Religious Studies

Departmental approach to the curriculum

Rickmansworth School follows the LEA Syllabus. 

The statutory requirements have evolved from the previous established syllabus, taking into account national changes and developments, both in RE and in education in general. This revised syllabus moves from the two Attainment Targets to new concise aims. It reflects the national move from levels of assessment and introduces wheels of progress and clear end of key stage learning outcomes to support the assessment of a specified eight key areas of religion. We trust that you will find both the continuity and the progression helpful for consolidating and enhancing the quality of religious education provision in our School.

Throughout each year the students are assessed on their application of knowledge through the demonstration of the following skills:

  • Knowledge and understanding
  • Impact of beliefs on the individual and society. 
  • Use of subject specific terms
  • Reference to the value of sources of wisdom
  • The justification of formulated judgements
  • The presentation and evaluation of alternative views


Year 7

Please refer to the Long Term Overview for further information of assessment and content coverage. 

Au1- What makes a religion?

Au2- What can we learn from religion?

Sp1- How did monotheistic faiths begin?

Sp2- How do Jews demonstrate faith and respect through symbolism and festivals?

Su1- Why do some consider Jesus the most influential leader ever?

Su2- To what extent do Jesus’ miracles prove him to be the Son of God?

Year 8

Please refer to the Long Term Overview for further information of assessment and content coverage. 

Au1- How does history shape a faith system?

Au2- Should you have to follow religious rules?

Sp1- Is there more than one God?

Sp2- How different are Eastern and Western Religious practices?

Su1- Can religion provide a cure to suffering?

Su2- Can anyone reach enlightenment?

Year 9


Please refer to the Long Term Overview for further information of assessment and content coverage. 

Au1- To what extent do people provide greater guidance than sacred texts?

Au2- To what extent does what we wear define our identity?

Sp1- What is the nature of reality?

Sp2- How has religion affected our decision making?

Su1- Is the media bias towards religion?

Su2- Will the evolving of faith lose religion’s meaning?

Year 10 and 11

Religious Studies, Philosophy and Ethics GCSE offers students the opportunity for the anthropological and thematic study of Religion and religious responses to fundamental questions. The subject is suitable for all candidates; regardless of religious persuasion. The Religious Studies GCSE encourages students to develop their interest and enthusiasm for the academic study of Religion and its effect on local, national and global communities. Students will also develop their knowledge and understanding of Religion by exploring the impact of beliefs, teachings, practices, ways of life and forms of expressing faith. In addition, students will learn to express their personal responses and gain informed insights on fundamental questions about identity, belonging, meaning, purpose, truth, values and commitments. Religious Studies, Philosophy and Ethics encourages students to question the world in which we live through developing the critical awareness and analytical skills essential for further and higher education.



Religious, Philosophical and Ethical Studies

Worth 50% of the overall grade

From a Christian and Hindu Perspective

Issues of Relationships

Issues of Life and Death

Issues of Good and Evil

Issues of Human Rights


Year 11

Christian Beliefs, Teachings and Practices

Worth 25% of the overall grade

The Nature of God

Jesus Christ and Salvation

The Afterlife

Forms of Worship

The Sacraments

The Role of Pilgrimage

Celebrations and Festivals

The Role of the Church

The Worldwide Church


Hindu Beliefs, Teachings and Practices

Worth 25% of the overall grade

Nature and Features of the Ultimate Being

Hindu Gods/Deities

The Eternal Self

Human Life 


Places of Worship

Worship and Meditation


Sacred Sites and Pilgrimage

Social Concern

Year 12 and 13

Each component has been designed to encourage learners to demonstrate

their ability to:

  • reflect on, select and apply specified knowledge about religion and belief

  • account for the influence of social, religious and historical factors on

developments in the study of religions and beliefs

  • construct well informed and reasoned arguments about religion and belief,

substantiated by relevant evidence

  • understand, interpret and evaluate critically religious concepts, texts and other


  • present responses to questions which are clear and coherent

  • use specialist religious language and terminology appropriately

identify, investigate and critically analyse questions, arguments, ideas and issues

arising from the study of religion including those of scholars/academics

  • analyse the nature of connections between the components they have studied.

Each component has been designed to allow learners to acquire and develop

knowledge and a critical understanding/awareness of:

  • religious thought, belief and practice and the different ways in which these are

expressed in the lives of individuals, communities and societies

  • how religious texts and/or other relevant sources of wisdom and authority are

interpreted and applied

  • major issues, challenges and questions within and about the study of religion (for

example, the role of tolerance, respect and recognition and interreligious

dialogue, methods of study, relevance to contemporary society) and responses

to these

  • the causes, meanings and significance of similarities and differences in religious

thought, belief and practice within and/or between religion(s)

  • questions, issues and arguments posed by scholars from within and outside

religious traditions

  • social, religious and historical factors that have influenced developments in the

study of religions and beliefs

  • connections between the various elements of the components studied.

    Religion and Ethics

  • Ethical Language

  • Divine Command Theory

  • Virtue Ethics

  • Ethical Egoism

  • Natural Law

  • Utilitarianism

  • Situation Ethics

  • Applied Ethics (Abortion, Animal Rights, Euthanasia etc.)


    Philosophy of Religion

  • Arguments for the existence of God.

    • Cosmological

    • Teleological

  • Challenges to theses Arguments for the existence of God. 

  • The Problem of Evil and suffering.

  • Religious and Mystical Experience. 

  • Limitations of Religious Language.

  • Buddhism

  • The Early Life and Enlightenment of the Buddha

  • Buddhist Text as Wisdom and Authority

  • The Nature of Reality 

  • Arhat and Bodhisattvas (reaching perfection)

  • Historical Buddhism

  • Responses to Scientific Challenges

  • Responses to Secular Challenges

  • Refuge, meditation and the importance of giving. 


    Year 13

    Religion and Ethics

  • Meta-Ethical Approaches

  • Finnis’ Natural Law

  • Proportionalism

  • Free Will and Determinism

  • Predestination

  • Determinism

  • Libertarianism

  • Applied Ethics (Capital Punishment and Immigration.)


    Philosophy of Religion

  • Arguments for the existence of God.

    • Ontological

    • Teleological

  • Challenges to theses Arguments for the existence of God. 

  • The Psychology of Religion.

  • Atheism and the rejection of Religion

  • Religious Experience, Practice and Faith

  • Miracles and the scepticism and defence of Miracles. 

  • Religious Language. 



  • Religious Figures and Sacred Texts

  • The Four Noble Truths

  • The Eightfold Path and Key Moral Principles

  • Responses to Pluralism and Diversity

  • Buddhism and Feminism

  • Mudras, Mandalas and Mantras. 

  • Mindfulness Movement

  • Socially Engaged Buddhism


Long Term Curriculum Overviews

'The Big Picture' Curriculum Map

'The Big Picture' Curriculum Map

This document will provide a visual overview of the department's curriculum from Key Stages 3 to 5. This is in a student-friendly format to support them in their understanding the of the department's curriculum. 

Big Picture Curriculum Map - Religious Studies


Department Assessment Matrix

This document will provide an overview for assessment for Key Stages 3, 4 and 5.

Assessment Matrix - Religious Studies

Key Stage 3 Judgement Descriptors

This document will give you an overview of the criteria for Emerging, Developing, Secure and Mastery judgements at KS3 for this subject.

How can you help your child succeed in religious studies?

You can provide further support at home through discussing the Religious, Ethical and Philosophical ideas discussed in class.

Helpful websites and further information