change?
  • What is euthanasia?
  • Should Capital Punishment be allowed?
  • Do animals have rights?


Suffering & The Holocaust

  • What is meant by the term suffering?
  • What was the Holocaust?
  • Who were the victims & perpetrators?
  • What was Anne Franks’ life like?
  • Why should the Holocaust be remembered?
  • How can we remember important events?

Religion in Society

  • The changes and development of religion over time
  • How important is religion to society?
  • How has religion changed society?
  • Is Islam misrepresented?


Civil Rights

  • Protest & Inspirational People

Resurrection Vs Reincarnation

  • What happens when we die?

Religious Studies is taught to students to help develop their social skills and prepare them for the future when they will meet people with different religious and cultural backgrounds.

Key stage 4

Students can opt to continue Religious Studies for GCSE. It is one of the fastest growing subjects for GCSE. This is partly because it is compatible with, and has a similar skills base to, subjects such as English, History, and Citizenship. It is also a subject that links well with Sociology, Philosophy, Archaeology, History of Art and Government and Politics at 6th Form.

This course encourages students to:

  • Develop their interest in a study of religion and its relation to the wider world
  • Adopt an enquiring, critical and reflective approach to the study of religion
  • Reflect on and develop their own values, opinions and attitudes.

The topics studied include:

Philosophy 1

  • Belief about Deity
  • Religious and Spiritual Experience
  • The End of Life

Ethics 1

  • Relationships
  • Medical Ethics
  • Poverty and Wealth

Philosophy 2

  • Good and Evil
  • Religion, Reason and Revelation
  • Religion and Science

Ethics 2

  • Religion, Peace and Justice
  • Religion and Equality
  • Religion and the Media

This course will be adapted to the new 2016 specification once the exam board have their specification approved.

Key Stage 5

There is currently no KS5 course running although we are able to offer AS & A2 Philosophy and Ethics. The course is split into two units.

Philosophy of Religion:

  • Ancient Greek influences on philosophy of religion (Plato & Aristotle)
  • Judaeo-Christian influences on philosophy of religion
  • Traditional arguments for the existence of God.
  • Challenges to religious belief

Religious Ethics:

  • Ethical Theories.
  • Applied ethics topics such as: Abortion, Euthanasia, Genetic Engineering and War

In September 2016 the course will be adapted to suit the new specifications. The changes will include both Philosophy of Religion and Religious Ethics but will have an additional unit based on developments in religious thought. In this unit students will have the opportunity to focus on one religion from Christianity, Islam, Judaism, Buddhism or Hinduism.

Trips & Extra Curricular Activities

  • Every year we run a Spirited Arts programme for KS3 students who can create a piece of artwork based on a theme provided and this will be entered into a National Competition.
  • Students have the opportunity to visit various places of worship within Southampton. In the past we have visited Abu Bakr Mosque, St Mary’s Church, Singh Sabha Gurdwara and the Thekchen Buddhist Centre.
  • In addition we have also visted Neesdan Hindu Temple in London.
  • We regularly hold charity events for example the Christmas Shoebox Appeal.
  • We have also hosted a collaborative project with Upper Shirley High in which Gifted and Talented students from both schools worked together to research and present a speech on the importance of Religious Studies on the curriculum.
  • Last year a selection of Gifted and Talented year 9 students planned and delivered an assembly about the Holocaust to help promote Holocaust Memorial Day.
  • Every year we hold a debate for our excelptional RS students based around the issue of Religion in the media, this event involves guest speakers from various faith backgrounds coming into school for a question time event in preparation for the big debate.
  • At KS4 students are able to visit different places of worship and we have guest speakers representing different faith groups.


Miss S Underwood (Head of SMSC)