Section Navigation

Key Stage 3 - RPE

Jump to

RPE Home

Curriculum Year 7 / Year 8 / Year 9


Supporting your child

Extended learning




What pupils will learn

How it builds on learning


7.1 Can Britain be described as a ‘religious’ country?

This topic is focused through a predominantly social sciences lens and asks students to explore what is meant by the term religion, what the religious make-up of Britain is and how that has changed over time, as well as how the diversity of the country, and a range of religious beliefs have shaped Britain today.

This topic builds on KS2 learning for all pupils of simple facts about significant world religions, and places them into context of Britain today.

7.2 How do people respond to evil and suffering?

This topic is focused through both a theological and philosophical lens, raising the question of how God is defined, introduces students to the philosophical problem of evil, and a range of different theological views that attempt to solve this problem.

This topic builds on KS2 learning of Abrahamic faiths, and their teachings about the nature of God.

7.3 Islamic art as an expression of belief

This topic is focused through a theological lens, but does touch on a social sciences lens, and introduces students to the diversity and complexity of artwork in Islam.  This is used to explore the beliefs that are represented within the artwork, and what this can tell us about belief in Islam throughout history.

This topic builds on KS2 learning about Islam, with students recalling key ideas about the faith when beliefs and practices are encountered.

7.4 Philosophy of the Self

This topic is focused through a philosophical lens and provides students an opportunity to grapple with the questions of what makes us who we are, looking at some of the greatest ideas about the self in philosophy and weighing up the strengths and weaknesses of each view.

This topic is usually new information to students, but allows them to explore some of the greatest ideas in philosophy, which will be encountered in later topics.


What pupils will learn

How it builds on learning


8.1 Is there evidence for life after death?

This topic is focused through both a theological and philosophical lens, exploring beliefs about life after death from a range of traditions, as well as exploring claims of evidence for life after death both within and outside religious communities, before students consider whether there is any evidence to support the beliefs.

This topic builds on ideas within the evil and suffering topic (7.2) about living a good life and punishment in the afterlife, as well as from the Philosophy of the Self topic (7.4) about what part of us could live on the afterlife.  Religious views on the afterlife will build on KS2 learning as well as Islamic beliefs (7.3)

8.2 Dharmic traditions

This topic is focused through both a social sciences and theological lens, introducing students to the concept of Dharma, and how this is central to a range of religious traditions, before considering how this influences the actions of believers around the world.  Students are also introduced to the challenges of viewing Dharma from a Eurocentric perspective that is heavily influenced by Abrahamic faiths and Greek philosophy.

This topic will build on the ideas about life after death (8.1) and the self (7.4) to revisit information from both Hindu (Sanatan) and Buddhist traditions.

8.3 Is the Buddha a good role model?

This topic is focused through both a theological and philosophical lens and introduces students to some of the complexities of Buddhist thought and teachings, before challenging students to understand how different Buddhists can understand the same teachings in very different ways, and consider the impact that has on how we understand Buddhist teachings today.

This topic will build on key ideas from the Dharmic traditions (8.2), life after death (8.1) and self (7.4) topics when exploring the diverse ways in which teachings can be understood.

8.4 Who is Jesus?

This topic is focused through a theological lens and asks students to explore a diverse range of perspectives both within and outside Christianity about who Jesus is.  This includes questioning the authenticity of stories about Jesus and their sources, as well as how our personal worldview can shape our perspective on Jesus, all designed to consider the question of whether there is still a relevance to Jesus today.

This topic will build on ideas from the evil and suffering (7.2) and recap some of the social science data about Britian’s religious make-up (7.1) as students explore the diverse range of belief within Christianity.


What pupils will learn

How it builds on learning


9.1 Ethical theories

This topic is focused through a philosophical lens but does also touch on some elements of a theological lens.  Students explore the question of right and wrong, looking at a range of different views about how we know, understand, and use these concepts, including considering how both they and key thinkers would respond to a range of ethical dilemmas.

This topic will build on ideas about Christian views on right and wrong, focused around Jesus (8.4), as well as questions about why people want to live a good life including suffering (7.2) and beliefs about life after death (8.1)

9.2 Crime and Punishment

This topic is focused through all three disciplinary lens and gives students an opportunity to see some of the ethical ideas they have previously studied in practice, considering questions about the aims of punishments, how different punishments are designed to meet certain aims and the efficacy of these in different situations.

This topic will build on the ethical ideas (9.1) to apply them to life, as well as link back to student learning about a range of different significant faiths from throughout their KS3 learning.

9.3 Elective topic
Students are given a choice of topic to explore, with a range of resources designed to guide them on a self-led exploration of the topic.
Each topic is designed to look at how religious and philosophical ideas can be applied to modern situations, allowing students to consider a wide range of perspectives on these topics.  Each topic will have slightly different disciplinary foci, depending on the specifics but each topic will touch on all three disciplines in some way.

Each of the elective topics will ask students to apply their learning from across KS3 to the modern situation they are focused on.

9.4 Religion, good or bad?

This topic is focused through both a theological and philosophical lens and invites students to look at the influences of religion on shaping the world today, both positively and negatively to consider the question of whether religion can be described as good or bad.  This will touch on a range of sensitive topics including terrorism, the Holocaust, and persecution around the world, but with consideration of the needs of each class.

This topic will build on each of the previous topics, allowing students to draw on their knowledge from across KS3 and the impact of each topic within the world in relation to whether this is a positive or negative impact.


During every topic, students will complete a writing task, designed to check understanding of the topic, and highlight any areas to improve on in terms of the quality of explanation.  This will then be used by teachers to develop later lessons, and ensure every student is given opportunities to develop their academic writing.

Towards the end of each topic, students will be assessed on the content of the topic.  This may also rely on knowledge from previous topics due to the links between the topics.  Each assessment will have two parts to it.  Part one is a series of short questions, including multiple choice, and short written answers, designed to test knowledge of key areas of the topic.  Part two is a longer written question, that test students’ ability to explain the key ideas of the topic and discuss the strengths and weaknesses of different views.  Both parts will combine to give the band for the assessment.

Supporting your child

What you can do at home:

The best support for RPE work is to engage in discussions about both the topics being covered, and issues that are in the news.  Current affairs issues often link to the topics we discuss in lessons, or allow an opportunity to discuss views on what is happening.

A key area of focus is on the ability to explain difficult ideas, or personal views, in a clear and understandable manner, and discussions can often be used to help students develop their ability to explain their ideas in these ways.


There is no requirement to bring any extra or specialist equipment to RPE lessons

Extended learning

Homework policy:

During KS3 students will usually get one or two pieces of homework set each topic.  This may include new information ready for a future lesson, consolidation of prior work, reading that extends students’ knowledge of the topic, or revision of the topic ready for assessments.  Individual teachers will decide when it is best for homework to be set for a class in relation to their progress through a topic.

Clubs/ Enrichment opportunities:

Students are able to engage in events which link to their RPE studies through the school’s lunchtime Aspiration talks.

Extended study suggestions and reading lists:

There are suggestions for additional reading and resources to explore located on the CATalogue for students to access if they wish to extend their knowledge of the subject.  There are also a range of subject-focused books available in the RPE classrooms if students wish to borrow them.

Possible trips and visits:

There are currently no planned RPE trips for Key Stage 3 students.  There is the possibility of trips being arranged in the future if they are suitable.