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Religious Education


Religious Education Syllabus

Pupils in Rathfriland High school will study a range of topics during their time within the Religious Education Department.  The following is a list of all the topics studied by each year group in detail.

Year 8

  1. God and the Bible – Discovering the origins and backgrounds to the Holy Bible. Finding out what others have to say about the Bible and its relevance for our lives today. Learning to use the Bible as our textbook.
  2. The Christmas story – Knowing the details of the Christmas story and looking at how this is more than just a commercial event.
  3. Who am I? – A study of the nature of human beings and what makes us who we really are. Could we really be just a collection of cells and strands of DNA, or, is there more to our lives? What does God have to say about our Identity and our Future?
  4. Respect for the Environment’ – Looking at how people believe that the world began and how we should care for our environment.
  5. Judaism – Studying their key beliefs, the Synagogue, important Festivals such as Passover and Bar Mitzvah.


Year 9

  1. God’s Covenant with Abraham – Studying the life of Abraham and his journey of faith. Understanding what a covenant is and how God made a covenant with Abraham.
  2. God’s Covenant with Moses – Knowing the life of Moses, the events that took place as the Israelites were released from slavery in Egypt, the 10 commandments and how the Israelites wondered in the desert.
  3. Child Soldiers – Identifying how some children in the world are forced into war and how charity organisations seek to stop this. 
  4. Islam - Investigate the Five pillars of Islam. Explore how the religious beliefs, practices and lifestyles of people of world faiths, other than Christianity, have influenced the development of various cultural traditions (in N. Ireland), for example, positive valuing of festivals and traditions from various cultures and religions.

Year 10

  1. Parables – Using the stories that Jesus taught as a sign-post for life in our world. Issues such as tolerance, prejudice, bitterness, forgiveness and hope will be considered in this unit.
  2. Jesus’ Relationships – Investigating how Jesus valued the outcasts in society and how others need to be valued in our world today. We will be learning how Jesus reached out to those in need and revealed that he was God in human form through his miracles.
  3. Easter – Examining the events surrounding the last week in the life of Jesus Christ as he makes his way to Jerusalem and the Cross of Calvary.


Year 11 and 12 Non Exam Class

This is a summary of the topics covered in Year 11 and 12 Non-Exam Class: -

Christian Character Studies – Corrie Ten Boom and the life story of Jim Elliot

Right to Life - Abortion and Euthanasia

Marriage and Divorce

War and Peace

Crime and Punishment


Prejudice and Discrimination



The reason as to why people study Religious Studies at school is to enlighten them and educate them on the Bible’s teachings and to encourage them to respond to moral issues in light of what the Bible says.

The table below summarises the structure of the Full GCSE course. Full course pupils study two units.

Pupils take both assessment units at the end of two years of study.





Units studied:

· Mark’s Gospel

· Christianity Ethics

Two externally assessed written papers, lasting 1 ½ hours each

Each written paper worth 50%


There will be a single tier of entry.

Mark’s Gospel includes the following topics:

  • Jesus’ identity
  • Jesus’ miracles
  • Discipleship
  • Easter Story
  • Kingdom of God

‘Christianity: Ethics’ includes the following topics:

  • Matters of life and death (Abortion and Euthanasia)
  • Personal and family issues
  • Development om bioethics
  • Contemporary issues in Christianity (prejudice and discrimination, poverty and fair trade)
  • Modern warfare


Religious Education Aims of RE

The aim of R.E is to: -

  • Develop mutual understanding and respect for one another and to be able to evaluate insights, experiences, beliefs, practices and concepts so that they are able to continue in, or come to, their own beliefs.
  • R.E. should provide an environment where personal issues may be discussed assisting pupil’s personal, moral and spiritual growth.

Related aims: -

  • To promote and encourage the develop of religious knowledge
  • To become spiritually aware
  • To promote and develop in the pupil a degree of moral competence.


R.E. is the only subject that allows pupils to develop morally, pastorally and socially for life. It is the only subject that, (if well managed and lead over the next ten years), can enable pupils through an examination of historical facts to make sense of our ever increasingly diverse and challenging world, to make sense of contemporary issues.

