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Religious Education

Welcome to the Religious Education homepage, we hope that you are able to access lots of information about the work that we are doing, but please feel free to contact us with any additional questions that you may have. We have eight designated Religious Education specialists in the department, Mrs A Taaffe (Head of RE), Mrs V Briody (Second in department), Miss S Mc Carthy, Miss S Sylvester, Mrs M Moran, Miss L Gibbs, Miss L Togher and Miss AM Cooney.

At Key Stage 3 we follow the scheme of work as indicated by the Bishop’s Conference, using a variety of learning styles to ensure that students are allowed to develop to the very best of their ability. At Key Stage 4 we follow the AQA syllabus for Catholic Christianity, Judaism and St Mark’s Gospel, and at Key stage 5 we follow the Edexcel syllabus studying Philosophy, Ethics and the New Testament.  The department are committed to ensuring the development of the ‘whole’ person by not only their knowledge within Religious Education, but also their own personal faith journey and project work helping charities.

The department also runs a pilgrimage to Lourdes every Easter allowing sixth form to become helpers for children with specific needs as well as supporting a number of other charities throughout the year.

Key Stage 3 Overview

‘I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life’

At Key Stage Three pupils follow a programme that enriches their understanding of Catholicism. The pupils use the Way series in year 7, the Truth series in year 8 and the Life series in year 9. This scheme of work is delivered with a variety of teaching methods and materials, such as power point presentations, visual and audio materials.

Pupils complete class work that develops a range of skills such as analysis, empathy, evaluation and application of different Christian teachings and viewpoints. This is assessed with a combination of teacher, peer and self-assessment. 

A target is given to allow pupils to improve their written work. Pupils are expected to complete homework on a weekly basis as an integral part of their learning. Peer and Self-assessment is carried out on a regular basis, using green ink to indicate ways to improve.

The Religious Education department always aims to educate the whole person religiously, academically and spiritually, so pupils also follow a Family Life programme during Key Stage Three. Pupils are able to discuss and reflect upon key elements of Family Life and their own thoughts and feelings. Pupils are also encouraged to share their experiences of their spiritual journey and use the prayer pages in their homework diaries.

Year 7

Autumn Term

7.1: Divine Revelations

Pupils learn about the formation of the Bible, the Glory of God, Incarnation. The Word used in public and private form.

7.2: Prayer

Pupils learn about what Prayer is, why we pray, Jesus at Prayer, the Our Father, the Hail Mary and the Glory Be. Pupils also learn about the Annunciation and the Visitation and the Christmas Story.

Spring Term

7.3:  Sacramental nature of reality

Pupils learn about the relevance and the importance of the Sacraments and learn about the Sacrament of Baptism and Original Sin, including their signs and symbols.

7.4:  The need for healing in the modern world

Pupils learn about the Sacraments of Reconciliation and the Anointing of the Sick. Pupils also reflect on the problem of evil and suffering. Conscience and the healing ministry of Jesus.

Summer Term

7.5: Leadership in the Church

Pupils learn about the role and importance of disciples, Pentecost and the Four Marks of the Church. Peter as a role model of discipleship and other modern day disciples.

7.6: Discipleship and The Church’s Mission

Pupils learn about the Mission of the Church, the formation of the Church community and the Communion of Saints. The fulfilment of law, authority of Catholic teachings on our lives today. Jesus in priestly, prophetic and Kingly roles. Faith in action, examples of Justice/ Liberation Theology.

Year 8

What Do Pupils Learn In Year 8?

Autumn Term

8.1: Creation

Pupils learn about how God created the world, the story of Adam and Eve and Stewardship.

8.2: Covenant

Pupils learn about what Covenant is and the Covenants God made with Noah, Abraham and Moses. The New Covenant with Jesus is also explored.

Spring Term

8.3: The Mass

Pupils learn about what happens at Mass and attend a retreat day at a local Parish to create their own Mass.

8.4: The Paschal Mystery

Pupils learn about Holy Week and the importance of Jesus’ death and resurrection.

Summer Term

8.5: The Prophetic Role of the Church

Pupils learn about different Old Testament prophets, such as Isaiah and Hosea. They also learn about Modern Day prophets, such as Oscar Romero.

8.6: The Church’s Mission

Pupils learn about how the Church spread to Britain, early Martyrs and the first missionaries such as Saint Paul.

