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Religious and Social Studies

Social and Religious Studies

From September 2019, the department has evolved into a new and improved version which offers a range of subjects across the different key stages. We offer Religious Education across KS3, 4 and 5. We also offer A level Sociology, A level and BTEC Psychology as well as BTEC Law at key stage 5.


Religious Education

Religious Education at Churchdown School Academy centres on the twin aim of learning about religion and learning from religion. It is both an academic subject as well as allowing students to discover the society in which we live as well as identifying their role and place within it.  The subject nurtures self-respect and respect for others. Our aim is to educate pupils so that they are interested in and can understand the religious beliefs, values and traditions of others whilst also being willing to assess their own beliefs in contrast to the beliefs of others.

Although religious education at Churchdown School Academy explores aspects of Christianity and other core world religions, we do not presuppose individual commitment. Indeed, we seek to make the content accessible to all pupils whether they belong to a religious tradition or not. The programmes of study at all key stages are underpinned by the recommendations of the Gloucestershire Agree Syllabus. The subject is studied by all pupils at KS3 and is a popular choice for students at KS4 and KS5

KS3 Religious Education

Year 7 pupils begin by investigating ‘What is Religion?’ before going on to investigate The Person of Jesus and Christianity in the Modern World. Pupils also look at the religion of Sikhism and end with a study of the life of The Buddha

Year 8 pupils begin with an investigating of the religions of Sikhism and Buddhism before taking a more thematic approach to their studies looking at The Environment and The Concept of God. The latter aims to introduce pupils to the skills and reasoning of philosophy.

The Year 9 syllabus is a preparation for the GCSE years to follow. Pupils look at the big ethical and philosophical questions of religious studies such as Life after Death, Wealth and Poverty, Evil and Suffering and Medical Ethics.

Learning in the department exhibits a wide range of valuable, desirable and sought-after personal skills and attributes preparing pupils to be lifelong learners. Through studying Religious Education pupils are able to demonstrate their ability in the skills of investigation, interpretation, reflection, evaluation, empathy, analysis, synthesis, expression, application of knowledge and discernment.

GCSE Religious Education

As a GCSE option, pupils who opt to continue their exploration of Religious education will be following the syllabus of the AQA examination board. They will study a number of ethical and philosophical issues through the medium of Christianity and secular viewpoints. The second religion studied on this course will be Buddhism. Pupils will investigate the teachings of both religions; they will also investigate issues such as Peace and Justice, Medical Ethics, Equality and The nature of God and religious belief.

 A level Philosophy and Ethics -KS5 only

Religious Studies moves to the new system of studying AS and A level as two separate qualifications in September 2016. In doing so it will continue with the EDXECEL examination board but will also include the study of Christianity as a discreet subject as well as looking at its impact on philosophy and ethical theories and ideas.  Studying Philosophy and Ethics at A Level is both challenging and rewarding. Pupils are required to use a range of thinking skills to learn the theories and then apply them to a range of ethical dilemmas and situations. The skills learnt in studying this course are valued by all universities regardless of the course studied at degree level and by employers who appreciate employees with critical thinking and problem solving abilities.



A level Sociology – KS5 only

What is Sociology?
Sociology is the study of society - how people interact in groups. It is about all types of social relationships people share with each other; in their families, communities, schools and work. A level Sociology examines social behaviour from a variety of perspectives: how it originates and then develops, and the ways people are organised into groups according to distinctions such as class, gender and race. A level Sociology also looks at the institutions and forces which shape and are shaped by groups within a society, such as the media, religion and education.

A level Sociology focuses on contemporary society, providing an awareness of the importance of social structure and actions in explaining social forces and issues. Some questions A level Sociology covers include:

  • Why do boys underachieve in the education system?
  • Why are black people five time more likely to be stopped and searched by police?
  • Why are women more religious when religion oppresses them?

A level Sociology helps you to develop knowledge and understanding of the essential sociological theories and methods (such as Functionalism, Marxism and Feminism) with which sociologists make sense of the diversity of societies, and of the forces which have and will continue to shape social change.

Sociology will help you to think about society in a new and critical light, questioning the status quo and developing a sophisticated understanding of the real issues that affect the society we live in. It is an excellent subject for showing you how society works and for making you aware of the range of conditions that individuals within society experience. Students often comment that they didn't realise how varied the human experience can be and how powerfully group identity shapes a person's future.


What topics do we study?
Many aspects of the human experience. The A-level course concentrates on family, education, beliefs (religion) and crime. Social theory is important in sociology, as is the ability to evaluate evidence and choose between possible explanations. Students also learn about the methods used by sociologists and have opportunities to apply this knowledge.


How is the course assessed?

The course is purely exam based, there are two exams in the first year for the AS qualification and three in the second year for the A level.


