Key Stage 4 Pathways

Religious Studies

Although all students have a lesson of Core Religious Studies, they can also choose Religious Studies as a GCSE option. This allows for the study of two world religions in more detail, along with four themed units, extending those already studied in Core Religious Studies lessons.

What will I learn?

Students will learn about what people believe in detail and how they choose to live as a believer of that religion. This will involve trips to different places of worship to see for yourself as well as meeting people who visit school to represent their faith communities. There are 4 themes units where you will learn about aspects of the modern world.  You will learn the facts about each issue, including what the law says, and you will be able to explain other peoples’ opinions as well as evaluate and analyse them.  This will allow you to reach an informed conclusion on key moral topics and discuss your ideas from a position of knowing what you are talking about.


We will add to the Christianity unit you will do in Core RS by learning about Christian festivals and worship, as well as what the Church is and does. Then we look at the key beliefs and teachings of Buddhism and compare it to Christianity – two religions that are about as different as they can be. Many Buddhists would see Buddhism as a philosophy or a way of life rather than a religion. It is a religion without God, with a strong sense of right and wrong. We look at the life of the Buddha to learn about Buddhist ideas about the world, and such as meditation and Buddhist ethics. This is all, surprisingly, very relevant for the modern world we live in: Buddhist teachings about ‘attachment’ warn us about the dangers of materialism, respect for nature can teach us about caring for the environment, and teachings about ‘the self’ answer questions about our place in the world.

Relationships: types of families, family values, raising children, sex, contraception, marriage, divorce, homosexuality, same-sex marriage, sexism.

Life: global warming, pollution, animal rights, vegetarianism/veganism, abortion, euthanasia, quality of life, sanctity of life, possibility of life after death.

War: terrorism, just war theory, “holy war”, forgiveness, past wars, modern warfare, nuclear war, weapons of mass destruction, victims, causes of war, forgiveness.

Philosophy: design argument, causation argument, science, problem of evil, revelation and different ideas about god, including whether or not they are contradictory.

How will I be assessed?

Students will have already had the benefit of taking an RS exam in Year 10, and the style of the Option RS exams are the same as the Core RS exam, so the fact that you will have already learned and revised 3/8 of the course for the Y10 exam will help you to feel well prepared for the exams.

What could my next steps be?

Religious Studies is valued by employers and within education because it helps you to develop empathy, evaluation and extended reasoning, and it demonstrates general knowledge of current affairs. These are essential for nursing, social work, law, teaching, office work and any job where you work with people or have to put a point across. This course is very good preparation for a range of A-Levels in humanities subjects, including A-Level Philosophy.

Mr Fenby (Head of Humanities) -