Religious Education

Religious education contributes dynamically by provoking challenging questions about meaning and purpose in life, beliefs about God, ultimate reality, issues of right and wrong and what it means to be human, in local, national and global contexts. To discover, explore and consider different answers to these questions. All students need to acquire core knowledge and understanding of the beliefs and practices of the religions and worldviews which not only shape their history and culture, but which guide their own development.

The National Curriculum for RE aims to ensure that all pupils:

  • Know about and understand a range of religions and worldviews
  • Can describe, explain and analyse beliefs and practices, recognising the diversity which exists within and between communities and amongst individuals
  • Identify, investigate and respond to questions posed and offer responses
  • Express ideas and insights about the nature, significance and impact of religions and worldviews
  • Critically respond to questions and teachings about identity, diversity, meaning and value, including ethical issues

Key Stage 3 - Years 7 and 8

In keeping with the RE statutory requirements all six world religions are taught in year 7 and the first term of year 8, with an in depth focus on Islam and Christianity to help bridge the gap between KS3 and KS4 and form a solid foundation of knowledge for students when starting their GCSE topics. In year 8 the units of study will be four Themes which mirror the new GSCE specification topics.

Year 7 - Study of Religion

Term 1: Christianity
Term 2: Islam
Term 3A: Hinduism
Term 3B: Buddhism

Year 8 - Study of Religion and Themes

Term 1A: Sikhism
Term 1B: Judaism
Term 2A: Religion and Traditions
Term 2B: Ethics and Values
Term 3A: Religion & World Issues (Crime)
Term 3B: Religion & World Issues (Poverty)

Key Stage 4 - Years 9 to 11

To ease year 9s onto the GCSE course students will study a Bridging Unit, which will enable them to develop exam skills as well as embedded content knowledge. Students will then follow the same GCSE content as year 10 and 11 outlined below:

Component 1: The study of religions: Beliefs, Teachings and Practices based on Christianity and Islam

How it is assessed:

  • The qualification will be graded on a nine-point scale: 1 to 9
  • Written exam: 1 hour 45 minutes
  • 96 marks, plus 6 marks for spelling, punctuation and grammar (SPaG)
  • 50% of GCSE

Religion 1: Christianity

Students will study the influence of the beliefs, teachings and practices on individuals, communities and societies. Refer to a range of different Christian perspectives in their answers including Catholic, Orthodox and Protestant as identified below:

Key Beliefs

The nature of God
Different Christian beliefs about creation including the role of Word and Spirit (John 1:1-3 and Genesis 1:1-3)
Different Christian beliefs about the afterlife and their importance, including: resurrection and life after death; judgement, heaven and hell.

Beliefs and teachings about:

-the incarnation and Jesus as the Son of God
-the crucifixion, resurrection and ascension
-sin, including original sin
-the means of salvation, including law, grace and Spirit
-the role of Christ in salvation including the idea of atonement.

Worship and festivals

  • Different forms of worship and their significance
  • The role and meaning of the sacraments
  • The role and importance of pilgrimage and celebrations
  • The role of the church in the local and worldwide community
  • The importance of the worldwide Church including:

Religion 2: Islam

Students will study the influence of the beliefs, teachings and practices on individuals, communities and societies. Refer to a range of different Muslim perspectives in their answers, including those from Sunni and Shi’a Islam as identified below:

Key Beliefs

  • The six articles of faith in Sunni Islam and five roots of Usul ad-Din in Shi’a Islam, including key similarities and differences.
  • Tawhid (the Oneness of God), Qur’an Surah 112.
  • The nature of God: omnipotence, beneficence, mercy, fairness and justice/Adalat in Shi’a Islam
  • Angels, their nature and role, including Jibril and Mika’il.
  • Predestination and human freedom and its relationship to the Day of Judgement.
  • Akhirah (life after death), human responsibility and accountability, resurrection, heaven and hell.
  • Risalah (Prophethood) including the role and importance of Adam, Ibrahim and Muhammad.
  • The holy books
  • The imamate in Shi'a Islam: its role and significance


  • Five Pillars of Sunni Islam and the Ten Obligatory Acts of Shi’a Islam
  • Shahadah: declaration of faith and its place in Muslim practice.
  • Salah and its significance
  • Jummah; key differences in the practice of salah in Sunni and Shi’a Islam, and different Muslim views about the importance of prayer.

Duties and festivals

  • Sawm: the role and significance of fasting during the month of Ramadan including origins, duties, benefits of fasting, the exceptions and the Night of Power, Qur’an 96:1-5.
  • Zakah: the role and significance of giving alms including origins and Khums in Shi’a Islam.
  • Hajj: the role and significance of the pilgrimage to Makkah including origins, how hajj is performed
  • Jihad: different understandings of jihad: the meaning and significance of greater and lesser jihad
  • Festivals and commemorations and their importance for Muslims in Great Britain today, including the origins and meanings of Id-ul-Adha, Id-ul-Fitr and Ashura.

Component 2: Thematic studies

How it is assessed:

  • The qualification will be graded on a nine-point scale: 1 to 9
  • Written exam: 1 hour 45 minutes
  • 96 marks, plus 3 marks for spelling, punctuation and grammar (SPaG)
  • 50% of GCSE

Students will study a total of four themes from Component 2.

Students will study religious teachings, and religious, philosophical and ethical arguments, relating to the issues that follow, and their impact and influence in the modern world. They will be aware of contrasting perspectives in contemporary British society on all of these issues.

Students will make specific references to sources of wisdom and authority including scripture and/or sacred texts. They will refer to any relevant religious text such as the Bible, the Qur’an and Hadith.

Students must be able to explain contrasting beliefs on the following issues in each theme with reference to the main religious tradition in Britain (Christianity) and one or more other religious tradition (Islam):

Theme 1: Religion and life

  • Abortion.
  • Euthanasia.
  • Animal experimentation.
  • The origins and value of the universe

Theme 2: Religion, peace and conflict

  • Religion, violence, terrorism and war
  • Weapons of mass destruction.
  • Pacifism.
  • The meaning and significance of peace, justice, forgiveness and reconciliation.
  • Terrorism.
  • Religion and belief as a cause of war and violence in the contemporary world.
  • Nuclear weapons, including nuclear deterrence and the use of weapons of mass destruction.
  • Religion and peace-making in the contemporary world including the work of individuals influenced by religious teaching.
  • Religious responses to the victims of war including the work of one present day religious organisation.

Theme 3: Religion, crime and punishment

  • Corporal punishment.
  • Death penalty.
  • Forgiveness.
  • Religion, crime and the causes of crime
  • Good and evil intentions and actions, including whether it can ever be good to cause suffering.
  • Reasons for crime, including poverty and upbringing, mental illness and addiction, greed and hate and opposition to an unjust law.
  • Views about different types of crime, including hate crimes, theft and murder.
  • Religion and punishment
  • The aims of punishment
  • The treatment of criminals
  • Forgiveness
  • The death penalty

Theme 4: Religion, human rights and social justice

  • Status of women in religion.
  • Freedom of religious expression.
  • Human rights
  • Prejudice and discrimination in religion and belief, including the status and treatment within religion of women and homosexuals.
  • Social justice.
  • Racial prejudice and discrimination.
  • Wealth and poverty including the right attitude to wealth and the uses of wealth.
  • Exploitation of the poor including fair pay, excessive interest on loans and people-trafficking.
  • Charity, including issues related to giving money to the poor.