Why study Sociology?
Sociology is the kind of subject liked by many professional careers including medicine, education and business, which require some knowledge of society and social theory. Sociology works well alongside a range of other A-level subjects, including Law, Psychology, History and Philosophy and Ethics. You will develop useful skills including communication (discussion, debate, presentation etc), analysis, evaluation and research. Above all – Society is about people – so if you are interested in how people ‘work’, how we interact, and why we have constructed society in the way we have – then give it a go!


What can I do with an A Level in Sociology?

A Level Sociology is very good preparation for university, where strong essay writing skills are very important. Universities recognise that sociology A Level provides students with a very good foundation in social, political and policy knowledge. Sociology is regarded as a demanding and rigorous A Level which combines well with any other combination of subjects. Sociology students go on to a wide range of jobs in policing, research, teaching, medicine, politics and civil service as well as taking jobs in the service sector. Graduates of sociology have higher Levels of employment than many other subjects -one Sociology graduate even became President of the United States!


A level Psychology – KS5 only

What is Psychology?

Many people, when they hear the word Psychology, think of mental disorder and abnormal behaviour.  Psychologists, however, are not only concerned with extremes of behaviour.  Many psychologists investigate very ordinary everyday behaviour such as child rearing, memory, relationships and gender.  Psychology can be defined as the systematic study of human behaviour and experience.  It aims to describe, explain, predict and modify behaviour.  It is a fascinating subject because it is about ordinary people and ‘what makes them tick’.


What kind of student is A Level Psychology suitable for?
Psychology is a good subject to choose if you are interested in people, and if you are willing to examine your own thoughts, feelings and emotions. You will be developing logical skills of analysis and interpretation, and an appreciation of how Psychology can contribute to our multi-cultural society. You should be strongly motivated by the desire to both understand and to explore why people behave as they do. In addition, the content is demanding and you will need to be happy with working hard in class and working on your own, as well as being self-motivated to set personal goals and meet deadlines.


How is the course assessed?

The course is purely exam based, there are two exams in the first year for the AS qualification and three in the second year for the A level.


What could I do with A level Psychology?
Ideal for students who would like to read Psychology at University. Psychology complements subjects such as Biology, Sociology, English Language, Business studies, Politics and Sport. It also adds scientific discipline to Art, Design, History, Foreign Languages, Literature and Music subjects, as well as contrasting well with Mathematics, Economics and Computing.

In terms of careers and professional opportunities - any area where you will work with others, whether it is in the caring professions, medicine, or in business, Psychology is used in training and will always be useful! There are also plenty of opportunities to work as a Psychologist in education, health, organisations, clinical work and counselling, sport etc


BTEC Applied Psychology – KS5 only


Overview of the BTEC Applied Psychology course: 

Psychology is the study of the relationship between behaviour, performance and mental processes. Studying Applied Psychology will give you a range of useful transferable skills, including research skills, team work and communication skills, all of which are valued by higher education providers and employers


How is the course assessed?

You will be assessed using a combination of internal assessments, which are set and marked by teachers, and external assessments which are set and marked by Pearson. Mandatory units have a combination of internal assessments (coursework) and external assessments. All optional units in the Extended Diploma are internally assessed. External assessments will take the form of examination, one in each year, which will demonstrate knowledge and understanding.


What are the job opportunities after this course? 

There is a wide range of possible employment opportunities following further study at degree level. These include Psychology roles, Education, Research, legal professions, Social Work, Counselling, Health care, Advertising and Business. Psychology can effectively be applied to almost every part of life!


BTEC Applied Law– KS5 only

Course Overview

The National Extended Certificate in Applied Law is an exciting course that aims to provide students with a coherent introduction to study of the legal sector. The programme enables students to investigate aspects of criminal law and the legal system, learn how legal disputes are solved and how to apply the law. The programme has been designed to allow students to be able to research, communicate and develop their critical- thinking skills so that they can progress into higher education or enter employment directly in the legal sector.


Who is this qualification for?

This qualification is for learners who want to continue their education through applied learning and to progress to higher education and ultimately to employment, possibly in the legal sector.
In addition to specific legal content, the requirements of the qualification will enable learners to develop the transferable and higher-order skills that are highly regarded by higher education providers and employers.


How is the course assessed?

You will be assessed using a combination of internal assessments, which are set and marked by teachers, and external exams which are set and marked by Pearson.

What are the job opportunities after this course?

Studying Law BTEC gives students many transferable skills such as problem solving, critical analysis and negotiation skills, that will enable them to progress to university, apprenticeships and the world of work. Students could continue studying Law or a related course at university such as Criminology, International Relations, Public Services Management and Business. They also have the choice to use their work-based skills to seek employment in the legal or business world. For example, legal apprentices train on the job at law firms to eventually become solicitors, chartered legal executives or paralegals. Jobs directly related to Law could include Barrister’s Clerk, Chartered Legal Executive, Company Secretary, Licenced Conveyancer and Paralegal.