English & Humanities

GCSE Citizenship

GCSE

GCSE Citizenship is concerned with teaching and learning about issues that affect us within our local communities, the UK and the wider world, such as Human Rights and the Law.  Citizenship enables students to put their learning into practice by taking action on issues of interest through school and community-based campaigns.  Examples of past projects include campaigning to reduce the cost of public transport for young people and trying to reduce vandalism in a local graveyard.  Trips include a visit to the Houses of Parliament and Oxford Crown and Magistrates Courts. The skills Citizenship develops; such as advocacy, research, teamwork, planning and running community projects, are greatly valued by all further education institutions. 

Course outline:

How it's assessed

Citizenship

Examination Board:   OCR

Grading system: 1-9

Assessment: End of Topic Tests using past paper questions

Progression to Post-16:

The knowledge of society and the skills Citizenship develops; such as teamwork, planning and running community projects, are greatly valued by all further education institutions.

Some of the more common Post 16 courses that Citizenship students have chosen include Sociology, Public Services and Government and Politics.

Future career links:

Specific careers with a strong link to Citizenship are the Police, Law, Social Work and Politics.

Pupils have to participate in a campaign.  The Citizenship GCSE is assessed by three written exams one of these focussing on your campaign actions.

Contact:

Stuart George. Head of Citizenship. sgeorge@didcotgirls.oxon.sch.uk 01235 812092

Classical Civilisation

The A-Level Classical Civilisation course involves the study of the life and literature of Ancient Greek and Roman culture. It covers 4 primary areas - Greek Epic, Roman Society and Thought, Comic Drama in the Ancient World and Virgil and the World of the Hero.

All topics are based on the study of primary evidence and there is NO requirement for prior knowledge of the ancient world or classical languages.  It is recommended that candidates have attained GCSE grade B in English Literature or History.  There is no coursework required.

Classical Civilisation students will acquire and develop skills which are demanded by both universities and employers such as analysis, independent research, interpretation, critical thinking as well as the ability to produce evaluative writing.

Course Aims

  • Acquire, through studying a range of appropriate sources, knowledge and understanding of selected aspects of classical world.
  • Develop an awareness of the similarities and differences between classical and later times.
  • Be able to apply analytical and evaluative skills at an appropriate level.

AS

  • Homer’s Odyssey and Society(F382) - A study of Homer’s Odyssey including the analysis of content, structure, literary techniques and the society and values it represents.
  • Roman Society and Thought(F383) - The Roman writers include Horace, Petronius, Pliny and Juvenal, who provide an effective commentary on life and society under the Emperors, giving an opportunity for comparisons with contemporary media.

A2

  • Comic Drama in the Ancient World(F389) - This topic studies a selection of plays by Aristophanes, Menander and Plautus, giving a fascination insight into the political, social and religious aspects of the times as reflected through humour.
  • Virgil and the World of the HeroF(F390) - Virgil’s Aeneid and Homer’s Iliad are studied, focusing on the literary aspects of both epic poems as well as the historical, social, political and cultural content.

Examination Board - OCR

Final Assessment:
Two x 1-5 hour examination paper for AS
Two x 2 hour examination paper for A2

English

Key Stage 3 (Years 7-8)

Key Stage 3 in English is aimed at extending students' abilities in the three main language skill areas:

  • Oracy: Students are encouraged to develop their capacity to express themselves effectively and develop their individual spoken voice.
  • Reading: Students develop the ability to read, understand and respond to all types of writing.
  • Writing: Students learn to communicate effectively in written language, matching style to audience and purpose, spelling accurately and presenting work clearly.

Regular visits to the library encourage wide, personal reading for pleasure.

Year 9

The curriculum provides opportunities for enrichment and preparation for the GCSE courses, which the students commence in Year 10. The same three main language skill areas are covered.

Modules include:

  • 'Much Ado About Nothing'
  • War Poetry
  • 'Of Mice and Men'
  • An oracy unit engaging with ideas about crime and punishment

These schemes of work will encourage the girls to become independent and build up crucial skills for GCSE English and English Literature, such as essay writing, effective note taking and analysis of a range of texts.

