Religious Education

As a core subject all students study Religious Education in key stage 3 and 4.

Students in Years 7-9 will follow the Model Curriculum from the Religious Education Directory 2023. There are six branches in each year: Creation to Covenant, Prophecy and Promise, Galilee to Jerusalem, Desert to Garden, To the ends of the Earth and Dialogue and Encounter. Students will explore these branches through four lenses: hear, believe, celebrate, live. 

“Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith and in purity” – Timothy 4:12 

You must not teach just content, but the values and customs of life. … [T]here are three things that you must transmit: how to love, how to understand which values and customs create harmony in society. … [Teachers] must aim to build an educational relationship with each student, who must feel welcomed and loved for what he or she is, with all of their limitations and potential”  Pope Francis

Powerful knowledge

Catholic schools serve diverse populations of pupils and within this context the Religious Education Curriculum Directory (RECD) makes the aims of Religious Education explicit:

  1. To present engagingly a comprehensive content which is the basis of knowledge and understanding of the Catholic faith;
  2. To enable pupils continually to deepen their religious and theological understanding and be able to communicate this effectively;
  3. 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;
  4. To raise pupils’ awareness of the faith and traditions of other religious communities in order to respect and understand them;
  5. To develop the critical faculties of pupils so that they can relate their Catholic faith to daily life;
  6. To stimulate pupils’ imagination and provoke a desire for personal meaning as revealed in the truth of the Catholic faith;
  7. To enable pupils to relate the knowledge gained through Religious Education to their understanding of other subjects in the curriculum;
  8. 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- this is what we want the students at The Catholic High School to achieve.

Year 7 Intent 

In this year, pupils revisit some of the most important learning from their study of Catholicism in primary school. For those who have not attended Catholic primary school, this year presents the theological foundations that are the basis for understanding Catholicism. The focus of the entire year is God’s revelation and the way in which this has gradually unfolded through salvation history. In the first unit, a distinction is made between general and special revelation, recognising Creation and the existence of human beings as one way in which all human beings can come to know God using their own natural reason. In the second unit, we look at special revelation, introducing (or reintroducing) students to the significance of Sacred Scripture for Catholics. The third unit focuses on Jesus Christ, the incarnation, and the Christian claim that in Christ is the fullness of God’s revelation. In this context, the doctrine of the Trinity is explored further, since the recognition of Jesus as very God by the early Church required a recognition of him as the eternal Son of the Father. The fourth unit (desert to garden) focuses on the continued presence of Christ with the Church through the sacraments and the transformative effect of these sacraments on the lives of the faithful. The main emphasis for this unit is the Sacrament of the Eucharist, the ‘source and summit’ of the Christian life. The final unit gives us the last piece of God’s revelation through the sending of the Holy Spirit and the presence of this Spirit with the Church.1 

Year 8 Intent

In this year, pupils will consider some of the existential questions that lie at the heart of the human condition and reflect on both the meaning of suffering and the meaning of death. They begin by looking at the account of the Fall in Genesis 3 and the implications this has for human beings and the world, coming to an understanding of what the Church means when it speaks of ‘original sin’ and how this is distinguished from ‘personal sin’. This is followed in branch 2 by an examination of how God tried to deal with faithless humanity by holding out the promise of a new covenant and a coming messiah who would restore human beings to covenant fidelity. Branch 3 presents us with Jesus who, as the announcer of the reign of God, holds out signs of what this final restoration of all things will look like in his treatment of sinners and outcasts, in his parables of the kingdom, and in his miracles. Branch 4 deals explicitly with the mystery of suffering, or the problem of evil as it is sometimes called, and places this in the light of an understanding of suffering that has been transformed by the passion, death, and Resurrection of Jesus. Finally, in branch 5, students will look to the final consummation of all things and the end to all suffering as death is defeated in the Resurrection of Jesus, the first-born from the dead.2 

Year 9 Intent

The whole of year 9 deals with the mystery of the human person. It begins in branch 1, by revisiting the Creation accounts, focusing particularly on the belief that human beings are imago Dei and the implications this has for the principle of the dignity of the human person and the radical equality of man and woman. The nature of human beings as sexual beings, who are made for each other, forms the foundation for a study of the Church’s teaching on marriage and the Sacrament of Matrimony. In branch 2, we take the equality of men and women as our starting point and focus particularly on the role of the Blessed Virgin Mary in the salvation history narrative. In branch 3 we return to the Gospel of Mark and look at the call to discipleship that is offered to all human beings in Christ’s proclamation of the kingdom, and the relationship between discipleship and individual vocations. In this context students will study the Sacrament of Holy Orders and the vocation to religious life. In branch 4, we look at the mystery of redemption and students will be expected to come to some understanding of how the Church explains the connection between Christ’s sacrificial death and individual redemption from sins. Finally, we look to the human person as one member of a community that spans both heaven and earth in the final branch where we look at the Church as the ‘communion of saints’, the mystical Body of Christ.3 

Year 10 and 11 – GCSE Course (Edexcel)

Unit 1: Beliefs and Teachings : Students study the main beliefs and teachings of Catholic Christianity. Staff will ensure that exam technique is embedded by students practising the questions in most if not all lessons. Unit 2 : Practices: Exploration of the main Catholic practices. Staff to teach students how to compare different Christian denominations. Unit 3: Sources of Wisdom and Authority: Study of the main sources of wisdom such as the Bible and the teaching of the Catechism. Unit 4: Forms of Expression: Students to explore the varied ways that Catholic express their faith. 

Philosophy and Ethics Unit 1: Philosophy: Students to study arguments for the existence of God. Students study the main beliefs and teachings Unit 2: Ethics: Students to explore relationships in the 21st century- this links to SRE. 

Judaism:Unit 1: Beliefs and Teachings: Students study the main beliefs and teachings of Judaism. Unit 2: Practices: Exploration of the main practices within Judaism 

They will be keywords tests and formal assessments at the end of each unit, as well as mock papers. 

Year 12 & 13

Year 12 and 13 – Core RE

We are all on a faith journey. We want to ‘help each student to develop and articulate their own faith positions’ as well as ‘respecting different faith traditions within contemporary society’. 

Our aim, in essence, is to lead students as they enter into adulthood into constructive self-questioning of their beliefs and opinions, and to provide a framework in which these beliefs, values and opinions can be tested against the message of the gospel and within the context of the Church. 

It is vital that the young adults attending this non-examined course see the value and purpose of attending General RE lessons. To this end the RE Department have designed a course that is relevant to our students and to help prepare them for when they leave school. 

In Year 12 we will focus on who they think they are, and how others see them. They will then study moral issues where there will be opportunity for students to reflect on their own moral reasoning.  

In Year 13 we will continue to reflect on moral issues such as human rights and war.  

During the school year world issues may arise that we feel are important to address such as the migration crisis in 2016, in these situations we will plan lessons accordingly. In addition there may be opportunities for guest speakers to come into school and this will always be welcomed. As a result the scheme of work may have to be altered to accommodate. 

A Level – Religious Studies course (OCR)

The transition from GCSE to A level can be a big step hence we have chosen OCR Religious Studies. A number of the topics that students will study at A level they have had some experience of before in their GCSE course. Students will study Philosophy, Ethics and Developments of Christian Thought. The assessment is essay based which we believe provides students who want to go to university with excellent transferrable skills of research and extended writing. 


As our students come from a number of different backgrounds it is important that the first topic in RE in Year 7 is accessible to all students. It is vital that students understand what it means to be part of a Catholic school and to understand the integral beliefs and practices of the Catholic ChurchFor year 11 students moving into sixth form we have a resources list for students to access, this will help prepare them for A level Religious Studies. 

SEND/Supporting vulnerable students

In line with current educational policy students with special educational needs are integrated into all RE teaching groups. Students in Year 7,8 and 9 will be taught in mixed ability groups in Year 10 and 11 students will be set where the class teacher believes they will benefit the most. 

The RE curriculum is designed with activities so that all students can access and enjoy it. We are fortunate in RE that students can quickly relate to a topic and from that connection we can build upon their learning.  

Students with particular needs are taught using knowledge of them as individuals alongside best practice given by specialists within the school e.g. ASD base or SENCO. This includes the provision of special resources that are accessible for specific needs. Teaching Assistants are very much part of the delivery of the subject and are integrated into lessons both in planning and supporting students 

Students are assessed using standardised tests at the end of each unit. This assessment focuses on during feedback points to improve for future as well as success. Students are provided with Front End Feedback to enable them to access the questions and responses to the best of their ability. Homework at KS3 is based on their knowledge organiser, all are recall tests. In KS4 the focus is on GCSE keywords and end of unit tests. 

It is the class teacher’s responsibility to know the individual needs of all students. Staff will access student information including student passports.  The teacher will provide first class teaching and learning that all students can access and enjoy. Differentiation within RE lessons occurs where there is planned intervention by the teacher and teaching assistant, with the intention of maximising the achievements of students based on their differing individual needs. The most important prerequisite of differentiation is detailed and accurate knowledge of the students.  Staff will know students’ exam access arrangements and make sure they are applied during internal assessment. 

It is the responsibility of the class teacher to prepare suitable lessons and work programmes to enable all students to benefit as much as possible from the lesson. This can be done in a number of ways such as providing printed PowerPoints, enlarged work, printing on coloured paper, writing frames and chunked activities. 

Close consultation with the SENCO, Teaching assistants and Trinity is paramount to support all our young people in their education.   

The effective use of Teaching Assistants across the department

We are fortunate to have a number of Teaching Assistants working with the RE department. Teaching Assistants will support students of all abilities and needs, predominantly across KS4 classes. We recognise that our students come from diverse religious backgrounds or a no religion background, therefore the TA is essential in giving students confidence in brand new topics. This can be done prior, during or after a lesson. To this end, all students will become more independent in their own learning. 

Understanding religious literacy can be challenging and therefore the Teaching Assistants will support students in their understanding and application of subject specific terminology. The Teaching Assistant is also invaluable supporting students in their exam technique, again working with a student or group of students before, during or after a lesson will enable  students to become more confident and prepare them for assessments. Other teaching assistants who may be linked to the year group also play an important role across the RE department and are there to support the teaching and learning in the RE lesson or before and after a lesson. 

Diversity and Inclusion

Diversity and inclusion will be promoted within Religious Education by studying a range of beliefs, religions and cultures. In Year 7 and 11 students learn about Hinduism/ Judaism, in Year 8 Islam and in Year 9 Judaism/Hinduism they explore light in different world religions. Students will study the role of powerful people from different ethnicities, cultures and religions, for example Martin Luther King. Students will also explore gender and the role of women in history and in the Church. Students will also explore different worldviews.  

Cross curricular integration

We liaise with the History, Geography, and Science departments to ensure cross curricular links. Links with History ensure successful teaching of Judaism and the Holocaust. In Geography, Fair trade. Science for links teaching contraception and reproduction. 

Curriculum Enrichment

Students will have the opportunity to be experience RE days in Years 7,8, and 9. These days have various themes which allow them to reflect and respond to a number of moral issues. Students in the sixth form have been able to attend Theology Conferences which supports their A level study. 

Culture Capital

The UK has a rich heritage of culture and diversity. Religion and belief for many people forms an integral part of their culture and identity. Religion and beliefs have become more visible in public life locally, nationally and internationally. The rapid pace of development in scientific and medical technologies and the environmental debate continue to present new issues which raise religious, moral and social questions. The internet enables learning and encourages participation in public discussion of issues in a new and revolutionary way and we are becoming even more aware of the world around us. Religion and beliefs inform our values and are reflected in what we think, what we say and how we behave. Religious Education is vital as part of Culture capital. 

Religious Education is an important subject in itself, developing a student’s knowledge and understanding of the religions and beliefs which form part of contemporary society. Religious Education provokes challenging questions about the ultimate meaning and purpose of life, beliefs about God, the self and the nature of reality, issues of right and wrong, and what it means to be human. It can develop pupils’ knowledge and understanding of Christianity and other world religions, which is vital in a multi-faith society to promote respect and understanding. In Year 7,10 and 11 students will study Judaism (and Catholic Christianity at GCSE), in Year 8 Christianity and Islam, in Year 9 Religious Festivals and Rites of Passage. In Sixth Form the General RE course considers a range of ethical issues and various viewpoints on these moral issues. 

Religious Education gives students the knowledge, skills and understanding to discern and value truth and goodness, strengthening their capacity for making moral judgements and for evaluating different types of commitment to make positive and healthy choices. A great deal of Religious Education across all year groups is about students making moral decisions with a focus on their rights and responsibilities in their local, wider and global community. 

In summary Religious Education plays an important role in preparing students for adult life, employment and lifelong learning. It helps children and young people become successful learners, confident individuals and responsible citizens. 


There is a Careers section for RE on Firefly that students can access. Students who have studied Religious Studies at A level and subsequently a similar course at university have gone into a range of careers such as law, medicine, teaching, police and journalism. 

View Our Religious Education Curriculum Plan >


Key Stage 3
Students are tested regularly using their Knowledge Organisers.

Key Stage 4
Students are provided with revision booklets, these can be accessed on FIREFLY. They will be given regular keyword tests, set GCSE questions and after each topic they will have a test they will have to prepare for.

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