Head of Religious Studies

Mr S Maer- smaer@ndonline.org


Religious Studies (RS) at Notre Dame is a core academic subject. We have high expectations of success for our students. The subject teaches students to think well. RS asks about meaning and purpose in life from beginning to end. It gives space for individual reflection and wondering who and why. Questioning is encouraged. We explore Christianity through the Catholic tradition, along with other principal religions and world views, and how they affect the fabric of personal and social life. RS does not shy away from identifying the reality of evil, injustice and suffering and it opens up visions of how life for all the world’s citizens may be transformed by truth, beauty and goodness. Critical thinking and creative learning lie at the heart of RS.



Key Stage 3

Year 7

  • Term 1: St Julie & the Notre Dame Community
  • Term 2: Prayer & the Liturgical Year
  • Term 3: Discipleship & the Sacraments
  • Term 4: Church, Denominations & Ecumenism
  • Term 5: Saints & House Patrons
  • Term 6: Judaism


Year 8

  • Term 1: Prophets
  • Term 2: Jesus
  • Term 3: Plgrimage
  • Term 4: Mass
  • Term 5: Religion & Film
  • Term 6: Islam


Year 9

  • Term 1: Faith Challenges: God & Suffering
  • Term 2: The Bible, Science & Religion
  • Term 3: Luke’s Gospel: Parables & Miracles
  • Term 4: Love & Sexual Ethics
  • Term 5: Buddhism
  • Term 6: Beliefs & Values (GCSE)


Key Stage 4

We deliver the Catholic Christianity course set by EDEXCEL (Units 3 & 10). The students cover Unit 10: Catholic Christianity in Year 10 and Unit 3: Religion and Life in Year 11. This GCSE is now linear, so two exams are sat at the end of Year 11.

Year 10

  • 10.1: Beliefs & Values
  • 10.2: Community & Tradition
  • 10.3: Worship & Celebration
  • 10.4: Living the Christian Life


Year 11

  • 3.1: Believing in God
  • 3.2: Matters of Life & Death
  • 3.3: Marriage & the Family
  • 3.4: Religion & Community Cohesion


Key Stage 5

The RS Department offers an A Level in Philosophy & Ethics. Course content is as follows:


Philosophy of Religion

  • Ancient Greek influences on philosophy of religion
  • Judaeo-Christian influences on philosophy of religion
  • Traditional arguments for the existence of God
  • Challenges to religious beliefs

Religious Ethics

  • Ethical Theories: Natural Law; Kantian ethics; Utilitarianism & Religious ethics
  • Applied Ethics Topics: abortion, right to a child, euthanasia, genetic engineering, war & peace



Philosophy of Religion

  • Religious language
  • Experience and religion
  • Nature of God
  • Life and death
  • Miracles

Religious Ethics

  • Meta-ethics
  • Free will and determinism
  • Conscience
  • Virtue ethics
  • Applied Ethics Topics: environmental and business ethics, sexual ethics



Key Stage 3

Each unit of work is assessed by written levelled assessments on a termly basis (6 weeks). These assessments follow the examination technique required for success at GCSE and as such are an excellent grounding for KS4.


Key Stage 4

Every student takes GCSE RS. They complete an assessment at the end of each of the eight modules covered over the two year. In addition to these formal assessments, students are regularly tested on key words and given at least one practice exam question each lesson. These are designed to prepare them for two final GCSE exams taken at the end of Year 11.


Key Stage 5

Students who choose to take Philosophy and Ethics are prepared for their A Level exams through practice essays at the end of each topic listed in the OCR specification. The AS GCE is made up of two mandatory units which are externally assessed and form 50% of the corresponding four-unit Advanced GCE. The Advanced GCE is made up of two mandatory units at AS and two further units at A2. These A2 units are also externally assessed.