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Religious Education

Our Intent:

  • In Religious Education, our curriculum is broad, balanced and ambitious where students will explore and challenge the beliefs of religious and non-religious people (including their own) and how these beliefs will influence their lives. We intend for all students to be given the opportunity to grow and nurture their own values and beliefs as young people in our Christian Community.
  • Our curriculum will equip students with transferable skills such as, critical and higher order thinking skills enabling them to be successful in the wider working world.
  • We will equip students with the knowledge and skills to explore religious, ethical and philosophical issues within society, informed by the locally agreed syllabus (Pan-Berkshire scheme of work). The syllabus highlights the significance of learning the purpose, aims and importance of learning RE focussing on learning about and from religions and worldviews. The syllabus’ eight key questions are explored throughout our curriculum (for Christianity) using a thematic and systematic approach and are addressed in other religious beliefs systems

The intent of ‘Religious Studies’ at Altwood School is explained through the acronym below:


Relevant – we intend to make RE relevant to all students and their lived experiences building resilience and fostering strength of character.

ReflEctive – we intend to nurture each individual and support them in becoming reflective and independent.


CelebrAtion – we intend to celebrate the diversity of different religious and non-religious beliefs and practices to reflect the families we serve.

SpirituaLity – we intend to develop individual spirituality by aiding them to find a sense of purpose and meaning in their lives.

LiTeracy – we intend to develop a high level of literacy and numeracy in our students to support success in the wider curriculum and adult life.

GroWth– we intend to grow and develop the students in achieving high academic success and empower them to progress to further education.

MOrality – we intend to expand students’ perspective of the wider world and promote social, moral, spiritual and cultural values.

TOlerance – we intend to promote tolerance of other’s beliefs, opinions and cultures supporting students to develop as healthy individuals and good citizens.

AdDress misconceptions – we intend to through a broad, balanced and ambitious curriculum, equip students with the ability to recognise and challenge common misconceptions within Religious Education.

Year 7

Students are introduced to RE at Altwood School focussing on the importance and value of the subject. This will help students to develop an understanding of the influence of beliefs, values and traditions on individuals, communities, societies and cultures.

Students are taught the fundamental beliefs within Christianity and Islam, as these two religions are reflective of our local community, highlighted within the Pan Berkshire Syllabus and studied until the end of KS4.

Students learn about different key figures and creation stories from a variety of religions, this helps students to celebrate and tolerate these views, irrespective of their learning at KS2.

The Scheme of work on Animal Rights challenges student’s morality and gives them the skills to be able to discuss and approach relevant ethical issues in an appropriate manner in preparation for their study in year 8.

Year 8

Within Topic One students learn about Inspirational People to coincide with Black History Month making this topic relevant to current affairs. The variety of inspirational people studied will help our students to identify and learn from these individuals, giving students the opportunity to focus on their personal growth.

In Year 8 students will build upon the fundamental beliefs of Christianity from Year 7 to gain deeper insight into the beliefs and practices of Christianity. The key focus being on Christian Rites of Passage and Festivals (with the lessons on Advent and Christmas being taught close to the Christmas period) and Christian attitudes towards war, peace and justice which supports the Pan Berkshire syallabus outcome; How might belief affect people’s responses towards social and global issues?

To ensure our Key Stage 3 students study a variety of religious beliefs in Year students study Buddhism in accordance with the Pan Berkshire Syllabus which specifically identifies this religion to be studied by the end of Key Stage 3.

Finally, Year 8 students continue to develop their ability to examine ethical issues by focussing on key debates relating to religious attitudes to drugs and the portrayal of religion in the media. This ensures students are prepared for their year 9 programme of study where they will need to be able to discuss ultimate questions and ethics in which higher order thinking skills are required.

Year 9

Topic one challenges students to consider philosophical arguments for the existence of God which promotes the development of students spirituality and introduces new religious terminology which will support their knowledge if they choose to study RE post 16. This topic supports the key learning out comes of the Pan Berkshire syllabus which states students can answer questions such as: How far does a person’s understanding of God influence their sense of purpose? Is there more than one way to be spiritual? In what ways do science, belief and religion interact and what difference might this make?

This foundation topic within year 9 and building upon previous years gives students the skills to tackle moral and ethic concepts studied within this year at a more challenging level. The ethical concepts studied in topics two, three and four provide students with the tools to discern how beliefs might shape concepts of truth, right and wrong and support the students understanding of how religious or non-religious beliefs affect personal relationships which is informed by the Pan Berkshire syllabus outcomes.

To ensure our Key Stage 3 students study a variety of religious beliefs in Year students study humanism in accordance with the Pan Berkshire Syllabus which specifically identifies this world view to be studied by the end of Key Stage 3. This supports the learning outcome; “to what extent should people from different belief systems manage their differences and co-operate for the common good?”

Topic six builds upon their philosophical skills learnt in topic one and solidifies their ability to evaluate how far concepts of truth, right and wrong generated by different belief systems, are used to justify behaviour by exploring the concept of evil and suffering.


We chose AQA religious specification A because it covers two of the major world religions our students have studied during KS3 and can therefore develop a deeper understanding of these religious beliefs and the four contemporary ethical themes we study; ensuring our students have access to a diverse choice of intriguing subjects to explore. We chose to study:

  • Christianity
  • Islam
  • Theme A: Relationships and families.
  • Theme B: Religion and life.
  • Theme D: Religion, peace and conflict.
  • Theme E: Religion, crime and punishment.

This ensures our students will be challenged with questions about belief, values, meaning, purpose and truth, enabling them to develop their own attitudes towards religious and ethical issues. Students will also gain an appreciation of how religion, philosophy and ethics form the basis of our culture. They will 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. As per the Pan Berkshire syllabus: “All pupils have the statutory entitlement to study RE and in addition should have the opportunity to follow an externally accredited course for Religious Studies e.g. GCSE. Schools are encouraged to facilitate examination entry for as many students as possible.” All KS4 students will take the GCSE RE accredited course.