Religious studies – What is it?

Religious studies is the secular study of religious beliefs, behaviours and institutions. It describes, compares, interprets and explains religion, emphasising systematic, historically based, and cross-cultural perspectives.

Religious studies tries to study religious behaviour and belief from outside any particular religious viewpoint. Religious studies draws upon multiple disciplines including anthropology, sociology, psychology, philosophy and history.

Key Stage 3 – Cultural and social studies

In years 7 to 9, students will study a variety of topics that cover both subject areas of Religious studies and sociology. This will aid students’ understanding of the subjects as they progress through the school.

Key Stage 4 – Religious studies (OCR J625)

The new OCR GCSE in Religious studies is designed to help develop knowledge and understanding of religious and non-religious beliefs, such as atheism, humanism and secularism.

Students will gain a deeper understanding of two religions and explore philosophy and ethical studies in the modern world. The specification includes content that explores relationships and families, the existence of God and the ultimate reality, religion, peace and conflict, examining the dialogue between religious and non-religious beliefs and attitudes.

Key Stage 5 – Religious studies (AQA 7062)

Religious studies at A-Level expands upon the KS3 and 4 syllabus. The course ensures students have a thorough understanding of diverse philosophical and ethical viewpoints.

Philosophical and ethical theories are studied in depth and given practical application in the modern world. God, religion, science, the nature of self, afterlife, evil and suffering are all explored. Ethical theories are examined, along with topics such as freewill, conscience, morality and identity.

Students will gain critical and evaluative skills sought by higher education and employers – particularly in law, education, social work, politics, medicine, administration and the media.

Sociology – What is it?

Sociology is the study of human social relationships and institutions. Sociology’s subject matter is diverse, ranging from crime to religion, from the family to the state, from the divisions of race and social class to the shared beliefs of a common culture, and from social stability to radical change in whole societies. Unifying the study of these diverse subjects is Sociology’s purpose of understanding how human action and consciousness both shape and are shaped by surrounding cultural and social structures.

Key Stage 5 – Sociology (OCR H580)

Sociology at A-Level provides students with the opportunity to gain a deeper understanding of the world around them and reflect on social issues that are often relevant to their own social experiences.
Key sociological themes, such as socialisation, culture, identity, power, control and inequality will be examined through a variety of topics including families and relationships, youth subcultures and crime and deviance.
Sociology focuses on contemporary society and looks at the topic of globalisation and the digital social world, an area that’s extremely relevant to the way we communicate as a society today.


Hannah Bunn – Head of Religious studies and sociology

Hannah studied for a degree in Philosophy and politics at the University of East Anglia (UEA), where she also studied for her PGCE in Religious studies.

She started her career as Head of Religious Studies at Old Buckenham School in Norfolk. After four years in this role, she relocated to an Academy in Northamptonshire, where she taught a variety of subjects across the Humanities. During her last three years there, Hannah predominantly taught English and undertook the role of literacy coordinator.

Hannah joined the Religious studies and sociology department at The Bicester School in 2015.