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Religious Studies

‘The unexamined life is not worth living.’

In this quote Socrates encapsulates the main purpose of Religious Studies at Sutton Valence School. Pupils will develop an independent mind and cultivate the ability to make reasoned and informed responses to religious and moral issues.

The underlying aim of the Religious Studies department is educational rather than religious. Pupils will develop their knowledge and understanding of Christianity and of the other principal religions represented in Great Britain. It is intended that pupils learn to appreciate the nature of religion and its contribution to the individual's search for meaning in life.

Career prospects for those that take Religious Studies/Theology at degree level are very bright with 25% of 2015 graduates going on to work in the fields of legal, social and welfare, 11% choosing to become educational professionals and almost 5% managers. The Russell Group of top universities has made it clear that Religious Studies A Level provides ‘suitable preparation for University generally’.

Junior Curriculum

In the First and Second Form pupils own experience will be used for fostering learning and will be encouraged to take responsibility for their own learning. Pupils will learn to accept the validity of comments of others and also the ability to accept criticism. This will be achieved by pupils working in all types of groups both as a leader and as a member. All material within Religious Studies will be made relevant to the pupils’ experiences of life.

Third Form Curriculum

In the Third Form the curriculum becomes much more philosophical in its nature. Modules 4 and 5 signify the beginning of GCSE. Students complete an extended essay applying moral codes to a moral dilemma.

GCSE Curriculum

The main aim of GCSE Religious Studies is to develop students’ knowledge and understanding of religions and non-religious beliefs, such as atheism and humanism. Students’ ability to construct well-argued, well-informed, balanced and structured written arguments with be encouraged to demonstrate their depth and breadth of understanding of the subject.

WJEC: Short Course GCSE is the chosen examination board for Religious Studies GCSE.

Assessment Structure:

Component 1: Religious, Philosophical and Ethical Studies in the Modern World.

  • Written examination: 1 hour - 50% of qualification. Candidates will study the following two themes:

Theme 1 - Issues of relationships, sexual relationships and issues of equality, gender prejudice and discrimination.
Theme 2 - Issues of life and death and the afterlife and the origin and value of human life.

Component 2: Study of Christianity

  • Written examination: 30 minutes - 25% of qualification.

Component 3: Study of a World Faith

  • Written examination: 30 minutes - 25% of qualification.

A Level Curriculum

Religious Studies A Level is intended to allow students to think about and debate some of the most fundamental questions of human existence; questions which have occupied the minds of philosophers and theologians for centuries and which continue to do so today. The course is also designed to enable learners to develop their interest in, and enthusiasm for, a study of Christianity and its place in the wider world. Above all, students should have an interest in religious and philosophical and religious issues, the ability to express themselves well in writing and an aptitude for critical thinking.

Assessment Structure:

The course is divided into three units; A Study of Religion, Philosophy of Religion and Religion and Ethics. Each unit has a written examination and is worth one-third of the overall mark.

Course Content:

Component One: A Study of Religion

Four themes within each option: religious figures and sacred texts; religious concepts and religious life; significant social and historical developments in religious thought; religious practices and religious identity.

Component Two: Philosophy of Religion

Four themes within this component: arguments for the existence of God; challenges to religious belief; religious experience; religious language.

Component Three: Religion and Ethics

Four themes within this component: ethical language and thought; deontological ethics; teleological ethics; freewill and determinism.


Department staff

Gwyn Davies

Linda Gray

Adrian Penfold
Head of Department

Contact Us

Sutton Valence School

North Street, Sutton Valence, Kent, ME17 3HL


Tel: 01622 845200


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