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KS4 and GCSE Religious Education

KS4 Intent

Why do we teach this?


At Key Stage 4, students follow the AQA A specification for a GCSE short-course qualification. Religious Education is rebranded at this stage as Philosophy and Ethics. The course covers religious, philosophical, and ethical themes, ensuring students have a variety of intriguing subjects to explore. Students are challenged with questions about belief, values, meaning, purpose, and truth, enabling them to develop their own values and attitudes towards religious issues. Students gain an appreciation of how religion, philosophy and ethics form the basis of our culture. Students develop analytical and critical thinking skills, the ability to work with abstract ideas, leadership, and research skills. All these will help prepare students for further study.


KS4 Implementation

What do we teach? What does this look like?


The GCSE curriculum starts half way through Year 9 to give the subject greater purpose, significance and meaning with students at a time of Option choices. It is an extension of what students have learnt at Key Stage 3 and offers a seamless transition to Key Stage 4. Students at Gartree High School receive one 50-minute lesson of Religious Education a week in Year 10 and timetabled Philosophy and Ethics sessions in Year 11 exploring religious, philosophical and ethical themes relating to current social issues.


The Religious Education short-course qualification has a clear structure with two main components. Students consider different beliefs and teachings to religious and non-religious issues in contemporary British society. Students are made aware that Christianity is one of the diverse religious traditions and beliefs in Great Britain today and that the main religious tradition in Great Britain is Christianity. Students study the beliefs and teachings of Christianity and Buddhism along with their basis in religious sources of wisdom and authority. Students throughout their learning are encouraged to refer to scripture and/or sacred texts where appropriate to support particular beliefs and teachings.

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The short-course includes questions that allow students to demonstrate their ability to:


  • apply knowledge and understanding of two religions

  • apply knowledge and understanding of key sources of wisdom and authority including scripture and/or sacred texts, where appropriate, which support contemporary religious faith

  • understand the influence of religion on individuals, communities, and societies

  • understand significant common and divergent views between and/or within religions and beliefs

  • apply knowledge and understanding in order to analyse questions related to religious beliefs and values

  • construct well-informed and balanced arguments on matters concerned with religious beliefs and values set out in the subject content.


KS4 Impact

What will this look like?

  • There is one externally examined paper made up of three parts with two focusing on the selected religions and the third on the two specified themes.

  • Section A: Students answer questions on two religions with the questions within each religion having a common structure made up of five-part questions of 1, 2, 4, 5 and 12 marks.

  • Section B: Students answer questions on both themes and the questions within each theme have a common structure made up of five-part questions of 1, 2, 4, 5 and 12 marks. All questions are marked out of 24.

  • Majority of students are expected to meet their Gartree Indicator Grade set by the school for the subject.

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