Religious Studies at Thirsk School gives students the opportunity to explore the ultimate religious, spiritual, moral and philosophical questions of human existence. As such, the subject takes its place within the framework of social, moral, spiritual and cultural education within the school, which is to be found right across the curriculum. Within that framework RS aims to provide students with experiences and opportunities through which to explore the religious and spiritual dimensions of life in an open, inclusive and reflective environment. One of the key aims of RS at Thirsk is to encourage a tolerant, respectful and pluralistic approach towards people with different religious and spiritual beliefs and cultural practices. This embodies the British Values set out by the Department of Education of tolerance and respect and diversity, equality and inclusion.
In years 7-8 students follow units based on North Yorkshire’s locally agreed syllabus for religious education. There are 3 lessons a fortnight in year 7, 2 in year 8. In years 9 – 11 Religious Studies becomes part of Social and Religious Studies. All students follow the full course GCSE AQA Religious Studies A, Christianity & Buddhism. For the thematic units students explore Religion & Human Rights, Crime & Punishment, War & Violence, Religion & Life. In addition to this examination course, PSHCE units on healthy choices are provided during SRS lessons at times appropriate to the needs of pupils. There are 5 lesson per fortnight in year 9 and 3 lessons per fortnight in years 10 and 11.
In years 12 and 13, A-level RS is chosen as an option by a large number of students within the 6th form College. The course is split into three components – philosophy, ethics and developments in Christian thought, following the OCR syllabus H173 / H573. Students in year 12 and 13 receive 4 lessons per fortnight.