Key Stage 4

Girls in Year 10 and 11 will study the new AQA specifications for GCSE English Language and English Literature. 

This combination of qualifications offers excellent scope for girls to extend their abilities in reading, writing and speaking and listening, whilst studying an enriching and broad range of texts.

Key Stage 5

Within the sixth form, the English Department runs a two-year A2 course in English Literature, following the AQA Literature A specifications. From September 2017, students will also have the opportunity to study the combined AQA English Language and Literature qualification. In both, students will study a range if literary texts and develop the ability to engage with writers’ ideas and the ways in which they convey them, using a number of different approaches. 

KS3 Geography

KS3

Intent

We take great pride in building and delivering a Geography curriculum which is fun and purposeful.

Throughout the study of Geography at DGS we aim to provide students with:

  •  the means to think about the world in new ways in order to ‘think like a Geographer’
  • geographical knowledge and skills they need to understand modern challenges
  • the means (knowledge and skills) to question and debate
  • experience of geographical enquiry, allowing them to discover, apply and analyse new concepts
  • challenging and intriguing enquiry topic questions. Here, “questions open out a topic, rather than closing it down” (Roberts, 2013)
  • a variety of topics and concepts which are underpinned by the AQA GCSE and A Level specification
  • support students to continue their study of geography through KS4 and into KS5.

Curriculum sequence

 

Term 1

Term 2

Term 3

Term 4

Term 5

Term 6

Year 7

What does an awesome Geographer look like?

Why does the UK look like it does?

How do hazards affect the UK?

How are London and Lagos changing places?

How will Kenya close the development gap?

How do I carry out a Geographical enquiry?

Year 8

Is the UK important?

How do hazards affect our planet?

My country project: Why is _________ fantastic?

What is the future for Alaska and the Amazon?

Is our world equal?

How do I investigate a Geographical problem?

National curriculum links

Our Geography Curriculum largely follows the KS3 National Curriculum covering the same core concepts of place knowledge, locational knowledge, human and physical geography, and fieldwork and skills. Using challenging and intriguing enquiry topic questions gives students the chance to explore each of these concepts in depth, inspiring their curiosity and fascination with the world around them. 

Locational and place knowledge are developed through the topics taught in Terms 4 and 5 of Year 7 and Terms 1 and 4 of Year 8. In these lessons, students will develop spatial awareness of the world’s countries and understand the key human and physical features of these locations.

Human and Physical Geography concepts and processes are explored in the topics taught in Terms 2 and 3 of Year 7 and Terms 2 and 5 of Year 8. Through these topics, students will gain an understanding of how physical processes and human activities can interact to change landscapes.

Geographical enquiry and fieldwork skills are developed in the topics taught in Terms 1 and 6 of Year 7 and Terms 3 and 6 in Year 8. Students develop their ability to collect and interpret data and have the opportunity to investigate geographical issues.

Meeting the needs of SEND and disadvantaged students

In accordance with our whole school policy, Geography teachers place SEND and disadvantaged students at the heart of their lesson planning.  

In Geography we provide for the progress of SEND and disadvantaged students by:

  • developing Geographical skills alongside teaching knowledge
  • using a range of activities across lessons to suit all learners
  • ensure lessons and topics are sequenced carefully and logically
  • using standardised resources such as Power Point Presentations designed with SEND students in mind
  • regular retrieval activities to support knowledge retention
  • prioritising PP and SEND students with subject-specific support and interventions
  • carefully considered seating plans.

Retention

Our curriculum is taught to be securely learnt. The topics taught at KS3 are interconnected and therefore lessons allow students to revisit concepts, skills and ideas. To aid in the retention of these ideas, lessons incorporate retrieval practice through activities such as quizzing. When preparing for assessments students have Personal Learning Checklists (PLCs) and knowledge organisers to support their revision.

Assessment

Students complete formative assessments at the end of every unit. These assessments include a range of question types from multiple choice to longer written answers. Students will receive written feedback on their longer answers, this feedback will identify strengths and areas to improve. After this formative assessment, students will be given time to review their feedback and to complete improvements to their work. Teachers will also provide whole-class feedback on independent learning tasks and homework. This will focus on identifying strengths and allow for misconceptions to be corrected.

