Skip to content ↓

Devonport High School for Girls

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).  

KS3, 4 and 5 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. 

Key stage 3 (Year 7 and 8) 

At Key Stage 3 we begin with an anthropological look at early or tribal religions, then move to encompass the beliefs and practices of Judaism, Christianity, Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism and Sikhism.

Key stage 4 (Year 9, 10 and 11) 

At key Stage 4 all children 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.

RS GCSE Qualification from AQA. ... GCSE Religious Studies A (8062) Teaching from September 2016. Exams from June 2018. 

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.