Religion and Philosophy

The Religion and Philosophy team consists of:

  •          Miss Jones (Head of Department)
  •          Mr Thomas (Assistant Headteacher)
  •          Miss Birch
  •          Miss Borthwick

We were awarded the RE Quality Mark ‘Gold award’, their highest accolade, in May 2018.

The RE Quality Mark exists to recognise outstanding learning in Religious Education across the country and it is a testament to our fantastic Religion & Philosophy team, the respectful and diligent students and the support of senior leaders, that our application was successful in achieving the Gold Award. 


Last year’s cohort achieved 88% A*-C at A2 level and there was a 100% pass rate. On average we have 40 students at AS and 30 students at A2.

In the past our students have gone on to study at Oxbridge universities, some have studied philosophy at university and many go on to careers in law and medicine.

We study OCR at A Level, which consists of three units: Philosophy, Ethics and Buddhism.


Last year our students took their Religious Studies examination at the end of Year 10 and achieved 86% A*-C, with 41% achieving either an A* or an A. From 2017 until the summer of 2019, this examination will take place at the end of Year 11 alongside their other examinations. For current Year 9 students, this examination will take place at the end of Year 10. All students sit the R.S. GCSE full course examination (approximately 250 students). We study Edexcel Religious Studies B (1RBO), with Unit 1 being ‘Religion and Ethics’ from a Muslim perspective (1RBO/1C) and Unit 2 being ‘Religion, Peace and Conflict’ from a Christian perspective (1RBO/2B). As part of this course students study the beliefs and practices of Christianity and Islam and apply their views to a wide range of ethical and philosophical subjects relevant in the modern day.


Our Foundation course comprises a range of units which either focus on a world religion (such as Christianity, Islam and Buddhism) or are a philosophical or ethical thematic study, which cover a wide range of world religions and humanism (such as our unit called ‘What are festivals all about?’ and the unit ‘What would you choose?’). By the end of Foundation, students be able to explain some key beliefs of all six of the world religions, evaluate a range of philosophical statements, persuasively justify their own point of view and show an awareness of diversity Christianity and Islam within the world religions.


Homework will mostly be given once a week (for Foundation students this should take approximately 30 minutes and for KS4 students this will take approximately 40 minutes). However, on occasion, a two week homework may be set which will take longer to complete or homework may involve going over work previously learnt in the last lesson.

Typical homework activities include: researching, responding to key questions, rote learning key terminology or spelling, rote learning key beliefs and practices, completing a survey and analysing the results and responding to GCSE questions.

Formative assessments (assessments that are given a fine grade and a target for improvement) are completed in Foundation twice in a unit (one will be a piece of homework which is formatively assessed in the middle of a unit and the other is an assessment will be done at the end of the unit in class). For KS4, students will be formatively assessed twice in each unit (once in the middle of the unit and once at the end of the unit, where students will sit a complete set of a-d GCSE examination questions.) At KS5, a formative milestone will be completed at the end of each unit.


A month or so before the examinations take place, a number of revision sessions will take place either focusing on specific content or examination skills.

Teachers are willing to be asked for appointments at any point if students require extra one-on-one support.

Extra-curricular Opportunities

At the start of each year, Philosophy Club is run for Year 7 and 8 students to encourage them to think more deeply about issues affecting the world around us and question the possibility of ‘another dimension to life’. Also, Amnesty International is run by our Sixth Form students for anyone who wants to help stand up for justice and human rights. In addition, Debate Society is open to any sixth formers who want to get involved in discussing contentious world issues.

The group ‘RE inspired’ come to Maiden Erlegh to discuss the person of Jesus with our whole cohort of Year 7 students, in Year 8 a Buddhist Nun discusses her beliefs with our Year 8 students and in Years 9 and 10 we have speakers from the Christian and Muslim community to reflect on their beliefs and practices. In the past, our A Level students have had the opportunity to attend Oxford Town Hall for a candlelight conference led by Dr Peter Vardy

Withdrawal from RE

Parents have the right to choose whether or not to withdraw their child from RE without influence from the school, although a school should ensure parents or carers are informed of this right and are aware of the educational objectives and content of the RE syllabus. In this way, parents can make an informed decision. Where parents have requested that their child is withdrawn, their right must be respected, and where RE is integrated in the curriculum, the school will need to discuss the arrangements with the parents or carers to explore how the child’s withdrawal can be best accommodated. If students are withdrawn from RE, schools have a duty to supervise them, though not to provide additional teaching or to incur extra cost. Students will usually remain on school premises.

Should you wish to withdraw your son or daughter from RE, please contact the Headteacher in writing.