Religious Studies

Subject Overview

Who am I?  Why am I here?  What do I desire?  How then shall I live?

Religious Studies at Waddesdon Church of England School aims to ensure that each student achieves his/her potential and develops a profound understanding of religious, moral and spiritual concepts and issues. The RS curriculum aims to deepen the students’ understanding of the Christian faith, whilst at the same time providing an open-minded approach to exploration of a variety of religious traditions including Islam, Buddhism and Hinduism.  Learners are encouraged to express both their own ideas and relate the ideas of others to themselves through evaluation. Questioning and debating is commonplace in lessons, with a focus on developing higher order thinking skills and argumentation. Consideration of moral codes is another major theme of the curriculum. RS plays a major role in contributing to the whole-school expression of an ethos of dignity and respect for all, and an awareness of the spiritual and moral values pertaining to all aspects of life.

Students are taught to:

  • understand the nature, role and influence of religion in the world
  • pursue a personal quest for meaning, purpose and value
  • formulate reasoned opinions and arguments
  • understand and respect different beliefs and life-styles.

Dr Maura Corcoran

Subject Leader for Religious Studies

Mr John Dangana

Religious Studies Teacher

Mr Mohammed Israr

Religious Studies Teacher


  • To enable students to explore and reflect on religious and philosophical beliefs, values and concepts
  • To develop higher order thinking skills of argumentation, questioning, evaluation and analysis in looking at ultimate questions
  • To enable students to have a deeper understanding of beliefs and practices in more than one religion so that they can better understand the world and develop their own sense of place within it.


  • Focus on 2 contrasting religions (Christianity and Buddhism).

These provide contrasting approaches to questions of meaning and the nature of religion as well as cultural differences. Buddhism engages the interest of students as an alternative approach to the one with which they are more familiar.

  • The curriculum further builds on the KS3 foundation, enabling a deeper understanding of theological and philosophical concepts
  • Ethical issues are explored fully
  • Skills of debate, analysis and evaluation continue to be central.


A deepening of the KS4 experience via exploring theological, philosophical and ethical concepts with a focus on Christianity. Students are also required to show how these interact with each other in a form of ‘dialogue’. Themes such as the impact of feminism and atheism on religion are also explored and broaden the scope of the student experience. Further development of higher order thinking skills including evaluation, analysis and argumentation.

Year 7 Overview

Students are taught the following topics in Year 7

  • Is there a God?
  • Why worship?
  • Similarities and differences between worship in Hinduism and Christianity
  • What does Jesus mean to Christians?
    • Jesus – Man or God?
    • Jesus – His life, death and beyond
    • Are the teachings of Jesus relevant today?

Year 8 Overview

Students are taught the following topics in Year 8:

  • What does it mean to be a Muslim?
  • Why is there suffering? How do Christianity and Buddhism deal with the question?
  • Religion and Moral Issues

Introducing students to the examination of moral dilemmas and questions.  This module enables the students to analyse their own moral standpoints, as well as exploring a variety of religious approaches.  In particular, it gives the opportunity for students to develop the crucial skill of debate and discussion.

Topics explored include:

    • Social justice and human rights
    • Prejudice and discrimination
    • Religious freedom
    • Poverty and wealth
    • We look at the impact of religious believers such as Martin Luther King, Jnr, Mahatma Gandhi and the Dalai Lama on these issues

GCSE Overview

Students are taught the following topics in Years 9 to 11:

All students follow a three-year course leading to a Full Religious Studies GCSE qualification.

Students learn how religion, philosophy and ethics form the basis of our culture, and are challenged with questions about belief, values, meaning, purpose and truth, enabling them to develop their own attitudes towards religious issues. They develop analytical and critical thinking skills, the ability to work with abstract ideas, leadership and research skills. All these skills will help prepare them for further study

They explore the beliefs, teachings and practices of Christianity and Buddhism in detail.

They also study four themes, considering the moral, religious, and spiritual implications of the issues. The four themes are:

  • Religion, peace and conflict
  • Religion and Life, including abortion, euthanasia and animal experiments
  • Relationships and families
  • Religion, crime and punishment

A-Level Overview

Students are taught the following topics in Years 12 and 13:

The course features a variety of relevant and contemporary themes, to help inspire engaging classroom discussion. Students will also gain critical and evaluative skills sought after by higher education and employers, particularly in law, education, social work, politics, medicine, administration and the media. Religious studies is a thought-provoking subject, and the contemporary themes inspire engaging classroom discussion.

The course consists of:

Philosophy of Religion and Ethics: exploring a range of ethical issues such as medical ethics and animal rights as well as some of the arguments for and against the existence of God

A Study of Christianity: analysing such theological issues as beliefs about life after death, a literal or non-literal approach to the Bible, and what is meant by God.

  • At KS3, students experience visits to a number of places of worship. This develops an experiential insight into religious practices.  Visits include the parish church of St Michael and All Angels Church, as well as Christchurch Cathedral in Oxford.
  • At Sixth Form, the students attend a Sixth Form conference focused on A level philosophical, ethical and theological topics.  This is an opportunity to broaden and deepen their understanding.
  • The Sixth Form conferences are particularly useful in stretching the High Prior Attainers.
  • At all key stages, High Prior Attainers are given additional learning suggestions and lines of enquiry to follow in order to challenge themselves.