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 83% A*-B at A2 level and there was a 100% pass rate. On average we have 15 students at AS and 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, Journalism 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 11 and achieved 87.1% grades 9-4, with 43% achieving grades 7, 8 or 9.  From 2019, this examination will take place at the end of Year 10, a year earlier than their other examinations in order to allow our students to focus on this GCSE and give them an experience of what sitting GCSEs is like before their other examinations at the end of year 11. In the past, our year 10 students have thrived off this experience and have used it to enhance their technique for exam preparation and alleviate some nerves in year 11.  All students sit the Religious Studies 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 usually once in a unit (on occasion there will be an additional piece set as homework, which is formatively assessed in the middle of a unit), therefore, at five points throughout the year.  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.


Two months before the examinations take place, a number of revision corridor 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 during the Autumn term 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’. This is targeted to Silver Programme students due to the complex material we cover but is accessible and open to all Year 7 & 8 students.

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 students and in Years 9 we host an Interfaith Conference with guest speakers from Sikhism, Hinduism, Humanism, Christianity and Islam. 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.