Religious Education

In the RE Department we aim to:

  • To give the students the opportunity to come to know the love of God and to grow in their relationship with God in and through Jesus Christ with the help of Mary.
  • To know and understand the teaching and practices of the Catholic Church and Christianity more broadly and other major world faith communities.
  • To consider Christian and secular responses to moral issues and to relate these views to their own lives and goals.
  • To enable students to reflect on their experience of life and on what gives our lives meaning and purpose.
  • To help students to deepen their knowledge, understanding and respect of themselves, others and the world.
  • To develop their own thinking and reasoning on questions of faith, to be better able to answer, ‘What do I believe and why?’

Importantly, it is not expected that pupils entering year 7 will have a developed knowledge of Christianity. In this respect pupils coming from non-Christian Prep/Primary Schools, or those whose families do not attend church, will not be disadvantaged.

Years 7 and 8

In Year 7, pupils study:

  • The Gospel of Luke looking at the role of Mary
  • Modern day apparitions of Mary
  • Discipleship and being a disciple today including the sacrament of Baptism
  • Miracles in the gospel and modern day miracles
  • Prayer
  • The mercy of God and the sacrament of Reconciliation
  • Jesus' death and resurrection and the sacrament of the Eucharist
  • Ascension and Pentecost
  • Experiencing the Holy Spirit in our lives today
  • The sacrament of Confirmation
  • Peter's leadership in Acts and the Pope today 
  • St Paul's travels in Act
  • How Christianity came to Britain

Pupils will also complete an independent project of their own choosing, including the study of another world faith.

In Year 8, pupils study:

  • Isam - the story of Muhammad
  • The Qur'an; the five pillars and the mosque
  • The Old Testament - looking at the themes of Creation, Covenant (focusing on Noah, Abraham and Moses) and its foreshadowing of the New Covenant in Jesus
  • Prophets and prophecy in the Old Testament and today

Pupils also study the Holy Trinity and explore questions about God of their own choosing.

All girls in Year 7 and 8 have time within their curriculum for silent prayer and reflection in the school chapel.

Religious Studies GCSE (Years 9-11)

Pupils begin studying for their Religious Studies GCSE in Years 9 to 11 following the AQA Syllabus B for Religious Studies.

In Year 9, pupils study the religion of Judaism which is worth 25% of their GCSE. They look at beliefs of the Jewish people and the way that Jewish people practice their faith.

In Year 10, pupils study Catholic Christianity under six themes:

  • Creation
  • Incarnation
  • Trinity
  • Redemption
  • Church and the Kingdom of God
  • Eschatology

This is worth 50% of their GCSE

In Year 11, pupils study the Gospel according to Mark. This is the final 25% of their GCSE. The GCSE is examined at the end of Year 11 and there is no coursework to complete.

Religious Studies A Level (Years 12-13)

Course Aims

To enable pupils to:

  • Pursue an enquiring, critical and analytical approach to Religious Studies.
  • Progress in the skills of writing carefully structured and well-reasoned arguments.
  • Examine and reflect on a variety of texts and scholarly views and evaluate their own thinking, perceptions and beliefs in the light of them.
  • Develop excellent independent learning skills in preparation for university. 

Course Details

Pupils follow the syllabus of the Edexcel examination board, studying three areas:

Philosophy of Religion

  • Arguements for the existence of God
  • The problem of evil
  • Religious language
  • Critques of religious belief
  • Life after death including different faith perspective and various philosophical approaches (notably Plato and Aristotle)
  • Science and Religion

Religious Ethics

  • Secular and religious approaches to the environment
  • Prejudice and discrimination
  • Utilitarianism
  • Situation Ethics
  • Natural Law
  • War and Peace
  • Sexual Ethics, meta-ethics, virtue ethics, Kantian ethics, medical ethics

New Testament

  • Different forms of Biblical criticism and ways of interpreting scripture
  • The world of the first century
  • Themes within the synoptic gospels (titles of Jesus, messiahship)
  • Themes within John (Prologue, I am statements, miracles and signs)
  • Why did Jesus have to die?
  • Themes within Luke (the Kingdom of God, crucifixion and resurrection, ethical teaching of Jesus)
  • Scientific and historial-critical challenges to the resurrection

Entry Requirements

The course builds on the knowledge, understanding and skills that pupils develop through GCSE Religious Studies.  However it would be possible for a candidate to follow this course without having studied the GCSE.  What is important is that the pupil is interested in the kinds of questions the course poses.  She needs to have an enquiring mind and be prepared to engage seriously with the subject matter. 

Careers and Support Subjects

Religious Studies provides a good grounding in any career that requires analytical and communication skills, such as: the legal profession, the medical profession, the civil service, marketing and publishing.  It will be of benefit to any careers that require high level decision making and is highly considered by universities and employers.   

For AS/A2 choices, Religious Studies will complement many other subjects, including English, History, Psychology, Languages, Classics as well as Sciences and Maths.  The subject matter is truly cross-curricular, spanning a whole range of disciplines.

Skills to be Developed

Religious Studies is one of the best forms of training for decision makers.  In writing essays one takes information from a wide range of sources, weighs it up and then develops and defends a point of view.  The ability to recognise your own and other people’s presuppositions is an invaluable tool.  Religious Studies gives you an appreciation of the complexities of human nature and enables you to learn how to deal with abstract concepts and to think about some of the deeper dimensions of our existence. 

In handling information, assimilating, evaluating, and presenting it, Religious Studies has the intuitive approach of the arts, but requires the same rigorous, critical and analytical skills as studying scientific subjects.  The subject requires an enquiring mind. It trains one to think logically and to articulate ideas with precision noting any contradictions in the scholarly arguments.

The Edexcel course provides a very thorough grounding in Philosophy of Religion and Moral Philosophy (Ethics) as well as New Testament studies. As such, it is an excellent preparation for candidates who wish to pursue philosophical and or/theological courses at the tertiary level.

Progression to A2 is contingent on achieving grade C or above at AS Level.  Attendance and punctuality records will also be taken into consideration.

Sixth Form Non-Examined Course

All Sixth Formers have one lesson a week of Religious Studies that is non-examined. In this time, students have the opportunity to have time in silence in the school chapel with Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament. Alongside this, students explore religion through film, art, politics and people. They research an area of human rights in the world and enter the Hart Human Rights competition in Year 12.

Extra-Curricular Opportunities

The Religious Studies department provides a wide range of extra-curricular opportunities which are constantly evolving. These include retreat days for all year groups and an optional overnight retreat for Years 7-9 at Worth Abbey. We also run an after-school club (the Chavoin Club) for children and young people with Down's Syndrome. Every summer, the Year 12 students host a meal and concert for visitors from the Notre Dame Refugee Centre, which is a foundation of The Marist Fathers' parish in Leicester Square.