Religious Education (Core Syllabus)
Religious Education (RE) is a compulsory part of the Northern Ireland curriculum, although parents have the right to withdraw their child from part or all of RE or collective worship. RE is provided in accordance with the core syllabus drawn up by the four main churches and specified by the Department of Education. Recently the Churches have reviewed the RE core syllabus and the Minister for Education has accepted the Proposals. The revised RE core syllabus includes Christianity, Morality and for the first time, a requirement at Key Stage 4 for pupils to study The Christian Church from both a Protestant and Roman Catholic perspective.
What does the Revised Core Syllabus involve?
The subject content is divided into three learning objectives with the major topics listed as follows:-
LEARNING OBJECTIVE 1: THE REVELATION OF GOD
Pupils should develop an awareness, knowledge, understanding and appreciation of the key Christian teachings about God (Father, Son and Holy Spirit), about Jesus Christ and about the Bible; and develop an ability to interpret and relate the Bible to life.
- The person and ministry of Jesus.
- His identity ii. His teaching iii. His deeds iv. His death v. His Resurrection
- The person and ministry of the Holy Spirit
LEARNING OBJECTIVE 2: THE CHRISTIAN CHURCH
Pupils should develop a knowledge, understanding and appreciation of the growth of Christianity, of its worship, prayer and religious language; a growing awareness of the meaning of belonging to a Christian tradition, and sensitivity towards the beliefs of others. Pupils should study the following topics from the Roman Catholic tradition and at least one Protestant tradition.
- The Church calendar
- Church buildings and symbolism
- Styles of worship and participation
- Sacraments, ordinances, practices, and significance for Christian life
- Church and Community
LEARNING OBJECTIVE 3: MORALITY
Pupils should develop their ability to think and judge about morality, to relate Christian moral principles to personal and social life, and to identify values and attitudes that influence behaviour.
- Personal and Family issues
- Life and Global issues
The importance of the RE Core Syllabus
RE is delivered in an inclusive environment where the beliefs of every pupil are respected. The proposals for the revised core syllabus have provided increased curricular flexibility to cater for the needs of the pupils and reflect the ethos of the school. Furthermore, links can be made between RE and other relevant areas of Learning such a Citizenship (Learning for Life and Work). The common core for the teaching of RE alongside the revised curriculum will help to better prepare our young people to deal with the challenges of life and work in today’s global society.
Religious Studies (GCSE)
Why study GCSE Religious Studies?
This specification aims to encourage students to be inspired, moved and changed by following a broad, satisfying and worthwhile study of religion that will challenge and equip them to lead constructive lives in the wider modern world. Religious Studies can also help pupils to reflect on and develop their own values, opinions and attitudes in light of their learning and enhance their spiritual and moral development, as well as contribute to their health and wellbeing.
The subject content aims to enhance students’ personal, social and cultural development, along with their understanding of different cultures locally, nationally and in the wider world, so they may contribute to social and community cohesion.
What does the Full GCSE course involve?
The subject content is divided into Two Units with the major topics listed as follows:
UNIT 1 – Christianity through a Study of the Gospel of Matthew
This unit aims to introduce students to a number of themes in the life and ministry of Jesus, as portrayed in Matthew’s Gospel. In their study students have an opportunity to enhance their knowledge, understanding and ability to evaluate key passages. These passages should be considered both within the religious, political, social and cultural context of Jesus’ day, and in terms of how they influence contemporary Christian lifestyle in all its diversity. Students should also have knowledge and understanding of the purpose, structure and characteristics of Matthew’s Gospel. They should recognise that some of the set passages are relevant to more than one theme.
These themes are:
- The Identity of Jesus;
- Jesus the Miracle Worker;
- Jesus’ Teaching on the Kingdom of God
- The Death and Resurrection of Jesus; and
- The Place and Nature of Christian Discipleship.
UNIT 2 – An Introduction to Christian Ethics
This unit aims to introduce students to ethics within the study of religion. Students explore:
- Personal and Family issues
- Matters of Life and Death
- Developments in Bioethics
- Contemporary Issues in Christianity
- Modern Warfare
Assessment objectives and Weightings
Below are the assessment objectives for this specification. Candidates must:
- describe, explain and analyse, using knowledge and understanding (AO1); and
- use evidence and reasoned argument to express and evaluate personal responses, informed insights and differing viewpoints (AO2).
AO1 and AO2 are interrelated and connections must be made.
The table below sets out the assessment objective weightings for each examination component and the overall GCSE qualification. Each pupil’s ‘quality of written communication’ (QWC) is also taken into consideration during assessment.
|Assessment Objective||Component Weighting|
Short GCSE Course: One externally assessed written paper on one Unit lasting 1 hr 30 min.
Full GCSE Course: Two externally assessed written papers, one on each Unit lasting 1 hr 30 min.
The results of individual assessment units are reported on a uniform mark scale that reflects the assessment weighting of each unit. The grades awarded are determined by aggregating the uniform marks obtained on individual assessment units.
The overall GCSE qualification is awarded on an eight grade scale from A*–G, with A* being the highest.