Religious Studies Curriculum Information

Religious Studies at Queensmead School provides students with the opportunity to explore moral, spiritual and cultural themes. The focus of lessons is to develop an understanding of the diversity of religious ideas and practices across the world and within the UK. Our aim is to enable students to question and examine a range of beliefs in an environment of tolerance and respect. The schemes of work are based on the Hillingdon Religious Education Syllabus. The Religious Studies Department aims to:

  • Develop and extend students’ knowledge, understanding and awareness of life stances and belief systems including the major world faiths.
  • Develop a positive self-image in harmony with students’ own belief systems whilst respecting the rights of other people to hold beliefs different from their own.
  • Develop a spiritual awareness and contribute to students’ search for meaning and understanding in their lives.
  • Develop students’ understanding of the world in which they live in and how to respect the diversity of culture, tradition and religion.
  • Engender a sense of commitment towards the community and understand that all individuals have rights, as well as a duty to main social responsibility and justice.

Year 7

An introduction to religion: The aim of the unit is to enable students to examine whether religious stories should be read literally or symbolically. We examine Noah’s Ark, the Judeo-Christian creation story and the parable of the Good Samaritan.

Judaism: The importance of a covenant with God through the stories of Noah, Abraham and Moses. Students then evaluate whether it is important to remember history through the festival of Pesach. We examine the importance of family and identify through rites of passage.

Christianity: Students examine ideas of God and the importance of the Bible; we then study the development of Christianity through the life of Jesus.

Islam: Students explore the development of Islam in Arabia and its connection with Judaism and Christianity. Students examine the life of the Prophet Muhammad and the obligation of the five pillars of Islam.

Moral exemplars: We examine what it means to be good and selfless. Students connect with the Queensmead values and explore the lives of moral figures throughout history to evaluate and examine their own perspective of what it means to be ‘good’. Students then examine a figure from each of the traditions they have studied and come to their own conclusions about whether these figures (Martin Luther King Jr, Malcolm X and Anne Frank) can be considered moral exemplars.

Year 8

Evil and Suffering: How do we reconcile belief in an omnipotent, omniscient and omnibenevolent God in the face of Evil. Students explore a range of responses to the problem of evil from Judaism, Christianity and Islam.

Humanism: What is a Humanist and what are their key beliefs? Students examine rules, family life, attitudes to death and God from a Humanist perspective.

Hinduism: We examine key beliefs in Hinduism including creation, reincarnation, karma, the caste system and pilgrimage to the River Ganges. Students will have opportunities to connect the beliefs and practices.

Buddhism: We examine the life of the Buddha and his teachings. We then apply these teachings to Buddhist practice and explore the life of the Sangha and the Buddhist attitude to suffering.

Sikhism: We examine the lives of the Gurus and the creation of the Khalsa. Students examine the place of the Gurdwara within the life of a Sikh and the importance of Sikh duties.

Moral Exemplars: We develop our idea of what it means to be good and selfless from Year 7.  Students examine a figure from each of the traditions they have studied in Year 8 and come to their own conclusions about whether these figures (Mahatma Gandhi, the Dalai Lama and Bhai Kanhaiya Singh) can be considered moral exemplars.

Year 9

In Year 9 RS lessons focus on applying religious beliefs to ethical issues and students will study:

Drug Abuse: Students examine religious attitudes towards drugs, alcohol and tobacco. The use of substances to improve performance in sport or achieve spirituality within some religious sects is evaluated.

Crime and Punishment: Religious attitudes towards crime and punishment of offenders. We focus on young offenders, capital punishment and life imprisonment.

Human Rights: We consider the development of and implementation of human rights. We explore whether religious rights can conflict with other human rights and examine censorship, religious discrimination, racism and social justice.

Sacraments: Students develop their understanding of the Christian sacraments from their Year 7 Christianity unit of work and evaluate the importance of each rite.

Environment: We explore the literal and symbolic meaning of the creation story and whether religious believers have an obligation to preserve the planet. Students examine the role of stewardship and apply it to environmental problems such as acid rain, deforestation, oil spills, toxic chemicals and pesticides.

Ethics: Students examine ethical and philosophical issues in case studies. We examine the issue of consent and identity through the life of Henrietta Lacks, the problems with human experimentation in the case of the boy in the bubble (David Vetter) and the abuse of power explored in the Ring of Gyges through a case study of the Radium Girls.

Students do not need to be religious to study religious studies. Students will never be asked to participate in any form of worship. The approach of our lessons is to encourage students to learn about religions and encourage dialogue and debate. Students will have the opportunity to discuss the different approaches to religion and some of the ethical issues religious believers face today. The lessons focus on understanding and questioning key beliefs and teachings.