NRC Secondary – Humanities

Humanities at New River College

Y10 – Religious Studies GCSE (short course) 

In year 10, students at New River College work towards the AQA Religious Studies short course GCSE in their Humanities lessons. 

The GCSE covers a range of religions and philosophical and ethical themes. Students will be challenged with questions about belief, values, meaning, purpose and truth, enabling them to develop their own values and attitudes towards religious issues. Students will also gain an appreciation of how religion, philosophy and ethics form the basis of our culture. They will develop analytical and critical thinking skills, the ability to work with abstract ideas, leadership and research skills. All these will help prepare them for further study. 

Students will consider different beliefs and attitudes to both religious and non-religious issues in contemporary British society. We look in-depth at the beliefs and teachings of Christianity and Buddhism, as well as considering other religious and non-religious beliefs such as atheism and humanism. 

Completing a short course GCSE in year 10 gives our students the opportunity to practice preparing for and taking real GCSE exams early. This then allows them to put lessons learnt from the experience into practice for their Y11 studies. 

Y11 – Citizenship GCSE 

In year 11, students work towards the Edexcel Citizenship Studies GCSE in their Humanities lessonsCitizenship Studies is about how people take an active part in democratic politics and work together for a better society, locally, nationally and globally. 

Students will learn about power, democracy, the operation of government and the legal system, and the role of the UK in the wider world. They will explore and learn about different controversial and topical issues with political, social, ethical, economic and environmental dimensions in local to global contexts. They will experience taking citizenship action and learn from trying to make a difference themselves. 

Completing a GCSE in a year allows New River College pupils the opportunity to gain a second GCSE qualification in this curriculum area. A GCSE in Citizenship Studies gives young people a good foundation for further study such as Law, Government and Politics and other Humanities courses. These are useful for progression for a range of related courses at university. From there it is possible to become a lawyer, researcher, journalist, teacher, campaigner, join local or national government, or even start on the path to become a future Prime Minister! As Citizenship Studies develops understanding of the world around us and what we can do to change it for the better, it will help students become a more informed and active citizen whatever they choose to do in the future.  

What will students learn? 

In year 10, students learn about the following areas for their Religious Studies GCSE (short course): 

Section A: The study of religions: beliefs and teachings of two religions: 

  • Christianity 
  • Buddhism. 

Section B: Thematic studies: religious, philosophical and ethical studies:  

  • Theme A: Relationships and families 
  • Theme B: Religion, peace and conflict 

In year 11, students learn about the following areas for their Citizenship Studies GCSE: 

A. Living together in the UK: Students learn about the UK as a diverse society of many different communities living together. They will consider the rights, freedoms and values that we share, including human rights. 

B. Democracy at work in the UK: Students will explore the idea of parliamentary democracy in the UK including the role of Parliament in making and shaping law and the role of government in managing public money.  

C. Law and justice: Students will explore why we need laws and how law affects us in our everyday lives. They will consider how the justice system works including the roles and power of the police and the courts. Students will also learn about some of the different approaches to tackling crime in society. 

D. Power and influence: Students will consider the ways in which people, the government and the media exercise power and influence in a range of local to global situations. They will contrast democracy in the UK with a non-democratic political system. 

E. Taking Citizenship action: Students will have the opportunity to work with others to make a real difference on a Citizenship issue they care about. 

Across each year, key concepts are consolidated through regular key terms tests. The key skills for answering different types of exam questions (e.g. 12/ 15 mark essays) are regularly revisited with consistent success criteria that allow students to identify what they need to do to make progress. Supported revision sessions for end-of-unit assessments and mock exam practice help with the on-going consolidation of course content and exam technique. 

Additional Support 

Additional support is provided in conversation with Learning Assistants in lessons and after school support/ catch-up sessions are offered. Students who join part way through the year are supported to catch up with course content via bespoke lessons and additional independent learning tasks. 

Qualifications and Accreditation 

Y10 – Religious Studies GCSE short course  

Y11 – Citizenship Studies GCSE 

Extra-curricular Opportunities and Trips 

The Humanities curriculum is enriched by trips such as Parliament, the Migration Museum and the London Buddhist Centre. Participation in the student council offers students a practical experience of active Citizenship. New River College also participates in the local Youth Council elections. 

How will students be assessed 

Upon entry: baseline activity. 

During term: written and verbal formative feedback from teacher with opportunities to develop work further. A range of different assessment tasks are used regularly: key terms tests; short answer question practice; essay writing practice. 

End of each half term: End-of-unit assessments give the opportunity for mock exam practice. Students are graded according to the 1-9 GCSE grading system. 

End of the year: The Religious Studies GCSE short course is assessed in a written exam at the end of Y10 (1hr 45mins). The Citizenship Studies GCSE is assessed in two written exam papers, each 1 hour and 45 minutes long, worth 50% of the final grade. Exams contain a mixture of short answer, source-based and extended response questions.