Religious Studies at Sir Thomas Rich's

RE explores what people believe and the difference this makes to how they live, so that pupils can make sense of religion, reflecting on their own ideas and ways of living.

The Religious Education Department seeks to engage pupils with questions arising from the study of religion and beliefs, so as to promote their spiritual, moral, social and cultural development.
What might a ‘religiously educated person’ be? 
Some possible responses include someone who…

  • is confident and thoughtful about, and able to express, their own beliefs;
  • acts in accordance with their beliefs;
  • is interested in, and respectful towards, the beliefs of others;
  • is interested in building up their understanding of different religions and beliefs;
  • is able to think for themselves and recognise where others may be trying to influence them;
  • continues to explore the questions of meaning that life throws up in light of the insights of faith.


Head of Department:
Department Teaching Staff:

Key Stage 3 - Years 7, 8 & 9

Teaching Arrangements: At KS3 pupils have 2 X 35 minute periods of RE a week. In Y7 & Y8 we follow the Gloucestershire Agreed Syllabus and in Y9 pupils begin studying for a GCSE in Religious Studies. They then have the option of completing a short course qualification in the subject at the end of Y10 or taking a full GCSE at the end of Y11.
Homework Guidance: Homework will usually be either preparation for the next lesson eg: research or consolidation of work learnt, or learning for Assessment. Y9 pupils will begin to practise examination style answers. Pupils will be expected to catch up missed notes and to ensure that all work is complete.
Assessment Arrangements:Assessments will be completed in a separate book (kept in school) and will test knowledge of key terms and skills of explanation and evaluation. There will be one Assessment per unit of study which may be completed in one test or at separate times.
Topics Covered:
Year 7
  • The Island – an introduction to RE
  • Is there a God?
  • Was Jesus God on Earth?
  • Do the Buddha’s teachings stand the test of time?
Year 8
  • Why is there suffering? 
  • What do we do when life gets hard?
  • How do we express Spirituality?
  • What can we learn from Sikhism?
  • Is there life after death?
Year 9
  • Good Bad How do I decide?/sources of authority in Christianity & Islam (AQA GCSE)
  • Theme: Peace & Conflict (AQA GCSE)
  • Beliefs in Islam (AQA GCSE)

At KS3 Pupils are encouraged to explore key questions from a range of different religious perspectives and non-religious world views, in order to gain a greater understanding of the reason for beliefs and the way in which they impact on the lives of individuals and communities.

Teaching Arrangements: Short course students have 1 X35 minutes a week throughout the year and 2X35 minutes delivered through the Roundabout for 14 weeks of Y10.
Full course students opt to take Religious Studies as one of their option choices and have 4 X35 minute periods across Y10 & Y11.
Homework Guidance: Homework might be preparation for the next lesson or practice examination questions.
Assessment Arrangements: There is no externally assessed coursework for this subject.
Short course students will sit one written examination paper: 1 hour 45 minutes, at the end of Y10.
Full course students will sit two written examination papers: 1 hour 45 minutes, at the end of Y11.
Exam Specification: AQA RS A8061 short course AQA RS A8062 full course Topics Covered:
Year 10 - Short course
  • Beliefs in Christianity (AQA GCSE)
  • Revision Beliefs in Islam & exam practice
  • Themes: Relationships (AQA GCSE)
  • Revision peace & conflict
Year 11 - Full Course
  • Beliefs in Christianity (AQA GCSE)
  • Practices in Christianity (AQA GCSE)
  • Religion & Life (AQA GCSE)
  • Crime & Punishment (AQA GCSE)
  • Relationships (AQA GCSE)
Year 11 - Full Course Only
  • Relationships (AQA GCSE)
  • Practices in Islam (AQA GCSE)
  • Practices in Christianity (AQA GCSE)
  • Revision Beliefs in Islam & Christianity
  • Revision of Themes & exam practice.

A qualification in Religious Studies enables pupils to gain critical, evaluative skills which will equip them for higher education and the world of work. They will also gain a greater understanding of the way in which belief informs practice, as well as evaluating the place of religious belief in the modern world.

Entry Requirements: A grade 7 in Religious Studies or English is required to study this course.
Teaching Arrangements: Sixth form students have 7 x 35 minute periods A Level Religious Studies week, dividing their time preparing for the three papers.
Homework Guidance: Students are expected to take increased responsibility for independent learning and should ensure that they go over class notes after each lesson, supplementing their study with readings from the textbooks and other recommended books and journals. They will need to read widely in preparation for essays for each topic, which will be set as either timed essays completed in class, or written in their own time. They may also be asked to contribute their research in the form of a presentation to the class.
Exam Specification: OCR AS/A Level Religious Studies - H173, H573 Topics Covered:
Year 12
Philosophy of Religion
  • Ancient philosophical influences
  • Arguments about the existence or non- existence of God
  • The challenge for religious belief of the problem of evil
  • The nature of the soul, mind and body
Religion & Ethics
  • Normative ethical theories
  • The application of ethical theory to two contemporary issues of importance
Development in Christian thought
  • Living
  • Insight
  • Challenges  
Year 13
Philosophy of Religion
  • Ideas about the nature of God
  • The nature and impact of religious experience
  • Issues in religious language
Religion & Ethics
  • Ethical language and thought
  • Debates around the significant idea of conscience
  • Sexual ethics and the influence on ethical thought of developments in religious belief.
Development in Christian thought
  • Foundations
  • Development
  • Society
Assessment Arrangements: There is no externally assessed coursework for this subject.
Students will be prepared for 3 2hour papers in: Philosophy of Religion H573/01
Religion & Ethics H573/02
Development in Christian thought H573/03
They will write 3 essays for each paper, from a choice of 4.
University courses this subject may be required for or lead onto: Students have gone on to read for degrees in PPE, Philosophy, Theology or Religious Studies or to study for Law degrees or teacher training courses. Students studying other essay based subjects have found the skills that the subject develops, support their other subjects and the philosophical aspect of the course appeals to those with a logical mind, who gain a greater understanding of the reasoning process.
Careers that Religious Studies may lead onto: This subject provides valuable insights into the way that human beings have reflected on their lives throughout history. It is a foundation for many of the Arts subjects as well as helping students to understand the importance of evidence to support argument. The focus on ethical thought and the ways in which morality has evolved is helpful for those entering the medical profession.
Students have gone on to work in Law, Politics, Media and Teaching, as well as a whole range of other careers.
‘RS A level is nothing like I expected but the more I learn, the more intrigued I become.’
--Helene Wotruba
‘I took RS because I felt it would give me great background knowledge; the lively debates and discussions make the lessons fantastic.’
--Arthur Townend
‘RS has opened my mind to ideas and concepts that infiltrate every aspect of our lives.’
-- Lizzie Williams
‘Studying RE enables you to develop your ability to argue persuasively & effectively.’
--Camilla Delhanty
Associated Clubs / Societies / Trips: The Department arranges a variety of trips & speakers, as well as contributing to the sixth form enrichment programme.