Contact details:

Miss L Ahearn (Head of Department)

lahearn@didcotgirls.oxon.sch.uk

GCSE Geography

GCSE

This course provides a framework that allows students to:

  • explore Physical and Human Geography themes and investigate the links between them
  • travel the world from the classroom, exploring case studies in the United Kingdom and other countries at different levels of development
  • apply knowledge and understanding of concepts outside of the classroom through fieldwork
  • understand their role in society, by considering different viewpoints, values and attitudes.

Course outline

Our KS4 course covers four sections and is divided into three exam papers.

Paper One - ‘Living with the physical environment’:

  • ‘The Challenge of Natural Hazards’
  • ‘The Living World’
  • ‘Physical Landscapes in the UK’

Paper Two - ‘Challenges in the Human Environment’:

  • ‘Urban Issues and Challenges’
  •  ‘The Changing Economic World’
  • ‘The Challenge of Resource Management’

Paper Three - ‘Geographical Applications’:

  • ‘Fieldwork’
  • ‘Issue Evaluation’

How it’s assessed

Paper One - written exam of 1 hour 30 minutes (88 marks available) worth 35% of the GCSE

Paper Two – written exam of 1 hour 30 minutes (88 marks available) worth 35% of the GCSE

Paper Three – written exam of 1 hour 15 minutes (76 marks available) worth 30% of the GCSE

Assessment and Progression

Examination Board

AQA

Grading system

 1-9 (9 being highest)

Assessment

Students complete a formative assessment at the end of each topic and sit full mock exams during whole school mock exam periods. They will receive written feedback for all formative assessments which will focus on areas of strength and areas for development. Students will use this feedback to improve their work. To develop the skills needed to answer exam questions successfully, students will regularly complete practice questions in lessons. They will be supported in this and will be given Personal Learning Checklists (PLCs), sentence starters and model answers. To support the retention of knowledge, students will complete retrieval tasks such as quizzes in lessons.

Progression to Post-16:

A Didcot Sixth Form we offer A Level Geography where students have the opportunity to further their understanding of Human and Physical interactions by exploring issues that affect the world today. The exam board is AQA and topics covered include ‘Coastal systems and landscapes’, ‘Water and Carbon’, ‘Hazards’,  ‘Global systems and global governance’, ‘Changing places’ and ‘Contemporary urban environments’. Students also complete an independent fieldwork investigation on a topic of their choice.

Future career links:

Studying Geography equips students with an array of multi-disciplinary and transferrable skills which can be used in numerous fields of employment such as town planning, meteorology, conservation, environmental consultancy, research and teaching to name a few.

Contact:

Miss L Ahearn (Head of Department)

lahearn@didcotgirls.oxon.sch.uk

Miss S-A Nichols (Second in Geography)

snichols@didcotgirls.oxon.sch.uk

Government & Politics

This subject, which is offered at Key Stage 5, covers British Politics for AS and American Politics for A2. Studies focus on contemporary politics, which students use in order to develop skills of analysis and evaluation as well as knowledge and understanding of the subject.

Year 12

In Unit 1(People & Politics), there are four areas of study:

  • Democracy
  • Elections
  • Political Parties
  • Pressue Groups

In Unit 2 (Governing the UK), there are a further four topics to explore:

  • The UK Constitution
  • Parliament
  • The Prime Minister and Cabinet
  • Judges and Civil Liberties

Year 13

The focus switches to American politics. In Unit 3 (Representative Processes in the USA), students study:

  • Elections and Voting
  • Political Parties
  • Pressure Groups
  • Racial and Ethnic Politics

In Unit 4 (Governing the USA), there are four topic areas: –

  • The US Constitution
  • The Supreme Court
  • Congress
  • The Presidency

KS3 History

KS3

Intent

Our vision is that all students will become enthusiastic, knowledgeable and skilful historians. Our ambitious KS3 History curriculum allows students to develop an understanding of the broad chronological framework of British history and also study how Britain fits into the wider history of the world. Key themes and concepts that form the backbone of substantive knowledge in our curriculum include: power, protest & democracy; religion, beliefs & values; work & economy; everyday life & conditions; Britain’s place in the world. We believe these key themes allow students to explore and understand that world around them. Students also develop disciplinary knowledge including analysing historical evidence; explaining cause, consequence, change and continuity; identifying and explaining interpretations; creating their own well-informed opinions about the past; and reflecting on how the past influences the present.

