Religious Education

In Years 9, 10 & 11, the areas of study for Key Stage 4 are based on the GCSE Specification A from Edexcel/Pearson - 'Faith and Practice in the 21st Century'.

We are currently in a transition period for the introduction of the specification, which means that for Year 10 in 2016/17 these pupils are studying the specification over two years. However, as of 2016/17, all pupils starting in Year 9 pupils will study the GCSE specification over three years.

The governors of the school have agreed that the majority of our students should be entered for the full course specification but for a minority of our students it is deemed that they will be entered for the short course as this offers more accessibility for them.

The full course is comprised of:

  • Area of study 1: Catholic Christianity (50%)
  • Area of study 2: Judaism (25%)
  • Area of study 3: Philosophy and Ethics (25%)

The short course is comprised of:

  • Area of study 1: Catholic Christianity (50%)
  • Area of study 4: Judaism (50%)

In 2016/17 there was an introduction of the new 9-1 GCSE framework. The implications of this new framework mean that students in Years 9 and 10 will begin the new Edexcel Specification for the Catholic Route. The first examinations for this course will be in May 2018

The Edexcel 9-1 GCSE full course specification outline is detailed below:

The components of the short course are made up of 'Beliefs and teachings' and 'Practices' from Catholic Christianity (Area of Study 1) and also 'Beliefs and teachings' and 'Practices' from Judaism (Area of Study 2).

Area of Study 1 – Catholic Christianity

This area of study comprises a study in depth of Catholic Christianity as a lived religion in the United Kingdom and throughout the world.

There are four sections: Beliefs and Teachings; Practices; Sources of Wisdom and Authority; Forms of Expression and Ways of Life.

Common and divergent views within the wider Christian tradition in the way beliefs and teachings are understood and expressed should be included throughout, including reference to Orthodox, Protestant and other Christian traditions.

The significance and importance of the various beliefs and practices to Catholics today, should be explored throughout the four sections.

Students will be expected to study Catholic Christianity within the context of the wider British society, the religious traditions of which are, in the main, Christian. Students should compare and contrast the areas of belief and practice within Catholic Christianity with wider Christian perspectives as outlined in the content below. 
Beliefs about the afterlife and their significance(1.8)*

The practice and significance of worship(2.2)*

Students should recognise that Catholic Christianity is one of the many religious traditions in Great Britain which include Buddhism, Hinduism, Islam, Judaism and Sikhism. This knowledge may be applied throughout the assessment of the specified content.

Students should also recognise that within Catholic Christianity there may be more than one perspective in the way beliefs and teachings are understood and expressed.

Section 1: Beliefs and Teachings

Students should have an understanding of:

1.1 The Trinity: the nature and significance of the Trinity as expressed in the Nicene Creed; the nature and significance of the oneness of God; the nature and significance of each of the Persons individually: God as the Father, Son and Holy Spirit; how this is reflected in worship and belief in the life of a Catholic today.
1.2 Biblical understandings of God as a Trinity of Persons: the nature and significance of God as a Trinity of Persons, including reference to the baptism of Jesus (Matthew 3: 13–17) and historical development of the doctrine of the Trinity, including reference to the First Council of Nicaea and the First Council of Constantinople.
1.3 Creation: the nature and significance of the biblical account of Creation, including Genesis 1–3; and how it may be understood in divergent ways in Christianity, including reference to literal and metaphorical interpretations; the significance of the Creation account for Catholics in understanding the nature and characteristics of God, especially as Creator, benevolent, omnipotent and eternal.
1.4 The significance of the Creation account in understanding the nature of humanity: the nature and significance of the nature of humanity being created in the image of God, including reference to Genesis 1–3 and divergent understandings of humanity’s relationship with Creation (dominion and stewardship); the implications of these beliefs for Catholics today.
1.5 The Incarnation: Jesus as incarnate Son, the divine Word, including John 1, both fully God and fully human; the scriptural origins of this belief, including John 1:1–18 and its importance for Catholics today.
1.6 The events in the Paschal Mystery: Catholic teachings about the life, death, resurrection and ascension of Jesus, including reference to Luke 24; the redemptive efficacy of these events and their significance for Catholics today.
1.7 The significance of the life, death, resurrection and ascension of Jesus for Catholic beliefs about salvation and grace, including John 3:10–21 and Acts 4:8–12; the implications and significance of these events for Catholic practice today.
1.8* Catholic beliefs about eschatology: life after death; the nature of resurrection, judgment, heaven, hell and purgatory, including reference to John 11:17–27 and 2 Corinthians 5:1–10; divergent Christian beliefs about life after death, with reference to purgatory and the nature of resurrection; why belief in life after death is important for Catholics today.

