Relgious Studies

Sandbach High school

General information

Religious Studies contributes dynamically to children and young people’s education in schools by provoking challenging questions about meaning and purpose in life, beliefs about God, ultimate reality, issues of life and death and issues of right and wrong and what it means to be human. In RS they learn about and from religions and worldviews in local, national and global contexts, to discover, explore and consider different answers to these questions. They learn to weigh up the value of wisdom from different sources, to develop and express their insights in response, and to agree or disagree respectfully.  

Curriculum Lead

Curriculum Leader Humanities Faculty:  Ms C Wildman 

Religious Studies contact: Mrs C Milnes  


  1. Curriculum lead

Curriculum Leader Humanities Faculty:  Ms C Wildman 

Religious Studies contact: Mrs C Milnes  


  1. Curriculum statement

Religious Studies does NOT seek to promote the beliefs of one religion over another. Rather, we aim to: 

  • support pupils in their own search for meaning and purpose in life 
  • help pupils develop their own beliefs, values and ideals 
  • provide a safe and secure environment for pupils to challenge prejudices and misconceptions 
  • encourage tolerance and respect for themselves and for other people
  • enable pupils to be discerning so that they can make informed choices about systems of belief whether faith based or secular
  • encourage pupils to recognise and celebrate diversity in society
  • enhance pupils’ understanding of history, art, music, literature and the media. 

RS seeks to give a basic grounding in the beliefs and practices of the 6 world religions, thus equipping learners with the basic knowledge to understand their neighbours and colleagues in life. We aim to equip our students with the vocabulary to ask philosophical and theological questions, and the skills to consider the different possible answers to these questions. 

Learners in RS are prepared with the skills necessary for GCSE-style questions: description, deeper explanation, evaluation of a range of views, justification of a judgement using evidence. Learners with Additional Needs are given scaffolded tasks to enable them to work towards these goals. Content is regularly updated to reflect current topics of debate. 

Our learners leave us equipped for a wide range of employment and vocations; they are able to consider differing viewpoints and can take into account the way worldviews affect the ethical standpoints of others. 

KS3 Map 


Year 7 

Year 8 

Year 9 

Autumn 1 

Christianity: Nature of God; Trinity: Father, Son, Holy Spirit;  Who was Jesus? 

Sikhism: Guru Nanak; 10 Gurus; Khalsa and 5 Ks; Guru Granth Sahib; Sewa and Simran. 

Buddhism: Life of the Buddha; 3 Marks Existence; 4 Noble Truths; Eightfold Path; Right Action 

Autumn 2 

Christianity: Parables; Jesus the Good Guy; Christian family tree; worship; Art & Architecture; St. Francis. 

Sikhism > Hinduism 

Just War Theory; Hindu concepts of God; Goals in life; Karma, Samsara & Reincarnation. 

Buddhism: Temples; Festivals; Ethics: Was the Buddha Sexist?  

Ethics & the Family: What is family? Marriage; Divorce 

Threshold Concepts 

Incarnation – concept of ‘God’ in human form; salvation through atonement; diverse expressions of faith; impact of faith on life: fruits of the Spirit 

Reincarnation – the connection between the soul and God 

Ethical concepts: how to be ‘good’ ; Salvation through works 

Rebirth; salvation through self-enlightenment 

The notion of ‘compromise’ in applying religious ethical standards to key life stages. 

Spring 1 

Islam: Muslims & Jesus; 99 Names of Allah; Shahadah; Qur’an; Zakat.  

Hindu: Puja; Mandir; Ramayana; Sacred Thread; Gandhi: Swadeshi; Ahimsa; Salt March.  

Ethics & Family: Children & age of responsibility; sexuality. 

Medical Ethics: When does life begin? Embryo research 

Spring 2 

Islam: Mosque & Salat; Ramadan; Hajj; Calligraphy & Geometry; Architecture; Malala.  

Holocaust: Jewish life prior; Impact of persecution; ghettos; camps; Never Again. 

Medical Ethics: Abortion; Fertility Treatment; Saviour Siblings; Transplants.   

Threshold Concepts 

Understanding the nature of God without imagery.  

Ascetic practices as part of ethical life. 

Suffering for ones beliefs. 

Philosophical Problem of Evil and Suffering. 

When does ‘life’ begin? 

The value, quantity and sanctity of life 

Summer 1 

Judaism: Abraham; Moses; Passover; Seder Meal. 

MLK: roots of racism: slave trade; Hidden Figures; Problem Texts 

Medical Ethics: Genetic Engineering; [Euthanasia] 

Crime & Punishment: Causes; Aims 

Summer 2 

Judaism: Torah; Shabbat; Different types of Jews.  

MLK: Work of MLK; Malcolm X; Ferguson; Stormzy and BLM 

C & P: Capital Punishment; The Island. 

Final Assessment. 

Threshold Concepts 

Religion or Culture – the concept of following a religion as a culture 


Racism at institutional level 

Is ‘evil’ born or made? 

How and why does society promote moral living? 



KS4 Map 


KS4: year 10 

KS4: year 11 


Christianity: 10: Nature of God; Trinity; Creation; Incarnation; Crucifixion; Ascension; Salvation; Life After Death. 

Islam: 10: Articles of Faith; Five Roots of Usul ad-Din; Oneness of Allah; Nature of God; Angels; Predestination & Free Will; Life After Death 

Family and Relationships 

Marriage & Divorce; Sexuality; Gender Roles. 


Religion and Life 

Creation of the World; Abortion; Euthanasia. 


Threshold Concepts 

Incarnation: God as a human being 

Salvation: sacrificial death 

Tawhid: absolute One-ness of Allah; links to predestination 


Roles of men and women. 

Sanctity of all life, including plant and non-human animals. 


Christianity: 10: Worship; Prayer; Baptism; Communion; Pilgrimage; Festivals; Food banks. 

Islam: 10: Holy Books; 5 Pillars in Sunni Islam; Prophets; Prophet Muhammad (pbuh); Imamate 


Peace and Conflict 

Concept of Holy War and Jihad; Just War Theory; Peaceful Protest; Weapons of Mass Destruction; Terrorism. 


Crime and Punishment 

Types of Crime; Types of Punishment; Forgiveness.  

Threshold Concepts 

Faith in action: real world application of beliefs. 

Can there be a ‘just’ war? 

Why do we obey laws? 


Christianity: 10: Street Pastors; Mission & Evangelism; Reconciliation; Persecution; Christian Aid. 

Islam: 10: Obligatory Acts; Jihad; Id ul Fitr; Id ul Adha; Ashura. 


External exams 

Threshold Concepts 

Faith in action: real world application (community). 












KS5 Map 


KS5: Year 12 

KS5: Year 13 


Philosophy: Arguments for the Existence of God; Problem of Evil  

Ethics:  DCT: Ethical Egoism; Virtue Theory.  

Islam:  Muhammad; developing Islam; Qur’an. Allah; Risalah.  

Philosophy: Freud & Jung; Atheism. 


Ethics: Free Will;  

Islam: Sharia and Jihad; Shi’a. 


Threshold Concepts 

Can the existence of God be proven? 

How do we define ‘being good’? 

What are the core beliefs of Islam? 

How are believers challenged in their faith? 

What does it mean to have ‘free will’? 

How do Muslims apply their beliefs to the challenges of living an ethical life. 


Philosophy: Religious Experience.  

Ethics: Natural Law; Utilitarianism.  

Islam: Malaikah & Akhirah; Salah; Zakah; Five Categories Action. 

Philosophy: Religious Language. 


Ethics: Finnis & Hoose: Metaethics 


Islam: Crime & Punishments; Developments. 


Threshold Concepts 

How do we define a religious experience? Can it be proved? 

Are their inherent rules to morality? Or is morality a relative state? 

What are the core practices of Islam? 

How does language reflect the beliefs underlying the words? 

How have ethical theories been developed? 

How might Muslim beliefs be applied and developed. 


Philosophy: 12: Miracles. 

Ethics: 12: Situation Ethics; Determinism 

Islam: 12: Practices that shape identity. 


External Exams 

Threshold Concepts 

Does the definition of a miracle make it so improbable as to be impossible? 

Is the ethical life one that can be ascertained by formulae?  

How might a Muslim define themselves? 

Strategies for revision and answering questions under timed conditions. 




KS4:  AQA GCSE Religious Studies A: Christianity, Islam and Thematic Studies.  

The examinations consist of two papers: one paper on religious beliefs and practices, one paper on Thematic Studies. Each paper contains shorter questions, worth 1 and 2 marks, examining knowledge. Medium length questions, worth 4 and 5 marks, examining understanding of the impact of beliefs. Longer questions, worth 12 marks, examining different responses and interpretations of religious beliefs, practices and ethical viewpoints. 

KS5: Eduqas A level Religious Studies: The Study of Islam, Philosophy of Religion and Religion and Ethics.  

The course covers key aspects of the beliefs and practices of Islam; in Philosophy we explore arguments for the existence of God, the problem of evil and suffering, and the nature of religious experience; in Ethics we consider ethical thought and language and how ethical theories have developed over time, whether that might be Situation Ethics or Utilitarianism.  Examination consists of three papers, each 2 hours long, each consisting of 4 essay-style responses to questions examining knowledge and the ability to analyse the effectiveness of the theories. 

Wider Curriculum

Amnesty International 

Philosophy Film Club 

Gardening Club 

Rainbow Club 

Useful Links

5 Ways I can help my child in KS3: 

  1. Discuss their learning with them; encourage them to consider different points of view.  
  1. Help them with their research: encourage use of sites such as BBC Religion and Ethics.  
  1. Encourage ‘spiritual literacy’, regardless of whether you are personally spiritual. This means talking about ‘big questions’ and how they might be answered.  
  1. Help them to learn by quizzing them; this will help them to see the differences between the religions.  
  1. Share your own views, whilst encouraging them to question you.  


5 Ways I can Help my Child in KS4and KS5 

  1. Discuss their learning with them; encourage them to consider different points of view.  
  1. Ask them to relate their learning to current affairs: what might Christians or Muslims say about this?  
  1. Help them to research in more depth, using appropriate material. Encourage them to avoid ‘blogs’ that may be one-sided.  
  1. Quiz them, to check knowledge and understanding.  
  1. Share your own views and experiences; if you disagree with them, explain why. Encourage them to explain their views too.  


Useful websites:  BBC Religion and Ethics – an archived site, but lots of useful articles A great place to search for discussion points, including The Moral Maze Useful for GCSE Religious Studies  Although linked to the Edexcel A level RS spec, there is a lot of useful information here  Crash Course Philosophy – a must for A level students!