All KS4 pupils take GCSE Religious Studies (Full Course).The Religious Studies course is flexible, and offers pupils the opportunity to make an in-depth study of a religion of their choice with a comparative second religion.
Pupils are encouraged to examine the profound questions of life – ‘Does God exist? How do we know?’ – and also develop an inquiring and sympathetic understanding of complex ethical issues – ‘Should animals have rights? Should war ever be fought? What are our medical ethics?’ It will become apparent that faith affects belief on such issues. Experience, belief and practice are examined, and conclusions drawn with regard to what these say about the meaning of life and responses to a variety of contemporary issues.
As a qualification, Religious Studies is valid for any people-orientated careers (e.g. Law/Medicine/Social Sciences); and, increasingly, for industries with important overseas connections. It is often recommended as a complementary subject for sciences. Religion is intrinsic to culture, and only by comprehending different faiths can cultures be fully appreciated. The course of study also offers an excellent opportunity to think through personal faith commitment, and to explore a personal response to some of life’s more complex dilemmas.
Religious Studies is taught alongside Thinking Skills where common processes such as decision-making and risk-taking are explored using topics from secular life such as finance, business and politics. Critical thinking skills are developed which are vital for both education and later life.
Independent learning … we couldn’t work without it. Our students are allowed to choose the religions they study for GCSE so at any time there could be six different religions being studied in a lesson. People ask us how we do it?
We start by engaging students in their passions for the subject. Religion has many different dimensions – there really is something for everyone (including the non-religious), whether it’s arguing the existence of God or marvelling in the architecture or getting lost in the music. In Year 9 students will begin to study a religion through guided classroom work and research.
KS4 Calendar highlights
The PCR Department runs a wide range of extra-curricular opportunities for Sixth Formers and students across the school.
Here are just a few of the activities our Year 9-11 students have been involved in …
Meeting Fiona MacTaggart (the MP for Slough),
“I really enjoy meeting visitors from outside of school. It’s really nerve-wracking talking to them, but it’s really useful to talk to them and practise asking questions and socialising. Fiona Mctaggart is just a normal person but was very honest with us and answered all of our questions.”
Running a mock election
“The whole-school mock election was really useful for me. I got to think about how to present myself to lots of people and make an impact. I realised how difficult it can be to convince people and how to go about it. I learnt what I would do differently next time!”
Visitors/Talks … for example from Since 9/11 (an anti-terrorism educational charity) and a former Head of the Metropolitan Police. These talks include sessions where Sixth Form PCR students get to meet the guests in small groups, ask them questions and have discussions.
Training and Presenting
For example, every year as part of their Diversity training, the ordinands (trainee priests) from Cuddesdon College observe lessons and students present their religions to them or join discussion panels.
We also work with overseas visitors such as a group of teachers from Cyprus here to learn about teaching in a multi-cultural environment.
“This was a challenge as most of them didn’t speak much English, but it was great for improving our presentation skills”
As part of the UCGS Diversity Day, pairs of students present about their religion to trainee teachers of all subjects from across the South of England and then answer questions honestly and openly. This excellent opportunity for students to present to a wider audience is also invaluable for teachers entering the profession.
Thinking Skills is a valuable part of our curriculum
(Parents: if you’ve noticed your child being able to argue more effectively, don’t blame us!)
“Our Thinking Skills lessons allow us to think out of the box about global crisis and weigh up reasons contributing to them.” – N
“Our Thinking Skills lessons are beneficial for us because it is a change from our other lessons in school. We discuss have the opportunity to discuss current events and think of them critically.” – J
“We learn how to argue in a sensible manner” – S
“I learned about world issues and I have learnt to broaden my knowledge. Also, I really like lesson where we learn about issues that tackle self-esteem and what is going on in the world.” – S
“I have learnt how to discuss from different points of view. I have learned how to prepare different points in an argument.” – A
“I have learnt how refugees could affect our country and the changes that would mean for the country.” – N
“I really enjoy debating in Thinking Skills lessons, because it helps if we have the chance to debate in other lessons.” – A
“I really like that I am allowed to express my opinion during class discussions.” – R
Thinking Skills recommended films (and why we like them)
12 Angry Men
Teaches ability to perceive and listen carefully before making decisions.