Section 2: Practices
Students should have an understanding of:

2.1 The sacramental nature of reality: Catholic teachings about how the whole of creation manifests the presence of God; the meaning and effects of each of the seven sacraments, including Catechism of the Catholic Church 1210–1211; the practice and symbolism of each sacrament; how sacraments communicate the grace of God; divergent Christian attitudes to sacraments, including reference to Orthodox and Protestant Christianity.
2.2* Liturgical worship within Catholic Christianity: the nature and significance of the Mass for Catholics, including its structure and the Eucharist as the ‘source and summit of Christian life’, with reference to Lumen Gentium paragraph 7; divergent Christian attitudes towards the practice and meaning of liturgical worship, including its significance for Catholics and the less structured worship in evangelical Christian denominations.
2.3 The funeral rite as a liturgical celebration of the Church: practices associated with the funeral rite in the home, the church and the cemetery, including reference to 'Preparing my funeral' by Vincent Nichols, Archbishop of Westminster; the aims of the funeral rite, including communion with the deceased; the communion of the community and the proclamation of eternal life to the community and its significance for Catholics.
2.4 Prayer as the ‘raising of hearts and minds to God’: the nature and significance of different types of prayer; the Lord’s Prayer, including Matthew 6:5–14, set (formulaic) prayers and informal (extempore) prayer; when each type might be used and why; the importance of prayer and the importance for Catholics of having different types of worship.
2.5 The role and importance of forms of popular piety: the nature and significance of the Rosary, Eucharistic adoration and Stations of the Cross; how each of these might be used and why; the importance of having different types of worship for Catholics including reference to Catechism of the Catholic Church 1674–1676; divergent Christian attitudes to these forms of piety.
2.6 Pilgrimage: the nature, history and purpose of Catholic pilgrimage; the significance of the places people go on pilgrimage; divergent Christian understandings about whether pilgrimage is important for Christians today, with specific reference to Jerusalem, Lourdes, Rome, Walsingham and the Catechism of the Catholic Church 2691–2696.
2.7 Catholic Social Teaching: how Catholic Social Teaching reflects the teaching to show love of neighbour; Catholic teaching on justice, peace and reconciliation, Evangelii Gaudium paragraphs 182–237 - The inclusion of the poor in society; How these teachings might be reflected in the lives of individual Catholics including reference to Matt 25: 31 –46 (sheep and goats); the work of CAFOD, what it does and why.
2.8 Catholic mission and evangelism: the history and significance of mission and evangelism for Catholics; divergent ways this is put into practice by the Church and individual Catholics locally, nationally and globally, and how this fulfils the commission of Jesus and teachings of the Church, including Evangelii Gaudium Chapter 5.

Section 3: Sources of Wisdom and Authority

Students should have an understanding of:

3.1 The Bible: the development and structure of the Bible as the revealed Word of God: the origins, structure and different literary forms of the Bible: Old Testament: law, history, prophets, writings; and New Testament: gospels, letters; including divergent Christian understandings about which books should be within the Bible with reference to the Council of Trent.
3.2 Interpretation of the Bible: Catholic interpretation of the Bible and understanding of the meaning of inspiration; divergent interpretations of the authority of the Bible within Christianity: the literal Word of God, the revealed Word of God and as source of guidance and teaching, including 2 Timothy 3:16 and Catechism of the Catholic Church 105–108; the implications of this for Catholics today.
3.3 The magisterium of the Church: the meaning, function and importance of the magisterium both conciliar and pontifical with reference to Catechism of the Catholic Church 100; the magisterium as the living teaching office of the Church and authentic interpreter of the affirmations of Scripture and Tradition, and why they are important for Catholics today.
3.4 The Second Vatican Council: the nature, history and importance of the council; the nature and significance of the four key documents for the Church and for Catholic living: Dei Verbum, Lumen Gentium, Sacrosanctum Concilium and Gaudium et Spes
3.5 The Church as the Body of Christ and the People of God: the nature and significance of the Church as the Body of Christ and the People of God, including Romans 12:4–6 and 1 Corinthians 12; why the Church as the Body of Christ and the People of God is important for Catholics today; divergent Christian attitudes towards these.
3.6 The meaning of the four marks of the Church: the nature of the Church as one, holy, catholic and apostolic including reference to the Nicene Creed and the First Council of Constantinople; how the marks may be understood in divergent ways within Christianity; why they are important for Catholics today.
3.7 Mary as a model of the Church: the significance of Mary as a model of the Church – joined with Christ in the work of salvation, as a model of discipleship and as a model of faith and charity, including Luke 1:26–39 and Catechism of the Catholic Church 963–975; the implications of this teaching for Catholic life today.
3.8 Sources of personal and ethical decision making: the example and teaching of Jesus as the authoritative source for moral teaching; Jesus as fulfilment of the Law, including Matthew 5:17–24; divergent understandings of the place and authority of natural law; virtue and the primacy of conscience; the divergent implications of these sources of authority for Christians today.

Section 4: Forms of Expression and Ways of Life

Students should have an understanding of:

4.1 The common and divergent forms of architecture, design and decoration of Catholic churches: how they reflect belief, are used in, and contribute to, worship, including reference to the Catechism of the Catholic Church 1179–1181.
4.2 The different internal features of a Catholic church including reference to Catechism of the Catholic Church 1182–1186: the meaning and significance of the lectern, altar, crucifix and tabernacle and how they express the importance of redemption and facilitate Catholic worship.
4.3 The meaning and significance of sacred objects, including sacred vessels, sarcophagi, and hunger cloths within Catholicism: the way these are used to express belief, including Catechism of the Catholic Church 1161, and the divergent ways in which they may be used in church and other settings.
4.4 The meaning and significance of paintings, fresco and drawings within Catholicism with reference to two specific pieces and Catechism of the Catholic Church 2502– 2503: the divergent ways these are used to express belief by the artist and those who observe the art, and the divergent ways in which paintings, frescos and drawings may be used in church and other settings.
4.5 The meaning and significance of sculpture and statues with reference to Catechism of the Catholic Church 2501: the way these are used to express belief by the artist and those who observe the art, the way these are used to express belief, and the divergent ways in which how sculptures and statues may be used in church and other settings.
4.6 The purpose and use of symbolism and imagery in religious art: the cross, crucifix, fish, ChiRho, dove, including Catechism of the Catholic Church 701, Eagle, Alpha and Omega, symbols of the four evangelists; the way this symbolism is used to express belief, and the divergent ways in which they may be used in church and other settings.
4.7 The meaning and significance of drama: mystery plays, passion plays; the way drama is used to express belief with reference to Catechism of the Catholic Church 2567, and the divergent ways in which drama may be used in church and other settings.
4.8 The nature and use of traditional and contemporary styles of music in worship: hymns, plainchant, psalms and worship songs including reference to Catechism of the Catholic Church 2641; the way different music is used to express belief and the divergent ways in which it may be used in church (including the Mass) and other settings.
Area of Study 2 – Judaism

This area of study comprises a study in depth of Judaism as a lived religion in the United Kingdom and throughout the world.

There are two sections: Beliefs and Teachings; Practices.

Students will be expected to study Judaism within the context of the wider British society, the religious traditions of which are, in the main, Christian.

Students should compare and contrast two areas of belief and practice within Christianity and Judaism:

Beliefs about the after life and their significance(1.8)*. The practice and significance of worship(2.4)*.

Students should recognise that Judaism is one of the many religious traditions in Great Britain, which include Buddhism, Hinduism, Islam and Sikhism. This knowledge may be applied throughout the assessment of the specified content. Students should also recognise that within Judaism there may be more than one perspective in the way beliefs and teachings are understood and expressed. Common and divergent views within Judaism in the way beliefs and teachings are understood and expressed should be included throughout including reference to Orthodox, Reform and Liberal traditions.

The significance and importance of the various beliefs and practices to Jews today should be explored throughout the two sections.

Section 1: Beliefs and Teachings

Students should have an understanding of:

1.1 The nature of the Almighty: how the characteristics of the Almighty are shown in the Torah, and why they are important in Jewish life today, including One, Creator, Law-Giver and Judge, including reference to Genesis 2.
1.2 The nature and importance of Shekhinah: how the divine presence is shown in the Torah and why it is important, including interpretations of 2 Chronicles 7:1–3; the divergent understandings of Shekhinah found in different forms of Orthodox Judaism and the importance of them for Jews today.
1.3 The nature and purpose of the Messiah: how messiahship is shown in the scriptures including Jeremiah 23:5–8; the nature and significance of the Messianic Age and the Jewish responsibility to bring it about; divergent understandings of the Messiah in different forms of Orthodox and Reform Judaism and the importance of them for Jewish people today.
1.4 The Covenant at Sinai: the nature and history of the Covenant at Sinai (the Ten Commandments), including Exodus 20; the role and significance of Moses in the Covenant at Sinai; divergent understandings of how and why the Decalogue is important in Jewish life today.
1.5 The covenant with Abraham and his descendants: the nature and history of the Abrahamic covenant; the role of Abraham in the covenant, including Genesis 17; why the Promised Land covenanted to Abraham and his descendants is important for Jews today.
1.6 Sanctity of life: the nature and importance of Pikuach Nefesh (primacy of life); why human life is holy by Jewish people; how life is shown as special and taking precedence over everything, including Talmud Yoma 83–84; divergent understandings of how and why the principle of Pikuach Nefesh is applied by Jews today.
1.7 Moral principles and the Mitzvot: the nature and importance of the Mitzvot, including reference to the Mishneh Torah of Maimonides: Sefer Madda; the importance of the relationship between keeping the Mitzvot and free will; the Mitzvot between humans and the Almighty, and between humans; divergent understandings of the importance of the Mitzvot between the Almighty and humans, and between humans, for Jewish life today.
1.8 Jewish beliefs about life after death: divergent Jewish understandings of the nature and significance of life after death, including reference to different forms of Orthodox and Reform Judaism; Jewish teachings about life after death, including interpretations of Ecclesiastes 12; the nature of resurrection and judgement; why belief in life after death may be important for Jews today.

Section 2: Practices

Students should have an understanding of:

2.1 The nature and purpose of Jewish public acts of worship: the nature, features and purpose of Jewish public worship, including interpretations of Psalm 116:12–19; the nature, features and importance of synagogue services for the Jewish community and the individual.
2.2 The Tenakh and the Talmud: the nature, features, purpose and significance of the Tenakh (the written law) and Talmud (the oral law) for Jews in daily life today, with reference to Perkei Avot 2; the nature and purpose of Jewish laws: food laws, kashrut, including kosher, and treifah and the separation of dairy and meat, including reference to Deuteronomy 14:3–10; the divergent implications of the Jewish food laws for Jews today.
2.3 The nature and purpose of prayer in the home and of private prayer: the nature, features and purpose of prayer three times a day; the importance of having different forms of prayers, including interpretations of Psalm 55:16–23.
2.4 The nature and importance of the Shema and the Amidah (the standing prayer); when the Shema and the Amidah might be used, how and why, including reference to the Mezuzah; the importance of having the Shema and the Amidah for Jews today, including reference to Deuteronomy 6:4
2.5 The importance of ritual for Jews today: the nature, features and purpose of the birth, marriage, Bar and Bat Mitzvah ceremonies, including interpretations of Genesis 21:1–8 and Leviticus 12; the nature, purpose and importance of mourning ceremonies; the distinct importance of the funeral, shiva, avelut and yahrzeit for Jews today; divergent understandings of the importance of each ritual for different forms of Orthodox and Reform Judaism today.
2.6 The nature, features, history and purpose of celebrating Shabbat: the nature, features and purpose of the celebration of Shabbat in the home and in the synagogue, including interpretations of Exodus 31:12–18; why the celebration of Shabbat is important for the Jewish community and the individual today.
2.7 Jewish festivals: the nature, history, purpose and significance of Jewish festivals; the origins and meaning of specific festivals, including Rosh Hashanah, Yom Kippur, Pesach, Shavuot and Sukkot, including interpretations of Leviticus 23 (Rosh Hashanah); divergent understandings of why festivals are important to different forms of Orthodox and Reform Judaism today.
2.8 Features of the synagogue: the nature, history and purpose of the different design of the synagogues in Liberal, Reform and Orthodox Judaism, including facing Jerusalem, layout of seating the Ark and the bimah and with reference to Proverbs 14:28; how and why the synagogue is used by the different communities, including reference to Exodus 27:20–21; how and why objects of devotion are used within the synagogues, including a yad, Torah Scroll, ner tamid and menorah.
Area of Study 3 - Philosophy and Ethics (Catholic Christianity)

This area of study comprises a study in depth of aspects of Philosophy and Ethics in the context of Catholic Christianity as a lived religion within the United Kingdom and throughout the world.

There are two sections: Arguments for the Existence of God; Religious Teachings on Relationships and Families in the 21st Century.

The significance and importance of the various beliefs, issues and practices to Catholics today should be explored throughout the two sections. This should include reference to how the Bible informs a Christian’s understanding of the topics and how approaches to the issues are underpinned by philosophical arguments and ethical theory as applicable.

Students will be expected to study Catholic Christianity within the context of the wider British society, the religious traditions of which are, in the main, Christian. Students should recognise that Catholic Christianity is one of the many religions and world views in Great Britain, which include Buddhism, Hinduism, Islam, Judaism, Sikhism and non-religious views such as Humanism and atheism. This knowledge may be applied throughout the assessment of the specified content.

Students should compare and contrast the areas of ethics and/or philosophy within Catholic Christianity with wider Christian perspectives and non-religious views as outlined in the content below.

Students should also recognise that within Catholic Christianity there may be more than one Common and divergent views within the wider Christian tradition in the way beliefs and teachings are understood and expressed should be included throughout, including reference to Orthodox, Protestant and other Christian traditions.

Section 1: Arguments for the Existence of God

Students should have an understanding of:

1.1 Revelation as proof of the existence of God; revelation as shown in the Bible, including in the covenants with Noah and Abraham and through Jesus, including Hebrews 1:1–4; divergent understandings of what revelation shows about the nature of God for Christians.
1.2 Visions as proof of the existence of God: the nature and importance of visions for Christians; biblical and non-biblical examples of visions, including Genesis 15 and Matthew 17:1–13; reasons why they might lead to belief in the existence of God and Christian responses to non-religious arguments (including atheist and Humanist) which maintain that visions are hallucinations and provide no proof that God exists; divergent understandings of what visions show about the nature of God for Christians.
1.3 Miracles as proof of the existence of God: the nature and importance of miracles for Christians; biblical examples of miracles, including John 4:43-54; reasons why they might lead to belief in the existence of God and Christian responses to non- religious arguments (including atheist and Humanist) which maintain that miracles can be scientifically explained and provide no proof that God exists; divergent understandings of what miracles show about the nature of God for Christians.
1.4 Christian attitudes towards religious experiences and its use as a philosophical argument for the existence of God: the nature of a religious experience and why it might be regarded as revelation, including reference to Exodus 3; Christian responses to non-religious (including atheist and Humanist) arguments that religious experiences do not provide proof that God exists.
1.5 Christian teaching about prayers: Christian teachings about the nature and importance of prayers; Christian teachings about reasons prayers that are answered in the way the person expects might lead to belief in God, including 1 John 5:13–17.
1.6 Design argument: the classical design argument for the existence of God and its use by Christians as a philosophical argument for the existence of God; divergent understandings about what the design argument may show about the nature of God for Christians, including Romans 1:18–24; Christian responses to non- religious (including atheist and Humanist) arguments against the design argument as evidence for the existence of God.
1.7 Cosmological argument: the cosmological argument for the existence of God and its use by Christians as a philosophical argument for the existence of God; divergent understandings about what the cosmological argument shows about the nature of God for Christians, including Thomas Aquinas' First Three Ways of showing God's existence; Christian responses to non-religious (including atheist and Humanist) arguments against the cosmological argument as evidence for the existence of God.
1.8 Religious upbringing: Christian teachings about raising children to believe in God, including reference to Proverbs 22:6; features of a Christian upbringing and why they may lead to belief in God; Christian responses to non-religious (including atheist and Humanist) arguments about why a religious upbringing may result in a rejection of God’s existence.

