Religious Studies


Humanities Staff

  • Mr C Gosney: Curriculum Leader of History
  • Mrs C Jones: Curriculum Leader of Religious Studies
  • Miss Begonia Aviles: Curriculum Lead of Spanish
  • Miss E Robson: History and Religious Studies teacher
  • Miss V Evan-Cook: Geography and Religious Studies teacher
A high-quality Humanities education should inspire students to have a curiosity and fascination about the world and its people that will remain with them for the rest of their lives.  Teaching the humanities subjects of Geography, History, Religious Studies and Spanish should equip students with knowledge about diverse people and places both past and present along with the ability to ask perceptive questions and think critically.

Humanities students learn the skills to be able to;

  • make a concise report
  • handle data
  • ask questions and find answers
  • make decisions about issues and current affairs
  • analyse material
  • think creatively and independently
  • organise themselves


Humanities students are;

  • good communicators
  • spatially aware
  • socially, economically and environmentally aware
  • problem solvers
  • good team players
  • well rounded, flexible thinkers.


All Humanities students are continually assessed across the year in a variety of forms including investigation projects, assessment questions and group project work.  Students reflect and act upon their written feedback during DIRT tasks (Dedicated Improvement Reflection Time). This ensures the feedback is being put to use and is supporting the progress of the students.  In Key Stage four, the students participate in Pre-public examinations.  This not only gives the students the experience of participating in examination conditions, but also supports in identifying gaps in their knowledge prior to the final GCSE examinations.   Students are supported with their preparation / revision for the final examination through are range of mediums from knowledge organisers, targeted revision classes (both during lessons and after school), and access to revision guides.

All of the Humanities subjects set and monitor homework in accordance with St Aldhelm’s Academy homework policy.   The style of homework varies from a range of styles from worksheets, written and craft projects, independent research, revision and for Key Stage four, examination questions.


 “The study of geography is more than just memorising places on a map.  It’s about understanding the complexity of our world.”

Barack Obama


Geography students are better able to make sense of a complex and changing world and their place in it. In geography, students have the opportunity to:

  • build on and expand their personal experiences of natural and cultural environments
  • explore real and relevant contemporary contexts
  • think spatially – explore the ways in which features are arranged on the earth’s surface
  • look at the processes that shape our world
  • undertake fieldwork investigations in different locations outside the classroom
  • develop an awareness of the connections between people and places
  • participate in informed responsible action in relation to geographic issues that affect them


By studying geography, students are able to recognise the responsibilities they have in relation to other people, the environment, and the long-term sustainability of the planet.   Geography encourages students to think critically as they:

  • investigate contemporary geographic issues and consider possible solutions
  • explore the various perspectives of different groups of people
  • investigate important issues of relevance to the United Kingdom and the wider world


The study of Geography enables students to become active, responsible and informed citizens able to evaluate the opinions of others and express their own ideas and arguments. This forms a basis for active participation in community life, a commitment to sustainability, the creation of a just society, and the promotion of intercultural understanding and lifelong learning. The skills and capabilities developed through geographical study can be applied to further education, work and everyday life.

In Key Stage 3 students are given the foundation needed to access the rigours of the GCSE syllabus.  They are taught using a thematic approach where many different areas of the required curriculum are connected using a common theme.  The advantage of this interleaved system is that it enables the teaching of multiple things at one time.  Students are taught to constantly make connections between the topics and apply them to the assessment questions.

The students are introduced to the knowledge and skills required for them to become competent Geographers.  They are taught common core principles about local, national and global environments and places using various mediums ranging from map skills and photographic interpretations to graphical data analysis.  They are able to develop their digital literacy with the use of GIS (Geography Information Systems) as well as conduct their first geographical enquiry and decision-making exercise.

Areas of study in Key Stage 3 Geography are;
Year 7

  • Mapping Skills
  • Hazardous World
  • Transport
  • Settlements

Global Adventurers


Year 8

  • Energy and Waste
  • Weather and Climate
  • Australia
  • Rivers to the Sea



Year 9

  • Globalisation
  • Population Dynamics
  • The Middle East
  • The Geography of Crime
  • Nigeria


Key Stage 4 Geography follows the AQA GCSE course which is based on a balanced framework of physical and human geography.  It allows students to investigate the links between the two themes and examine the conflicts between the man-made and natural world.  Students participate in two compulsory fieldtrips; investigating the impact of urban regeneration in Portsmouth and investigating the impact of coastal erosion and management.  During these visits’ students collect a range of primary data which is then presented and analysed in the classroom.  These sets of data are requited for Paper three of the GCSE examination.  Paper three also requires the students’ study are pre-released case study.  This information is used by the student during the examination for a decision-making exercise.

The Geography GCSE syllabus requires the study of;

  • The challenge of natural hazards
  • The living world
  • Physical landscapes
  • Urban issues and challenges
  • The changing economic world
  • The challenge of resource management
  • Issues evaluation
  • Fieldwork


The content of the GCSE curriculum is based on real-life case studies that enables students of all abilities to learn and develop are range of geographical skills as well as academic life skills from writing, teamwork and communication to analytical skills.  These skills enable the students to be confident young people; helping them to become college and career ready.

For more information from the exam board please use the following link:


We are running a Geography competition, please see details below:

Geography Competition




“Those who cannot learn from history are doomed to repeat it.”

  George Santayana


At St Aldhelm’s Academy we hope that the study of history will enable students to gain a clear and coherent understanding of Britain’s past and that of the wider world at the same time as developing key disciplinary skills associated with the study of history that are transferable across the curriculum and in life beyond school.

Studying topics such as the causation and impact of world wars, the rise of the Nazis, the Holocaust and slavery will allow students to learn from the worst of humanity whilst hopefully developing empathy for those who had to struggle through these times.

By studying the medieval world, empire, migration and the struggle for women’s suffrage, students will develop a sense of their own historical identity and core British values such as democracy and multiculturalism.

Students will develop important skills such as critical thinking, evaluation of evidence and be able to reach independent, substantiated judgments about the past whilst having the confidence to challenge previous interpretations. With this, students will be better prepared to distinguish the truth from “fake news” and be more critical of information read on social media. Regular opportunities for extended writing will help pupils to develop their literacy.

They will grapple with a range of key historical concepts such as: cause and consequence, change and continuity, significance and using evidence and interpretations.

All students should develop confidence in framing and asking perceptive questions about the past and be inspired to find out more for themselves.

From the beginning of Year 7, student learning is embedded through the development of skills and knowledge via the teaching of a wide range of topics that end with modular assessments focusing on gained knowledge and a particular historical skill.

Throughout KS3 students are taught in a chronological fashion to help them build a sense of chronology and enable them to analyse key themes, such as change and continuity, at higher levels. This model of progression will allow for effective marking, feedback and stretch and challenge.

During each unit of study knowledge retention and retrieval will be encouraged by the completion of regular quick quizzes and mid-unit retrieval activities.

After each unit of study has been completed, students will have the opportunity to apply their knowledge and skills to an end of unit assessment. Sitting behind this structure, skills development has been carefully mapped out across the three years.

Every unit of study is underpinned by an engaging overarching inquiry question which students will be able to answer by the completion of study.

During Year 9 students will continue to develop and hone skills learnt in Years 7 and 8 whilst grappling with more sensitive subject matter such as the use of atomic weapons at the end of World War Two and will explore the Holocaust. Students will continue to explore the topic of conflict and protest through the study of the Suffragettes and the Civil Rights Movement, allowing them to embed their understanding from Year 7 and 8.


Areas of study in Key Stage 3 History are;

Year 7:

  • What makes a GREAT HISTORIAN? (Skills introduction)
  • Why did William win the Battle of Hastings? (Causation)
  • How did the Normans change England? (Change & Continuity)
  • How well did medieval England cope with a crisis? (Evidence & Interpretation)
  • Was Jerusalem worth dying for? (Evidence & Interpretation)
  • How historically significant is our local community? (Local study & Significance)


Year 8:

  • Did Henry VIII break away from Rome because of love? (Causation)
  • Why did England execute their king? (Evidence & Interpretation)
  • Did the Industrial Revolution result in prosperity and progress for everyone? (Change & Continuity)
  • Does William Wilberforce deserve all of the credit for the abolition of slavery? (Evidence & Interpretation)
  • Should we be proud or ashamed of Britain’s impact on the world? (Evidence & Interpretation)
  • How have migrants helped shape Britain since c.1250? (Significance)


Year 9: 

  • Why did the world go to war in 1914? (Causation)
  • Was the world at peace between the wars? (Evidence & Interpretation)
  • What was the most significant turning point of World War Two? (Significance)
  • Why should we remember the Holocaust? (Evidence & Interpretation)
  • How do you win a Cold War? (Evidence & Interpretation)
  • How far have the Civil Rights come since 1945? (Change & Continuity)


At GCSE, we have chosen Edexcel 9-1 as this board offers a clear and coherent GCSE that has been designed to build upon skills and knowledge developed in Key Stage 3. Students will be taught lessons in a similar style to previous years but with the added focus on exam technique, assessment and feedback.


