Religious Studies at Sir Thomas Rich's

Religious Studies 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 Studies 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:

Key Stage 3 - Years 7, 8 & 9

Teaching Arrangements: At Key Stage 3 students have 3 periods of RS a fortnight. In Year 7 and Year 8 we follow the Gloucestershire Agreed Syllabus and in Year 9 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 Year 10 or taking a full GCSE at the end of Year 11.
Homework Guidance: Homework will usually be either preparation for the next lesson, eg: research or consolidation of work, or learning for Assessment. Year 9 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 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
  • Founders of religion
  • 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 and Islam (AQA GCSE)
  • Theme: Peace & conflict (AQA GCSE)

At Key Stage 3 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 GCSE students have 3 periods a fortnight throughout Year 10.
Those who take full course GCSE opt to take Religious Studies as one of their option choices and have 5 periods a fortnight across Year 10 and Year 11.
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 Year 10.
Full course students will sit two written examination papers: 1 hour 45 minutes, at the end of Year 11.
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 10 - Full Course
  • Beliefs in Christianity (AQA GCSE)
  • Practices in Christianity (AQA GCSE)
  • Religion and life (AQA GCSE)
  • The existence of God and revelation (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 and Christianity
  • Revision of themes and 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 GCSE Grade 6 in English is required to study this course.
Teaching Arrangements: Sixth Form students have 9 periods of A Level Religious Studies a week, dividing their time between 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 for the existence of God
  • The challenges for religious belief
  • The nature of the soul, mind and body
Religion & Ethics
  • Religious ethical theories
  • The application of ethical theory to two contemporary issues of importance
Development in Christian thought
  • Human nature
  • Death and the afterlife
  • Knowledge of God  
  • The person of Jesus Christ 
  • Christian moral principle and action 
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
  • Conscience
  • Sexual ethics
Development in Christian thought
  • Religious pluralism
  • Religion and gender
  • The challenge of secularism
  • Liberation theology and Marx
Assessment Arrangements: There is no externally assessed coursework for this subject.
Students will be prepared for three 2 hour papers in:
Philosophy of Religion H573/01
Religion and Ethics H573/02
Development in Christian thought H573/03
Students will write three essays for each paper, from a choice of four.
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 have found that the skills they develop studying RS supports their other subjects. 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 and helps students understand the importance of evidence to support argument. The focus on ethical thought and the ways in which morality has evolved is also helpful for those entering the medical profession.
Students have gone on to work in the legal profession, in politics, in the media, in the teaching profession and many other sectors.
"RS A Level is nothing like I expected but the more I learn, the more intrigued I become."
Former student, Helene Wotruba
"I took RS because I felt it would give me great background knowledge; the lively debates and discussions make the lessons fantastic."
Former student, Arthur Townend
"RS has opened my mind to ideas and concepts that infiltrate every aspect of our lives."
Former student, Lizzie Williams
"Studying RS has definitely helped me to develop my ability to argue persuasively and effectively."
Former student, Camilla Delhanty
Associated Clubs / Societies / Trips: The RS Department arranges a variety of trips and speakers designed to support learning in the classroom. In addition the Department contributes to the Sixth Form enrichment programme.