Assessment for Awareness, Mystery and Value 2019 Key Stage 3

Assessment for Awareness, Mystery and Value 2019 Key Stage 3


Assessment for Awareness, Mystery and Value 2019, The Agreed Religious Education Syllabus for Somerset.

This document is statutory

Copyright: Somerset County Council (except Hinduism shared copyright Sushma Sahajpal and Somerset County Council).

Coverage of religions required at KS3 is Christianity plus Buddhism and two other religions from: Hinduism, Islam, Judaism and Sikhism. Non-religious views (e.g. Humanism) must also be represented. The Christianity assessment has been annotated to support the Understanding Christianity resources.  By the end of KS3, all pupils must be secure in their knowledge and understanding of the following. This syllabus reflects two key indicators of attainment. Attainment Target 1: learning about religion and Attainment Target 2: learning from religion.


All pupils must be secure in their knowledge and understanding of the following. The Somerset SACRE “Christianity – Teacher’s guide” is recommended as helpful in further supporting teachers’ understanding of the material about Christianity in this document.

Schools using Understanding Christianity will be able to cover the AMV 2019 assessment goals of God, Incarnation and Salvation under the Understanding Christianity core concepts of the same name. The relevant AMV 2019 assessment goals for Agape are covered in the Understanding Christianity core concept of Gospel, shown like this. (*Gospel)

By the end of Key Stage 3


Key belief – Salvation

  • Know and understand three ways in which Christians have responded to the question, ‘What was Christ’s main mission in the world?’
    – Christus Victor theory
    – Satisfaction theory
    – Moral exemplar theory
  • Know and be able to explain the thinking or ideas in four New Testament passages:
    – 1 Corinthians 15.54-57
    – 2 Corinthians 5.19
    – Mark 10.45 (see also Matt 20.27-28)
    – John 3.16
  • Know and understand questions and ideas which challenge the Christus Victor, the Satisfaction and the Moral exemplar theory.
  • Know the essential features of the story of Adam and Eve: Adam lived blissfully in Eden (paradise); only one commandment given, not to eat from tree of knowledge of good and evil; God creates Eve; serpent seduced Eve into eating fruit; Eve gave some to Adam also; both felt shame at nakedness; God realised they had disobeyed Him and banishes them to harsh world outside; banned from eating from tree of life and so death enters world.
  • Understand at least two Christian ideas about how origin of evil.
  • Know and understand what Jesus said about life after death (Luke 20.27-40); that there is an after-life, but is very different to our existence on earth.
  • Understand what different Christians believe about ‘heaven’, ‘hell’ and ‘purgatory’.
  • Raise and suggest answers to relevant questions they ask in response to their enquiry into the death and resurrection of Jesus.
  • Support their attempt to answer the relevant questions they raise in response to their enquiry into the death and resurrection of Jesus using reasons and information to support their views.

Belief – God

  • Christians believe that people are created by a loving holy God to live in relationship with Him. For them fulfilment, peace and purpose are found through this loving relationship. Describe and reflect on the ways that they believe this relationship is deepened through worship, prayer, reading the Bible, reflection and service.
  • In connection with this, describe some ways that Christian beliefs in the Trinity – God the Father (parent), Son and Holy Spirit expressed in expressed in Christian life and practice today.
  • Explain and reflect on some of the reasons Christians give for believing in God.
  • Understand one argument Christians might use to support their belief in God.
  • Understand the different ways Christian understand that God created humans in His image.

Belief: Incarnation

  • Understand that for some Christians the nativity stories were not intended as historical documents. These Christians see theology in the narratives:
    – In Luke’s Gospel, shepherds (the outcasts) are first to worship Jesus in a stable (humble beginnings) – representing Jesus has come for everyone, not just the rich.
    – For Matthew it is important that Jesus’ birth is linked with the fulfilment of prophecies concerning the Messiah in Isaiah (e.g. the visit of 3 magi; use of phrase Emmanuel)
  • Some Christians maintain that the two accounts are historically accurate and do not contradict each other.
  • Traditionally Christians celebrate the incarnation at Christmas, through the Nativity stories, in which the second person in the Trinity, the Son of God, “became flesh”.

