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Devonport High School for Girls

Religious Studies

Name of Head of Department

Mr A Abbotts BA(Hons), PGCE

Statement of Intent 

Religious Studies at DHSG offers an academically rigorous, personally enriching journey into the six major religions found in the UK, which have also shaped the intellectual, social, moral, spiritual and cultural development of most countries in the world. The word ‘journey’ is important; students are encouraged to take not only an academic interest in religious issues but also a personal one, by reflecting on their own sense of meaning behind the ‘bigger questions’ of life. In this respect, we may say we are the only subject that does not have any ‘objectively right’ answers. The delivery of the subject encourages personal growth and exploration of ideas. 

As the Devon Agreed Syllabus (we also incorporate the National Non-Statutory Syllabus for RE) is advisory rather than prescriptive, there is no uniformity in knowledge of particular religions when students join us at the end of KS2. After an introductory unit looking at unifying themes in early and tribal religions, It is sensible therefore to equip students with a baseline of substantive knowledge in the six major religions; thus, Judaism, Christianity and Islam (the three ‘Western’ or ‘Abrahamic’ religions) are taught in Year 7, the three ‘Eastern’ religions of Hinduism, Buddhism and Sikhism in Year 8. Within this context, different ‘ways of knowing’ (for example alternative interpretations, the distinction between but value of historical and faith perspectives) are also introduced, and provide a basis for the development of ‘personal knowledge’, where students can begin to define their own positions on a range of beliefs and attitudes. ‘Substantive knowledge’ and ‘ways of knowing’ are directly assessed by the GCSE criteria of ‘Assessment Objective 1’ (knowledge and understanding of content) and ‘Assessment Objective 2’ (evaluation and interpretation).  

Lower, middle and upper years Religious Studies and non-exam (‘Core’) RE increasingly seeks to further the development of the three forms of knowledge in both breadth and depth, by focusing on differences within and between religious and non-religious viewpoints in both beliefs and ethics. It is important that students understand that ‘not all Christians (or members of other faiths) are the same’ and there can be wide disparities, for example, over different conceptions of God and ethical issues. By expanding their own substantive knowledge alongside more informed interpretation and evaluation, students develop positions of their own. It is in this sense that study is part academic and part personal journey, an evolutionary process of enrichment that equips them with the religious literacy to understand others, to make safe, critically analytical judgements and offer their own contributions in a multicultural, multivalent world. 

Curriculum Programmes of Study 


Cycle Content

Year 7

Cycle 1

Religion and the Environment Early Forms of Religion/ Religion in technologically undeveloped Societies

Cycle 2

An introduction to Judaism and Christianity

Cycle 3

An introduction to Christianity (contd.) and Islam

Year 8 


Cycle 1

   An introduction to Buddhism

Cycle 2

An introduction to Hinduism

Cycle 3

An introduction to Sikhism

Year 9

Cycle 1

GCSE AQA Religious Studies – Christianity, Hinduism, Philosophical  and Ethical Issues. The study of two religions includes
beliefs, teachings and practices.

Cycle 1 includes Christian, Hindu and other religious attitudes to crime and punishment


Cycle 2

Christian, Hindu and other religious attitudes to life issues, including the environment, scientific accounts of the Big Bang and Evolution, ideas about death and the afterlife, abortion and euthanasia


Cycle 3

Christian beliefs

Year 10 

Cycle 1

Christian, Hindu and other religious attitudes to relationships and families


Cycle 2

Hindu beliefs


Cycle 3

Christian practices

Year 11


Cycle 1

Christian, Hindu and other religious attitudes to peace and conflict


Cycle 2

Hindu practices


Cycle 3

Revision and exam practice

Lower Years Assessment Framework

To view the Lower Years Assessment Framework for Religious Studies, please click here

Middle Years Exam and Specification Information

Students receive a broad religious education which is delivered through the pastoral programme, while those choosing to study it as a GCSE will follow the AQA syllabus A. This involves the in depth study of the philosophies, beliefs, practices and ethics of Christianity and Hinduism.

Full details of the specification and assessment criteria can be found on the AQA website GCSE Religious Studies specification

Extra-curricular activities

In Year 7 all children visit Buckfast Abbey as part of a joint enterprise with the History and Art departments.