Beliefs and Values

Beliefs & Values picture & quote

Beliefs and Values Curriculum Intent Statement

The main objective of our department is to provide challenging, varied and enriching lessons that effectively prepare our pupils for life in a culturally diverse modern world. Our department aims to promote an awareness of the usefulness of Beliefs and Values to everyday living, to encourage enthusiasm for interest in the study of other people’s beliefs and to promote mutual respect, tolerance and understanding across different cultures and communities. Clyst Vale students should be fully prepared for success in an increasingly globalised and interdependent world, and aspire to be responsible local and global citizens.

Britain is now a very diverse society; finding out about the beliefs and values of all people makes us think about what we believe, and reflect on our own choices. Students should consider how they can draw parallels to other people’s lives and beliefs and to lead them to a deeper understanding and respect of a range of ethical/religious concepts and ideas, and to challenge views which are rooted in prejudice and ignorance. As a Rights Respecting School, the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child is fully embedded throughout our curriculum. This helps build our students’ confidence to make informed decisions. They have a moral framework, based on equality and respect for all that lasts a lifetime, as they grow into engaged, responsible members of society. Children and adults develop an ethos and language of rights and respect around the school. Rights and principles of the Convention are used to put moral situations into perspective and consider rights-respecting solutions – this all has a huge impact on relationships and well-being. We encourage our young people to get very involved in raising awareness about social justice issues, both at home and abroad. They become ambassadors for rights and take part in campaigns and activities to help to bring about change.

We aim to encourage all of our pupils to think critically about challenging moral questions. This helps them to develop their own ideas and opinions, and ultimately shapes who they are. Learning to express our own beliefs and to listen to the views of others is an important life skill and this is something the staff within our department have a passion for. Students should leave with an open mind and a love of learning.

Beliefs and Values (RE) is a statutory subject that aims to promote tolerance and understanding of others through the exploration of different faiths, beliefs and traditions, as well as helping students to reflect upon their own ideas and opinions in response to ‘big questions’ and  moral issues.

The links below take you to pictoral representations of the journey that students make through the B&V curriculum – the first summarising Key Stage 3 milestones, and the second showing the complete journey, from starting College in Year 7, to Post 16.


Curriculum student Learning Journey (Y7 – Post 16)


Beliefs & Values Staff Teaching Team

Year 7

In year 7 students will focus on exploring the concept of identity. We study three units throughout the year.

  • Who are we? – This unit allows students to identify and explore the factors that contribute to our sense of identity/self, and enables students to consider “What makes me, me?”.   Students will consider what it means to be human, and explore the concept of the Soul and human value from a variety of faith perspectives. They will seek to understand how they develop their own internal codes and how their faith and culture influences their sense of self. Students will consider how we internalise social expectations to develop our social identities. Students will explore the Norms and Values of our society.
  • What Journeys do we go on? – Having explored the concept of Identity on a personal level, students will begin to build on this further and start to analyse the journeys we make on an emotional, spiritual and physical level. Students will consider how different individuals/communities grow and develop their sense of self in a variety of ways. Students will reflect and analyse the practices used by communities, explore the journeys they take physically when embarking on Pilgrimages of spiritual importance, and consider the physical/emotional journey those such as Malala have taken in order gain an education as they challenge existing beliefs. Throughout this unit we will explore our school & local GRT, Islamic and Jehovah Witness communities, supporting students in developing a greater awareness and understanding of these minority groups.
  • What influence does belief, religion and culture have on our communities? Having explored the concept of Identity and the Journeys that we make emotionally, physically and spiritually throughout our lives, which help us develop and grow as individuals and communities, students will now consider in this final unit the influence of globalisation on belief, religion and culture in the UK. Students will consider the impact of living in Multi-Cultural Britain. How this affects us in a variety of different ways, how it has resulted in change, and for many resulted in a hybrid identity. Students will consider a plethora of faiths and cultures evaluating the impact they have had in the UK.