Belief – Agape (selfless, sacrificial, unconditional love) (*Gospel)

  • For Christians this is the love which God showed for Mankind (John 3:16)
  • The command to love is contained in the two most important commandments: to love God and one’s neighbour; (Matthew 22.37-40).
  • Understand how many Christians apply the command to love situationally; which involves assessing how love can be best served and applying the principle of the lesser of two evils, in difficult ethical dilemmas.
  • Identify and describe the work of Christian charities, churches and individuals to relieve suffering, rehabilitate, support and do good both in the UK and wider world today.
  • Why do Christians do charitable work? Relate this work to their Christian beliefs and the teachings of Jesus in the Bible.
  • Reflect on their own responses to these actions and beliefs.
  • Describe and reflect on the ways that Christians decide on and respond to ethical and environmental issues. What is the role played by the Bible, Christian Church, Holy Spirit and personal conscience?


Key belief: God and the Covenant

  • Understand that while Judaism is a complex and diverse religion the element that unifies the Jewish faith is belief in one God. Specifically that He is:
  • Creator and sustainer of the universe, whose existence is necessary and on whom all other beings depend.
  • Transcends the world, yet ‘the whole earth is full of His glory” (Is 6:3).
  • A personal deity whom humanity can love.
  • God loves humanity and is involved in human history.
  • Understand that there is an existence after death, when every soul will be judged on their actions in Life. But it is impossible to for us to grasp the “World to Come”. The primary task is to fulfil the Mitzvot.
  • Understand that Jews believe a Messiah will be a descendent from House of David to inaugurate an age of peace, when Israel will gather and humanity will know there is one God. There will be an end to oppression. The Messiah is to achieve real peace in the world. This concept must not be confused with the Christian usage-this Messiah has no redemptive role or cosmic significance.
  • Understand that the first covenant or ‘Brit’ is with Abraham and the first circumcision was the sign of the covenant between Abraham and subsequent generations.
  • Know the seven commandments of Noah and that these are the minimum requirements for non-Jews.
  • Understand the covenant with patriarchs and at Mt Sinai. This covenant involves a promise to bless the Jewish people and to maintain a close relationship with them. Israel’s task is to follow the Torah. They must bear witness to God’s existence and live a just life.
  • Understand Jews are the chosen people which means they have the specific task to receive the Torah: it was given to the Jews for the whole world. Being chosen is not about exclusivity but means that Jews have the mission to bring the whole world to an acknowledgement of God.
  • Be familiar with the Jewish understanding of the story of Adam and Eve –
  • In Hebrew Adam means “human being”.
  • His personal sin has no spiritual effect on anyone else.
  • Shows that all people have capacity for good as well as evil.
  • Understand the yetzer haTov and yetzer haRa as inclinations to do good and evil (respectively).
  • Humans not inherently sinful, they have freewill.
  • God creates both good and evil (Is 45:7). Satan in Judaism is an accuser who takes note of evil deeds. Satan is subject to God’s will. (He is not an evil force independent of God.)
  • To understand why the promised land covenanted to Abraham and his descendants is important to Jews today.
  • Raise and suggest answers to relevant questions in response to the concept of Mitzvot.
  • Attempt to support their answers using reasons and/or information.

