Newstead Wood School

Newstead Wood School

Year 9 Religious Studies

Guidance for parents

What will students be studying in Religious Studies this year?

In Year 9 your daughter will begin studying the full GCSE course which is examined at the end of Year 11. We will be following the AQA Religious Studies A GCSE specification (8062). On this course, students will prepare for two exam papers (1) ‘Religions: Beliefs, teachings and practices’ (Christianity and Islam) and (2) ‘Thematic studies’. The ‘Thematic studies’ paper allows students to explore religious, philosophical and ethical studies from a wide range of religious perspectives and also non-religious perspectives such as atheism and humanism. In Year 9, students will study, ‘Islam: Beliefs and teachings’ and ‘Christianity: Beliefs and teachings’.

What are the major assessments this year?

Each topic will feature an assessment at the end and these can take the form of presentations or written pieces of work. There is also a one hour end of year examination in which students are assessed on their knowledge of a range of the topics covered across the year.

What will the current performance grade be based on, and what do the levels mean?

Until their mock examination, their current performance will be based on the assessments and homework that they complete. Their end of year examination result gives us a much better predictor of how they might do in the final examination and will be used as evidence of their current performance on their written report.

What should my daughter do if she feels she is struggling in the subject?

In the first instance, she should speak to her subject teacher. She should try to identify specific areas of the subject which she is finding a challenge so that we can offer targeted support which may take the form of lunchtime or after school support sessions. In addition she may be assigned a student from the sixth form who can offer help and advice.

How can I support my daughter in Year 9?

The best way to support Year 9 students is to talk to them about their studies. An important skill that we try to develop in Year 9 is the ability to explain beliefs by reference to religious teachings and theological ideas. Talking to your daughter and asking them why people hold certain views will help them to develop this skill. Newspapers, television and radio are a great source of discussion of religious beliefs and there are often documentaries covering ethical or religious issues which are very accessible.

What kind of independent work should my daughter be completing?

Students are given regular independent homework to complete and this should be recorded in your daughter's planner. When students’ homework and assessments are marked, they receive a number of targets and corrections and students should be proactive in improving their work. Students should keep abreast of contemporary issues in the news and discuss these topics with their friends and family outside of lessons.

Who can I contact for further advice and information?

Please feel free to contact the Head of Religious Studies, Ms Harvey, on if you have any concerns about your daughter’s progress in Religious Studies.