Skip to content ↓

Willows High School

Religious Studies

igious Education - Miss L.Guilfoyle

Name:    Miss L.Guilfoyle
Twitter: @willows_RE

Why does my child study RE?

What is RE?

Religious education is the study of human beliefs, ideas and behaviour. Religious education is studied because it can raise tolerance, reduce bigotry, develop thinking skills and help us develop a deeper understanding of our own opinion and faith.

Why is RE important?

The importance of religious education religious education develops pupils’ knowledge and understanding of, and their ability to respond to, Christianity and the other principal religions represented in Great Britain. By exploring issues within and across faiths, pupils learn to understand and respect different religions, beliefs, values and traditions (including ethical life stances), and their influence on individuals, societies, communities and cultures.

RE encourages pupils to consider questions of meaning and purpose in life. Pupils learn about religious and ethical teaching, enabling them to make reasoned and informed judgements on religious, moral and social issues. Pupils develop their sense of identity and belonging, preparing them for life as citizens in a plural society. Through the use of distinctive language, listening and empathy, RE develops pupils’ skills of enquiry and response.

RE encourages pupils to reflect on, analyse and evaluate their beliefs, values and practices and communicate their responses. RE does not seek to urge religious beliefs on pupils nor compromise the integrity of their own beliefs by promoting one religion over another. Pupils learn to articulate clearly and coherently their personal beliefs, ideas, values and experiences while respecting the right of others to differ.

RE is not the same as collective worship, which has its own place within school life

The law and RE

The law requires that local authority RE agreed syllabuses and RE syllabuses used in academies that are not designated with a religious character ‘must reflect the fact that the religious traditions in Great Britain are in the main Christian, while taking account of the teaching and practices of the other principal religions represented in Great Britain’. This means that from the ages of 5 to 19 pupils in schools* learn about diverse religions and worldviews, including Christianity and the other principal religions. Some schools with a religious character will prioritise learning about and from one religion, but all types of school need to recognise the diversity of the UK and the importance of learning about its religions and worldviews, including those with a significant local presence.


Students are assessed during lessons and a formal assessment is done at the end of each unit of work. These assessments cover the two attainment targets ‘Learning about religions’ and ‘Learning from religion’.

Each attainment target has been given three strands:

Attainment target 1: Learning about religions

■ Knowledge and understanding of religious beliefs and teachings;

■ Knowledge and understanding of religious practices and lifestyles;

■ Knowledge and understanding of ways of expressing meaning.

Attainment target 2: Learning from religion

■ Skill of asking and responding to questions of identity and experience;

■ Skill of asking and responding to questions of meaning and purpose;

■ Skill of asking and responding to questions of values and commitments.

Classes are taught in ability sets.

Key Stage 3: Years7-9

Year 7 RE is taught as part of the Journey 7 course.

Year 8

Autumn 1

Autumn 2

Spring 1

Spring 2

Summer 1

Summer 2

Why do we study RE?






In year 8 we study each of the five main world religions. The pupils will discover what these religious groups believe, how they express and celebrate their faith and how being part of that religious group has an impact on their everyday life.

Year 9




The sanctity  of life

Prejudice and discrimination

The final Frontier

(life after death)

The RE course for year 9 pupils focuses on ethical issues and looks at each issue from different religious perspectives. The pupils develop their debating skills and are encouraged to consider their own thoughts and opinions about these controversial and emotive subjects.


Key Stage 4: GCSE/Compulsory


RE is compulsory at Key stage 4; however it is optional to take the full GCSE course.

The course will shortly be changing but at present pupils study the OCR GCSE religious studies (B) philosophy and ethics course.

The GCSE Full Course consists of four units.  

(Religion studied – Christianity)

  • Unit B601: Philosophy 1(Deity, End of Life)
  • Unit B602: Philosophy 2 (Good and Evil, Science)
  • Unit B603: Ethics 1 (Relationships, Medical Ethics,)
  • Unit B604: Ethics 2 (Peace and Justice, Equality,)

B601 – Belief about Deity (philosophy)

B601 – The end of life (philosophy)

  • Beliefs about the nature of God
  • What is God like?
  • The Characteristics of God
  • Belief in God
  • Arguments for design
  • Religious experience
  • Morality
  • Miracles
  • God intervening through the world
  • Life after death
  • Beliefs about heaven
  • Beliefs about hell
  • Beliefs about purgatory
  • Salvation and redemption
  • The suffering of Christ
  • God as judge
  • Funeral rites


B602 -  Good and evil (philosophy)

B602 – Religion and science (philosophy)

  • The fall, original sin and redemption
  • Why is there evil and suffering in the world?
  • Responses to the problem of evil
  • Coping with suffering
  • Sources and reasons for moral behaviour.
  • Conscience
  • Faith
  • Origins of the world and life
  • Teachings about the origins of the world and humanity
  • The relationship between scientific and religious theories
  • The place of humanity in relation to animals
  • Attitudes to animals and their treatment
  • Environmental issues
  • Stewardship


B603 – Religion and human relationships (Ethics)

B603 – Religion and medical ethics (Ethics)

  • Family life
  • Roles of men and women in the family
  • Roles of men and women in the church
  • Marriage
  • The Christian Marriage ceremony
  • Divorce
  • Teachings about divorce
  • The work of agencies such as Relate.
  • Sexual relationships
  • Contraception
  • Abortion
  • Attitudes towards abortion
  • Fertility treatment
  • The treatment of embryos
  • Is cloning positive for society?
  • Euthanasia and suicide
  • Religious attitudes towards euthanasia an suicide
  • Palliative care
  • Animals and medical research
  • Christian beliefs about the position of animals in the created order
  • Is it ever right to be cruel to animals?


B604 -  Religion ,peace and justice (Ethics)

B604 – Religion and equality

  • The just war theory
  • Attitudes towards violence
  • Pacifism
  • Justice
  • Punishment
  • Treatment of criminals
  • Social injustice
  • The principle of equality
  • Attitudes towards racism
  • Individual religions attitudes to other religions
  • Gender discrimination
  • Forgiveness
  • Reconciliation


Each individual unit equals 25% of the total GCSE mark. The pupils sit two 2 hour papers at the end of year 11. There is no coursework.

Careers with RE

This course is an excellent basis for a number of careers, including working in the police or as a counsellor, social worker, lawyer, Doctor, nurse, youth worker, teacher, in organisations such as the Peace Corps or Amnesty international, or in any career that requires an understanding of people.

Compulsory RE

Year 10

Year 10 pupils will have one compulsory RE lesson a fortnight.

During year 10 pupils will study




Is religion dangerous?

  • Dangers of religion
  • Terrorism
  • challenging extremism
  • Conflict resolution
  • War
  • Is it ever right to go to war?

Religion and the media.

  • Different forms of media
  • How is religion represented in the Media?
  • Censorship and freedom of speech.
  • Religion and comedy- is it ok to joke about religion?

Religion and the Environment.

  • Creation
  • The purpose of humankind
  • Chico Mendes
  • Pollution
  • Environmental issues
  • Natural resources

Year 11

Year 11 pupils have one compulsory RE/PSE lesson a fortnight.

During year 11 pupils will study




Preparing to leave school

  • Careers wales
  • College applications
  • Preparing for your college interview
  • How to write a CV.
  • How to apply for a job.
  • How to prepare for a job interview.

Religion poverty and wealth

  • Poverty as a local and global issue
  • Causes of poverty
  • Different responses to the problem of poverty
  • Christian teachings about caring for others
  • The value and the misuses of money in society
  • Biblical teachings about the value of money
  • Moral and immoral occupations

Preparing for exam season.

  • How do I revise?
  • Revision techniques for individual learners.
  • How to cope with exam stress

There is no Exam for this course.

Awarding Body



Extra-Curricular Activities


GCSE RE revision support available to all key stage 4 pupils after school once a week.

Useful Web Links