Religious Studies


Welcome to the Religious Studies Department.

Here at Dormston, Religious Studies is taught to all students from Year 7 to Year 10.  Religious Studies at Dormston takes a non-confessional and objective approach towards the study of religious and non-religious worldviews.  We, in turn, develop a critical approach to studying traditions and draw on philosophical, ethical, theological and cultural methods of enquiry. 

 Mission Statement 

 The Dormston Religious Studies department focuses on the study of religious and non-religious worldvews from a variety of disciplinary backgrounds.  We explore religious traditions in their historical, cultural, philosophical and ethical contexts.  We seek to understand how religious and non-religious worldviews evolve, impact our world today, and shape our future. 

 Our academic engagement with religion, philosophy, and ethics enables us to: 

  • Reflect critically on religious and non-religious belief, teaching and practice. 
  • Foster empathic relationships in an increasingly diverse world. 
  • Develop and sense of religious literacy. 
  • Explore how religious and non-religious worldviews promote justice, peace, and environmental awareness. 
  • Work towards the development of more just and sustainable societies, both locally and globally. 
  • Collaborate with others for the common good and well-being of all. 

Meet the Team

Mr James Salton-McLaughlin (aka Mr Mac)

 I always knew I wanted to teach, but it wasn’t until my A Levels that I developed a passion for Religious Studies. I read BA (Hons) Study of Religions at Bath Spa University, where I studied a broad range of religions and spiritualities including African Religions, Buddhism, Christianity, Confucianism, Hinduism, Islam, Jainism, Judaism, Paganism, Shinto, Sikhism, Taoism and New Religious Movements. I also enjoyed investigating philosophical and ethical questions, with particular interest in eschatology (afterlife) and medical/sexual ethics. I went on to complete my teacher training at the University of Brighton, securing a PGCE (secondary) & QTS in Religious Studies, with PSHE being my second subject.

 I’ve been teaching in Dudley and Sandwell ever since 2007, where I’ve performed a range of roles including Head of RS, Head of Humanities, Head of English Baccalaureate, ITT Co-ordinator and Year 7 Strategy Leader. I’ve taught Religious Studies, History, Geography, Citizenship and Psychology up to GCSE level. I’m currently enjoying my role as Deputy Head of Avon, Stonewall Champion, and teaching Religious Studies to Dormston students.

I love Religious Studies as it is a true cross-curricular subject. We delve into so many other subject areas and disciplines, it never feels like I’m just teaching one subject. I love the discussions we have in Religious Studies lessons, and developing debating skills. I enjoy studying and teaching the diversity within and between religions, and there is always something new to learn.


Mrs Indy Bassan 

As a second-generation immigrant, who was brought up in the seventies, I am a firm believer of equal opportunities for all and that everyone should have the chance to achieve their potential whatever their background. This, alongside my own experience of schooling both in London and the Midlands is why I opted to become a teacher of Religious Studies. 

The discussions we are able to have in this subject support students in their realisation that not only tolerance but celebration of differences is key if we are to be successful in society. I love being able to teach the various facets of Religious Studies and watch as students grow both in terms of their knowledge and confidence in their ability to put their own points across as well as listening to the views of others.


Mr Ronnie Wood – Teacher of Religious Studies

Hi, I’m Mr Wood.  Religious Studies was my favourite subject at both GCSE and A Level and I always wanted to be a teacher.  Before teaching Religious Studies, I used to be ‘the animal man’ going around schools with exotic animals and giving talks on things like conservation and animal rights. 

I’ve been teaching in Dudley since 2009.  In that time, I have had many multifaced roles, from Head of Religious Studies, Head of Psychology, Head of Sociology, Head of Year, Stonewall Champion and Student Voice Lead – but my favourite thing in the world is being in the classroom just teaching Religious Studies. 

Outside of school, I am a member of Birmingham Progressive Synagogue, a life member of the Vegan Society and I am also a swimming instructor and lifeguard with Sandwell Leisure Trust. 

In my free time, I enjoy playing the piano, cooking Indian and Japanese food and learning languages. 


Our classrooms are full of stimulus to help re-cap knowledge learned during our student’s time with us.




Year 7 Curriculum 

  • Existence of God 
  • Gurus of Sikhism 
  • Life and teaching of Jesus 
  • Ecology and ethics 


Year 8 Curriculum 

  • Death and beyond 
  • 5 Pillars of Islam 
  • 3 Jewels of Buddhism 
  • Religion and crime 



Year 9-10 Curriculum

Students will study for the AQA (Specification A) GCSE in Religious Studies. Students will study two

religious worldviews (e.g. Buddhism and Christianity), conducting a depth enquiry into major beliefs,

teachings and practices of these religions. Students will also study four ethical and philosophical themes:

· Relationships and the family

· Religion and life

· Religion, peace and conflict

· Religion, crime and punishment

All students sit a GCSE in Religious Studies at the end of year 10.

Please follow link to discover full specification and expectations.,-teachings-and-practices


How we assess

Within each unit, students will be assessed on their knowledge and understanding of the religious and, where appropriate, non-religious beliefs (AO1).  They will also be assessed on their ability to argue, reason and evaluate truth claims in the fields of religion, philosophy and ethics (A02).