Belief: Torah

  • Understand the variation in interpretation of Torah between Orthodox and Reform Jews and the impact this has on ethical teaching (which are eternal) and practices (which are subject to change).
  • Understand the role of the rabbi and how this may vary in the different congregations.
  • Understand and explore the concept of Halakhah: attempting to carry out the word of God. In so doing and is as far as possible take on some of the characteristic of God. By doing this they transmit the written word of the Torah in action in the world. In particular:
  • Love and compassion
  • Tzedekah (Justice)
  • Holiness (kedusha) – “To set apart”- how everyday acts such as eating can be set apart and made an act of religious expression (e.g. Leviticus 19: 9 and 23-25).
  • Understand the concept of Mitzvot: the practical observance of the commandments; traditionally 613; they are stated positively and negatively, how they embrace every part of lives, govern interpersonal relationships as well as between humans and God; breaking some interpersonal commandments, such as caring for others, is seen being as great (or greater) desecration of God, as breaking mitzvoth between God and humanity.
  • Understand the distinction between Hukkim (statutes) and mishpatim (judgements) amongst some Jews.
  • Raise and suggest answers to relevant questions in response to the concept of Mitzvot.
  • Attempt to support their answers using reasons and/or information.


Key belief – Islam (Submission to the will of Allah)

  • Know the details of the Night Journey:
  • Muhammad’s enemies were making life very hard;
  • Muhammad is taken to Jerusalem on a Buraq; Muhammad is taken to heaven and meets earlier prophets;
  • Muhammad sees throne of Allah: he is overcome by peace; he is told Muslims are to pray 5 times a day;
  • after this experience he becomes a fearless leader.
  • Know the details of the Hijrah:
  • In 620 CE he was invited to lead Yathrib (Medina); he stayed in the city while his followers left; after they had all left and were safe he was able to leave; a plot to kill him which was thwarted by Allah; this migration is know as the Hijrah
  • In 622 CE the city changed its name to Medinat ul-Nabi (City of the Prophet)
  • Understand that the Hijrah is important as it marks the time when Muslims could at last follow their faith in safety:
  • This is the beginning of the Muslim society- Muslims were in a place where the sharia first became the foundation for the city. This is the beginning of the Ummah (used initially to describe Muslims in Medinah and now worldwide community of Muslims).
  • It is where Muhammad and his early followers put the earlier teachings into practice.
  • It is an obligation on all Muslims to perform Hijrah if they find themselves in a society which does not allow them to practice their faith.
  • Know that Muslim must perform Hajj which involves journey to Makkah once in lifetime; that the pilgrimage reminds Muslims of many stories from the Qur’an, such as Adam; Ibrahim, Hajar and Isma’il and Muhammad.
  • Know key events in Hajj:
  • Everyone is equal shown by wearing Ihram
  • Perform tawaf calling “At Your command Lord”.
  • Marwah and safa and zamzam: Allah will always provide what is needed.
  • The Stand at Mt Arafat: most important part of Hajj: Muslims ask and receive forgiveness.
  • MIna: stone devil reminds Muslims of rejecting temptations.
  • Eid ul Adha ends the Hajj; all Muslims all over world join in festival: symbolizes submission of each individual Muslim, remembering the sacrifice Ibrahim was prepared to make.
  • Understand that Hajj can be seen as: act of submission, where Muslims experience Ummah (brotherhood and equality).
  • Understand the term Ummah and how it finds expression in a Muslim’s life (eg prayer; Arabic; Zakah; Hajj).
  • Know that in Islam men and women are equal but have different roles
  • Understand the different interpretations of the term jihad.
  • Raise and suggest answers to relevant questions in response to what they have learnt about the Islamic belief in submitting to the will of Allah.
  • Attempt to support their answers using reasons and/or information

Belief – Iman (faith)

  • Understand the key features of the Qur’an and how it is used by Muslims:
  • Literal word of Allah
  • Why Muslims have to read it in Arabic
  • How it is shown respect
  • Within 20 years of His death Qur’an existed as one book
  • The book contains stories about great prophets including Ibrahim, Musa and Isa
  • Part of the first sura is recited during prayer 5 times a day
  • Understand what Muslims believe about human beings:
  • Nothing happens by chance or accident
  • Everyone is equal
  • Humans have freewill to choose to follow Allah’s commands
  • Hubris prevents humans worshipping Allah
  • Humans will be judged on their actions in after life (akhirah)
  • Understand that Tawhid is the basic Muslim belief about Allah:
  • “oneness”- that nothing can rival Him as a source of power or love
  • He is transcendent, the creator and power behind the universe, who is outside of time; is immanent
  • Understand the implications of Tawhid:
  • We only ‘borrow’ things which are His
  • The talents we have come from Allah; we should not beg for favours
  • Things happen for a reason
  • Likening Allah to anything else commits Shirk
  • Raise and suggest answers to relevant questions in response to what they have learnt about the importance and influence of Quran on Muslims.
  • Attempt to support their answers using reasons and/or information