Year 8

In year 8 students will build on their around the concept of identity and start to explore the concept of belief and how this is put into action. This year has a strong emphasis on developing our student’s knowledge and understanding of the sustainable goals. Students will study 3 Units 

  • How do we overcome global poverty? The focus of this unit is to examine the causes and impact of poverty, at a local, national and global level. In this unit students learn about the concept of Justice and inequality. We consider the impact of poverty in the UK, and compare this to the causes of poverty globally. Students will investigate the various responses by society to this issue, from both a religious and non- religious perspective, before considering how they themselves can be active citizens and help bring about change.
  • How do we reduce human impact on the environment? The focus of this unit is to examine the causes and impact of human action on the environment, at a local, national and global level. In this unit students learn about the concept of Justice, inequality, community and respect. We consider the complexity and impact of environmental issues we are facing in modern society. This will lead students onto exploring what people believe and what difference it makes to how they live their life, so that students can gain the knowledge, understanding and skills needed to handle questions raised by religion and belief, and enable them to reflect on their own ideas about the environment and ways of living. The unit finishes with the exploration of how society treats animals. Students are given the opportunity to immerse themselves in an independent study which allows them to explore how animals are used by humans and the ethical issues this creates. 
  • How does our moral compass guide us? The focus of this unit is to investigate the concept of modern British values. Students will explore a range of contemporary moral and ethical issues that affect individuals and communities within a diverse UK. Our unit begins by exploring the concept of prejudice and discrimination, leading us into analysing the subjective nature of racism. They will explore the complexities of living in a multicultural/multidenominational Britain. Throughout the unit, students will be given the opportunity to reflect on concepts such as equality, tolerance and respect, which have arisen in previous units, and develop these further. Students will make links between ethical issues and to the rights and responsibilities we have under the human rights act. In particular students will gain insight and understanding of Article 19. Students will investigate the rise in extremist attitudes, their origin and the threat to community cohesion. Students will explore this in Exeter and on a national level. Our unit finishes by exploring the concept of exploitation. Students will discuss issues such as modern slavery, war and its affects, and the use of child soldiers.

Year 9

Year 9 continues to build on students understanding of Identity and Belief, but focuses upon the concept of Conflict. We study three units;

  • The Holocaust and human behaviour- The focus of this unit is to provide students with a window into history, and enable them to explore the choices that individuals, groups and nations made that contributed to genocide, through intellectual rigour, ethical reflection and emotional engagement. Students will explore how this genocide was able to happen, and evaluate whether we have learnt from this experience. Students will begin the unit by unlocking the rise to Anti- Semitism throughout history and explore Jewish Identity. They will consider National identity and belonging in the Weimar Republic and begin to analyse the choices made by individuals in the 1930’s. Students will consider the affects and impact of propaganda for perpetuating hate. Through the use of Schindler’s list, students will then consider the phases that occurred during the Holocaust, including the introduction of the Nuremberg Laws, Ghettos and concentration camps and explore their impact. Students will consider the ethical dilemmas faced by all groups involved, victims, perpetrators, bystanders and those who were members of the resistance, considering their choices throughout this event. Students will consider faith during such a time and discuss “Where was God during the Holocaust”. The unit ends by exploring how much we have learnt from this genocide and allows students to investigate and analyse genocide and continued Anti-Semitism and intolerance in modern society. 
  • How do we balance Human rights and criminal activity? – The aim of this unit is for students to complete an in depth investigation into the conscientious issue of Crime and Punishment. Our exploration begins with student’s contemporary UK law. They will look at a range of laws that exist within the UK, consider their relevance in today’s society and discover how laws are created and updated. Students will consider what motivates people to commit crimes and allows students to assess whether we can do more as a society to prevent crime, or whether some are simply born evil. Students will explore the recent increase in hate crime in the UK and consider reasons for such crime, before they move on to discuss the punishments that exist in the UK for those who commit crime. Students will also discuss the death penalty and compare the UK with other more draconian systems from around the world.
  • Does the world need Prophets today? – The focus of this unit is to explore the concept of “Prophets”. Students will begin by exploring some examples of people who have changed the world for the better; analysing common traits/qualities. They will be introduced to the role/idea of the prophet in Hebrew/Old Testament, Judaism, Christianity and Islam, considering the similarities and differences between their accounts. They will explore the concept and credibility of miracles. Students will make connections between the varying accounts and belief and analyse how this has acted as a catalyst for conflict throughout the Middle East. Students will then consider what biblical prophets might say about our current globalised culture, ways of living, and the social indifference towards marginalised groups in the modern world.

There are two pathways at KS4.

Cultural and Personal Studies

All students will participate in our non-examined course Cultural and Personal studies which incorporates both Beliefs and Values and C42. Throughout this course students will have the opportunity to explore the following units;

  • Religion and the Media – The focus of this unit is to provide students with the opportunity to explore the influence and impact of the media in modern society. Students will explore the power of the media, considering the ethics surrounding the ownership and control of the media as well as the potential bias. Students will then explore the effect the media has on its audiences, analysing the positives and negatives. Students will do this in relation to politics, body-image, religious extremism, activism encouraging hate crime. They will then reflect on the representation of social groups in the media, based on Gender, Ethnicity, Class, Religion and culture
  • Religion and Sexuality – The focus of this unit is to explore the concept of “Human Sexuality”. Students will begin by exploring the difference between gender and sexuality; analysing common issues which arise in modern society. They will be introduced to gender issues within a British contemporary society and will consider the similarities and differences Christian teachings on equality. They will explore the role and value of women in modern Christianity. Students will make connections between attitudes to women and the problems this has created such as trafficking and modern slavery. Students will then consider what influences marriage and divorce have upon our attitudes of human sexuality.
  • Religion and conflict- This unit explores some of the complex conflicts that exist within modern society. The unit begins by assessing the concept of conflict generally. Students will then explore a range of modern conflicts, the role of the UK plays in these conflicts and will discuss the role of religion.
  • Religion and Life– This unit allows students the opportunity to explore a variety ethical issues such Abortion, Euthanasia, Blood donation, Surrogacy, transplants, animal testing, life after death. Students will discuss both secular and religious views towards these issues.

Religious studies GCSE

For those wishing to take RS at GCSE we offer AQA Religious studies. This course comprises of two papers each leading to an 1hr 45m exam.

  • Paper 1 – Study of Eastern religion. In this paper we focus our studies on Sikhism and Buddhism, exploring the beliefs and practices of each faith.
  • Paper 2 – Is a Thematic paper, in which we explore 4 units based on ethical issues; 
  1. Religion Crime and Punishment
  2. Religion and Relationships
  3. Religion, War peace and Conflict
  4. Religion and Life

At Key Stage 5, the department offers a popular A level course (OCR) studying Philosophy of Religion and Eastern Thought. Students attend two philosophy and ethics conferences each year to hear contemporary philosophers explaining and debating a variety of theories and moral issues.

All Post 16 students take part in a conference organised by the department titled ‘The Day of Evil’. Students spend the day debating and taking part in different philosophical activities as well as listening to a variety of visiting speakers, where students will debate and explore religious and secular responses to the concept of evil, and whether evil really does exist.

An exciting new addition to the Humanities Department at KS5 is the introduction of A-level Sociology from Sept 2017.

We will be following OCR specification (H580).

Students will study the following components:

Year 12 – Component 1 – Socialisation, Culture and Identity (Section A)

Component 1 – Youth Subcultures (Option 2)

Component 2 – Researching and Understanding Social Inequality

Year 13 – Component 2 – Understanding Social Inequality

Component 3 – Crime and Deviance (Option 1)

Course leader: Z Brotherton


The Beliefs and Values curriculum is enriched by a diverse range of additional events and visits, designed to bring classroom learning to life. We invite a variety of guest speakers into school to meet our students, and we also enjoy a range of excursions.

Typically, students benefit from the following additional activities:

Year 7 – we invite a variety of guest speakers from our local religious faith communities

Year 8 – a representative of St Petrock’s in Exeter comes to talk about issues surrounding homelessness.

Year 9 – students travel to London to visit an exhibition about the Holocaust

Year 10 – students meet a Buddhist speaker to discuss faith and culture.  Two trips are offered, one to Southall Gurdwara Buddhist Temple in London and a second trip also takes place, usually abroad.

Year 13 – Exeter Crown Court hosts our Post-16 students for a visit which informs the Sociology component on the Criminal Justice System. We have also encouraged a range of speakers in including a high court judge, Barrister and Prison officer to speak to the students.

For Philosophy students, we invite guest speakers to discuss philosophical and moral issues throughout their study.  We also incorporate a trip to Exeter Buddhist temple