Religious Studies is changing!


MASTER RPS logoWhile GCSE RS will stay the same, RS for all other year groups will become Religion, Philosophy and Ethics, or RPE for short. This is because we feel it reflects what students are taught more accurately. Students at Henry Box will have the opportunity to learn about the historical, geographical and cultural context of Christianity, Islam and Judaism, while also exploring the relationship between them and the impact this has today. Students will also learn about the key beliefs and practices of Hinduism, Sikhism and Buddhism and they will find out what makes these religions unique. As part of Philosophy and Ethics, students will examine some of the big questions facing our world today, such as whether we can save the planet, what makes an action right or wrong and whether there is a God.



  • Shows the importance/relevance of religion in both modern British society and the current political climate
  • Students develop religious literacy
  • Develop AO1 (knowledge and understanding) and AO2 (evaluation) skills
  • Core religious knowledge, particularly of the Abrahamic faiths and how they are related
  • Appreciate diversity in British society
  • Understanding of and equipped with the terminology for key life events
  • Consider the value of connectedness over the individual
  • Critical thinking

In order to achieve the above, the curriculum will:

  • Be academic and link to philosophers and critical thinkers
  • Set religions in historical, geographical and cultural context
  • Ask ‘big’ questions
  • Show connectedness as well as distinctions
  • Have a focus on literacy


RPE Key Stage 3 Curriculum 2019


Term 1

Term 2

Term 3

Term 4

Term 5

Term 6


Ultimate Questions (Philosophy)



Hinduism: Stories within a religion

Morality (Ethics)



Sikhism: Religion with a political beginning (Ethics on war)



Buddhism: A religion without a God

Evil and Suffering (Philosophy)



The Holocaust (Religion and Ethics)

Jerusalem (Ethics)

Where is God? (Philosophy)



Curriculum Summary

Each religious’ unit will start with a summary of the historical, geographical and cultural context of the religion. For the Abrahamic faiths, students will also explore the spread of each religion and how they are linked together.

Year 7

Unit 1 – Ultimate Questions


  • What ‘Ultimate Questions’ are
  • Where to look for answers
  • Reliability of information
  • Understand truth and reality
  • Introduce critical thinking

Big Question & Assessment: Does God exist?

Unit 2 – Judaism


  • Key beliefs
  • Key practices
  • How Jewish people live according to their religion
  • Question the ‘truth’ of the Jewish faith

Big Question & Assessment: How important is worship in Judaism?

Unit 3 – Hinduism: Stories within a religion


  • Basic beliefs
  • How stories are used
  • How stories become holy books
  • How stories are used to spread a religion

Big Question & Assessment: How useful are stories to religions?

Unit 4 – Making Moral Decisions


  • What morality means
  • Key moral guides e.g. agent centred
  • Applying to moral issues
  • Critical thinking

Big Question & Assessment: How do I know what is right?


Year 8

Unit 1 – Sikhism: A religion with a political beginning


  • History/origins of Sikhism
  • Key beliefs
  • The Khalsa and 5 K’s
  • Sikhs in WW1 and 2

Big Question & Assessment: Should religions get involved in conflict?

Unit 2 – Christianity


  • Key beliefs – compare with Judaism
  • Leaders (after Christ) – building on from Judaism
  • Sources of authority – The Bible and leaders (Great Schism and Protestant Reformation – Denominations)
  • Afterlife – Justified by works or faith
  • Easter – The importance of Jesus, his death and resurrection (Question reliability)
  • Sacraments
  • Worship – Private & Public

Big Question & Assessment: How important is Christianity in British society today?

Unit 3 – Buddhism: A religion without a God


  • Origins – Who is the Buddha? (Compare with Christ)
  • Key beliefs including afterlife
  • Buddhist way of life – Monastic & lay

Big Question & Assessment: Can Buddhism really be called a religion?

Unit 4 – Evil and Suffering


  • The problem of evil
  • Nature of suffering
  • Religious responses
  • Questions raised by evil and suffering

Big Question & Assessment: Does evil and suffering disprove God?


Year 9

Unit 1 – Islam


  • Origins – Muhammad
  • Key beliefs
  • Key practices
  • Links with Judaism and Christianity
  • Traditions – Sunni and Shi’a
  • Jihad

Big Question & Assessment: What is jihad?

Unit 2 – Genocide


  • Definition and history
  • Examples of
  • Responses to
  • Links to previous learning

Big Question and Assessment: Where is God in genocide?

Unit 3 – Jerusalem


  • Importance for Abrahamic faiths
  • History
  • Conflict
  • Current situation including peace and reconciliation

Big Question & Assessment: How can Israel become a peaceful country?

Unit 4 – Where is God?

This unit will tie all aspects of KS3 together. Students will produce a piece of work that tries to answer the question ‘Where is God?’ As part of this, they will look at religious, philosophical and ethical responses to the question to help inform their own ideas.



RPE in KS4

Students continue to study RPE once a week in KS4. This is non-examined and fulfils the statutory requirement. Throughout the two years, students will explore the place of religion in the world today, finding out about the way religion works in a number of areas e.g. medical ethics, the media, beliefs about the afterlife and when it comes to helping others. Students will be encouraged to think about their own personal responses to the different issues we look at.


As well as taking part in RPE, students will also have the option to take GCSE RS. Students that study GCSE RS will have five lessons a fortnight and will follow the AQA A specification. As part of this course, students study:

  • Christian Beliefs and teachings
  • Muslim Beliefs and teachings
  • Theme B: Religion and life.
  • Theme C: The existence of God and revelation.
  • Theme D: Religion, peace and conflict.
  • Theme E: Religion, crime and punishment

A level RS

At A level, students study AQA RS specification. This is made up of two components: Christianity and Philosophy and Ethics.

Paper 1 – Philosophy and Ethics:

  • Arguments for the existence of God
  • Evil and suffering
  • Religious experience
  • Religious language
  • Miracles
  • Self and life after death.
  • Section B: Ethics and religion
  • Ethical theories
  • Issues of human life and death
  • Issues of animal life and death
  • Introduction to meta ethics
  • Free will and moral responsibility
  • Conscience
  • Bentham and Kant.

Paper 2 - Christianity:

  • Sources of wisdom and authority
  • God/gods/ultimate reality
  • Self, death and the afterlife
  • Good conduct and key moral principles
  • Expression of religious identity
  • Religion, gender and sexuality
  • Religion and science
  • Religion and secularisation
  • Religion and religious pluralism.


The RPE department also runs a number of extracurricular groups, including a discussion group, where students discuss key religious, philosophical and ethical issues facing our world today, and the Oxfam Ambassador group, where students find out about the work of Oxfam, campaign and raise money for Oxfam.

For more information, please contact Miss Clarke on