Year 9 

What Do Pupils Learn In Year 9?

Autumn Term

9.1: The Spiritual Quest

Pupils learn about how Catholics embark on their spiritual quest and the Spiritual Quest of Muslims.

9.2: The Holy Spirit

Pupils learn about Pentecost, the gifts of the Holy Spirit and how the Holy Spirit affects their lives. The Sacrament of Confirmation is also explored.

9.3: Conscience

Pupils learn about what conscience is and how their conscience is formed. Sin, forgiveness and morality are also explored.

Spring Term

Pupils will start their GCSE syllabus at the beginning of the Spring Term. All pupils are expected to purchase a copy of St. Mark’s gospel.

Course content

Theme D - St Mark’s Gospel – the life of Jesus

Theme E – St Mark’s Gospel as a source of spiritual truth

Key Stage 4 Overview 

Catholic Christianity, St Mark’s Gospel & Judaism

At Key Stage 4 pupils follow the AQA exam board, syllabus b – they have an opportunity to study St Mark’s Gospel (25%), Judaism (25%) and Catholic Christianity (50%) . There are a variety of teaching methods used and an end of topic test is given using GCSE questions and marked to the exam board criteria.

The GCSE course is finished early in year 11 to facilitate a detailed revision programme. Materials are always available from the department.

Every student is required to have a copy of St Mark’s Gospel – which can be bought from their Religious Education teacher or the department for £1.

Revision sessions are held on Saturdays and at half terms - pupils will be identified and invited to attend these throughout the key stage.

Homework is set once a week and looks to build upon knowledge gained in class and prepare for the exam.

Year 10

Course content - Judaism

Judaism – Beliefs and Teachings

This topic allows pupils to find out about the main beliefs within Judaism, the concept and nature of God, life after death, nature and role of the messiah, Promised Land, the Ten Commandments and the sanctity of life.

Judaism – Practices

Pupils will learn about Synagogues, Prayer, worship in the home, Bar and Bat Mitzvah, marriage and Pesach. They will try to understand the meaning and importance of these practices as well as others for the Jewish believers.

Course content – Catholic Christianity


In this topic, pupils will study the Catholic belief of the origin of the world and humans, Genesis creation stories. An explanation of what Genesis shows us about God as creator, transcendent and omnipotent, and understand the importance of these beliefs.  Stewardship and sustainability, caring for the environment – including the study of the aid agency CAFOD.


This topic will cover the concept of God taking on the human condition as Jesus, coming to earth in the form of man, the incarnation. A study of Jesus as both fully human and fully God, how Religious Art helps our understanding of the incarnation. How the seven sacraments are used to help make life holy for Catholics and how the idea of humans being imago dei influences Catholic beliefs about the protection of the unborn.

The Triune God

Pupils will be expected to study and appreciate the music used in worship and the liturgy. The Trinity will be examined as part of the Nicene Creed and the influence of the trinity on Christians today.  Explain the importance of Baptism as a sign of joining and sharing in the life of the Trinity and prayer and explain how prayer, both traditional and spontaneous, helps Catholics to raise their hearts and minds to God.


This topic sees pupils study the various features in a Catholic Church and explain how these can help Catholics to worship. To explain the importance of the death, resurrection and ascension of Jesus; especially in relation to redemption. Salvation viewed as a past, present and future, a study of the last supper and the works of St Irenaeus and St Anselm.


Pupils are required to answer 5 questions in each section of the exam. All questions will follow the same format: 1 mark, 2 marks, 4 marks, 5 marks and 12 marks.

AO1: Demonstrate knowledge and understanding of religion and beliefs.

  • Beliefs, practices and sources of authority
  • Influence on individuals, communities and societies
  • Similarities and differences within and/or between religions and beliefs.

AO2: Analyse and evaluate aspects of religion and belief, including their significance and influence

These questions require pupils to evaluate and come to conclusions having looked at both sides of the argument. They will learn to use their knowledge to justify their arguments.

Year 11

Course content

The Church and the Kingdom of God

This topic looks at Christian views on the Stations of the Cross, pilgrimage especially in relation to Jerusalem, Rome, Walsingham and Lourdes. An appreciation of how drama helps mission and evangelism. To understand the meaning of the Kingdom of God, especially in the Lord ’s Prayer the values of the Kingdom and the commandment ‘love thy neighbour’.


