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Head of Faculty

Mrs R Halfpenny  




(0115) 9635667 extension (3048)


Faculty overview

Students access the following subject areas through the Social Sciences faculty:

Key stage 3

The Religious Studies course is delivered in one lesson per week at Key Stage 3 to mixed ability groups. It covers a wide range of topics from worship, evil, festivals, religion in modern Britain and existence of God.

Personal development (PD) is a combination of citizenship and PSHE (Personal, Social, Health and Education) this is delivered in one lesson a week in mixed ability groups.

Key stage 4

In Religious Studies all students follow the full course RS GCSE (OCR) in three lessons per week. 

PD continues in key stage 4, taught in one lesson a week.  

Key stage 5

Students can choose to continue to study Religious Studies, or look at other social science subjects including sociology, psychology or criminology.  In year 13 all students complete the Extended Project Qualification (EPQ) which gives them a good understanding of how to conduct their own research develop presentation skills ready for higher education or the world of work.

The faculty is focused on raising achievement through developing new teaching ideas and providing intervention where needed. Good practice is shared across the faculty as well as across the academy.

Recruitment on to social sciences courses is particularly strong. These subjects are excellent preparation for a wide range of careers. Our faculty combines academic achievement with making subjects fun to learn.


The faculty also engages in a wide variety of enrichment activities beyond the normal curriculum. Some of these include:

  • A year 7 Religious Studies visit to St Mary's Church in Hucknall to participate in a Christingle service with members of the chaplaincy.
  • Year 8 visit various places of worship on enrichment day in Derby.
  • In year 9 religious studies students are given the opportunity to visit the Beth Shalom Holocaust Centre in Laxton.
  • Year 10 religious studies students have the chance to go on trip to London with a focus on understanding worship.  they visit places like St Paul's Cathedral and the London Mosque.
  •   Post 16 trips include a trip to London to the ‘Freud’ museum in psychology and criminology as well as two trips to support students studying history/ RS to ‘Auschwitz – Holocaust revisited’ as well as Berlin and Krakow.

As a faculty we really encourage students to take part in the visits we offer. Learning outside the classroom really supports learning in the classroom and gives students a very different experience of their subject in context.

In personal development lessons students will have many opportunities to learn about issues which affect them both whilst they are at the academy and in the future. Lessons are enhanced by visits from local organisations and speakers. We have presentations from a range of providers including the Fire Service, Nottinghamshire County Council Road Safety Team and local colleges and employers. Students will take part in mock interviews and have opportunities to attend careers fairs where they will be able to gather information about the choices available to them in the world of higher education and employment.  We also have a careers day each year, where students can find out about a range of careers on offer from local providers.


The social sciences faculty has a core of three large teaching areas. Each classroom is large and well equipped and has the benefit of a data projector as well as traditional whiteboards. A classroom within the faculty has been equipped with computers for faculty use.

Subject specific equipment

We expect all students to bring a pen, pencil and ruler to each lesson. It is also advantageous for students to have their own pencil crayons. We provide books, folders and paper for each subject as appropriate.

Personal Development 

Personal Development is studied by all students at Key Stages 3 and 4. The curriculum promotes students’ attainment, helps prepare them for life and develops key skills and values as they approach adulthood.

In addition, the areas of personal, social and health education, careers education, enterprise education, work-related learning and financial capability also contribute to extending students’ knowledge.

Key Stages 3 and 4
Timetabled Personal development (PD) combines several distinct topics:
• citizenship • democracy • rights and responsibilities • identity and diversity in the UK • critical thinking • personal, social, health education • sex and relationship education • drug and alcohol awareness • economic wellbeing • careers education • enterprise education • work-related learning • financial capability


For students interested in people and human behaviour then this course is the perfect option. It enables individuals to develop a sound understanding of the leading approaches and key research areas in psychology, and the science of mind and behaviour. The course involves scientifically based studies, experiments and research methods.

Students will also develop key communication, analysis, interpretation and evaluation skills. Techniques and skills developed through studying psychology can be applied across a wide range of other subjects including arts, social sciences and traditional sciences.

Key Stage 5
Topics covered throughout the course include:

• Introductory topics in psychology
Studying social influence, memory, attachment and psychopathology.

• Psychology in context
Discover the key approaches in psychology, biopsychology and research methods in psychology to understand the way psychological research is conducted.

• Issues and options in psychology
Studying issues and debates in psychology such as the nature nurture and freewill vs determinism debates. Students will then study three psychological topics in depth – gender development, schizophrenia and forensic psychology.

For further details of the A-level course, visit

Religious Studies 

Religious Studies enables students to study both the philosophical questions that Christianity tries to answer such as ‘is there life after death?’ and ‘does God exist?’ while also considering the ethical rights and wrongs in society today.

The subject also encourages individuals to adopt an enquiring mind and to be critical in their thinking. Students will develop their own values, opinions and attitudes in light of the topics studied.

Key Stage 3
Throughout years 7, 8 and 9, students will work developing knowledge that underpins all study of religious concepts and philosophies at Key Stage 3 and beyond.

The many topics covered during these three years will enable students to shape their own thoughts around faith and understand the importance of religion throughout our society and the wider World context.

Topics covered include:

• What is belief • The life of Jesus • Festivals • Where is God? • Christian worship • Whose fault, is it? • Faith in action • Wicked • War and peace 

Key Stage 4
Students working towards their GCSE will extend on the learning undertaken at Key Stage 3 to further understand about the importance of religion and how it can affect many areas of our lives.

Students will learn about the following areas of the subject:

  • Christianity beliefs, teachings and practices.
  • Islam beliefs, teachings and practices.
  • Philosophy and Ethics in the modern world: families and relationships, religion, peace and conflict, existence of God, dialogues between religious and non religious world views e.g. medical ethics. 

Key Stage 5
The A-Level and AS course will enable students to develop your interest in and enthusiasm for the subject, and relate learning to the wider world. The course encourages students to develop key skills to enable critical and deeper thoughts around issues relating to the subject.

The course covers three main areas, with a range of topics that build knowledge and understanding of these themes:

• Philosophy of religion
• Ancient philosophical influences • the nature of the soul • mind and body • does God exist? • the nature and impact of religious experience • the challenge of the problem of evil • the nature of God • issues in religious language

• Religious ethics
• Normative ethical theories • Euthanasia • business ethics • ethical language and thought • conscience • sexual ethics • ethical thought and developments in religious belief

• Developments in religious thought
• Religious beliefs • values and teaching • sources of wisdom and authority • religious identity • social and historical developments in theology and religious thought • religion and society

For further details of the A-level course, visit


The study of sociology enables students to develop an understanding of society in a disciplined way. The course covers issues that shape how our society functions, is governed and how this affects both individuals and groups of people. Students will ideally be interested in the events that shape peoples’ ultimate beliefs, their moments of tragedy, grandeur and ecstasy, together with being fascinated by the commonplace, and everyday.

Key Stage 5

Families and households
• relationship of the family • social structure • social change • economy and state policies • patterns of marriage, cohabitation, separation and divorce

Education and research methods
• the role and functions of the education system • the economy and education • class structure and education

Beliefs in society
• ideology, science and religion • religious beliefs and social change and stability.

Crime and deviance
• theories of crime, deviance, social order and social control • crime control and prevention • punishment

For further details of the A-level course, visit