Loreto College St Albans

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The content of the Religious Education programme of study is guided by the Religious Education Directory (for Catholic Schools). As a Loreto school we endeavour to incorporate the values of Mary Ward through our teaching.

We aim to educate our students to:

  • Make excellent academic progress
  • Provide an education where pupils from all abilities and backgrounds make progress
  • Become mature young adults with a grounding in the fundamental beliefs of the Catholic Church, Sacred Scripture and Catholic Social Teaching
  • Continually deepen their religious and theological understanding and be able to communicate this effectively
  • Present an authentic vision of the Church’s moral and social teaching to provide students with a sure guide for living and the tools to critically engage with contemporary culture and society
  • Appreciate and respect the religious beliefs of other faiths and those with no faith
  • Become confident to confront and engage in the social, political, moral and religious issues of their time and in the context of the rest of the world
  • Enable students to relate the knowledge gained through religious education to their understanding of other subjects in the curriculum

We as a school, through the Religious Education Department, hope that students will:

  • Enjoy their study of Religious Education
  • Achieve their full potential
  • Become religiously literate and consciously 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 recognise the demands of religious commitment in everyday life.
  • Embrace the opportunities for reflection, prayer and Liturgy in its many forms
  • Carry forward the vision of Mary Ward and her values of freedom, justice, truth, sincerity and joy


Religious education is the core of the curriculum and is an academic subject with the same systematic demands and rigour as other subjects studied at Loreto. Religious Education lessons are given 10% of curriculum time for Key Stage 3 and 4 and it is compulsory for students in 6th form to be taught CORE RE for 1 hour per week. Some students in 6th form opt to study Catechetics instead of CORE RE where they are given the opportunity to give back to the community by working in local primary schools.  Other aspects of our curriculum include Liturgy, Holy Days and retreats.

The curriculum in Religious Education is broad and balanced and students are challenged and encouraged to enhance their knowledge and understanding of the subject. The foundation of the subject is continually built upon as students progress through the Key Stages.

Homework is given once per week to consolidate learning. Homework is set on the app, ‘Satchel one’, where parents can monitor it. Time spent on homework varies depending on the task but should take on average, 45 minutes per week for KS3, 1 hour for KS4 and 2 hours plus for KS5.

We use a variety of resources to deliver the curriculum including the following textbooks:

  • Source to Summit – year 7
  • The way, the truth and the life
  • Religious Studies B; Catholic Christianity with Islam and Judaism
  • Religious Studies B; Catholic Christianity with Islam and Judaism – This can be purchased from school

Key Stage 3

Students are taught in their mixed ability form groups and are formally assessed twice a term. Students are tested on the three main skills: knowledge, understanding and evaluation. 

In year 7 students study the following units, as outlined by the Religious Education Directory:

  1. Creation and Covenant – In this unit students are encouraged to explore the meaning and purpose of life as well as the role of God in creation and their lives today. Students will reflect on their role as stewards of creation, how they treat others and their impact in the world.
  2. Prophecy and Promise – In this unit students will study the Bible and its role and impact on the lives of Christians. As the Bible is the word of God students will understand that the study of scripture is central to the life and practice of the Catholic faith.
  3. Galilee to Jerusalem – In this unit, students will examine, who Jesus is, the titles given to him and how Christians come to know God through Jesus.
  4. Desert to Garden – In this unit, students broaden their knowledge and understanding of the ‘Paschal Mystery’. They learn about the Sacraments, including the importance of the Mass. Students will also reflect on the ways in which Jesus is present in the lives of Christians today.
  5. To the Ends of the Earth – In this unit, students learn about the important role and impact of the Holy Spirit in the world.
  6. Dialogue and Encounter – In this unit, students begin with a study of the history of the Church and some of the important ecumenical councils that were held. Following on from this, they study the religion of Islam.

In year 8 students study the following units, as outlined by the Religious Education Directory:

  1. Creation – In this unit, students study the two creation stories in Genesis, how Catholics interpret them and what they teach about the nature of God and human beings. Pupils reflect on the relationship they have with God and the impact of free will and sin.
  2. Covenant – In this unit, students develop their knowledge and understanding of a covenant with a focus on the Covenant with Noah, Abraham and Moses.
  3. The life of Jesus – In this unit, students reflect on the ministry of Jesus and they extend their understanding of who Jesus is as well as what can learnt about him through his teachings and miracles.
  4. The Paschal Mystery – In this unit, students focus on the last week of Jesus’ life and what the crucifixion and resurrection mean for Christians. Students are given the opportunity to reflect on their personal role in salvation.
  5. Mystery of the Eucharist – In this unit, students will study the structure of the Mass in depth. They will reflect on how the Mass helps them to live in the way that God wants.
  6. The Mission of the Church and its role in Britain today – In this unit, students will learn about the history of the Church, its authority and how it works in the world today. Students will also consider their own personal mission in the world today.

In year 9 students study the following units, as outlined by the Religious Education Directory:

  1. The Spiritual Quest – In this unit, students will reflect on the importance of religion and learning about other faiths. study Judaism, Islam, Hinduism and Sikhism.
  2. Life in the Spirit – In this unit, students explore the origins and work of the Holy Spirit in greater depth. They study Pentecost and the sacrament of confirmation with a particular focus on the similarities between the apostles receiving the Holy Spirit at Pentecost and those being confirmed. Students reflect on their faith and their call to service of God and neighbour.
  3. God’s call – In this unit, students will learn about the three vocations in the Catholic church, Holy orders, Religious life and the laity. There is a focus on the Sacraments of Holy Orders and Marriage. Pupils will examine their own personal calling from God and how they can fulfil this in their lives.
  4. Morality and Conscience – In this unit, students will learn about what morality is and what helps them to make good choices. They will examine how the Bible and different ethical theories can help them to make informed decisions.
  5. GCSE: Judaism – beliefs and teachings – Students will begin their study of GCSE Religious Studies. They will look at the core beliefs and teachings of the Jewish religion.

Key Stage 4

Students are taught in sets for GCSE Religious Studies. Students are assessed throughout the course with one formal assessment at the end of each unit. There are three components for the course:

  • Catholic Christianity – 6 units (Creation, Incarnation, The Triune God, Redemption, Church and the Kingdom of God and Eschatology.)
  • World Religions – 2 units (Judaism (beliefs/teachings and practices)
  • Themes – 2 units (Religion, relationships and families and Religion, human rights and social justice)

Students will sit two exams at the end of year 11.

Paper 1: Catholic Christianity – Students are tested on four out of the six units.

Paper 2 and 3: World Religions and Themes – Students sit both papers at the same time and tested on all four units studied.

At Key Stage 4 we aim to:

  • Support progression from Key Stage 3 – the content builds on the understanding developed at Key Stage 3
  • Develop pupils understanding of the Catholic faith and how it should impact in their lives as well as developing their knowledge and understanding of Jewish beliefs and practices
  • Broaden students’ knowledge of the world we live in, our role within the world and what responsibilities we must undertake to stop human suffering.
  • Develop transferable skills for areas of study at KS5

Key Stage 5

Students are taught in mixed ability groups, where a grade 6 at GCSE is required to study A level. Students are formally assessed throughout the two years. At the end of the course, they sit 3 exams on the following topics:

  • Paper 1 – Philosophy of Religion
  • Paper 2 – Religion and Ethics
  • Paper 3 – New Testament Studies

At Key Stage 5 we aim to:

  • Support progression from Key Stage 4 – the content builds on the understanding developed at Key Stage 4, while also ensuring that students new to the subject are appropriately supported.
  • Develop an understanding and appreciation of Religion
  • Develop a holistic understanding of Religion – how it provides answers to fundamental questions about the purpose of human life and an understanding of the influences over time of religious beliefs and practices
  • Provide a focus on scholarship – Students are encouraged to compare the significant ideas presented in works of scholars selected from the fields of philosophy, ethics and religion. This will enable students to reflect on and develop their values, opinions and attitudes in the light of their studies.
  • Develop transferable skills for progression to higher education – students will use ideas from a range of approaches to the study of religions and beliefs in order to research and present a wide range of well-informed and reasonable arguments, which engage profoundly with moral, religious and spiritual issues. This will enable students to make a smooth transition to the next level of study.


  • Students achieve good grades
  • Students enjoy and are motivated to make good academic progress and reach their full potential
  • Students are challenged academically and socially, gaining an understanding of their role in the world around them
  • Homework is marked effectively and is informative. Targets are set to help the learner move forward
  • Students become more confident learners
  • Students take responsibility for their learning and can work independently
  • Through sequencing and retrieval, students are able to retain knowledge and understanding
  • Differentiated tasks enable all students to make progress
  • Students are able to express their views and they respect and understand other people's views
  • A good recording of marks/grades and discussions improve pupil attainment
  • Students know the history of the school and understanding the importance of Mary Ward’s values
  • Students recognise the importance of faith – The Bible, tradition of the Church and the magisterium helps student to make informed moral decisions
  • Students are committed to challenging injustice in the world and have the desire to help others through charitable means

RE Curriculum Maps