What is religious education?
Religious Education is the “core of the core curriculum” in a Catholic school (Pope St John Paul II). Placing RE at the core of the curriculum in Catholic schools helps the school to fulfill its mission to educate the whole person in discerning the meaning of their existence, since “Religious Education is concerned not only with intellectual knowledge but also includes emotional and affective learning. It is in the mystery of the Word made flesh that the mystery of what it is to be human truly becomes clear. Without religious education, pupils would be deprived of an essential element of their formation and personal development, which helps them attain a vital harmony between faith and culture.” (Religious Education curriculum Directory p4). Furthermore, religiously literate children and young people are able to engage in a fully informed critique of all knowledge, “leading, for example, to an understanding of the relationship between science and religion or history, and between theology, sport and the human body.” (Religious Education Curriculum Directory p4).
What is the purpose of Religious Education in Catholic schools?
Catholic schools, with RE at their core, exist in order to “help parents, priests and teachers to hand on the Deposit of Faith in its fullness to a new generation of young people so that they may come to understand the richness of the Catholic faith, and thereby be drawn into a deeper communion with Christ in his Church.” (Religious Education Curriculum Directory pvii). With this as their primary aim, Catholic schools serve diverse populations of pupils and within this context the Religious Education Curriculum Directory (RECD) makes the aims of Religious Education explicit:
- To present engagingly a comprehensive content which is the basis of knowledge and understanding of the Catholic faith;
- To enable pupils continually to deepen their religious and theological understanding and be able to communicate this effectively;
- To present an authentic vision of the Church’s moral and social teaching so that pupils can make a critique of the underlying trends in contemporary culture and society;
- To raise pupils’ awareness of the faith and traditions of other religious communities in order to respect and understand them;
- To develop the critical faculties of pupils so that they can relate their Catholic faith to daily life;
- To stimulate pupils’ imagination and provoke a desire for personal meaning as revealed in the truth of the Catholic faith;
- To enable pupils to relate the knowledge gained through Religious Education to their understanding of other subjects in the curriculum;
- To bring clarity to the relationship between faith and life, and between faith and culture.
The outcome of excellent Religious Education is religiously literate and engaged young people who have the knowledge, understanding and skills – appropriate to their age and capacity – to reflect spiritually, and think ethically and theologically, and who are aware of the demands of religious commitment in everyday life (Religious Education Curriculum Directory p6).
Key Stage 3 Curriculum
Students in KS3 (7-9) at Chatsmore cover 6 units of work throughout the year. Each year includes a unit of work from these areas of study: history, beliefs, practices, ethics, relationship and sex education, and world religions.
The year 7 curriculum:
Unit 1 The Church and me
This unit explores the foundational practices in the Catholic Church
and the students’ place within our school community
Unit 2 Peace and conflict
This unit focuses on ethical topics of war, human rights, bullying,
and Christians attitudes towards conflict and forgiveness.
Unit 3 Incarnation and salvation
This unit focusses on the person of Jesus and two important themes
linked to beliefs about Jesus and the difference he made in the world.
Unit 4 Revolutionary lives
Students examine the lives of inspiring and revolutionary Christians
and analyse their impact on the world
Unit 5 Respect
This unit supports students in understanding the issues that divide our
society, what discrimination is and how we can grow in our respect of
Unit 6 Islam
Students will look at the beliefs and practices that form the foundation
The year 8 curriculum:
Unit 1 The Bible, God and Humanity
This unit of work looks at some of the key events and people in the
Hebrew Bible, the old Testament.
Unit 2 Judaism
This unit builds on the previous unit of work by looking at the key beliefs
and practices of Judaism.
Unit 3 Believing in God
This unit encourages students to examine different reasons for a belief
in God, and to evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of each
argument and set of reasons.
Unit 4 Healthy and unhealthy relationships
This unit aims to encourage students to reflect on the development of
the whole person and of healthy relationships.
Unit 5 Living the Christian life
This unit focusses students on some of the key features of living the
Christian life, primarily through the lens of Catholicism but comparing
this to other Christian denominations.
Unit 6 Environment and justice
The unit links care of the environment with Gospel values and
challenges students to evaluate their role in helping to bring about an
The year 9 curriculum:
Unit 1 Mark’s Gospel
This unit focusses on two main themes from the Gospel, that of identity
(Jesus being seen as the ‘messiah’) and discipleship (what it means to be
a follower of Jesus)
Unit 2 Morality and medical ethics
The unit starts with introducing the idea of morality and our moral
framework and different moral theories. Students will then be led to
apply these moral theories to moral issues related to the sanctity of life.
Unit 3 Vocation
This unit of work focusses on meaning and purpose. It will relate the
Christian idea of vocation to what students feel they may be called to in
life. It also will explore the different ways that Christians live out their
Unit 4 The History of Christianity
This unit of work looks at the broad picture of the history of Christianity,
who the key figures were in the spread of the faith and how Christianity
came to Britain.
Unit 5 Eastern religions
This unit covers the beliefs that form the foundation of Hinduism and
Buddhism, and goes into more detail about the practices of Hinduism
Unit 6 Theology of the Body
This unit is based on an area of theology that looks at the purpose and
gift of the human body, on who we are as human beings as created in
Key Stage 4 – GCSE Religious Studies
Aims and objectives of The Edexcel GCSE in Religious Studies:
• develops learners’ knowledge and understanding of religious beliefs, teachings, practices, and sources of wisdom and authority, including through their reading of key religious texts, other texts, and scriptures of the religions they are studying develops learners’ ability to construct well-argued, well-informed, balanced and structured written arguments, demonstrating their depth and breadth of understanding of the subject.
• provides opportunities for learners to engage with questions of belief, value, meaning, purpose, truth, and their influence on human life
• challenges learners to reflect on and develop their own values, beliefs and attitudes in the light of what they have learnt and contributes to their preparation for adult life in a pluralistic society and global community
Following this specification will enable learners to:
• deepen their understanding of the relationship between people
• become informed about common and divergent views within traditions in the way beliefs and teachings are understood and expressed
The course is organised as follows: