Religious Studies

Examination Board


Specific Course Requirements

A minimum of grade A in Jewish Studies/Religious Studies at GCSE as well as a level 5 in both English Language  and English Literature.

Course Content

There are three components in the RS course studied over two years. In the first component students will study Religion and Ethics, looking at how both religious and secular theories approach ethical decision making.  Students then investigate how these theories are applied to practical ethical decision making, looking at euthanasia, business ethics and sexual ethics.

The second component is an in-depth study of Judaism, looking at issues that have shaped and continue to shape Judaism from the Tanach to post Holocaust theology. Different strands of Jewish life are explored including both religious and cultural aspects to help the students understand the place of Judaism in the twenty first century.  The final element is the study of a philosophy of religion looking specifically at how philosophers have approached varied issues including the nature mind, body and soul, the nature of miracles and  arguments exploring the existence of God.  Students will explore philosphers ranging from the ancient to modern, including Plato and Descarte.

How will I be assessed?

There are three exams at the end of Year 13, one for each component.  Each exam is 2 hours long.

What could I do with a qualification in this subject?

Religious Studies is a valued qualification for a wide range of humanities-based degree courses including Law, Politics, Philosophy, Theology, Economics and Business.

The three most commonly asked questions about this course are:

Is it hard?

Yes – the Ethics and Philosophy units are very challenging and different to the Judaism GCSE. You will need to do a lot of work to ensure you understand it.

Do you only study Judaism on the course?

No; in the philosophy and ethics sections you study the perspectives of other religious thinkers.

Do I have to be religious to take it?

No, you just need to be open-minded, and willing to debate and discuss the issues that are covered in the syllabus.

Sixth Form Jewish Studies

In the Sixth Form all students participate in Jewish Studies lessons. This is separate to the Religious Studies ‘A’ Level.
Classes are informal and interactive. Students debate many contemporary issues connected to Judaism and Israel.
Additionally, we have the JiEP Department, Jewish Informal Education Programme. This is a special department within JFS responsible for all the Jewish events that take place outside the classroom. These activities include all things to do with practical Judaism such as Minyanim (prayer services), residential trips and Shabbatonim as well as special seminars and educational programmes. JiEP’s aim is to bring Judaism to life giving students meaningful, rich Jewish experiences that will enhance their connection to their heritage and strengthen their pride in and practical knowledge of their religion.


Autumn Term

Spring Term

Summer Term


Year 12 ‘A’ Level

Ethics Unit

  •  Absolutism and Relativism and related concepts such as

o   Objective

o   Subjective

o   Deontological

o   Teleological

  • Natural Law

o   Purpose and perfection according to Aristotle

o   Primary and Secondary Precepts

  • Utilitarianism

o   Bentham

o   Hedonic Calculus

o   Mill and qualitative pleasures

o   Preference Utilitarianism

  • Kant and Duty

o   Categorical Imperative


  • Judaism Unit
  •  Ethical Monotheism and Chosen People

o   Nature of Ethical Monotheism

o   The role of the Chosen People

  • Babylonian and Jerusalem Talmud:

o    Origins

o   Contents

o   Use

  •  Halakhah and Mitzvot

o   Principles of Mitzvot

o   Kashrut (food, objects clothes and money)

Ethics Unit

  • Religious Ethics

o   Divine Command Theory

o   Main Ethical Principles of Judaism

  •  Practical Ethics

o   Ethical Approaches to Abortion

o   Sanctity of Life

o   Personhood

o   Ethical Approaches to euthanasia

o   Ethical Approaches to genetic engineering

o   Ethical Approaches to war and peace

o   Just  War

o   Pacifism


Judaism Unit

  • Worship in the home

o   Prayer

o   Shabbat

o   Festivals

  • Men and Women in Judaism

o   Mikvah

o   Roles of men and women

Ethics Unit


  • Virtue Ethics
  •  Modern approaches to Virtue Ethics


Judaism Unit

  • Orthodox and Progressive Judaism history.


