Religious Studies

Religion and beliefs inform our values and are reflected in what we say and how we behave. A study of religion provokes challenging questions about the ultimate meaning and purpose of life, beliefs about God, the self and the nature of reality, issues of right and wrong and what it means to be human.


Religious Studies develops pupils' knowledge and understanding of the nature of religion and belief including Christianity, other principal religions, other religious traditions, and world views that offer answers to these challenging questions. It offers opportunities for personal reflection and spiritual development. It enhances awareness and understanding of religions and beliefs, teachings, practices and forms of expression, and of the influence of religion on individuals, families, communities and cultures.

Since Eltham College was founded as a school for the sons of missionaries, the Religious Studies department aims to embody something of that tradition; creating a thriving department where RS is taught as a rigorous academic discipline. As befits a school with a Christian Foundation and in keeping with the National Framework our basic approach is through Christianity. Pupils from other faith backgrounds enrich the learning experience with their insights and can deepen their knowledge of their own faith as part of the demands of the short course GCSE.

The underlying philosophy of our approach is two-fold, firstly that every human being has a belief system of one kind or another, and secondly that we can draw on the resources and experiences of our pupils who come from a variety of faith communities.

Over the years we have developed a coherent approach to the subject, which is tailored to both Eltham College as a Christian school, and the ability and interests of our pupils. We are fortunate to have good material on Eric Liddell, our most famous Old Elthamian. His life story continues to challenge and inspire pupils and this is one example of how the course of study is personalised for our pupils, as it reflects the interests of the range of pupils that come to the school.

The principle of 'spiral learning' is in operation so that pupils are learning skills and being introduced to knowledge and concepts that will be developed through the course.


Years 7 and 8

Pupils in the Lower School engage in a study of a wide range of Spiritual, Moral, Social and Cultural issues. Although Christianity is a major focus of study in Years 7 and 8, a variety of other major world religions are also explored. Pupils are given opportunities to engage in meaningful discussions which help to develop their knowledge and understanding of world faiths in the context of the society in which we live, as well as the global community. 

Years 9 to 11

After some introductory work on Belief Systems, Truth, Spirituality and the nature of Religion pupils embark on the RS GCSE course. The GCSE course considers a variety of spiritual and moral issues, drawing upon traditions and teachings from different religions. The department is following the WJEC Religious Studies B course. All pupils study Unit 1: Religion and Life Issues, which incorporates the four topics: ‘Relationships’, ‘Is it Fair?’, ‘Looking for Meaning’ and ‘Our World’. Pupils then choose during Year 10 whether they wish to take just one GCSE paper at the end of Year 10, giving them a ‘Short Course’ qualification. Pupils who opt to take the ‘Full Course’ option would then go on to study Unit 2: Religion and Human Experience, which includes four further topics: ‘Religion and Conflict’, ‘Religion and Medicine’, ‘Religious Expression’ and ‘Authority – Religion and State’. Those who choose to take the Full Course GCSE must sit two exam papers at the end of Year 11.  

Full specification can be found here.


Religious Studies is taught by: