Religious Education

Intent

The Religious Education Curriculum Directory (RECD) states that the general principles of RE in a Catholic school is:

  • To present engagingly a comprehensive content which is the basis of knowledge and understanding of the Catholic faith;
  • To enable pupils continually to deepen their religious and theological understanding and be able to communicate this effectively;
  • To present an authentic vision of the Church’s moral and social teaching so that pupils can make a critique of the underlying trends in contemporary culture and society;
  • To raise pupils’ awareness of the faith and traditions of other religious communities in order to respect and understand them;
  • To develop the critical faculties of pupils so that they can relate their Catholic faith to daily life;
  • To stimulate pupils’ imagination and provoke a desire for personal meaning as revealed in the truth of the Catholic faith;
  • To enable pupils to relate the knowledge gained through Religious Education to their understanding of other subjects in the curriculum;
  • To bring clarity to the relationship between faith and life, and between faith and culture.

The outcome of excellent Religious Education is religiously literate and engaged young people who have the knowledge, understanding and skills – appropriate to their age and capacity – to reflect spiritually, and think ethically and theologically, and who are aware of the demands of religious commitment in everyday life.

Implementation

Religious Education is taught throughout the whole school, across all key stages. We adhere to the Religious Education Curriculum Directory, as set out by the Bishops of England and Wales. The charism of Mary Ward and Ignatian spirituality is actively promoted as part of the formation of students, teachers and parents. The Religious Education Department puts into practice the lessons learnt in class through the life and liturgy of the school and our work in the wider community. Mass is celebrated on Fridays, Holy Days and other significant occasions in the school year. We also encourage the whole school to raise money for their chosen charity during lent and we organise hampers for the less fortunate at Christmas. We have links with many local charities and CAFOD.

Each Year Group has a day retreat, where students can take time to reflect on their faith journey outside of the classroom. There is also the annual Key Stage 4 pilgrimage where the girls get the opportunity to travel abroad and visit a place of religious significance. Sixth Form students can take part in our Catechetics course where they learn to pass on their faith to younger children and experience teaching primary school aged children.

The department delivers a range of topics through PSHE. We discuss topics in depth such as human rights, prejudice and discrimination, world religions, sustainability, the sacraments including marriage and relationships.

We also discuss how students can make informed decisions about their future careers. In lessons we explore personal qualities needed in certain roles, in particular leadership roles. Sixth Form students have the opportunity to work with the department to be senior prefects for RE and JPIC (Justice, Peace, Integrity of Creation), where they help in lessons and in extracurricular activities. They also have the opportunity to go on placement to local primary schools where they can embrace the workplace experience.

Key Stage 3

In Key Stage 3 we follow a bespoke programme based on The Way, The Truth and The Life.

YEAR 7: THE WAY 

  • Introduction to the Loreto community
  • Revelation and Faith
  • God’s Promises Fulfilled
  • The Saviour
  • The Church
  • The Sacraments
  • Christianity and Other Faiths

YEAR 8: THE TRUTH

  • Creation
  • Covenant
  • Jesus’ Mission
  • The Mass
  • The Easter Mystery
  • The Mission of the Church
  • The Church of Britain

YEAR 9: THE LIFE

  • The Spiritual Quest: a study of world religions
  • Life in the Spirit looks at the Sacraments of Confirmation, Marriage and Ordination
  • Judaism – Beliefs and Teachings. Pupils begin their GCSE course.

KS3 HOMEWORK

Students in KS3 receive around 30-40 minutes’ homework a week, and may take the form of written work, research, investigations and presentations.

Useful websites which support the KS3 RE course include:

RE online
BBC Bitesize
Kerboodle

GCSE

Religious Education is compulsory for all at GCSE level. Pupils study the AQA Specification B Religious Studies (8063). This includes:

Component 1: Catholic Christianity
Catholic beliefs, teachings, practices, sources of authority and forms of expression in relation to six topics:

  • Creation
  • Incarnation
  • The Triune God
  • Redemption
  • Church
  • Eschatology

At the end of Year 11 students sit a written exam on these topics. It lasts 1 hour 45 minutes. This accounts for half of the final marks.

Component 2: Perspectives on Faith
A study of Judaism and two textual studies themes:

  • Theme A: Religion, relationships and families
  • Theme C: Religion, human rights and social justice

At the end of Year 11 students sit a written exam on these topics. It lasts 1 hour 45 minutes. This accounts for half of the final marks.

KS4 HOMEWORK

Students in KS4 receive around 45-75 minutes’ homework a week, and may take the form of research, planning, revision and exam preparation exercises.

Useful websites for KS4 students:

Kerboodle
RE online
GCSE Bitesize
Mr McMillan REvis
Exam specification

A level

All students receive further religious education in the Sixth From through their Core RE lessons, in addition to those who study the subject at A-level.

The A-level RS specification code is 9RS0 (EDEXCEL).

There are three areas of study:

  1. Philosophical issues
  • Nature & Influence of religious experience
  • Problem of evil and suffering
  • Language
  • Philosophers
  • Influences and developments
  • Significant concepts in issues and debates
  1. Religion and ethics
  • Utilitarianism, situation ethics and natural moral law
  • War & Peace and Sexual Ethics
  • Ethical Language
  • Ethical Theory (including comparison of 2 scholars)
  • Medical ethics
  1. Contexts of the New Testament
  • Texts and Interpretation of the Person of Jesus
  • Interpreting the text and the purpose and authorship of the 4th Gospel
  • Ways of interpreting scripture
  • Texts and interpretation
  • Scientific and historical challenges in faith and history

KS5 HOMEWORK

In Years 12 & 13, students can expect to spend approximately 3 -4 hours per week doing exam practice essays, research, and revision.

Useful websites for Sixth Form students

Exam specifications
Philosophy Dungeon
Revision Tips
Philosophy Crash Course

In Core RE, students follow a two year course where they discuss a range of topics such as Human Rights, Science and Religion, Peace and Conflict and Human Trafficking. They focus on current issues in today’s society and reflect on Church teachings. Core RE is one lesson every week.

Impact

The impact of this has resulted in some pleasing results over the last few years. In 2019, 57% of GCSE students achieved a grade 9-7 in RE, and 80% of students achieving a grade A*-C at A-Level. RE is a core subject at GCSE, and students enjoy their studies with a very good uptake at A-Level. Currently there are 20 Year 12 students and 13 Year 13 students.

Students enjoy a range of extracurricular activities in the RE department. The input from the Sixth Form RE Prefects is truly exceptional as they are involved in a range of whole school activities including being a key part of the chaplaincy team where they help to plan and lead prayer and liturgies throughout the school.

There is an open invitation to the Sixth Form to become Eucharistic Ministers and Catechists and to do outreach work. As well as having lessons in school our General RE students are encouraged to live out their faith by visiting sick, elderly, homeless and housebound members of our community.

All year groups enjoy retreats where they have the opportunity to be creative and reflective with their peers. Students at KS3 are involved in the Snug Club where they have the opportunity to interact with their peers and have a lunchtime in a safe space where they can play and reflect.

Students are also involved in the chaplaincy and JPIC group – Justice and Peace and Integrity of Creation. With the support of sixth form prefects and staff, students live out their faith in a variety of ways. The harvest festival is celebrated by a donation to the local food back where students are encouraged to make a donation. Christmas hampers for St Vincent de Paul are delivered by staff and students make contributions to these during Advent. Lenten Fundraising is an enjoyable way for students to raise funds and awareness of a variety of causes, and reflect on the important of caring for others.

Throughout the year we celebrate mass as a community. A whole school welcome mass in September is celebrated, and Year 7 students have a special welcome mass for them and their parents to welcome them to the Loreto community. We also celebrate holy days of obligation as a school, and have Advent and Lent assemblies. Friday mass is celebrated by the Parish priest and is prepared by KS3 classes. This is open to all students and staff to attend. We also have leavers masses for Year 13 and an exam mass for Year 11. We end the school year with a whole school mass of thanksgiving. None of these could take place without the commitment and engagement of our students and prefects.