Years 7-8 

  • Low-stakes 1-mark multiple choice questions and 2-mark knowledge/influence of belief questions (assessing AO1: Learning about religion).
  • 5-mark questions requiring students to explain/develop religious beliefs, teachings and practices (assessing AO1: Learning about religion).
  • 5-mark questions requiring students to argue in favour, in opposition or argue their own reasons in response to a truth claim (assessing AO2: Learning from religion).

Years 9-10

  • Low-stakes 1-mark multiple choice questions and 2-mark knowledge of belief questions (AO1).
  • 4-mark questions requiring students to explain how religious belief influences contemporary religious believers (AO1).
  • 4-mark questions requiring students to compare similar or contrasting religious beliefs or practices (AO1).
  • 5-mark questions requiring students to explain/develop religious beliefs, teachings and practices (AO1).
  • 12-mark questions requiring students to evaluate a religious, philosophical or ethical truth claim, provide logical chains of reasoning whilst applying religious teaching (AO2).

Quality of Written Communication

 All students, in all year groups, will be assessed on their quality of written communication.  Alongside the traditional SPaG, this includes use of technical subject-specific language, and so using key terms will be encouraged in all year groups.  5% of the final GCSE marks are based on accuracy and fluency of spelling, punctuation and grammar, alongside use of key terminology.

Quality of written communication (QWC) will be marked following the following criteria:



Performance description


High performance

·         Learners spell and punctuation with consistent accuracy

·         Learners use rules of grammar with effective control of meaning overall

·         Learners use a wide range of specialist terms as appropriate


Intermediate performance

·         Learners spell and punctuate with considerable accuracy

·         Learners use rules of grammar with general control and meaning overall

·         Learners use a good range of specialist terms as appropriate


Threshold performance

·         Learners spell and punctuate with reasonable accuracy

·         Learners use rules of grammar with some control of meaning and any errors do not significantly hinder meaning overall

·         Learners use a limited range of specialist terms as appropriate


No marks awarded

·         The learner writes too little/nothing.

·         The learner’s response does not relate to the question.

·         The learner’s achievement in SPaG does not reach the threshold performance level, for example errors in spelling, punctuation and grammar severely hinder meaning.

Subject specific websites to support independent learning and revision

Key Books/Films/TV to read/watch 

Trips & Visits

 To help us give our pupils the full experience, in line with our new Religious Studies schemes of work we are aiming to set up several trips and visits over the journey of learning for our students.

  • Birmingham Central Mosque (yr8)
  • Buddhist workshop (Yr8)
  • Candlelight Revision Conference (Yr10)
  • Guru Nanak Sikh Gurdwara in Wolverhampton (Yr7)
  • Visit from a local member of the Church community (e.g. members of a food bank or street pastors) (Yr10)
  • Visit to a local Christian church (Yr7)
  • West Midlands Islamic Exhibition (Yr8)
  • Worcester Cathedral (Yr10)

If you would like to visit places that can help support understanding of the subject areas: 

Online virtual tours and Live Cams of a place of worship in Britain and around the world are available, including:

Non-Required Work

The following websites are useful for self-study, revision and inspiration for non-required activities at home.  You may also find them useful to aid home learning.

(Gives you an overview of each faith tradition, worth having a pre-read to prepare for the in-depth study of religions units).

(Oak National Academy lessons were really useful during the school closures in 2020/21, however many students have found them to be a great additional resource to complement learning in school. All of the Year 9 and 10 units are found in the Key Stage 4 section.  For year 7-8 students it is worth looking at the Key Stage 2, 3 and 4 section to find relevant lessons. 

YouTube is an invaluable resource with hundreds of revision videos, especially for GCSE. Make sure you type ‘GCSE RS’ or ‘GCSE Religious Studies’ in the search engine to help narrow your search.  You may also wish to write ‘AQA’ to find videos that are directly relevant to your specification.  Years 7-8 can type in ‘Key Stage 3’ with either ‘Religious Studies’ or ‘Religious Education’ to help find suitable learning videos.

How can Parents/Carers help their child’s learning

In Religious Studies we draw upon current affairs to exemplify the religious, philosophical and ethical topics and issues we explore. Please encourage open and honest discussion about the current affairs, push your child to justify their opinions with examples and reasons, as this is a good skill for our evaluation essays.  Film and TV can be a great resource at home to explore such issues.  When watching your favourite soap opera, you could explore whether violence was necessary in a certain scene.  When watching the news (e.g. on climate change) you could explore how religious believers might contribute to the discussion.

Reading stories and exploring artwork can help the demonstration of the impact belief has had on life issues and culture across our world, in both positive and negative ways. Historically human have shown to act both positively and negatively; we believe that our students are the generation that can learn from the mistakes of those before them, to ensure that there is a society, both locally and worldwide, that will be just and peaceful.

Encourage revision such as watching BBC bitesize/Learning clips (found both on the BBC Bitesize website and YouTube).

Understand that not all people within one tradition believe and act the same.  Challenge terms such as ‘All Christians/Muslims/Sikhs/atheists’ etc… as there are always exceptions to the rule.  Encourage tolerance and respect for those different to yourself, whether based on race, sex, sexuality, religion and ability.

Knowledge Organisers