ASSESSMENT AND CRITICAL EVALUATION Assessment is an integral part of the learning process in R.E. It is vital that pupils are assessed by their superiors but also the pupils need to have experience of peer marking and self-marking. This “marking for improvement” strategy not only develops pupils understanding but also gives them the opportunity to develop their critical evaluation skills which has become a vital part the curriculum itself.


RE is the perfect opportunity to develop pupils’ literacy skills.  In KS4 they are using familiar factual knowledge and using that as a vehicle to develop vital skills. Express and justify feelings and opinions.

  • To question and come to their own opinions as to the values and attitudes which influence them.
  • Explore issues in discussion e.g. issues of morality connected to the 10 commandments or topical issues such as genetically modified food, drug abuse, in the light of Biblical teaching.
  • Present logical arguments for and against issues related to R.E.
  • Hypothesise e.g. “What would Jesus say to a drug addict He met on the street?” Or “Why do you think Jesus did not go to see His sick friend Lazarus sooner?”
  • To share, co-operate, collaborate and develop respect for self, others, God and the environment.
  • To come to an understanding of the values and attitudes that influence them.
  • To question and search for meaning.
  • As in other subjects, children should be encouraged to write with confidence, fluency and accuracy.


  • To express thoughts, feelings and imaginings
  • To inform, explain, describe, recount, narrate, report, record, persuade
  • To organise thoughts and ideas
  • To encourage use of I.C.T.
  • Provide opportunities for pupils to collaborate and constructively criticise


R.E. introduces the pupils with ideas, beliefs, values and essentially life.

Role of the teacher - create an atmosphere of mutual respect - create an atmosphere of reverence for the sacred - promote openness and sensitivity to others.

Key Skills The Education Reform Act 1988 states we should prepare pupils for the opportunities, responsibilities and experience of adult life! Key skills have become an integral part of the curriculum and intend assessment at examination level. The particular skills which aim to develop in R.E. are:-

Reflection, Empathy, Communication, Analysis and Evaluation Reasoning Enquiry


The curriculum aims to prepare pupils morally, pastorally and socially for life DENI Evaluation Criteria on quality teaching stated that the quality of teaching in R.E. is good when it will be seen in …

  • the planning that involves a range of structured activities
  • the opportunities for pupils to discuss religious issues in an atmosphere of mutual respect
  • the forging of appropriate curricular links with subjects like science, history, literature and art
  • a consideration of moral issues in the lives of the pupils
  • the clarity about the relationship between religious belief and personal social behaviour
  • the presentation of a range of complex concepts and material to pupils
  • the regular revision for pupils to reflect on what they have learning
  • The opportunities created for reading and discussion that will engage and motivate all pupils and enable them to develop a sense of morality as well as gaining factual knowledge

Therefore, this is the realistic model which I would hope to enthuse my department to aspire to.


The chief component is not only the development of the child but also in the development of the Christian ethos in day to day work at the school, particularly relationships, policy making and implementation.


The aim of the school is to provide the child with a caring, self-fulfilling educational experience which will enable him or her to become a fulfilled and caring adult

RE gives the pupils:- The ability to relate information on religious themes to everyday life.  The ability to apply hesitant moral teaching to a range of contemporary issues. The ability to listen and evaluate the ideas of others.  Awareness of the spiritual dimension in life.  Understanding of and thoughtfulness towards others.

Career Opportunities

Social work, nursing, teaching, ministry, management, administration, insurance, community work, journalism and the media.

External Agencies

From time to time we avail of the services of a number of external agencies to enhance the promotion of positive self-regard. All agencies engaging directly with the pupils strictly adhere to the policies, values and ethos particular to our school.

We currently offer the services offered by: -

Logos ministries

Scripture Union – Phil Howe


RE StaffMrs L Gough

If you wish to discuss any matter pertaining to the Religious Education Programme in Rathfriland High School, please contact Mrs L Gough who will be pleased to assist you.