Curriculum sequence

 

Unit 1

Unit 2

Unit 3

Unit 4

Unit 5

Unit 6

Year 7

How & why did the Normans take over England?

Was medieval life “a time of death, disease, suffering & violence”?

Were Catholics dangerous traitors between 1534 and 1605?

When did monarchs lose power?

Why was Britain the first country to industrialise?

Links to summer term trip to the Black Country Museum

Was the Victorian period an “Age of Progress”? – incl. local study of Didcot & the railway

 

Unit 7

Unit 8

Unit 9

Unit 10

Unit 11

Unit 12

Year 8

From Sept 2020

Should we be proud or embarrassed about the British Empire? – incl. a study of pre-colonial African civilisation and a study of the slave trade

Why did it take so long for women to get the vote?

Is the idea of ‘lions led by donkeys’ an accurate interpretation of the First World War?

“Hitler was to blame for causing the Second World War.” How far do you agree?

What was the most important change to people’s lives in the 20th century?

The Holocaust

National curriculum links

Our curriculum connects securely with the KS3 National Curriculum for History. The mandatory chronological content of the National Curriculum broadly maps onto our own curriculum, which develops and broadens it.

  • ‘Development of Church, state and society in medieval Medieval Britain 1066-1509’ is explored in Units 1, 2 and 4. This includes a reflection on students existing knowledge of pre-Norman Britain.
  • ‘The development of Church, state and society in Britain 1509-1745 is explored principally in Units 3 and 4.
  • ‘Ideas, political power, industry and empire in Britain 1745-1901’ is covered in Units 5, 6 and 7.
  • ‘Challenges for Britain, Europe and the wider world, 1901-present’ are learnt about in Unit 12 which specifically focuses on the Holocaust and in Units 8, 9, 10 and 11.
  • Our ‘local history study’ is part of Unit 6 and explores the impact of the railway on the town of Didcot and the surrounding area from the mid-1800s to the present day.
  • ‘A study of a significant society or issue in world history and its interconnections with other world developments’ is explored through a sequence of lessons as part of Unit 7, focussing on west-African pre-colonial civilisations.

Meeting the needs of SEND and Pupil Premium students

In accordance with our whole school policy, History teachers place SEND and Pupil Premium students at the heart of their lesson planning.  

In History we provide for the progress of SEND and Pupil Premium students by:

  • Careful sequencing of knowledge and skills
  • Explicit teaching of key vocabulary
  • Regular quizzing and retrieval practice to aid retention of knowledge
  • Offering a choice of learning activities and resources  to allow the curriculum to be accessed in different ways
  • Resources such as lesson slides designed with SEND needs in mind
  • Prioritising SEND and PP students with subject-specific support and interventions
  • Carefully considered seating plans

Retention

Our curriculum is taught to be securely learnt. KS3 lessons include regular retrieval practice, including the use of pre-assessment revision lessons. Assessment and independent learning include using knowledge organisers as a focus on revisiting knowledge in order to consolidate and strengthen students’ confidence in tackling new ideas, knowledge and content.

Assessment

Students complete formal assessments (essays or tests) at the end of every unit. Personalised Learning Checklists (PLCs) are used to mark formal assessments. Strengths and areas for improvement are identified, and students compete specific improvements to their work. Whole class feedback is also used as way to identify strengths and correct misconceptions. Spelling, punctuation and grammar errors are identified in significant pieces of work or if the teacher has specified that they are marking for literacy. Students are given time to correct these if that was the main focus of the marking. Students complete a variety of independent learning tasks including developing subject-specific vocabulary, research, knowledge quizzes and revision tasks.

