The RE Department is at the heart of the school and is a core subject along with English, Maths and Science. In our Catholic school it is essential that the content and character of our Religious Studies curriculum is Christian and in particular Roman Catholic. We also try to ensure that the programme satisfies other legitimate needs in a multi-faith, multi-racial and multi-cultural society. Our programme represents our traditional faith, preparing our students for life in the real world. Our syllabus, like the mission of the school, seeks to develop the whole person.
All students follow the Catholic syllabus of The Way (Yr7), The Truth (Yr8) and The Life (Yr9).
Throughout all lessons in RE and particularly in Key Stage 3, students from other faiths are invited to share their experiences of faith with their peers. There will of course be similarities and differences but the sharing of these experiences is always undertaken in an environment of respect, care and consideration. In this respect, students are often the best teachers.
The RE department is well resourced and staffed by 5 teachers who are qualified, subject specialists. The Head of RE is also a member of the Leadership Team.
The department works very closely with the Chaplaincy which is led by our lay chaplain.
The course aims to:
- Give all students a deep knowledge and understanding of Catholicism.
- Enable pupils to see Religious Education in the context of a wider body of knowledge and skills.
- Bring the school mission statement to life for pupils and to foster the values of the gospel and the pursuit of lifelong learning.
- Allow the pupils to develop informed opinions and to be able to support them by reasonable arguments.
Key Stage 3:
The Way – Year 7
It is our aim that by the end of Year 7 students will have a good overview of the some of the major parts of the Old Testament. Students will study key areas of scripture like Abraham, David and the Exodus. All students will have an understanding of the relevance and importance of the events leading up to and foreseeing the time of Christ. Students will also begin to study the Sacraments, their meaning, scriptural basis and the importance for their lives.
The Truth – Year 8
Year 8 seeks to build upon the scriptural foundations laid in Year 7 through the study of the Covenant. Students in Year 8 will also study the Sacraments in more depth, as well as take on a project about the mission and history of the Catholic Church in Britain. Students will also have the opportunity to study some aspects of Judaism.
The Life – Year 9
Year 9 seeks to deepen students understanding of important issues such as vocation, prayer and the human community. Students are encouraged to analyse and reflect on a number of issues. Students will also have the opportunity to study some aspects of Islam in Year 9.
Key Stage 4 (Year 10 and 11):
Roman Catholic Christianity (Edexcel syllabus A)
All students take Religious Education as a full GCSE. The course is a detailed and inspiring study of Catholic Christianity. Students will also undertake a study of church teaching including Trinity, incarnation and creation. Students will explore the role of Mary in the church, pilgrimage and Students will be challenged to look at the sacraments, life after death and prayer and how belief affects a person’s practise of their faith. Students will need to be familiar with church documents such as ‘dei verbum’ and ‘gaudium et spes’. Students will also undertake a comprehensive study of the salvific event of Christ’s life, death, resurrection and ascension.
The examination of this component is worth 50% of a student’s final grade of their GCSE.
Philosophy and Ethics (Edexcel syllabus A)
Section 1: Students undertake a study of a philosophical arguments to show both God’s existence and the divine attributes (Omnipotence, Omniscience, Omni benevolence). As well as consider arguments about suffering and the problem of evil. Students will be expected to understand the sources of authority in Christianity including revelation and religious experiences.
Section 2: Students will study marriage and family life in depth, examine the purposes of marriage, Christian teaching about contraception and debates around the issue of same sex marriages. Students will need to be familiar with a range of church documents such as ‘Familiaris Consortio’ and the Family Group Movement.
The examination of this component is worth 25% of a student’s final grade of their GCSE.
Judaism (Edexcel syllabus A)
Students undertake a study of a variety of aspects of Jewish beliefs and practises. This includes teachings about the Torah and synagogue (‘shekinah’) the concepts of covenant and messiah as well as how Jewish moral teaching (mitzvoth) would apply to issues relating to the sanctity of life. Students will also be challenged to look at different Jewish festivals and the relationship between belief and practise.
The examination of this component is worth 25% of a student’s final grade of their GCSE. All exams are taken at the end of year 11. There is no course-work.
Key Stage 5 (Year 12 and 13):
Religious Studies (OCR): This course is very popular at A-Level. Students will need to critically assess and analyse issues within Philosophy and Religious Ethics. Students will study the work of some of the greatest minds in history, such as Plato, Aristotle, Aquinas, Augustine and many others. Students will be faced with some of the oldest questions of human meaning, such as ‘What do we mean by good?’ and ‘bad’, ‘right’ and ‘wrong’?
Religious Ethics will focus on the study of various ethical issues, such as Medical Ethics, Aquinas, Natural Law and Utilitarianism. Students will need to draw conclusions about particular ethical issues from the ethical theories they have studied.
The RE provision for Gifted and Talented students is something which the department continually reviews and reflects upon. Achievement is sought through challenging academic assessment stimulus and a culture of encouraging students to develop questions and answers to the most testing questions of human meaning. The department seeks to stretch students academically and encourage them to articulate answers to profound questions of meaning.
There are also visits from Christian Theatre groups, Life and other guest speakers. The RE department is keen to express to students the living out of our school motto SERVIAM. To this end the department has developed good links with the Comboni Missionaries as well as ‘Ursuline Links’ and is always looking at ways of extending and making links with our wider Ursuline communities both locally and throughout the world.