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Religious Studies

In a world of shifting values, technology and beliefs it seems more important than ever to engage in critical analysis and evaluation of the question ‘What does it mean to be human?’ At Amery Hill we eagerly explore a variety of faiths and beliefs alongside religiousness and non-belief and we actively encourage students to consider their own values, beliefs experiences and thoughts in relation to other members of society. Religious Studies (RS) is all about interpreting religion in terms of human experience.

Students will develop a ‘skills toolkit’ through their RS journey at Amery Hill that reaches far beyond the five years that they spend here with us. These skills will enable students to successfully navigate our ever changing world and help them to make sense of the values that underpin our global society. As part of this students will learn to enquire into the nature of religious and non-religious belief and how belief impacts actions on a personal, local, national and global level. Students will develop skills in empathy, perspective, analysis, argument, evaluation, communication of ideas and philosophical and ethical thinking. 

KS3 Curriculum

In Year 7 students begin their exploration of religious studies. They investigate some of the big questions that humans have been asking for thousands of years for example "Why is there human life?", "Is there a God?" "Why are there religions?" "Is there life after death?" To be able to think about these questions students will learn the necessary skills - they will learn to think critically, to evaluate, to empathise, to see things from different perspectives. Specific units are ‘The Island’; ‘Who is God?’; ‘What does it mean to be Jewish?’; ‘Faith in Art’; ‘What does it mean to be Sikh?’.

In Year 8 students continue to develop their critical thinking skills, applying them to different areas. Students will consider concepts that underlie our modern world, but from different perspectives. For example, why do people stereotype? What is sacred to Muslims and does it mean anything to you? Specific units are: ‘One billion people follow Islam, so what does it mean to be a Muslim?’; ‘Creation and the world we have created’; ‘Injustice and missionary work’; ‘Equality and Justice’ and a comparison between the approaches of Malcolm X and Martin Luther King.

Year 9 study sees students think about and reflect on some philosophical questions in religion and life. The year begins by looking at the nature of belief followed by study of the nature and existence of God. Students will look at evidence and arguments for and against the existence of God. In particular the question ‘In a world where there is evil and suffering and goodness: Does God exist’? Students also recap their knowledge of Judaism to undertake a major study of Identity and the Holocaust. Year 9 also start an in-depth study of Buddhism using the life of Aung San Suu Kyi and the situation in Myanmar. This readies the students for the GCSE course as by this point they have covered the ground work for all GCSE modules. 

The summer term allows us to address a salient question: ‘Is religion changing and will it survive?’ Students explore a huge variety of beliefs not yet covered in our syllabus including new religious movements and cults in an effort to address this topical and relevant question. 

GCSE Study
Currently for students who opt to do GCSE Religious Studies the course begins in Year 10 with the study of AQA Specification A, Paper 1, Christianity and Buddhism. This covers the beliefs practices and teachings of both religions and is the ground work required for paper 2. Some of the topics are ‘Life after death’, ‘Core beliefs’, ’Ceremonies and sacraments’, ‘Key teachings’, ‘Prayer and meditation’ and ‘Places of worship’. 

In Year 11 students will study Paper 2, which is a contextual studies paper. Here there are six possible topics and the students choose four. The topics here are ‘Religion and family life’, ‘Religion and ethical life issues’- focus being on abortion, euthanasia and the planet, ‘God and Revelation’ – the discussion of proving or disproving God, ‘Religion Peace and Conflict’ – war and it reasons alongside pacifism, ‘Religion, crime and punishment’- prison and corporal punishment and ‘Religion, Human Rights and social Justice’ – the issues of racism, exploitation and poverty. All of these topics are linked to real examples.