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Religious Studies

Statement of intent

It is our intent for the Religious Education element of our Academy curriculum to engage, inspire, challenge and encourage students, equipping them with the knowledge and skills to answer challenging questions about the world around them. Religious Education is the “core of the core curriculum” (Pope St John Paul II) at St Mary’s Catholic Academy. Our mission is to educate the whole person in discerning the meaning of their existence. Religious Education is concerned with more than just intellectual knowledge as it includes emotional learning. It is through Religious Education that students are able to consider what it means to be truly human. Religious Education affords students the opportunity to attain harmony between faith and culture. Students will be able to deepen their understanding of God as encountered and taught by Christians. The teaching of Religious Education makes links between the beliefs, practices and value systems of a range of faiths and world-views studied. The Religious Education curriculum will help to develop responsibility and respect for all aspects of diversity, whether it be social, cultural and religious, and prepare students well for life in modern Britain.

The Catholic Education Service makes the purpose of Religious Education in our Catholic Academy clear. Our primary aim is to "help parents, priests and teachers to hand on the Deposit of Faith in its fullness to a new generation of young people so that they may come to understand the richness of the Catholic faith, and thereby be drawn into a deeper communion with Christ in his Church." (Religious Education Curriculum Directory).

The Religious Education Curriculum Directory (RECD) makes the aims of Religious Education explicit:

  • To present engagingly a comprehensive content which is the basis of knowledge and understanding of the Catholic faith

  • To enable students 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 students 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 students 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 (Religious Education Curriculum Directory).

KS3 Curriculum Map

Year 7 Overview - Revelation
The year 7 curriculum seeks to guide students towards an understanding of faith and belief as, initially, a response to humanity’s big questions. This leads on to an understanding of revelation, as they explore key beliefs about God’s work in the world and what Christians know and believe about Jesus. In response to the Incarnation, the Church develops and spreads
Year 7 Topics
  • Autumn Term

    The beginnings

    Introduction to the Big Questions and the human response:

    What are the Big Questions?
    How did polytheism and monotheism develop?
    The Old Testament story and covenants with God.
    The development of prayer. 

    Autumn term 2
    Development of monotheistic belief.
    Philosophy develops proofs for God’s existence.
    Different ways of interpreting scripture.
    How do Catholics implement the key teachings in Genesis – stewardship and sanctity of life?
    What is the history of Catholic-led pastoral care?
    Advent, nativity and Incarnation.

  • Lent Term

    Jesus: the new covenant

    Introduction to the  Jesus of faith and the historical Jesus 

    What is the evidence for Jesus’ existence?}
    Why does it matter that Jesus was both fully divine and fully human?
    What do the miracles of Jesus tell us?
    Why are the Baptism and Transfiguration significant for Christian belief?

    Spring term 2 – Jesus: the Lamb of God 

    How/what did Jesus teach?
    Why were people opposed to Jesus?
    The Passion story.
    Easter: how do Catholics celebrate it.
    What do Christians believe about life after death?

  • Summer Term

    The foundations of the Church

    Exploring the birth of the Church and significant moments in its development

    What was the Ascension?
    Why is Pentecost the ‘birth of the Church’?
    Why is St Paul important in the early Church?
    How did the Gospels come to be written?
    How did Christianity spread?
    What happened to Christianity in the Reformation? 

    Summer term 2 – the Church in the world

    How do Christians view other faiths?
    How does the Catholic Church deal with current prejudices in the modern world (e.g. sexism/racism)?
    Islam – beliefs and practices.

Year 8 Overview - Living the faith

The year 8 curriculum explores the ways in which the Catholic faith is lived out through the sacraments and the Christian vocation, in its many forms. We then explore how the Church engages with the world, through Catholic Social Teaching and its practical iterations. Students will reflect on the complexity of moral decision making and the teaching of the Church on sin and forgiveness. Students will end year 8 by considering issues around sex, marriage and the family.

Year 8 Topics
  • Autumn Term

    The Sacramental Life

    The sources of the Church’s teaching.
    How do sacraments use symbols?
    Baptism, Confirmation and Eucharist – sacraments of initiation.
    The significance of the mass.
    The Church as the Body of Christ/the prophetic role of the Church. 

    Autumn term 2 – The Catholic vocation

    Reflecting on what it means to be called to Christian discipleship.
    What does vocation mean?
    The link between sacrifice and love.
    Does Jesus call us all to be saints?
    What are the virtues?
    The vocation to the priesthood or religious life.

  • Lent Term

    Living the Christian life

    How did Catholic Social Teaching originate?
    Key themes: Common Good, Solidarity, Work.
    What is Liberation Theology?
    How does the Church view those on the margins of society? 

