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Devonport High School for Girls

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. 

A Level Course Outline

This course seeks to develop knowledge and understanding of philosophy, religions and ethics alongside the skills of enquiry, reflection and critical analysis. It is excellent preparation for most subjects at university. Students will enjoy the opportunity to develop their own opinions and ideas during the course.

Higher Education and Career Opportunities

A qualification in Religious Studies is valued by both universities and employers and opens the door to a wide-range of courses and careers.

Course Content

Students take only ONE pathway:

Examination Board

WJEC (Eduqas)

Full details of the specification and assessment criteria can be found on the  WJEC (Eduqas) website

A Level Specification (A 1120)

AS Specification (AS 2120)

There is no coursework component in this course. There is one examination for each component

AS Level

A Level

Unit 1

Unit 1

An Introduction to the Study of Religion (Buddhism) 33.3%

A Study of Religion (Buddhism) 33.3%

AS Level

A Level

Unit 2

Unit 2

An Introduction to the Philosophy of Religion 33.3%

Philosophy of Religion 33.3%

AS Level

A Level

Unit 3

Unit 3

An Introduction to Religion and Ethics 33.3%

Religion and Ethics 33.3%

Assessment in AS is by one examination of 90 minutes in each of the three units. Each examination carries 100 marks.

Assessment in A Level is by one examination of two hours in each of the three units. Each examination carries 100 marks

 Extra-curricular activities

  • In Year 12, the Religious Studies department offers an enrichment programme in Anthropology.
  • In Year 12, we offer two students who take both Religious Studies and History the chance to participate in the Holocaust Education Trust ‘Learning From Auschwitz’ project. This involves a visit to Auschwitz, as well as a series of seminars and the opportunity to earn UCAS points through a personal presentation.
  • The school’s Amnesty International group is open to all students, but has traditionally been well attended by students of Religious Studies. There is an opportunity for students to apply to join the national Youth Amnesty Group.