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Religious Studies

Welcome to Religious Studies and Philosophy & Ethics

The RS department is a vibrant, friendly, talented and enthusiastic place to be. Students achieve excellent results and have the opportunity to investigate spiritual, moral, social and cultural aspects of life. We encourage our students to broaden their mind and embrace the world in which they live, of which they are a significant part!

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In Religious Studies we strive to equip learners with the skills and knowledge needed to be global citizens in line with our school mission statement: 'Learning to Shape the Future'.

Our curriculum is based on enquiry questions that challenge learners to draw on prior knowledge, to consider different viewpoints and to form their own rigorous conclusions.

The Religious Studies curriculum is dedicated to helping learners connect with the world around them, aiming to develop and deepen knowledge and understanding of all six major world faiths, as well as humanist views. We aim to equip all students with the ability to think for themselves as they study philosophical, theological and social issues. To be open minded to other points of view and to identify and challenge misconceptions and prejudice. To listen to each other and not be afraid of making their own voice heard, justifying their viewpoint with reasoned consideration. We aim to encourage learners to be critical thinkers and develop their literacy ability in order to debate controversial issues in a manner of respect for humanity. We want students to be inspired by Religious Studies, motivated to make a positive difference in the lives of those around them. Religious Studies aims to give our learners confidence to be courageous defenders for those who suffer injustice and discrimination. We expect all learners to aim high and progress to be the best they can be, both academically, improving their literacy skills and personally through a sense of belonging, regardless of where they are starting from.  Religious Studies offers the cultural capital that will enable learners to continue to be hard working, empathic, appreciative, responsible young adults who are well placed to leave the school and make a positive contribution to our diverse society in the 21st century.

Our curriculum prepares learners for the future with a wide range of topics. We ensure that all learners build a strong geographical foundation through acquisition of skills and knowledge. In line with the whole school curriculum in Religious Studies the continuum can lead some learners to choose RS, Philosophy & Ethics at GCSE & A Level.

Our Curriculum & Extra curricular engage activities enables learner to develop the following,

  • Personal growth – developing compassion and empathy
  • Stewardship – caring for all creation
  • Respect – showing tolerance of others beliefs, opinions and cultures
  • Asking Big Questions – communicating effectively and listening to others
  • Morality – understanding right from wrong, accepting rules and boundaries
  • Courageous Advocacy – challenging injustice by standing up for the rights of others and values and to develop positive attitudes of respect towards other people;
  • Enrichment - enhancing their spiritual, moral, social and cultural development. Volunteering in the local and Global community.  Supporting charity work and campaigning for change across the globe to create a fairer society that champions equality and justice.

Key Stage 3

Throughout KS3, learners learn about and learn from the six main world religions. They embark on spiritual, moral, emotional and cultural enquiry, evaluating the impact of faith and beliefs in the 21st century.  The course includes religious viewpoints as well as views from Atheism, Science and Humanism.

Further details: Key Stage 3

Key Stage 4

For learners who do not opt for the GCSE course, they will have one hour lesson of RS per two week timetable. Learners cover the following topics:

  • Believing in God
  • Matters of Life & Death
  • Medical Ethics
  • Crime & Punishment
  • Community Cohesion

Those who opt for the GCSE course, in addition to core, will follow the OCR Religious Studies GCSE Specification; the units at KS3 intend to build an understanding from which they can build on throughout the two year GCSE course.

Further details: Key Stage 4

Key Stage 5

Learners follow the EDEXCEL Religious Studies, Philosophy & Ethics A Level Specification, building on knowledge and understanding from KS3 and KS4. The course takes learners through a wide range of ethical & philosophical issues, developing skills which many find useful in future careers and university subject choices. The assessment is all examination and no coursework.

Further details: Key Stage 5


There are many opportunities for learners to engage in spiritual, moral and cultural activities beyond the classroom.

  • Oxfam Youth Group
  • Send my Friend to School Campaign, including visits to parliament
  • Possible visits to Rome & Amsterdam
  • Local volunteering opportunities within our local community

Department Staff & Responsibilities

  • Mrs K Smale - Head of Department
  • Miss E Summers- 2nd in Department
  • Mrs R Benson
  • Mrs J Dey
  • Mrs A Vianello
  • Mr C Doherty
  • Miss O Goss
  • Mr J Keegan


Key Stage 3 - 1 x 20 minute piece per fortnight

Key Stage 4 - 1 x 30 minute piece per fortnight

Key Stage 5 - Regular reading and past paper questions

Whole School Policy


The Religious Studies department follows the whole school feedback policy. Feedback is regularly given in lessons during retrieval practice, questioning and purple pen improvement. Written feedback is provided for specific pieces of work and assessments.


Key Stage 3 assessment will be based on units studied by End of unit assessments, mid year and end of year assessments.

Key Stage 4 assessment will be based on AQA past paper questions and follow the assessment calendar.

Key Stage 5 assessment will be based on Edexcel past paper questions and follow the assessment calendar.

2023-2024 Upton by Chester Assessment Schedule