    Spring term 2 – Taking the Gospel out into the world

    What is globalization and how does the Church view it?
    What is sustainability?
    The work of CAFOD,
    Should Christians be involved in politics?
    Case study: Christian view of war.

  • Summer Term

    Personal morality

    Reflecting on the moral life 

    The complexity of moral decisions; different approaches.
    How does the Church help us to make moral decisions? Bible, conscience, Church teaching, Natural Law.
    What is sin?
    What does Jesus teach about forgiveness?
    Sacrament of reconciliation 

    Summer term 2 – Personal morality: sexual morality

    What is the Catholic attitude to social media/pornography?
    Catholic teaching: what is sex for?
    What is marriage for?
    How is the home the ‘domestic Church’?
    Why is the family important to Catholics?
    Why is Mary a role model for the Church?

Year 9 Overview

The GCSE course begins in Y9 and comprises study of a second Abrahamic religion: Judaism, discerning theological concepts such as the nature of the Almighty, Covenant, Messiah and Sanctity of Life. This course is approved by Catholic Bishops of England and Wales, mapped specifically to the Catholic Directory for Education and brings to life the foundations of faith and practice. The summer term enables our students to focus predominantly on learning Catholic Beliefs, Teachings and Practices, whilst developing an in-depth understanding of the academic discipline of Theology. The course allows students to delve deeper into the Roman Catholic faith, studying such topics as the Trinity, Apostolic Tradition, Papal Authority, the Sacraments, Catholic Social Teaching and Religious Art.

Year 9 Topics
  • Autumn Term

    The nature of God
    Life on Earth
    The afterlife

  • Lent Term

    Worship: practices in Britain and elsewhere
    The Synagogue
    Daily Life
    Festivals: practices in Britain and elsewhere

  • Summer Term

    Origins and Meaning
    Beliefs: Creation
    Sources: The Bible
    Forms: Painting
    Forms: Symbolism
    Practices: Loving and Serving

KS4 Overview

This area of study comprises an in depth exploration of Catholic Christianity as a lived religion in the United Kingdom and throughout the world. There are four sections: Beliefs and Teachings; Practices; Sources of Wisdom and Authority; Forms of Expression and Ways of Life. Students are expected to study Catholic Christianity within the context of the wider British society, the religious traditions of which are, in the main, Christian. Students should compare and contrast the areas of belief and practice within Catholic Christianity with wider Christian perspectives as outlined in the content below:

Year 10 Topics
  • Autumn Term

    Good and Evil
    Good, Evil and Suffering
    Jesus and moral authority
    Sculpture and Statuary

  • Lent Term

    Good and Evil
    Popular devotion as practised in Catholic communities in Britain and elsewhere
    Life and Death
    Death and the afterlife

  • Summer Term

    Life and Death
    The Magisterium
    Music and the Funeral rite
    Prayer within Catholic communities in Britain and elsewhere

Year 11 Topics
  • Autumn Term

    Sin and Forgiveness
    Crime and Punishment

  • Lent Term

    Sin and Forgiveness
    Mission and Evangelisation in Britain and elsewhere

  • Summer Term

    Revision and GCSE examinations.

A Level Overview

Philosophical Language and thought /The existence of God/God and the world/ The Nature of God / Religious Language Normative ethical theories: religious approaches. Applied Ethics. Development in Christian thought – Insight & Living

Year 12 Topics
  • Autumn Term

    Ancient Philosophical influences.
    Soul mind and body.
    Arguments based on observation.
    Natural Law.
    Situation Ethics.
    Kantian Ethics.

  • Lent Term

    Arguments for the existence of God based on observation.
    Arguments for the existence of God based on reason.
    Religious experience.
    Business ethics.

  • Summer Term

    The problem of evil.
    Knowledge of God’s existence.
    Augustine’s teaching on Human Nature.
    Death and the Afterlife.
    The person Of Jesus Christ.
    Christian moral principles and action.

Year 13 Topics
  • Autumn Term

    Gender and Theology.
    The nature or attributes of God.
    Religious Language: Negative, analogical or symbolic.
    Sexual Ethics.
    Meta ethical Theories.
    Religious Pluralism.

  • Lent Term

    Religious Language: Negative, analogical or symbolic.
    Religious Language: 20th century perspectives and philosophical comparisons.
    Gender and Society.
    The challenge of secularism.

  • Summer Term

    Liberation Theology.

St Mary's Catholic Academy

Head Teacher: Mr. Simon Eccles
St. Walburga's Road, Blackpool, FY3 7EQ
01253 396286
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