Key Belief – Dharma. (Right-living, respecting life, honouring Natural world.)

  • The Bhagavad Gita mentions 4 paths which lead to Moksha. Each path is open to anyone and many Hindus use more than one path in their lives:
  • Jnana-yoga
  • Raja-Yoga
  • Bhakti-Yoga
  • Karma-Yoga
  • Recall the festival of Dussehra celebrating Rama upholding Dharma by defeating the tyrant King Ravana who had been treating his subjects very badly and had kidnapped Sita.
  • Note Dussehra shows that Dharma does not forbid killing. It is based on the belief that society must keep adapting rules to maintain Dharma. In this case Rama must fight and kill Ravana in order to preserve life and right-living for the world.
  • Recall when Arjuna won’t fight his evil cousins in The Mahabharata, Krishna reminds him of his personal Dharma (Svadharma) as a gifted warrior to serve his country. This reminds Hindus we are born with unique talents and play our part (varna) serving society with our gifts.

Belief – Deity (Brahman, Deva, Devi, Avatar)

  • Recall the Mahabharata story where ‘Arjuna chooses Krishna’ as his charioteer in the battle with his cousins. During the battle, Krishna answers his questions about Dharma, right living and ethics. These 18 chapters are known as the Bhagavad Gita used by Martin Luther King, Nelson Mandela and Mahatma Gandhi to help them battle injustice using spiritual principles.
  • Know that there are diverse views about the nature of reality within Hinduism- such as Advaita Vedanta and Dvaita Vedanta.
  • Appreciate that Deity or Deities is a more accurate word than “Gods” and “Goddesses” to describe the range of forms with which Hindus relate to a single ultimate reality or “God”.

Belief – Atman (The Divine within)

  • Recognise that Hindus believe that as there are many ways to think about God and many ways to be of service in the world, there are also different ways to connect with the Divine within (known as the Atman). The key point is to be quiet and reflective through 1) sitting quietly (Dhyana or Zen meditation), 2) Chanting sacred sounds (Mantra) or 3) performing Yoga, a way of quieting and connecting mind, body and spirit into a peaceful state to find wisdom.
  • Raise and suggest answers to relevant questions in response to the Hindu belief in Dharma, deity and Atman.
  • Attempt to support their answers using reasons and/or information.



Buddhism presents an analysis after the Buddha’s investigation of the way things are in the universe for all sentient beings, Humans and animals. During the Buddha’s life and in his teachings he comes to a number of conclusions (considered as truths in the tradition), and these can be seen as the three marks of existence. Having arrived at this diagnosis, an approach is laid out and explained for others to follow; a path to liberation and salvation which is called enlightenment. There are two languages used in the Buddhist concepts, Pali which is largely used by the Theravada tradition, and Sanskrit (SK) used by the Mahayana tradition. The Buddha himself used many local dialects or languages when talking to people.

The following sets out these complex ideas and the path in a framework for understanding which focuses on the 3 Jewels (Triratna) of Buddhist thought. These 3 jewels are underpinned by the key ideas of Metta (compassions or loving kindness) and Prajna (SK) or wisdom.