Pupils will study the features and meaning of the Paschal candle, the beliefs about life after death, the Parable of the Rich Man and Lazarus. An understanding of the prayers and actions used in the funeral rite, the ideas of the sanctity of life and the care of the dying and euthanasia.


Revision Tips

  1. Have you got a copy of the specification for each of the three sections of the exam? Tick off what you know and revise what you are unsure of.
  2. Have you got your copy of all of the Bible passages you need?Make sure that you read every passage and learn each one. Highlight the parts that you keep forgetting and then reread these parts. Test yourself and get others to test you.
  3. Click here to go through to the AQA syllabus so that you can make sure that you have covered all areas of the syllabus in your revision.
  4. Ask your teacher for exam questions.You must practice answering questions in a short space of time.
  5. Attend the extra revision sessions at lunchtimes, Saturdays and as required by your teacher.

Key Stage 5 Overview

Philosophy, Religion & Ethics and New Testament

At Key Stage 5 pupils study Philosophy, Religion & Ethics and New Testament. We follow the Edexcel exam board sitting a one hour exam paper in each topic at the end of year 12 and a two hour paper in each topic at the end of year 13, combining the knowledge of the key stage together. Pupils are able to discuss and analyse their own beliefs as well as being challenged by the ideas of philosophers and scholars in this field.

Lessons are taught in the Catherine of Siena block and involve a wide range of teaching methods and strategies to allow the pupils to develop a fuller understanding of the topics.

Pupils need to study the anthology scripts as indicated by the exam board and use them in their answers.

Pupils are also expected to complete homework as their teacher directs, including extra reading and exam practice. Peer and self-assessment are used in both homework and classwork in order to evaluate their progress and set targets for improvement.

Year 12

At A level we follow the Edexcel exam board, please see an outline of what is studied.


Paper 1: Philosophy of Religion (9RS0/01)

Paper 2: Religion and Ethics (9RS0/02)

Paper 3: New Testament Studies (9RS0/03)

  • Design Argument
  • Cosmological Argument
  • Ontological Argument
  • Religious experience
  • Problem of evil and suffering


  • Environmental issues
  • Utilitarianism
  • Situation Ethics
  • Natural Moral Law
  • War and peace
  • Sexual Ethics


  • Prophecy regarding the Messiah
  • The world of the first century and the significance of this context for the life and work of Jesus
  • Texts and Interpretation of the Person of Jesus
  • Interpreting the text and issues of relationship, purpose and authorship


You will have an exam on each paper lasting 1 hour; each paper will have two sections.

Section a – 26 marks and section b – 28 marks. A total of 54 marks

Year 13

In year 13 all A Level knowledge is combined and any aspect can be tested in the final exams. We follow the Edexcel exam board; please see below for an outline of what is studied.


Paper 1: Philosophy of Religion (9RS0/01)

Paper 2: Religion and Ethics (9RS0/02)

Paper 3: New Testament Studies (9RS0/03)

  • Design Argument
  • Cosmological Argument
  • Ontological Argument
  • Religious experience
  • Problem of evil and suffering
  • Religious Language
  • Works of scholars
  • Influences of developments in religious belief


  • Environmental issues
  • Equality
  • Utilitarianism
  • Situation Ethics
  • Natural Moral Law
  • War and peace
  • Sexual Ethics
  • Ethical language
  • Deontology, virtue ethics and work of scholars
  • Medical ethics


  • Prophecy regarding the Messiah
  • The world of the first century and the significance of this context for the life and work of Jesus
  • Texts and Interpretation of the Person of Jesus
  • Interpreting the text and issues of relationship, purpose and authorship
  • Kingdom of God, conflict, the death and resurrection
  • Scientific and Historical critical challenges, ethical living and the works of scholars


You will have an exam on each paper lasting 2 hours; each paper will have three sections.

Section A, section B and section C out of 80 marks.

The paper includes short-open, open-response and extended writing questions.

Synoptic assessment

Synoptic assessment requires students to work across different parts of a qualification and to show their accumulated knowledge and understanding of a topic or subject area.

Synoptic assessment enables students to show their ability to combine their skills, knowledge and understanding with breadth and depth of the subject.

Students will be able to demonstrate this through the extended essay in Question 4.