Ysgol Stanwell School

Archer Road, Penarth, Vale of Glamorgan, CF64 2XL

Religious Education

Head of Department
Mrs J Skilton
Miss E Ghazi-Torbati
Mr P Griffiths
Mrs A Jay
Mr R Macpherson
Miss H Parry
Mrs E Smith
Mrs J Warren
Mrs L Wyatt

In RE we offer opportunities for pupils to study Christianity and the other major world faiths in Britain in order to:

  • Learn to understand and respect different religions, beliefs, values and traditions (including ethical life stances), and understand their influence on individuals, societies, communities and cultures;
  • Explore issues within, across and between faiths and consider questions of meaning and purpose in life;
  • Learn about religious and ethical teaching, enabling them to make reasoned and informed judgements on religious and moral issues;
  • Develop their sense of identity and belonging, preparing them for adult life as citizens in a plural society;
  • Develop skills of enquiry and response in analysis, expression, reflection, evaluation and application, through the use of distinctive language, listening and empathy.

Key Stage 3

In RE we enable pupils to acquire and apply knowledge and understanding of:

  • Christianity and the other principal religions represented in Great Britain;
  • How these religions influence individuals, communities, society and the world;
  • The nature of belief, religion, philosophy and ethics.

Key Stage 4

We follow the WJEC’s Religious Studies GCSE units. In Years 9 and 10, pupils study Unit 1: ‘Religion and Philosophical themes’ We begin this early, in Year 9, to allow plenty of time for exam practice and revision. In Year 11, we study Unit 2: ‘Religion and Ethical themes’. These units deal with important issues that most young people find interesting and engaging, and they give us plenty of opportunity for class discussion. Pupils will need to learn two different religious perspectives and non-religious views on the topics studied in class.

Year 9 and 10

  • Islam
    • Core beliefs, teachings and practices
    • Allah as Tawhid
    • The Qur’an, Hadith and Sunnah
    • The Five Pillars of Islam
    • Shahadah
    • Salat
    • Zakat
    • Hajj
    • Sawm
    • Hajj
  • Christianity
    • Core beliefs, teachings and practices
    • God as Trinity
    • Jesus as God incarnate
    • Morality—teachings of Jesus
    • Church—Diversity of Christianity
    • Role of the local church
    • Persecution of Christians in the modern world
  • Life and Death
    • The world—different beliefs about creation, stewardship and environmental responsibility
    • The origin and value of human life—quality of life and sanctity of life issues e.g. abortion and euthanasia.
    • Beliefs about death and afterlife.
  • Good and Evil
    • Crime and Punishment beliefs and attitudes about the causes of crime, treatment of criminals
    • Forgiveness – peace and conflict, Just War
    • Good, Evil and Suffering – philosophical and religious beliefs about evil and suffering

Year 11

At Stanwell we teach the perspectives of Christianity and Islam. The course does not teach that any religious or moral standpoint is right or better than another; rather, pupils are encouraged to critically evaluate different perspectives including Humanists and other atheist viewpoints. We hope to develop learners’ knowledge and understanding of religions and non-religious beliefs, such as atheism and humanism as they work through the two units of study.

  • Islam
    • Core beliefs, teachings and practices
    • Prophethood
    • Afterlife
    • Muslim identity and Ummah
    • Id-ul-Adha and Id-ul-Fitr
    • The Night of Power—how the giving of the Qur’an is commemorated.
  • Christianity
    • Core beliefs, teachings and practices
    • The Bible
    • The afterlife
    • Life’s journey baptism, confirmation and marriage
    • Special places and places of worship
  • Relationships
    • Nature and purpose of marriage and attitudes towards adultery, divorce, annulment, separation and remarriage
    • Nature and purpose of sexual relationships.
    • Issues of equality: gender prejudice and discrimination
  • Human rights
    • Human rights and social justice
    • Prejudice and discrimination
    • Issues of poverty and wealth

Why is GCSE Religious Studies compulsory at Stanwell?

Religious Education (RE) is an important subject which develops academic skills and fosters awareness and tolerance of others. In fact, we are required by law to teach RE to all of our pupils. At Stanwell School, this is an opportunity to gain an additional full course GCSE qualification that is valued by employers and universities. All pupils, from Year 9 to the end of Year 11, will now follow the WJEC Religious Studies programme outlined inside this flyer.

Learning and Teaching

The course is delivered in one lesson a week. This is a challenge! Therefore, it is essential that all pupils make the most of every lesson. This means coming to lessons on time and ready to learn, working hard to complete all class work to the best of their ability and making positive contributions to group and class discussions. We realise that many pupils would not have opted for GCSE Religious Studies and that all pupils will be very busy, studying many subjects. Therefore, we do not set homework, unless it is absolutely necessary to do so. This said, it will be an on-going expectation that any unfinished class work is completed at home. We want pupils to enjoy the course and we work hard to provide lessons that are relevant, interesting and challenging for all. The emphasis in lessons is on active learning with a focus on developing skills. Lessons feature discussion, group work, individual written tasks and practice of exam-style questions.


The final grade in the GCSE is determined by the outcome of two 2 hour examinations, one on each unit. There is no coursework. Everyone sits the same two papers (there is no tiered entry). To monitor progress, there will be regular class tests, reflecting the structure of the final exam. These will be marked according to the exam board’s criteria. Although these tests will not count towards the final grade, they will be essential exam preparation.

Key Stage 5

AS/A Level Religious Studies encourages you to use an enquiring, critical and empathetic approach to the study of religion. It will appeal to those who enjoy exploring religious beliefs and the relationship between religion and culture. This course provides the opportunity for you to develop greater awareness of aspects of human life other than the physical and material, and explores different approaches to moral decisions.

AS – Year 12 – Religious Studies

  • RS Unit 1 An Introduction to the Study of Religion:
    • Students will look at religious figures and sacred texts; religious concepts; religious life; and religious practices within the context of major world faith.
  • RS Unit 2 An Introduction to Philosophy of Religion/Religion and Ethics.
    • Section A – There are four themes within this unit: cosmological arguments for the existence of God; teleological arguments for the existence of God; the non-existence of God- the problem of evil and religious experience.
    • Section B – Ethical language and thought; Fletcher’s Situation Ethics, Aquinas’ Natural Law and Utilitarianism and how these ethical theories can be applied to making moral decisions..

For each module there will be an examination as follows:
Unit 1 – One exam on 75 minutes worth 15% of the qualification
Unit 2 – one written exam of 105 minutes worth25% of qualification
AS is worth 40% of the overall A Level qualification.

A2 – Year 13 – Studies in Religion

  • A2 Unit 3 Study of a religion: Students will study sacred texts, religious figures, and significant historical developments in religious thought and significant social development in religious thought and religious practices that shapes religious identity within a major world religion.
  • A2 Unit 4 Religion and Ethics: Ethical language and thought; Kant’s Moral ethical theory; contemporary developments in ethical theory and free will and determinism.
  • A2 Unit 5 Philosophy of Religion: Ontological arguments for the existence of God; challenges to religious belief, religious experience and religious language.

For Unit 3 there will be an examination of 90 minutes duration worth 20% of the qualification.
For Unit 4 there will be an examination of 90 minutes worth 20% of the qualification.
For Unit 5 there will be an examination of 90 minutes worth 20% of the qualification

All 3 Units of study will be examined in the summer of Year 13 and are worth 60% of the overall A Level qualification.

Entry Requirements

You must have achieved a minimum of 5 A* – C grades at GCSE, including a C in both Religious Studies Religious Studies and English Language. The assessment in this subject is essay based and you will, therefore, need to be able to write fluently and structure responses effectively. The course also involves extensive wider reading and you will need to be able to read and analyse a variety of different and often complex text based resources.

Teaching and Learning Styles

The RE department uses a range of teaching strategies, activities and resources designed to develop critical thinking skills including: group work, problem solving tasks, discussions, film clips as stimulus, teacher-led research. You will be provided with typed notes but are encouraged to improve your own learning and performance by reading and researching independently to broaden your knowledge and understanding.

Transition to A Level

The course is designed to help you make the transition to A Level smoothly by including introductory lessons to bridge the gap on areas of study not included in the GCSE Short Course. You can prepare for the course by taking an interest in news items relating to ethical issues.

Compatible Subjects

Religious Studies combines well with a wide range of subjects especially other humanities, as well as science subjects for those who wish to consider the ethical aspects of scientific advances.


Problem-solving skills, powers of analysis and a critical mind are essential qualities in exploring religion, and those skills can translate easily to many career fields including: business, law, media, management, medicine, journalism, teaching and the arts, to name but a few.

Further information is available from Mrs J Skilton or from the WJEC.

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