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Key Stage 4

Time Allocation
Religious Education is studied for three hours per week, which fulfils the requirements of the Bishops’ Conference.

Mixed ability classes.

Exam Board: AQA Specification B

Course Content
GCSE RE is an interesting, challenging and thought-provoking course, which encourages students to deepen their understanding of the Catholic faith as well as the faiths of others. The course is divided into three components: Catholic Christianity, Judaism and Thematic Studies. These components give students the opportunity to discuss controversial and sensitive issues, such as euthanasia, the sanctity of life and equality in a safe environment where constructive debate is encouraged. Students will develop their evaluation and referencing skills and familiarise themselves with highly sophisticated texts, including the Catechism of the Catholic Church, the Tenakh, Pope John Paul II’s ‘Theology of the Body’ among others. They will then be able to use these sources of religious authority to help them understand fundamental religious teachings, before applying them to modern day life, comparing religious and secular views. Prior to starting the GCSE course, students will complete a unit of work in Philosophy and a unit of Islam.

Below is a summary of the KS4 content: 


Year 9

Year 10

Year 11

Autumn 1

Topic: Philosophy


Areas of study:

  • Plato
  • Arguments for the existence of God (cosmological; ontological; teleological)
  • Evil and suffering
  • Free will


Topic: Catholic Christianity: Incarnation


Areas of study:

  • Jesus as the Word
  • The annunciation and God’s message to Joseph
  • St Irenaeus’ teachings about Jesus
  • Use of religious artwork
  • Moral teachings of Jesus
  • Abortion



Topic: Theme A: Religion, relationships and families


Areas of study:

  • Human beings as sexual, male and female
  • Pope John Paul II’s Theology of the Body
  • The nature of marriage, marriage promises and cohabitation
  • The nature and purpose of the family
  • Family planning and contraception
  • Catholic teaching on the equality of men and women

Autumn 2

Topic: Islam

Areas of study:

  • Beliefs and teachings
  • Five Pillars
  • Religious festivals
  • Dietary laws
  • Islam in society
  • Islamophobia

Topic: Catholic Christianity: Triune God

Areas of study:

  • Use of music in worship
  • Acclamations in the Mass
  • Triune God in the Bible
  • The Trinity and God’s love
  • The authority of the Magisterium
  • Baptism

Topic: Theme C: Religion, human rights and social justice

Areas of study:

  • Human dignity and religious freedom
  • Human rights
  • Rights and responsibilities
  • Wealth creation and exploitation
  • Catholic teachings about poverty
  • Racial prejudice and discrimination
  • First mock

Spring 1

Topic: Judaism: Beliefs and Teachings

Areas of study:

  • Nature of God
  • Life after death and judgement
  • Messianic Age
  • Promised Land and covenant with Abraham
  • Moses and the Ten Commandments
  • Sanctity of life
  • Mitzvot and free will

Topic: Catholic Christianity: Redemption

Areas of study:

  • Church architecture
  • Role of Jesus in restoration
  • St Irenaeus’ and St Anselm’s thoughts on salvation
  • Redemption in the Bible
  • Different Christian understandings of the Eucharist
  • Prayers in Mass and adoration
  • Students will revisit Judaism content and commence revision for GCSE exams.
  • Second mock

Spring 2

Judaism: Practices

Areas of study:

  • Synagogue
  • Worship at home
  • Rituals and ceremonies
  • Festivals
  • Written and oral law
  • Dietary laws

Topic: Catholic Christianity: Church and the Kingdom of God

  • Pilgrimage and the Stations of the Cross
  • Evangelism in drama
  • Signs of the Kingdom: justice, peace and reconciliation
  • Second Vatican Council
  • Conciliar and Pontifical nature of the Church
  • Vocations
  • Lessons and immersion sessions which provide bespoke tasks for students based on the mock exam outcomes.


Topic: Catholic Christianity: Creation

Areas of study:

  • Origins of the Bible
  • Catholic interpretations of creation story
  •  Michelangelo’s ‘Creation of Adam’
  • Natural Law and the role of conscience
  • Religion and science
  • Stewardship and sustainability
  • Revision and preparation for end of year assessments

Topic: Catholic Christianity: Eschatology

Areas of study:

  • Eschatology and life after death
  • Michelangelo’s ‘The Last Judgement’
  • The last four things
  • Purgatory
  • The Church’s teachings on the end of time
  • The last rites and funeral rites
  • Care of the dying and euthanasia
  • Revision and preparation for Year 10 mock exams

Formative Assessment
Students will be assessed at the end of each topic. Their assessment paper will follow the structure of AQA exams to build familiarity. Students will also complete common task assessments midway through topics to check progress and understanding.

Summative Assessment

There are three elements to the final assessment of this course:

Paper 1 (50%): Catholic Christianity

Paper 2 (50%): Judaism (25%); Thematic Studies (25%)

Both assessments will take place at the end of Year 11.


Skills Profile: What skills will a GCSE RE student have?
As a student of RE you will be able to discuss sensitive topics respectfully, expressing ideas and supporting them with evidence from sources of authority. You will also be continuously seeking to link religious beliefs and practices to modern society, and applying religious concepts to recent events. As you build on your written and verbal communication skills, you should be making efforts to incorporate the use of religious language within your responses.

Career opportunities
Many students go into further study, teaching or careers in a wide variety of fields. Students learn a wide variety of skills through religious studies, like critical thinking, clear academic writing, problem solving and analysis of social and historical trends. These lend themselves to any number of different jobs.

For this reason, students go on to work as journalists, politicians, accountants, police officers, interior designers; the spectrum of possibilities is almost limitless. A substantial percentage of theology graduates train for a career in law. The ethical aspect of theology lends itself to a career in the third sector, and many graduates end up working for charities and non-governmental organisations, either with a religious mission or without.

Famous Subject Specialists:

Jack Gleeson (actor, Game of Thrones): Philosophy and Theology

Theo James (actor, Divergent trilogy): Philosophy

Katy Brand (writer, comedian): Theology

Ricky Gervais (comedian): Philosophy

Justin Vernon (musician, Bon Iver): Religious Studies

Maggie Gyllenhaal (actress, White House Down): Eastern Religions and Philosophy

Martin Luther King Jr (civil rights activist): Theology

For more information, please contact Miss Boland (Curriculum Leader) or any member of the RE department. In addition, you can refer to the AQA website