Contact details:

Miss J Street or Mr N Lawton

jstreet@didcotgirls.oxon.sch.uk

nlawton@didcotgirls.oxon.sch.uk

GCSE History

GCSE

This course provides a framework that allows students to:

  • extend their knowledge and understanding of specified key events, periods and societies in local, British, and wider world history.
  • engage in historical enquiry to develop as independent learners and as critical and reflective thinkers.
  • develop the ability to investigate issues critically and to make valid historical claims by using a range of sources.
  • develop skills of source analysis and understanding the construction and uses of historical interpretations.
  • an awareness of why people, events and developments have been accorded historical significance.

Course outline

Year 9 provides a bridge between the skills and content of KS4 History and rigours and demands of the examined GCSE. As such, students study non-examined content as part of their Year 9 study in order to support their transition.

Our KS4 course covers four units divided into two exam papers.

Paper One is entitled ‘Understanding the modern world’ and comprises of two units – ‘Conflict and tension 1894-1918: The First World War’ and ‘Germany 1890-1945: Democracy and dictatorship’.

Paper Two focuses on British history and is called ’Shaping the nation’. Again, there are two units – ‘Britain: Health and the people: c1000 to the present day’ and ‘Elizabethan England c.1568-1603’.

How it’s assessed

Paper One – written exam of 2 hours (84 marks available) worth 50% of the GCSE.

Paper Two - written exam of 2 hours (84 marks available) worth 50% of the GCSE.

Assessment and Progression

Examination Board:   AQA

Grading system: 9-1 (9 being highest)

Assessment:

Students complete regular retrieval quizzes to ensure they are retaining key factual knowledge. Whole class feedback is also used as way to identify strengths & correct misconceptions. Students complete exam practice questions regularly both in class & for homework. Exam questions are marked using pre-written checklists of knowledge & skills. Students are given copies of these checklists so they are clear about what each type of exam question involves. SPaG errors are identified for correction, especially in the longest 16-mark exam answers. End of unit assessments & full mock exams are completed either in lesson time or via whole-school mock exam periods. Specific mock exam feedback is given & improvements are then made.

Progression to Post-16:

At Didcot Sixth Form we offer A level History. The exam board is Edexcel and four units are taught covering Russia 1917-1991, China 1949-76, Britain 1780-1928 and a coursework unit about the New Deal in 1930s America. A Level students continue to develop their disciplinary literacy in areas such as source analysis, the construction and use of interpretations, and communicating ideas, theories and knowledge in carefully constructed essays.

Future career links:

Studying History can equip students for a multitude of different fields of employment such as journalism, law, marketing, teaching, curating, the heritage industry, research, current affairs and much more.

Contact:

Miss J Street or Mr N Lawton

jstreet@didcotgirls.oxon.sch.uk

nlawton@didcotgirls.oxon.sch.uk

GCSE Media

GCSE

GCSE Media Studies offers you an interactive and engaging course that aims to broaden your mind. You’ll cover all aspects of media including language, representations, industries and audiences, giving you both an overall and in-depth understanding of how media represents the world.

Course outline

Component 1 (40% of the GCSE)

Section A – Media Language and Media Representations.

Questions in this section can test any two of the following forms:

  • magazines
  • advertising and marketing
  • newspapers

Section B - Media Industries and Media Audiences.

Questions in this section can test any two of the following forms:

  • radio
  • newspapers
  • video games
  • film (industries only).

Component 2 (30% of the GCSE)

  • Section A will be based on a screening from an extract of one of the television In-depth Study Products and can test any area of the theoretical framework.
  • Section B will be based on music. This includes music video, online, social and participatory media and the questions can test any area of the framework.

Component 3 – Non-examination Assessment (30% of the GCSE)

This unit involves creating a media product based on one of the briefs set by Eduqas. It tests:

  • Application of knowledge and understanding of the theoretical framework.
  • Ability to respond to a brief.
  • Ability to create media products.

Assessment and Progression

How it’s assessed

2 final examinations

Non-exam assessment (NEA): creating a media product

  • Component 1 (40%) – Exploring the Media (1hr 30 minutes)
  • Component 2 (30%) – Understanding Media Forms and Products (1hr 30 minutes)
  • Component 3 NEA (30%) – choice of one of the annually changing briefs, set by Eduqas.  This is completed in class time over approximately twelve weeks.

