Religious Studies: Study Higher, Careers - Where can it take you

What are the aims of the Religious Studies curriculum?

Through Religious Studies, students engage in developing a broad understanding of beliefs and of the impact of religion on people’s lives and society as a whole. Central to this is the application of these beliefs and teachings, through an in-depth exploration of key questions, enabling students to express their own responses to the religious, philosophical, ethical and spiritual issues facing citizens in the 21st century. We help students to recognise and understand diversity within and between religions whilst also identifying shared beliefs.

At Melksham Oak Community School, it is our intention that students are not only informed about faiths and cultures but that they develop respect for all. It has to be stressed that Religious Studies does not seek to bring a student to commit to a particular faith or body. We recognise that many students do not hold religious beliefs themselves and atheist and humanist views will be explored and respected. However, we need to prepare our students for a world where religion has a significant impact on individuals and society. We help them to explore their own beliefs and values and how these may be similar to or different from those of religious believers. Central to this is the development of attitudes such as:

  • self-awareness;
  • respect for all;
  • open-mindedness and questioning;
  • curiosity, appreciation and wonder;
  • critical awareness.

What is covered within the Religious Studies curriculum?

Key Stage 3:

In Years 8 and 9, students are taught in tutor groups and study modules on a wide range of issues drawn from the Wiltshire agreed syllabus.

An overview of the Religious Studies topics studied in Years at Key Stage 3 can be found here:

Key Stage 4:

We are committed to Religious Studies being an academic subject as well as one that develops the whole person we therefore prepare and enter all students for GCSE Religious Studies. This course teaches valuable, transferable skills such as investigation, application, analysis, critical thinking and evaluation.

We challenge all students to reach their full potential in this GCSE by providing high quality learning experiences and resources. We have chosen a course that allows maximum opportunity for students to develop awareness and views about a wide range of contemporary issues such as treatment of the environment, hate crime and the campaign to legalise euthanasia.

An overview of the Religious Studies topics studied at Key Stage 4 can be found here:

A link to the exam specification followed for GCSE Religious Studies can be found here:


Key Stage 5 / Sixth Form:

During their time in the Sixth Form, our students have the opportunity to continue and extend their learning by studying for an A-level in Religious Studies. This challenging and interesting course enables students to develop analytical and evaluative skills to a very high level, whilst examining some of the biggest questions to face humankind.

The A-level course is comprised of two key components:

  • Component 1: Philosophy and Ethics (67%)
  • Component 2: Buddhism (33%)

These components incorporate a wide range of topics, including:

  • Arguments for the existence of God and criticisms of these;
  • Ethical theories such as how natural moral law, situation ethics and virtue ethics can help us to view lying and stealing;
  • Religion and science;
  • Secularisation and pluralism.

Further details of what is studied and how the course is assessed can be found within the exam specification, located here: