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Religious Studies

The Team 

Staff Member 

Role 

Email Address 

Alexandra Gale 

Curriculum Lead 

galea@ursuline.kent.sch.uk 

Emma Rowe 

Teacher  

rowee@ ursuline.kent.sch.uk 

Emily Coleman 

Teacher 

colemane@ursuline.kent.sch.uk 

Julie Hall 

Teacher 

hallj@ursuline.kent.sch.uk 

J’anna Byrne 

Chaplain 

Byrnej@ursuline.kent.sch.uk 

 

Key Stage 3 

In the RE department, we aim to teach and guide our pupils to strive for the best they can be, but also to help them make the right choices in school but also in their lives. Our curriculum falls into four sections, as guided by the Bishops’ Conference Directory and these areas guide our teaching in order to guide our students.  Through Church, we share knowledge on the history, the workings and the example of the Catholic Church. Through Celebration, we educate and then celebrate the Christian festivals and feast days with our students. Through Revelation and Life in Christ, we encourage our students to discover Jesus for themselves, through the example of others and through the word of God. 

 

Cycle 1 

Cycle 2 

Cycle 3 

Cycle 4 

Year 7 

Students will be introduced to the idea of Catholic Community and the motto and message of Serviam. We study Catholic prayers and the lives and the impact of the Patron and Founder Saints of our school. The Bible is introduced as a sacred text and students learn how to confidently use it as a source of information and guidance. We celebrate Harvest as inspired through the idea of stewardship. 

Students are introduced to the seven sacraments of the Catholic Church, the messages behind the Beatitudes and the Liturgical cycle. 

 

We introduce the period of Advent through stories of prophecy in the Old Testament. Students study the Bible passages which record the events of the Annunciation, Visitation and the Magnificat and we consider Christian practices and the changing nature of Advent. We read and meditate on the Christmas story, studying the differences recorded by Matthew and Luke’s gospels. After Christmas, we study the meaning behind the Epiphany, the arrival of John the Baptist along with his message for us today. A study is made of the sacrament of Baptism. 

We begin cycle 3 with the theme of Discipleship. Students will study the miracles and parables of Jesus. In time with Ash Wednesday, we study the temptations of Jesus before studying the religious practices of the season of Lent. We study the events of Holy Week, Good Friday and Easter. We study the Resurrection appearances from the Gospels and the events leading to the Ascension and Pentecost.  From here, we study the sacrament of Confirmation and the fruits and gifts of the Holy Spirit. 

The final cycle of the year begins with a study of the Early Church. We look at what we know about the apostles and the impact of St Paul and the journeys he made. We look at the early Christian martyrs and the sacrifices they made for their beliefs. This leads into a study of Vocation and the sacrament of Holy Orders. We outline the growth and changes in the growing religion of Christianity including the Great Schism and the Reformation.  At the end of the year we study the religious beliefs and practices of Judaism. 

Year 8 

The year begins with a study of Creation from Genesis. We study the early Creation stories and different ways of interpreting them. We focus on the theological truths behind the stories before making the link between Original Sin of Adam and Eve and our lives today.  We study the religious duty of Stewardship of the world and the influence over and the impact of individual examples of people living out their faith. 

We study the Covenants of Abraham and Moses and discuss the importance and relevance of the 10 commandments as the basis of modern law. Students also study the nature of religious law. Students also learn about the Exodus from Egypt and the first Pesach and its traditions today. We revisit Advent and the Liturgical Calendar, the Jesse Tree and the impact of Christmas and the feast of the Holy Family. We study Jesus as the new covenant. 

 

We begin cycle 3 with a study of the Mass and its links with the Last Supper. We study the impact of sacramental religious life on our lives today and the challenges faced by Christians. We study the life and work of Mother Theresa and Pope Francis’ teachings on poverty and suffering. We study the parable of the Sower and the nature of the Kingdom of God. We revisit Lent and Easter and study the sacrament of marriage as a vocation. 

We begin with a study of Catholic Social Teaching and our duty towards refugees. We study various Bible references including the parable of the sheep and goats, the widow’s mite, the greatest commandment, and the moneychangers at the Temple. We consider the idea of judgement and moral behaviour. 

The year ends with a study of Islam to develop religious understanding, knowledge and tolerance. 

Year 9 

We begin Year 9 considering the value of Humans and what it means to be made in God’s image. We study Jung’s theory of Self and the different aspects to the person. We compare society’s judgements of people compared to the judgements of the Beatitudes. We study the Catechism’s teachings on the Soul and the value and dignity of human life. This leads into the parable of the Prodigal Son and forgiveness. A study of the sacrament of Reconciliation is made and the process of forgiveness and redemption. We make a foundation study of ethics, including medical ethics. 

We move on to a study of where religion came from and we make comparisons between the origins of the major world religions and their key beliefs and teachings. We study religious symbolism, the authority of God and sacred texts as well as common practices. We consider the place of music and statues and then in particular, we make a study of Catholic practices including pilgrimages. We study the impact of art within religion, the special place of the Rosary, the Turin Shroud and the role of the Magisterium and the laity within the Catholic Church.  

Cycle 3 begins with the design argument, the first cause and morality arguments for the existence of God. We make a study of the scientific argument against the existence of God and we introduce the problem of evil and suffering for a benevolent God. We discuss ideas of immortality and Revelation of God including the story of Saul. We discuss the religious and non religious response to the miracles of Jesus and the response of the great Christian missionaries to their faith. We end the cycle with a look at faiths working together, the message of Pope John Paul II and the life of Ghandi. 

We begin the first section of the GCSE which is Christian Beliefs.  We begin with a study of the key words for the topic before looking at the development, spread and changing nature of Christianity in the UK, including diversity and secularism. We study the different theories on suffering and evil in the world, including the story of Job.  We study the nature of God and Christian beliefs about God including Jesus as the Incarnation, the Trinity, attitudes towards Creation, the Crucifixion, Atonement and Salvation. We study the Bible as a sacred book, beliefs about sin and eschatological beliefs including judgement, Heaven, Hell and purgatory. 

 

Key Stage 4 

Exam Board: Eduqas Route A 

Link to Specification: https://www.eduqas.co.uk/qualifications/religious-studies-gcse/#tab_overview 

Future Careers: Many students pursue an A level or a degree in Theology. As a Religious Studies graduate, you will have plenty of useful skills which are transferable to a wide range of jobs and careers.  Many people enter Education, Law or Journalism, as well as careers in Counselling and Mediation, Diplomacy and Negotiation or Social Work.  Graduates are also found in Charity work, Personnel and Accountancy.  People with A level or a degree in Religious Studies often find themselves working with people as Community or Youth Workers, Ministers, Chaplains in prisons or schools where they can be of service to a community. 

 

Cycle 1 

Cycle 2 

Cycle 3 

Cycle 4 

Year 10 

This cycle comprises the second half of the Christianity paper i.e. Christian practices. The first area studied is Christian worship, followed by Christian prayer and the different denominational attitudes to it. A study is made of Christian sacraments, festivals, pilgrimage sites and the role of the church today in a changing world.  

We begin the first topic of the Ethical Issues paper. The topic is Relationships and this begins with the nature of commitment, and different types of family, marriage, divorce, commitment, contraception, chastity and celibacy. We study the changing nature of marriage and relationships within the UK, gender equality and same sex relationships. We begin the 3rd topi of Good and Evil by studying crime and its causes. 

This cycle continues with the aims of punishment and justice as well as prison chaplaincy and forgiveness. Topic 3 is Life and Death which considers the sanctity of life and the creation of the world. We study various religious, philosophical and scientific ideas of how the world was created, including the Big Bang theory and Evolution. We discuss and debate the issues of abortion and mercy killing.   

Cycle 4 begins the theme of Human Rights. Students study the Declaration of Human Rights and consider issues which infringe upon these rights. We study personal conviction and agape, liberation theology and tzedekah. Topics such as prejudice and discrimination and social justice are at the heart of this topic. 

Year 11 

This cycle begins the first half of the Judaism paper.  We begin by studying diversity within Judaism and Maimonides’ principles.  

We look at the various Jewish beliefs about God as creator, judge, law giver as well as the concept of Shekinah and the beliefs around the Messiah. We study Covenant and the historical importance of Abraham and Moses. We debate the position of the 10 Commandments and the Miztvot.  We study the concept of Pikuach Nefesh and the value of life, the afterlife.  

We begin the study of Jewish practices which are influenced by the beliefs and teachings of Judaism. The first area of study of Worship and prayer – at home and in the synagogue. A study of the synagogue and its purposes is made. Rituals are studied including Bar and Bat Mitzvah. We study Daily Life with the impact on it of the Torah and Kosher Laws. Finally, a study of Jewish festivals is made.  

A thorough revision programme begins on all papers 

 

The final weeks are spent preparing for the May examinations with consolidation exercises and exam practice. 

 

 

Key Stage 5 

Exam Board: Eduqas 

Link to Specification: https://www.eduqas.co.uk/qualifications/religious-studies-as-a-level/#tab_overview 

The WJEC Eduqas A level in Religious Studies encourages learners to: • develop their interest in a rigorous study of religion and belief and relate it to the wider world • develop knowledge and understanding appropriate to a specialist study of religion • develop an understanding and appreciation of religious thought and its contribution to individuals, communities and societies • adopt an enquiring, critical and reflective approach to the study of religion • reflect on and develop their own values, opinions and attitudes in the light of their study. A level Religious Studies is designed to enable learners to develop their interest in, and enthusiasm for, a study of religion and its place in the wider world. The WJEC Eduqas A Level specification contains three components which include a wide range of topics for consideration, including an in-depth and broad study of one of the six major world religions, philosophy of religion, religion and ethics. 

Component 1: A Study of Religion Written examination: 2 hours 33% of qualification 100 marks Learners will be assessed  Option A: Christianity 

Component 2: Philosophy of Religion Written examination: 2 hours 33% of qualification 

Component 3: Religion and Ethics Written examination: 2 hours 33% of qualification 

 

Future Careers:  Many students pursue an A level or a degree in Theology and Philosophy. As a Religious Studies graduate, you will have plenty of useful skills which are transferable to a wide range of jobs and careers.  Many people enter Education, Law or Journalism, as well as careers in Counselling and Mediation, Diplomacy and Negotiation or Social Work.  Graduates are also found in Charity work, Personnel and Accountancy.  People with A level or a degree in Religious Studies often find themselves working with people as Community or Youth Workers, Ministers, Chaplains in prisons or schools where they can be of service to a community. 

 

Cycle 1 

Cycle 2 

Cycle 3 

Cycle 4 

Year 12 

 A Study of Christianity:   

Theme 1: Religious figures and sacred texts 

A: Jesus – his birth, 

B: Jesus – his resurrection, 

C: The Bible as a source of wisdom and authority in daily life. 

Philosophy of Religion 

Theme 1: Arguments for the existence of God – inductive  

A:  Cosmological, 

B: Teleological  

C: Challenges to inductive arguments 

Religion and Ethics 

Theme 1: Ethical Thought 

A: Divine Command Theory 

B: Virtue Theory 

C: Ethical Egoism 

A Study of Christianity: 

Theme 2: Religious concepts and religious life 

A: Religious concepts – the nature of God – Is God male? Can God suffer? 

B: Religious concepts – the Trinity 

C: Religious concepts – the Atonement 

Philosophy of Religion 

Theme 1: Arguments for the existence of God – deductive 

D: Ontological argument.  

E:  origins of the ontological argument 

F: developments of the ontological argument 

Religion and Ethics 

Theme 2: Deontological Ethics 

A: St Thomas Aquinas’ Natural Law - laws and precepts as the basis of morality 

B: Aquinas’ Natural Law - the role of virtues and goods in supporting moral behaviour 

C: The application of Aquinas’ Natural Law to abortion and voluntary euthanasia 

A Study of Christianity: 

Theme 2: Religious concepts and religious life 

D: Religious life – faith and works E: Religious life – the community of believers 

F: Religious life – key moral principles  

Philosophy of Religion 

Theme 2  

Challenges to religious belief  

A: The problem of evil and suffering 

B: Religious responses to the problem of evil - Augustinian type theodicy 

C: Religious responses to the problem of evil Irenaean type theodicy 

Religion and Ethics 

Theme 3: Teleological ethics 

A: Joseph Fletcher’s Situation Ethics B: Fletcher's Situation Ethics - the principles as a means of assessing morality 

C: The application of Fletcher’s Situation Ethics to homosexual relationships and polyamorous relationships 

A Study of Christianity: 

Theme 4: Religious practices that shape religious identity 

A: Religious identity through diversity in baptism 

B: Religious identity through diversity in Eucharist 

C: Religious identity through diversity in festivals 

Philosophy of Religion 

Theme 3: Religious Experience 

A: The nature of religious experience 

B: Mystical experience 

C: Challenges to the objectivity and authenticity of religious experience 

Religion and Ethics 

Theme 3: Teleological ethics 

D: Classical Utilitarianism - Jeremy Bentham’s Act Utilitarianism 

E: John Stuart Mill's development of Utilitarianism: types of pleasure, the harm principle and 

the use of rules 

F: Application of Bentham’s Act Utilitarianism and Mill’s Rule Utilitarianism to animal experimentation for medical research and the use of nuclear weapons as a deterrent 

Year 13 

A Study of Christianity: 

Theme 1: Religious figures and sacred texts 

D: The Bible as a source of wisdom and authority 

E: The early church (in Acts of the Apostles) 

F: Two views of Jesus: 

A comparison of the work of two key scholars 

Philosophy of Religion 

Theme 2: Challenges to religious belief - Religious belief as a product of the human mind 

D: Religious belief as a product of the human mind – Sigmund Freud 

E: Religious belief as a product of the human mind – Carl Jung 

F: Issues relating to rejection of religion: 

Atheism 

Religion and Ethics 

Theme 1: Ethical Thought 

D: Meta-ethical approaches - Naturalism 

E: Meta-ethical approaches - Intuitionism 

F: Meta-ethical approaches – Emotivism 

A study of Christianity: 

Theme 3: Significant social and historical developments in religious thought 

A: Social developments in religious thought – attitudes towards wealth 

B: Social developments in religious thought – migration and Christianity in the UK: 

C: The relationship between religion and society: religion, equality and discrimination 

Philosophy of Religion 

Theme 3: Religious experience 

D: The influence of religious experience on religious practice and faith 
E: the definitions of Miracles  
F: A comparative study of two key scholars from within and outside the Christian tradition 

and their contrasting views on the possibility of miracles 

Religion and Ethics 

Theme 2: Deontological Ethics 

D: John Finnis’ development of Natural Law 

E: Bernard Hoose's overview of the Proportionalist debate 

F: The application of Finnis’ Natural Law and Proportionalism to immigration and capital punishment 

A study of Christianity: 

Theme 3: Significant social and historical developments in religious thought 
D: The relationship between religion and society 

E: Historical developments in religious thought – challenges from science 

F: Historical developments in religious thought – challenges from pluralism and diversity within a 

Tradition 

Philosophy of Religion 

Theme 4: Religious language 

A: Inherent problems of religious language 
B: Religious language as cognitive (traditional religious view), but meaningless (Logical 

Positivists' view) 
C: Religious language as non-cognitive and analogical 

Religion and Ethics 

Theme 4: Determinism and Free will – Determinism 

A: Religious concepts of predestination 

B: Concepts of determinism 

C: The implications of predestination / determinism 

A Study of Christianity: 

Theme 4: Religious practices that shape religious identity 

D: Religious identity through unification 

E: Religious identity through religious experience 

F: Religious identity through responses to poverty and injustice 

Philosophy of Religion 

Theme 4: Religious language 

D: Religious language as non-cognitive and symbolic 

E: Religious language as non-cognitive and mythical 

F: Religious language as a language game 

Religion and Ethics 

Theme 4: Determinism and Free will – Free Will 

D: Religious concepts of free will, with reference to the teachings of Pelagius and Arminius 

E: Concepts of libertarianism 

F: The implications of libertarianism and free will 

Useful Links

Useful Videos

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E5-aKSrLXM4

BBC My life, my faith (worship)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lb-oCtDEh_w

My Life, my religion (Judaism)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0xKZTJnFi0k

(interactive tour of a Jewish artefacts)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nwPti4ev2VY&t=4s

(Holy Cribs-The Synagogue)

https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/articles/3lKZp31jBVJ2v3C2h1V03kz/a-to-z-of-religion-and-beliefs

(A-Z of religious Beliefs)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bdi9CK7-gj4

(Inside a Roman Catholic Church)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=05YB2jdHLsY&list=PL60396574E0A0B9A2

(Sacraments-Busted halo)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SSyNvfyCM-Q

Evangelical Worship Service)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TG55ErfdaeY

(Crash Course World History)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2lA5NUHqC88

Guadalupe

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o59-3CS5xPw

The story of Walsingham

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mkeF1hyxQwE

Pilgrimage to Walsingham

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ngA8BFbjrE0

Taize brothers promotional video

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QyHvRFkqzmw

Jewish death rituals

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4_bb2etuVzI

Christian beliefs about life after death-below one is

 

True Tube Christian passage of death (funeral)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QcoY0MO8_7M

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iVsWa7kXQDE&t=8s

This is an interesting TenMinuteBible Hour (American review of all sorts of issues related to faith and belief)