"The different subjects you cover in RPE are incredible"

At Heathfield we offer an engaging, imaginative and challenging introduction to philosophy and religion. We believe that RPE is relevant to everyone, whether a member of a faith group or none.


Year 7

In Year 7 we start the year by looking at what Religion, Philosophy and Ethics is by examining some of the big questions in life such as ' who am I?’ We then look deeper at what it means to be human by examining whether humans have a soul, and whether humans are more important than animals.

In January we will be looking at the Sikh religion and finding out about how the Gurdwara (temple) represents the Sikh community. We will then explore why Jesus is seen as an inspiration to people by analysing Christian beliefs as well as who students find inspiring in their own lives. Finally, we will end the year looking at the ‘Spirited Arts’ competition which is run by NATRE (www.natre.org.uk).

Year 8

In Year 8 we will start the year asking ‘How do people make moral decisions’ by looking at lots of ethical and religious guidance. We then then look more specifically at Buddhist teachings and guidance for life.

In the spring term we will explore peace and conflict with a focus on Christian ideas such as the Just War Theory, and forgiveness. At the end of Year 8 we will investigate what Muslims do and believe as well as concepts of unity and God in Islam.

Year 9

We start Year 9 by looking at big philosophical ideas such as ‘how do we know we exist? We then look at the media and its influence on us. We then move on to one of the biggest philosophical questions – Does God exist? In January we will explore ethical ideas around human rights and prejudice. We will end the year by looking at whether the concept of ‘religion’ has a future in our society which includes an examination of Humanism and Spirituality in today’s society.

“I enjoy being part of the group discussions and listening to different points of view"
Summer P.


Religious Studies is offered as an optional GCSE for KS4. We follow the AQA Religious Studies ‘A’ specification (code 8062), focussing on two religions: Christianity and Buddhism. https://www.aqa.org.uk/subjects/religious-studies/gcse/religious-studies-a-8062

We will study the following topics over Year 10 and Year 11:

Paper Title Brief contents outline
1: The study of Religions, Beliefs, Teachings and Practices Beliefs and Teachings in Buddhism Practices in Buddhism The Dharma; The Buddha; the Four Noble Truths; Worship and Festivals; Buddhist Ethics

Beliefs and Teachings in Christianity

Practices in Christianity

Key beliefs; Jesus and Salvation; Worship and Festivals; the role of the church in the local and worldwide community
2: Thematic Studies Theme A: Relationships and Families Human sexuality, marriage, divorce, contraception, family roles, gender equality and prejudice.
Theme B: Religion and Life Treatment of the environment; Animal experimentation; Origins and Value of Human Life; Abortion; Euthanasia; Sanctity of Life; Quality of Life; Death & the Afterlife.
Theme D: Religion, Peace and Conflict Peace and Conflict, Terrorism, Just War Theory, Holy War, Evil & Suffering, Pacifism.
Theme E: Religion, Crime and Punishment Good and Evil Actions and People; Causes of Crime; Aims of Punishment; The Punishment of Criminals; Capital Punishment; Justice and Forgiveness.

These will be assessed by two exams of 1 hour 45 minutes each at the end of Year 11. We aim to run at least one trip every year for GCSE students, for example attending one of the Candle Conferences (https://candleconferences.com) or visiting a Christian or Buddhist place of worship.

“RPE allows your inner creativity to come out"
Matt W

Spiritual, Moral, Social and Cultural Opportunities


The Spiritual aspect of SMSC is embedded in our lessons, with pupils often being given opportunity to reflect on how the things they have learnt can affect and influences their own lives. At GCSE level pupils are asked for their own opinion in their evaluation questions, which we discuss at length in lessons. In Key Stage 3 each assessment has an aspect of “learning from religion” in it which is about their personal reflection on the topic being assessed. Pupils are also given opportunity to reflect in their written work.


The issues of morality flow throughout our courses. At GCSE level the course specifically requires pupils to consider the moral issues of the topics that are being addressed, such as the role of humans and the environment, if abortion and euthanasia are morally acceptable and if war is helpful. At Key Stage 3 we also look at how world moral issues, such as suffering are affected by religion within the Buddhism unit.


Within Religious Studies pupils are given the opportunity to develop their social skills through debate, speaking and listening, group work and using a variety of modern media. We also reflect on issues of community cohesion through looking at the media represent world events and religions and the affect religion has on individuals.



Religion, Morality and Social skills are underpinned by the culture we live in. Within Religious Studies we look at issues of how religion is shown in our culture by the media, and how religious beliefs affects the culture we live in. We also review world faiths and show the importance of the influence of culture and religion often go hand in hand throughout the world.

Mary Lockwood Head of RPE
Ian Caddy SLT
Wayne Davies Teacher
Aileen St John Teacher


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