Areas of study in Key Stage 4 History are;

  • Paper 1 (Thematic and Historic Environment Study) – Crime and Punishment in Britain, c1000–Present and Whitechapel, c1870–c1900: Crime, Policing and the Inner City.
  • Paper 2 (British depth study and Period study) – Early Elizabethan England, 1558–88 and The American West, c1835–c1895.
  • Paper 3 (Depth Study) – Weimar and Nazi Germany, 1918–39.


Students will begin their GCSE by studying the Crime and Punishment unit as this lead on nicely from their work in in KS3. Each of the units will be taught through a mixture of chronological narrative and thematically depending on the nature of the content and exam foci.

At GCSE, students will be expected to complete home learning on a weekly basis. This will be completed using GCSE Pod, an online platform, which allows students to embed and extend their developing knowledge through the watching of short video clips and completion of quiz questions. This invaluable tool is engaging and allows for the interleaving of key knowledge throughout the course.

Another big difference to the study of History at KS4 is the expectation for students to regularly attend revision sessions as a means of support. These should be attended alongside the completion of independent revision as exams approach.

For more information from the exam board please use the following link:


Religious Studies

“Who questions much, shall learn much and retain much.”

Francis Bacon


Religious Studies is a rigorous and demanding academic discipline in its own right. It engenders critical thinking and rigour in the search for truths in uncertain fields. It encourages philosophical thought, decision making skills, collaboration and independent working skills and the search for compromise and conflict resolutions that work. It creates opportunities for young people to develop their skills of dialogue, interpretation and analysis in a coherent context.  All these are vital skills in a modern workforce where communication, collaboration and cooperation are core skills.  In Religious Studies students learn to respect themselves and understand their own identity, to respect others, and to understand their own and others’ rights and responsibilities.   At a time when communities are becoming more diverse there is an even greater need for a more religiously literate and tolerant society. Religious Studies plays a key role in creating social cohesion and generating genuine understanding between communities

The religious studies curriculum at St Aldhelm’s is written to interest and engage students into the study of religion. It is important because it provides our students with a worldwide view of religion and intends to created well rounded individuals with a wider respect for global culture, difference and philosophy.

Religious studies develop cultural capital of our students and we at St Aldhelm’s Academy cover a wide range of religions within our curriculum planning. We believe good quality teaching of religious studies here at St Aldhelm’s encourages deep thought and personal reflection on big questions, we hope it develops philosophical thinking of all learners and fosters an understanding of diversity and promotes respectful attitudes.

Students received one hour of religious studies a week from year 7 to 9, in year 10 they can opt to choose religious studies GCSE.

Our Key stage 3 religious studies curriculum has been designed to incorporate the Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole locally agreed syllabus.


Areas of study in Key Stage 3 Religious Studies are;
Year 7 2021-2022

  • If God exists, what is he like?
  • Sikhism
  • What makes a place sacred? Holy buildings
  • Hinduism
  • Judaism
  • What makes a place Sacred? Pilgrimage


Year 8 2021-2022

  • Christianity
  • How do festivals bring a community together?
  • Islam
  • How do rites of passage help a believer to belong?
  • Can religions save the earth?
  • Buddhism


Year 9 2021-2022

  • Why might someone be atheist, agnostic or theist.
  • Ethics: Do we need God to be good?
  • Christianity (2022-2023 Humanism)
  • What happens when we Die?
  • Does religion cause war or bring peace?
  • Religion and Family Life.


In year 10 and 11 we teach the AQA specification A for Christianity, Hinduism and thematic studies. Students will learn how religion, philosophy and ethics form the basis of our culture, and develop valuable skills that will help prepare them for further study. Students consider different beliefs and attitudes to religious and non-religious issues in contemporary British society. There are two exam papers at the end of year 11; Paper 1 Religious Beliefs and Practises, Paper 2 Thematic studies.


Areas of study in Key Stage 4 Religious Studies are;

Year 10

  • Christianity beliefs and practices
  • Hinduism beliefs and practices

Year 11

  • Religion and life
  • Crime And punishment
  • Social injustice
  • Existence of God and revelation


For more information from the exam board please use the following link:



“To learn a language is to have one more window from which to look at the world”

Chinese proverb


Learning a foreign language provides a. window to other cultures; a high-quality languages education should foster students’ curiosity and deepen their understanding of the world.  The teaching should enable pupils to express their ideas and thoughts in another language and to understand and respond to its speakers, both in speech and in writing.  It should also provide opportunities for them to communicate for practical purposes, learn new ways of thinking and read great literature in the original language.  Language teaching should provide the foundation for learning further languages, equipping pupils to study and work in other countries.

In Key Stage 3 their Spanish education will provide a solid foundation to build upon prior learning and to develop new skills and the knowledge require to study the subject further at Key Stage 4.  The lessons incorporate the four main skill areas of listening, speaking, reading and writing together, and each topic focuses on teaching specific grammatical structures, key topic vocabulary, phonics and strategies to support the development of these four skills.


Areas of study in Key Stage 3 Spanish are;
Year 7

  • The Spanish speaking world.
  • Introductions, personal information and opinions.
  • Classroom language.
  • Family and pets.
  • Physical and personality descriptions.

Year 8

  • My house.
  • The area where I live
  • Directions.
  • School life.
  • Diet and health.



Year 9

  • Latin American countries.
  • Holidays and travelling.
  • Jobs and careers.
  • Internet and social media.
  • TV, films and music.
  • Fashion and shopping.
  • Routine.
Key Stage 4 follows the AQA syllabus and continues to develop new skills and knowledge required for the GCSE examinations at the end of year 11.  Students develop their examination technique and personal strategies to support their own learning.  As with Key Stage three, the teaching of Spanish focusses on developing the breadth and depth of student competence in listening, speaking, reading and writing.  It enables pupils to understand and communicate personal and factual information as well as justifying points of view with increased spontaneity, independence and accuracy.


The Spanish GCSE syllabus requires the study of the following topics:

  • Me, my family and friends.
  • Technology in everyday life.
  • Free time activities.
  • Customs and festivals.
  • Home, town, neighbourhood and region.
  • Social issues.
  • Global issues.
  • Travel and tourism.
  • My studies.
  • Life at school and college.
  • Education post-16.
  • Jobs, career choices and ambitions.


The Spanish curriculum at St Aldhelm’s Academy liberates from insularity whilst developing empathy and understanding of other cultures.  It also develops literacy skills as all the students study key grammatical concepts, supporting their understanding in English.  Through the study of Spanish, the students develop their own curiosity and understanding of the world in which they live.

For more information from the exam board please use the following link:


Recommended Reading Lists


Great Adventurers’ – Alastair Humphreys

The Boy who Cycled the World’ – Alastair Humphreys

Horrible Geography’ series of books – Anita Ganeri

How bad are bananas?’ – Mike Berners-Lee

Evolution’ – Steve Jones


The Boy with the Bronze Axe by Kathleen Fiddler

Song for a Dark Queen by Rosemary Sutcliff

Wolf Girl by Theresa Tomlinson

Eliza Rose by Lucy Worsley

Mark of the Plague by Kevin Sands


Religious Studies

The Creed In Slow Motion – Martin Kochanski

Tamarind and the Star of Ishta – Jasbinda Biland

Philosophy for Beginners – Rachel Firth

Myth and Religion – Ben Green



Short Stories In Spanish For Beginners – Olly Richards

Yo No Soy Tu Perfecta Hija Mexicana – Erika Sanchez

Memorais Del Aguila Y Del Aguar – Isabel Allende


Home Learning

KS3 has one home learning per fortnight.

KS4 has weekly online home learning quiz in Microsoft Teams


Recommended Websites

KS3 (


History Games | Educational Games For KS3, KS4, KS5 Curriculum (

Games That Teach History | Common Sense Media


KS3 RE – 20 Enjoyable Quizzes for Years 7, 8 and 9 (

Quiz – GCSE Religious Studies Revision (


Queen Sofia Spanish Institute – Sharing the legacy of the Spanish-Speaking World

Spanish Mix & match game to learn / revise vocab + grammar (