Religious Studies

  • Mrs Ganderton- Burns - Curriculum Leader and Assistant Headteacher
  • Mr T Lee - Teacher of RS and Assistant Headteacher
  • Ms E Daniels - - Teacher of RS and Head of Year 7
  • Mrs K Kirkland - Teacher of RS

"Be a free thinker and don’t accept everything you hear as truth. Be critical and evaluate what you believe in."


Religious Studies


It is our intent for the Religious Education element of our school curriculum to engage, inspire, challenge and encourage students, equipping them with the knowledge and skills to answer challenging questions about our existence and the meaning of life. Religious Education contributes significantly to the Christian character of the school and enables students to ask deep and often searching questions about their own faiths and beliefs, and the beliefs, faiths and opinions of others regarding contemporary moral issues.

The teaching of RE makes links between the beliefs, practices and value systems of a range of faiths and world-views studied. The RE curriculum will help to develop responsibility and respect for all aspects of diversity, whether it be social, cultural and/or religious, and prepare students well for life in modern Britain.

Design Rationale

The curriculum draws its core structure from the two core aspects of RE - Learning about Religion and Learning from Religion. Key Stage 3 is designed to deliver a balance of all six major world religions with aspects of Christianity explored in each year of study to embrace our school ethos. Each year of study includes an equal focus on both learning and responding to religion. Key Stage 4 draws its design and content from the AQA GCSE Religious Studies syllabus and focuses on a more in depth study of Christianity and Islam. Also, a Non-textual Studies module allows students to ask deep and often searching questions concerning contemporary issues and living life in modern day Britain.

Throughout each Key Stage, learning deepens students’ understanding of Christianity. Learners have access to key terminology and sources of wisdom. Regular extended writing allows students to develop their language and vocabulary. Key Stage 4 builds upon KS3 learning, to deepen understanding of the relationships between people; it also teaches about common and divergent views within traditions in the way beliefs and teachings are understood and expressed. Students are given opportunities to explore the fact that religious traditions of Great Britain, in the main, are Christian but that they are also diverse and include other faiths, such as Buddhism, Hinduism, Islam, Judaism and Sikhism, as well as non-religious beliefs, such as atheism and humanism.

The overarching concepts for ‘Religious Studies’ at Hartford Church of England High School are:

  • Personal growth - developing compassion and empathy
  • Stewardship - caring for all creation
  • Respect - showing tolerance of other beliefs, opinions and cultures
  • Asking Big Questions - communicating effectively and listening to others
  • Morality - understanding right from wrong, accepting rules and boundaries
  • Courageous Advocacy - challenging injustice by standing up for the rights and values of others and developing positive attitudes of respect towards other people
  • Enrichment - enhancing their spiritual, moral, social and cultural development


RE content is delivered through a range of teaching and learning methods. Lessons commence with self-assessed knowledge retrieval quiz (do now) to consolidate previous learning and seamlessly link into new lesson topics. Students are made aware of Lesson Objectives and Learning Outcomes before the teacher introduces clear explanations of the content being learnt, enhanced with videos, imagery and illustrations.

Wherever possible, RE will encourage questioning and discussions upon any new information. This facilitates the elimination of misconceptions and supports the enrichment and moral development of the individual. We model outcomes to the students as we practise new learning together, followed by a combination of discussion and questioning to evaluate understanding. Finally, students often complete extended writing to practise application of their new knowledge before Learning Outcomes are revisited in the plenary.

Half-termly assessments are given at the end of each topic. Regular exam-style questions are given from Year 7-11.


The effectiveness of curriculum implementation is measured by student progress; progress means knowing, remembering and producing more and is the direct result of excellent learning.

To track progress, we follow a three layered assessment structure.

High Stake Testing

High quality summative assessments (twice or three times a year) interleave knowledge and skills to support students in developing long-term memory. Stand-alone lessons ensure that students reflect and respond to teacher feedback.

Mid Stake Testing

Typically purposeful practice tasks completed independently in lessons at least twice per half-term. These tasks are used to identify learning gaps prior to high stake testing. Students receive personalised written feedback to which they respond in lessons.

Low Stake Testing

To embed knowledge in long-term memory, every lesson starts with students quizzed on prior knowledge (Do Now Tasks). Student performance is then used effectively by teachers to identify misconceptions and plan accordingly to narrow knowledge gaps.

Download long term plan