Religious Studies

Faculty Leader (inc. Religious Studies)

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: Prayer
  • Term 2: The Bible
  • Term 3: The Sacraments
  • Term 4 & 5: The Church
  • Term 5 & 6: Sikhism
Year 8
  • Term 1: Islam
  • Term 2: Heroes of Faith
  • Term 3: Jesus
  • Term 4 & 5: Pilgrimage
  • Term 5 & 6: Religion in Film
Key Stage 4
We deliver the Catholic Christianity course set by AQA (Route B). The students cover Component 1: Catholic Christianity in Year 9 and 10 and Component 2: Perspectives on faith in year 10 and 11. Two exams are sat in the May of Year 11.

Year 9
  • Creation
  • Incarnation
  • 4 The Triune God
  • Redemption
Year 10
  • Church and the Kingdom of God
  • Eschatology.
  • Judaism (beliefs)
  • Judaism (practices)
Year 11
  • Religion, relationships and families
  • Religion, human rights and social justice
  • Consolidation of all units and exam preparation
Key Stage 5
The RS Department offers AS and A Level in Philosophy, Ethics and the Development of

Christian Thought (OCR). For exam structure see Assessment below*

Philosophy of religion – 33% (2 hour exam; three questions from four)
  • ancient philosophical influences: Plato & Aristotle
  • the nature of the soul, mind and body
  • arguments about the existence or non-existence of God
  • the nature and impact of religious experience
  • the challenge for religious belief of the problem of evil
  • ideas about the nature of God
  • issues in religious language.
Religion and ethics – 33% (2 hour exam; three questions from four)
  • normative ethical theories: Natural Law, Situation Ethics, Kantian Ethics & Utilitarianism
  • the application of ethical theory to two contemporary issues of importance: Business Ethics & Euthanasia
  • ethical language and thought: Metaethics
  • debates surrounding the significant idea of conscience
  • sexual ethics and the influence on ethical thought
Developments in Christian Thought – 33% (2 hour exam; three questions from four)
 - Insight
  • Augustine’s Teaching on Human Nature
  • Death and the Afterlife
- Foundations
  • Knowledge of God’s Existence
  • The person of Jesus Christ
- Living
  • Christian moral principles
  • Christian moral action
- Development
  • Religious pluralism and theology
  • Religious pluralism and society
 - Society
  • Gender and society
  • Gender and theology
- Challenges
  • The Challenge of Secularism
  • Liberation Theology and Marx
Key Stage 3
Each unit of work is assessed by written graded assessments on a termly basis (6-8 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 modules covered over the three years and complete two mock exams in Year 11. 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 AS and A Level exams through practice essays at the end of each topic listed in the OCR specification. Both AS and A Level contain three mandatory units which are externally assessed. Each unit counts for one third of the overall Grade. AS students study less topics per unit and sit three exams each lasting 1 hour 15 minutes. A Level students are examined in all the topics listed above and sit three 2 hour exams.*