Year 13

‘A’ Level

Ethics Unit


  •  Meta Ethics

o   Cognitivist theories and

o   non cognitivist theories of meta ethics

  • Free Will and Determinism

o   Determinism

o   Libertarianism

  •  Conscience

o   Augustine

o   Aquinas

o   Butler

o   Newman

o   Freud

o   Fromm

o   Piaget.


Judaism Unit


  • Developments in Judaism

o   Orthodoxy

o   Neo-Orthodoxy

o   Conservative

o   Reform

o   Progressive and Liberal; Hasidic Tradition

o   Ashkenazi and Sephardi Jews

  • Messiah and Messianic Age

o   Messianic hope, with reference to Isaiah and Malachi

o   Jewish belief in Life after death

Ethics Unit


  • Environmental and Business Ethics

o   Humans and the Environment

o   Gaia hypothesis

o   Business relationships and ethics

o   Business and environment

  • Sexual Ethics

o   Ethics around Issues surrounding premarital and extramarital sex, contraception, homosexuality


Judaism Unit


  • The twentieth-century Holocaust and post-Holocaust theology


  • The concept of the Land of Israel from Jewish teachings and its relationship to the State of Israel






Autumn Term

Spring Term

Summer Term


Year 12

General JS

Philosophy Unit

  • 7 wonders of Jewish History
  • Knowledge
  •  Suffering and pain
  • Objective morality
  •  Belief in Torah – rational?
  •  5 levels of pleasure



  •  Rosh Hashana
  • Yom Kippur



Intro to Judaism

  •  Different type of Jews
  •  Jewish Identity
  •  Nature and its purpose


Practical Jewish Issues


  • Categorising mitzvoth
  • Tattoos
  •  Mysteries
  • Pushing in
  • Gambling
  • Window ethics



  •  Reasons for anti-Semitism
  • Neo Nazism

Extraordinary ethical issues

  • Jewish medical ethics
  • Siamese twins
  •  Pidyon shvuyim
  • Cannibalism



  • Purim
  • Pesach


Extraordinary ethical issues

  • Jewish medical ethics
  • Siamese twins
  • Pidyon shvuyim
  • Cannibalism



  • Jewish overview of relationships
  • Love
  •  Cheating
  •  Boundaries
  • Intermarriage
  • Reconnecting


Attitudes and behaviour

  • Begin with the end in mind
  • Free will
  •  Nature vs nurture

Attitudes and behaviour

  •  Gratitude
  • Dan lekaf zchus
  • Anger management


Understanding limitations

  • Risk taking
  •  Good and evil
  • Freedom of speech


Life and death issues

  • Afterlife
  •  Reincarnation
  •  Euthanasia
  • Capital punishment


Mystical Judaism

  •  Magic
  • Ayin Hora
  • Codes



  •  Revenge
  • Vegetarianism
  •  Rebuke
  • Extremism
  •  Summer holidays
  • Genetic engineering
  •  Impossible choices
  • torture



Autumn Term

Spring Term

Summer Term

Year General JS 13

The Jewish People and the land of Israel

  • Church vs State
  • Media Bias
  • Law of Return
  • Race or religion
  • Conversion
  • Iras vs Israel


Jewish Ethics

  • Rules in Judaism
  •  Who pays
  • Ganeivas Daas
  • Lifnei Iver
  • Lying and honesty
  • Cremation
  • Genetic Engineering


Philosophical and practical ideas

  • Laughter
  • Astrology
  • Dateline
  • Dress code
  •  Really eating


Awareness of self and others

  • Love hate thunk
  • Spiritually
  • Value of people
  • Giving and taking
  • Tests

Philosophy and ideals

  • Action vs faith
  •  Nazi war criminals
  • Con artistry
  • Blame culture
  • Freedom
  • Davar sheino mitkaven
  •  Halloween
  • Defiance


Deep Jewish thinking

  • Jetters and numbers
  • Hashavat Aveida
  •  Hashgacha
  • Ethical Monotheism



  • Amalek and Purim
  • Activist vs Slacktivist



  • Jews for J
  • Blood Libels
  • Y Word



  • Ethical Wills
  • Self-awareness and image
  •  Modesty