Key belief the 3 jewels. Buddha

  • Know that the title Buddha means one who is awake.
  • Understand that the Buddha was a normal human being, so the path to enlightenment is open to all.
  • Know the traditional story from the Buddha Carita of Siddartha Gotama and his search to end suffering. Reflect on the need for this historical story in western culture.
  • Explain the important chapters in the life of the Buddha including but not limited to
  • his birth and early life
  • the 4 Sights
  • his days as an ascetic
  • his search with many teachers
  • the enlightenment
  • his first teaching in the deer park
  • his wandering life
  • his return to the palace
  • his death

Key belief the 3 jewels. Dharma

  • Know the 3 marks of existence, and be able to give examples of these ideas.
  • Anicca – everything is changing
  • Dukkha – existence is unsatisfactory
  • Anatta – there is no permanent self or soul
  • Know and understand the 4 noble truths:
  • Dukkha The unsatisfactory nature of reality happens all the time, everywhere
  • Samudaya This suffering is caused by Ignorance, Hatred and Greed. It is often seen as “Thirst”, “attachment” or Tanha
  • Nirodha The end to the unsatisfactory nature is to remove the thirst
  • Magga The way to do this is the eightfold path
  • Be able to explain the eightfold path with examples of each step, both for Bikkhus and for people in everyday life. Explain how the one path is split into three interdependent parts; Panna (Pali) or Prajna (SK) – wisdom; Sila – morality; and Samadhi – concentration. Despite this interdependence it is still one path, each step followed simultaneously.
  • Know and explain the precepts in various forms, from the simple five to the more complex followed by Bhikkus, but not dwell on the complex precepts just be aware of the differences. Give example of how these precepts work in practice, in everyday life. Explain that they are guidelines not commandments.
  • Demonstrate how the concepts of Metta – compassion or loving kindness, and Prajna (SK) – or wisdom, are central to the Buddhist path. Give historical and contemporary examples and explain them.
  • Reflect on the concept of karma and how this is generated by intentional acts, show how this reflects the precepts, and how this relates to the attainment of Nirvana (SK) or Nibbana (Pali).
  • Demonstrate knowledge of some traditional Buddhist stories and parables as well as more modern and contemporary teachings and teachers, for example HHDL and a key female teacher e.g. Mahapajapati, Venerable Robina Courtin (Tibetan), venerable Karma Lekshe Tsomo. Know what the Pali Canon including Dhammapada and some Mahayana texts such as the Lotus or diamond Suttras show how these books have guided Buddhist life.

Key belief the 3 jewels. Sangha

  • Understand that Sangha means community of spiritual friends, and what this means in different places but focus on the Buddhist Lay and Sangha in the UK and how this is different to other places.
  • Recognise there are many forms of Buddhism. But they fit into 2 categories:
  • Theravada, the way of the elders, where the end goal for Buddhist is to become an Arhat, meaning “one who is worthy”, or “a perfected person”. The method to this is to become a Bhikkus / Bhikkunis, live in Vihara and follow a strict life to reach Nibbana (Pali)
  • Mahayana, the great vehicle where the ideal is to become a Bodhisattva, someone who has attained Prajna and who postpones Nirvana (SK) to help others reach the same goal, therefore all can achieve Nirvana. This includes the Vajrayana form found in Tibet, and this is the popular form found in the UK.
  • Understand where these different forms of Buddhism are found.
  • Explain how there have been Bhikkus / Bhikkunis since the time of the Buddha, understand how the order was set up and continued since that time including the inclusion of women in the order.
  • Focus on the role of women in the Sangha, use some contemporary and historical examples e.g. Mahapajapati, Yasodhara, Venerable Robina Courtin, Venerable Karma Lekshe Tsomo
  • Develop understanding of what Buddhist lifestyles mean in the context of UK – vegetarianism, human and animal rights, compassion, Peace Parks. Explain the work of Buddhist charities; what do they focus their efforts on, be able to show detailed knowledge of at least one charity e.g. Karuna trust, Angulimala, Buddhist Global relief, Buddhist peace fellowship.
  • This can be done by a project focussing on an in depth discourse on at least 2 of:
  • Monastic lifestyles, other Buddhist communities, retreats, the lifestyles of Buddhist householders
  • The ways in which people live their lives, right livelihood, vegetarianism, animals (i.e. May ALL sentient beings be happy, not just human beings), ecology and our relationship to the land and world
  • Engaged Buddhism
  • Buddhist economics
  • Explain what meditation is, and includes both Vipassana and Samatha. But focus on Mindfulness meditation Samatha, this as an opportunity to explore Mindfulness Anapanasati, (this is not the recent Mindfulness Movement!) and Mettabhavana, and the need to BALANCE the two. Know and explain a major festival followed by Buddhists,in different ways and in different places for example Wesak, or Buddha day, show what happens and what it means to the Sangha.