Section 2: Religious Teachings on Relationships and Families in the 21st Century

Students should have an understanding of:

2.1 The importance and purpose of marriage for Christians: Christian teachings about the significance of marriage in Christian life; the purpose of marriage for Christians including Mark 10:6–9; divergent Christian and non-religious (including atheist and Humanist) attitudes to the importance of marriage in society; including the sanctity of marriage, a lack of importance, cohabitation and Christian responses to these attitudes.
2.2 Christian teachings about the nature and importance of sexual relationships: divergent Christian teachings about sexual relationships; Christian attitudes towards sexual relationships outside of marriage and homosexuality, including interpretations of 1 Corinthians 6:7–20; divergent Christian and non-religious (including atheist and Humanist) attitudes to sexual relationships, including the acceptance of sexual relationships outside marriage and homosexuality and Christian responses to them.
2.3 Christian teachings about the purpose and importance of the family including: procreation, security and education of children, with reference to Ephesians 6:1–4; divergent Christian responses to different types of family within 21st-century society (nuclear, single parent, same-sex parents, extended and blended families).
2.4 Support for the family in the local parish: how and why the local church community tries to support families, including through family worship, including interpretations of Matthew 19:13–14, rites of passage, classes for parents, groups for children, including Sunday schools and counselling; the importance of the support of the local parish for Christians today.
2.5 Christian teaching about family planning and regulation of births: divergent Christian attitudes about contraception and family planning, including teachings about the artificial methods of contraception by some Protestant Churches and the Catholic Church, with reference to Humanae Vitae; different non-religious (including atheist and Humanist) attitudes to family planning and the application of ethical theories, such as situation ethics, and Christian responses to them.
2.6 Christian teachings and attitudes towards divorce and remarriage: Christian teachings about divorce and remarriage, including Matthew 19:1–12; divergent Christian, non-religious (including atheist and Humanist) attitudes to divorce and remarriage, including the application of ethical theories, such as situation ethics, and Christian responses to them.
2.7 Christian teaching about the equality of men and women in the family: Christian teachings and attitudes about the role of men and women in the family, including reference to Genesis 1–3 and Ephesians 5:21–30; divergent Christian attitudes about the equality and role of men and women in the family and Christian responses to them.
2.8 Christian teachings about gender prejudice and discrimination: Christian opposition to gender prejudice and discrimination, including Galatians 3:23–29; examples of Christian opposition to gender prejudice and discrimination; divergent Christian attitudes to gender differences, including the role of women in the Church, prejudice and discrimination and Christian responses to them.
Home Learning in Religious Education

Home learning will consolidate and extend the the learning undertaken in lessons. It will enable pupils to develop skills, to reflect on the ideas they have studied and to investigate further areas of personal interest.

Learning for tests and examinations is also an important part of home learning.

Tasks set may include a selection of the following:

Writing a formal piece of work, which is marked and assessed by the teacher with clear indication on how to improve.
Revising for formal examinations, assessments and short tests.
Researching into specific topics to develop research skills e.g. interviewing family or friends.
Written work, which will include questions requiring pupils to reflect on their learning. This may involve interpreting sacred texts.
Creative tasks sometimes to express ideas and values. These may use a variety of skills designed to reinforce and develop learning.

Timetable Allocation
The timetable allocation for RE in 2017/18 is:
Year 9 2 x 1 hour for Week A and Week B
Years 10 and 11 5 hours across Week A and Week B
Staff for 2017/18
Subject Leader Mr J Harding
Teaching Staff Mrs C McAuley
Miss H Newsham
Mrs J Lowe
  Miss A Southworth
  Mrs C Walker
  Mrs S Boylan
Rooms and Resources

The department has a suite of three teaching rooms and is well-stocked and resourced.

Lay Chaplain

Mrs P. Burdess is the Lay Chaplain. The department supports the chaplain in developing the spiritual life of the school both through the curriculum and in extra-curricular activities such as day visits and a residential retreat to Castlerigg.