Examination Board:   Eduqas

Grading system: 1-9 (9 is the highest)

Assessment:

2 final examinations

Non-exam assessment (NEA): creating a media product

  • Component 1 (40%) – Exploring the Media (1hr 30 minutes)
  • Component 2 (30%) – Understanding Media Forms and Products (1hr 30 minutes)
  • Component 3 NEA (30%) – choice of one of the annually changing briefs, set by Eduqas.  This is completed in class time over approximately twelve weeks.

Progression to Post-16:

A-Level Film or Media Studies.

Future career links:

TV or Film production

Journalism

Marketing

Contact:

Clare Howard-Saunders

chowardsaunders@didcotgirls.oxon.sch.uk

Personal Development & Citizenship

KS3 & KS4

Intent:     

  • To empower pupils to become actively involved and engaged in their communities and civil society
  • Be aware of, engage with and demonstrate the practice of ‘British Values’
  • To provide pupils with the knowledge and skills to live a healthy, safe and fulfilling life, including the management of risk.  This is to include physical health, time spent online (inc use of social media), mental health, drugs, alcohol and tobacco, first aid and healthy eating.
  • To develop pupils character to help them develop positive values and a moral framework that will guide their decisions, judgements and behaviour
  • To make pupils aware of their own rights and responsibilities including those linked to living in a democracy
  • To make pupils aware of topical and global issues and the role of the media and risks of ‘fake news’ in obtaining information about the world
  • To develop an understanding of how and when individuals and group actions can affect their communities, the environment and the world
  • To raise pupils self-esteem and empower pupils to be able to form and maintain fulfilling, healthy, safe and consenting relationships.  This is to include concepts around age-appropriate relationships, sexual health and relationships, contraception, STIs’ the Law, grooming, FGM and pornography.
  • To develop their skills to be able to use a range of research strategies, weigh up evidence, make persuasive arguments and substantiate conclusions.  This may lead to responsible and appropriate action.
  • To further their knowledge of employability issues, including careers, and develop their employability and further and higher education skills
  • To improve pupils knowledge of personal finance issues
  • To promote an inclusive school (and community) environment where everyone feels welcome irrespective of age, disability, gender reassignment, race, religion or belief, sex or sexual orientation

Curriculum sequence

Personal Development Programme

Year

Autumn 1

Autumn 2

Spring 1

Spring 2

Summer 1

Summer 2

7

Friendship

Human Rights & Responsibilities

E-Safety

 

First Aid

 

Growing Up

 

8

Smoking and Alcohol

Emotional Wellbeing

 

Careers and Options

 

Personal Finance

 

 

Government & Politics

 

Citizenship

9

First Aid

 

Relationship & Sex Education

Mental Wellbeing

 

First Give

Global Citizenship

 

 

E-Safety

 

10

Drugs Education

 

 

Preparation of CV

Law

Identity and Diversity

Work Placement Preparation

 

Work Experience Review

First Aid

Finance

11

Tutor Time and Assembly delivery: Specific focus on Careers and Progression Routes

National curriculum links

A Programme of Study (PoS) has been produced that takes into account; statutory obligations around RSE/PSHE, Citizenship and Careers and aspects of the PSHE Associations non-statutory framework for PSHE.  This includes:

  • Delivering the Citizenship Curriculum
  • Careers provision.  Complying with the Dept of Education Careers Guidance and Access for Education and Training Providers 2018
  • Complying with section 78 of the Education Act 2002 and the Academies Act 2010 schools must provide a curriculum that:
    • promotes the spiritual, moral, cultural, mental and physical development of pupils at the school and of society, and
    • prepares pupils at the school for the opportunities, responsibilities and experiences of later life.
  • The Equality Act 2010
  • Statutory Guidance: Relationship Education, Relationship and Sex Education (RSE) and Health Education 2019

Pupils will be made aware of the PoS at the beginning of each year.  Due to the topical nature of Citizenship and PSHE, new themed topics may be introduced to as and when appropriate

Meeting the needs of SEND and Pupil Premium students

In accordance with our whole school policy, PD teachers place SEND and Pupil Premium students at the heart of their lesson planning.  

