Religious Studies

Subject leader: Miss A Ledwidge

Overview

Picture4The Religious Studies Department has been judged to be outstanding based on the department review of 2017.  Staff are very proud of their department and students and staff enjoy their lessons and are motivated to succeed. 

The SMSC agenda is covered and students are encouraged to ask questions and develop their curiosity in a wide range of religious and philosophical areas. 

Strengths

The extensive sharing of good practice, desire to remain on top of current affairs and maintain up-to-date subject knowledge, excellent work ethic and drive of the team are some of the many reasons this department performs so well.  Recently, there has been a particular focus on ensuring the most able students are appropriately stretched and developing creative resources and lesson plans. 

Literacy is incorporated into lesson planning and work is marked for literacy as well as for subject-specific content.  Students are encouraged to use structured writing frames to ensure they achieve full marks in the extended response questions at GCSE and A Level and this also assits in developing their essay-skills in general. 

The curriculum for Core Religious Studies now incorporates all 6 major world religions at KS3 as well as allowing students the time to explore key ethical topics such as Genetic Engineering and Identity.

Results

The 2017 A Level results were excellent with 100% of the students achieving A* - C grades overall. 100% of students achieved an A - D grade at AS Level last year which puts them in a strong position going into their A2 this year.

The GCSE results were also exceptional with 89% A*- C with many of the students who achieved the top grades going on to study Religious Studies at A Level this year.

Students' views and attitudes

Students at all key stages enjoy their Religious Studies lessons.  They particularly enjoy the open discussions and the question and answer sessions, the interesting video clips and learning about different views to their own.  Students appreciate the uniqueness of the subject in exposing them to a huge range of philosophical positions on complex topics relating to what it means to be human, belief in divine powers and challenging moral and ethical dilemmas. At all Key Stages, students commented on the amount of quality feedback they recieve from their teachers and, in particular in KS4, that the structure and preparation for exams is excellent. 

Enrichment and intervention

A Philosophy Club has been set up for Year 8 and 9 students. Here the students discuss and explore ethical and philosophical topics in order to stretch and challenge their imagination and debating skills as well as broadening their minds to become more inquisitive and reflective individuals. Year 10 and 11 students are invited to attend “Philosophy Phocus” where they work on their exam skills, improve their use of quotations and talk about ethics and any other ideas from lessons. At KS5, where there is a much smaller cohort, a more individualised intervention and support programme is in place.

Students’ work is tracked, with additional intervention put into place where weaknesses are identified.  Examination technique with reference to the 12 mark questions is a particular focus.

The department also runs a number of trips, including a recent Year 10 visit to Southwark Cathedral to explore Christian practice. A level students also visited the cathedral for an audience with religious and humanist academics. Year 13 students were taken on a trip to Rome to explore Catholicism and its role in shaping Italian culture and philosophy.

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Destinations

A number of A level students went on to study humanities subjects where their knowledge and skill base from A Level RS and Philosopy will be a great use. One student also went on to study a degree for Human Rights whilst another was accepted onto an Islamic Studies course.

Future Developments

The current focus is on ensuring the new A Level and GCSE schemes of work are developed to the best possible standard to meet the demands of the new exam specifications. The department is also working to ensure that all staff are confident in their understanding of the impact of the changes to the specification. There is also a drive to share best practice in our new marking and feedback policy.