Key Belief: Guru

  • To know that the term Guru means ‘someone who leads you from darkness’ and is essential to find God.
  • To know that the Guru Granth Sahib contains the teachings of humans Gurus Will.
  • Understand Sikh beliefs are found in the Mul Mantra, which what written by Guru Nanak and is the opening section of the Japji, which is the morning prayer and is at the beginning of the Japji. The key belief found in the Mul Mantra; namely:
  • God is Supreme Truth
  • God is Ultimately Reality
  • God is the creator of all things
  • God is known through the teachings of the Gurus
  • To know the key features of call of Guru Nanak; namely:
  • The environment into which Nanak was born (Punjab, Religious environment, childhood stories demonstrating virtuous behaviour)
  • His conversion experience and mission to teach prayer, do works of charity and live in a pure way (sewa)
  • His teachings on equality and why this was challenging message in India.
  • The setting up of Kartarpur, the setting up of the langar.
  • To know the key features of life of Guru Arjan Dev:
  • He was the first martyr
  • Built the Golden Temple of Amritsar
  • Compiled the Adi Granth
  • Conern he showed for those less fortunate by opening a leprosy centre
  • To know the key feature of the life of Guru Gobind Rai (Guru Gobind Singh)
  • The persecution experienced by Sikhs during this period
  • Events of the First Vaisakhi including:
    • the formation of the Panj Pyares and the Khalsa
    • Amrit ceremony
    • Dress code
    • Naming (Singh/Kaur)
    • The formation of the Gurur Granth Sahib, to replace human Gurus


By the end of Key Stage 3

  • Have had the opportunity to meet and listen to a Humanist and ask her/him questions about her/his life stance.
  • Be familiar with the terms ‘materialist’ and ‘materialism’ and be able to use the words ‘Humanist’, ‘Humanism’, ‘atheist’, ‘atheism’, ‘agnostic’, ‘agnosticism’, ‘secularist’, ‘secular’, ‘materialist’ and ‘materialism’ correctly.
  • Be able to name secular Humanists from a variety of ‘walks of life’ both past and present. They may include, for example, Alfred Jules Ayer, Simone de Beauvoir, Brian Cox, Friedrich Engels, Ludwig Feuerbach, Stephen Fry, Katharine Hepburn, John Lennon, Karl Marx, Nigella Lawson, Sylvia Pankhurst, Philip Pullman.
  • Be familiar with the life and work of at least one prominent atheist and have had the opportunity to study short selected passages from his/her work, e.g. the scientist, John Desmond Bernal.
  • Be aware that the roots of Humanism can be found in the teachings of the ancient world, e.g. the work and influence of Confucius (551-479 BCE) in China and Democritus (c.450-370 BCE) in Greece, and that Humanism has a long and continuous history.
  • Know that Humanists believe that religion is a private matter and that the state and the organisation of public life should be secular. They should be able to give examples of what this means in practice.
  • Know that in some parts of the world Humanists and atheists are persecuted because of their life stances. Know about campaigns to end such persecution.
  • Be able to state the aims of the BHA and talk about its work.
  • Know that a significant minority of people in Britain say, when asked about their beliefs (through a regular national census), that they have no religion.
  • Be able to describe to another person the key stances of secular Humanists and how these affect the way they live their lives.