PD follows school policies and procedures on differentiating provision, which will also include seeking and taking advice on a case by case basis regarding some SEND and Pupil Premium students and our more vulnerable pupils towards appropriateness of lessons and differentiation required. Regular liaison and canvassing of others inc Pupils, Safeguarding Lead, SLT, Heads of Year, School Nurse, Careers Advisor and the SEND team will take place to seek their views on the value and need of the topics covered. The PoS may be tailored to the findings of this and other feedback.   

Retention

Our curriculum is taught to be securely learnt. (outline the strategies used here)

Assessment:

Assessment activities will take place, including; making purpose, aims and rational clear to pupils at the beginning of each lesson, pupils recording, as part of an evaluation form how much they believe they learnt linked to key topic aims and an assessment activity will take place to show extent learning and progress.

Contact details:

Stuart George. Head of Personal Development. sgeorge@didcotgirls.oxon.sch.uk 01235 812092

Religious Education

At DGS, we believe that the study of religion and beliefs should be interesting, enjoyable and thought-provoking.  We aim to increase awareness of the spiritual dimension of existence, and to encourage students of all ages to explore their own thoughts and develop a mature response to the views of others.

Our emphasis is on tolerance and sensitivity.  We encourage students to develop skills of analysis, expression, thinking, empathy, communication, listening, co-operation, understanding and evaluation.  All of our courses are accessible to believers and non-believers alike and we use a variety of teaching and learning activities, including: discussion; group work; case studies; questionnaires; research; art work; reflection; and the development of thinking and listening skills.

RE is delivered in accordance with the aims and attitudes outlined in the Oxfordshire Agreed Syllabus for RE, with opportunities to Learn About and Learn From Religion provided for all students, and commitment to the development of self-awareness, respect for all, open-mindedness, and appreciation and wonder.  During their RE lessons students are encouraged:

  • To acquire knowledge and understanding of the beliefs and practices of Christianity and other World Religions.
  • To be aware of and respond to life experiences and the questions they raise.
  • To evaluate the significance of religious concepts, beliefs and practices through an ability to express personal opinions based on the use of appropriate evidence and argument.
  • To develop tolerance and sensitivity towards the beliefs of other people; and
  • To appreciate the diversity of and the opportunities afforded by living within Britain's multicultural society.

Our Key Stage 3 course is designed to give students insight into the nature of religion and the ways in which it motivates people both individually and as part of a community. To this end, students study the following modules:

  • Why do we study RE?
  • What do people believe about God?
  • What would a Church for all Christians be like? (key religion: Christianity)
  • Why is worship important to believers? (key religions: Islam and Sikhism)
  • Is it right to eat animals?
  • Why is Gotama Buddha so special for Buddhists? (key religion: Buddhism)
  • How should we treat the environment?
  • Is there an afterlife?

(Note: please assume that all religions will feature in a topic at some point unless a key religion is identified.)

We offer GCSE Religious Studies at KS4.  Students follow the OCR Religious Studies B Philosophy and Applied Ethics (full) course, with opportunities to study more than one religion. The focus is upon ethical and philosophical questions, and the exploration of a range of religious and secular responses to these issues. Eight areas are covered, including Belief about Deity, Good and Evil, Religion and Medical Ethics, and Religion and Equality.

Core (non GCSE) KS4 are taught via Super Learning Days, when the usual timetable is suspended and students are given opportunities to challenge prejudice, stereotypes and assumptions in an immediate way that is not always possible inside the classroom. Each of these days affords students the opportunity to learn about and from religion via engagement with the local, wider and world community. For example, World Religions Day takes students out into the local community to visit Buddhist, Christian, Hindu, Muslim, Jewish and Sikh places of worship, to engage with adherents of these World Religions and to grapple with fundamental questions about belief and its practise in the modern world.

A Level is available as an option at KS5. AS and A2 GCE RS students follow the OCR syllabus and study two main areas:

  • 'Philosophy of Religion' (units covered include: Ancient Greek and Biblical Influences upon the Philosophy of Religion; Classic Arguments about the Existence of God; Religion and Science; Miracles; and Life After Death).
  • 'Islam' (units studied include: Beliefs; Practices; Differences within the Muslim Community; the Concept of Jihad; and Women in Islam).
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