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Religious Studies

Welcome To The Religious Studies Department

The Catholic faith which is handed on through the family, the community and the school is reflected upon and deepened through Religious Education. While religious education in the Catholic school permeates the whole curriculum, it is important that time is specifically allocated to the teaching of the religious education programme.

The particular nature of this subject and its content means that pupils should learn to appreciate that life has religious, spiritual and moral dimensions. Religious education supports the general ethos of the College in promoting in the pupils a sense of self-worth and tolerance. It should allow pupils to share views and explore issues in an atmosphere of mutual respect, to examine the diverse and enriching variety of approaches to personal faith. Religious Education should have an appropriate balance of factual knowledge, conceptual understanding, emotional and attitudinal development and experiential, enquiry-based and book-based learning. It should challenge pupils’ thinking and beliefs and challenge them also to extend their skills and understanding in new and different contexts. It should also develop the intellectual skills of clear, logical and consistent thinking, of being able to apply this thinking to a variety of religious and moral issues and the skills of empathising with the religious and moral beliefs and practices of others.

Religious Studies Department: Aims

The Religious Studies Department aims to:

  • create a learning environment in which the pupil’s experience of religious education is enjoyable and relevant to the pupils’ lives in today’s fully with parents, local parishes and the wider community in order to enhance our pupils’ participation in parish and community life.

  • teach in ways which are challenging, motivating and relevant to the age, ability and aptitude of the pupils, enabling our young people to develop their own personal faith and meet more effectively the pressures of modern society.

  • teach through example the Christian values of compassion, forgiveness, honesty, justice and responsibility.

  • assist the spiritual formation of pupils through the shared experience of prayer and liturgy, and in partnership with local parishes.

  • uphold the moral teaching, faith tradition and sacramental life of the Catholic Church.

  • encourage pupils to see sexuality as a God-given gift and an integral part of human development.

  • prepare pupils for adult life and employment, enabling them to develop respect and sensitivity to others, in particular those with different faiths and beliefs.

Religious Studies Department:

Subject Overview

Key Stage 3

Years 8, 9 and 10 students have 4 classes of Religious Education over a 2-week period. All students follow the same Scheme of Work, based upon the ‘Fully Alive’ Catholic Religious Education Programme. Work is differentiated to ensure that all children can access learning. Relationships and Sexuality Education (RSE) is also taught through Religious Education at Key Stage 3.


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Key Stage 4

Religious Studies is compulsory for all Year 11 and 12 students. Students have 6 periods of Religious Studies over a 2-week period. GCSE Religious Studies is very popular among students, the majority of whom achieve high levels of success in the subject. Students complete one of the three options:

Key Stage 5

Following the CCEA GCE Religious Studies specification offers an academic approach to the study of religion, ethics and philosophy. It gives students opportunities to develop their knowledge and understanding of religion.

This specification is available at two levels: AS and A2. Students can take the AS units plus the A2 units for a full GCE A level qualification. They can also choose to take the AS course as a stand-alone qualification.

At AS level, students choose two units. Students who continue to A2 study a further two units.

AS Level

AS1: Introduction to the Gospel of Luke

Assessment for this unit consists of a written examination based on the following themes:

  • Understanding the Gospel of Luke

  • Key narratives in Luke’s Gospel

  • The Kingdom of God in the parables and miracles in Luke’s Gospel

  • Key themes in Luke’s Gospel

  • Other Aspects of Human Experience


AS4: The Origins and Development of the Christian Church up to 325AD

Assessment for this unit consists of a written examination, based on the following themes:

  • The development of the Early Church

  • Developing Christian belief and practice

  • Early Christian writers

  • Constantine and the Church

  • Other Aspects of Human Experience

Students complete two externally assessed written papers, 1 hour 20 minutes each, each worth 50% of AS and 20% of A level (a total of 40% of A level).

A2 Level

A21: Themes in the Synoptic Gospels

Assessment for this unit consists of a written examination, based on the following themes:

  • Understanding the Synoptic Tradition

  • The person of Jesus in the Synoptic Gospels

  • The Passion and Resurrection Narratives in the Synoptic Gospels

  • Synoptic Assessment Theme: Religious Texts, Authority and Interpretation

A24: Themes in the Early Church and the Church Today

Assessment for this unit consists of a written examination, based on the following themes:

  • Church Authority and Division

  • Early Christian Literature

  • Belief and Belonging in the Modern World

  • Synoptic Assessment Theme: Faith, Morality and the State.

Students complete two externally assessed written papers, 2 hours each, each worth 50% of A2 level, 30% of A level (a total of 60% of A level).

Religious Studies Department: Careers

GCSE Religious Studies

  • Religious Studies helps students develop marketable skills and aptitudes including:

  • analytical and strategic thinking;

  • research skills;

  • critical judgement;

  • the ability to work with abstract, conceptual ideas;

  • an ability to ‘understand both sides’ and negotiate and resolve conflict;

  • problem-solving skills;

  • leadership skills;

  • understanding of the impact of conflicting ideologies; and

  • an appreciation of human diversity, belief systems, cultural and spiritual experiences.

These skills are particularly useful for future careers in law, education, social work, politics, medicine, administration or the media.

AS & A2 Religious Studies

Religious Studies opens up a wide range of opportunities for further and higher education and interesting and rewarding careers. Students become equipped with many of the skills needed in further and higher education and the workplace. Students will develop critical evaluation skills and the ability to construct logical and convincing arguments. Candidates engage with debates and are therefore provided with the opportunity to develop their skills in arguing a case on the basis of evidence, a skill which is central to progress in the world of work.

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