Religious Education


  • Mr W Lines - Head of Religious Studies
  • Ms S Begum - Teacher of Religious Studies

Norlington Reads in RE 

RE Handbook 

Purpose of Study

Religious Studies provokes challenging questions about the ultimate meaning and purpose of life, beliefs about God, the self and the nature of reality, issues of right and wrong and what it means to be human. It develops pupils’ knowledge and understanding of Islam and Christianity as well as other religious traditions and world views.

Religious Studies offers opportunities for personal reflection and spiritual development. It enhances pupils’ awareness and understanding of religions and beliefs, teachings, practices and forms of expression, as well as of the influence of religion on individuals, families, communities and cultures.

Through the study of religions pupils will learn from different religions, beliefs, values and traditions whilst also exploring their own beliefs. Students are challenged to reflect on, consider, analyse, interpret and evaluate issues of truth, belief, faith and ethics and to effectively communicate their responses.

We believe Religious Studies is particularly important in terms of encouraging pupils to develop their sense of identity and belonging. It enables them to flourish individually within their communities and as citizens in a pluralistic society and global community. It also develops key skills such as analysis and evaluation.

 Curriculum Overview

The curriculum is designed to provide all students with a broad knowledge of different faiths and beliefs. Key concepts are introduced in key stage 3, and then developed with greater depth and detail when returned to in later years. Knowledge is built upon sequentially. As students progress through the course they are given opportunities to reflect and build on prior learning. Analytical and evaluative skills are embedded throughout and students are encouraged to develop their own opinions as well as being able to articulate the beliefs of others.

Lessons in review weeks give students the opportunity to draw connections between different concepts in the preceding cycles. For example in year 7 students first study different religious beliefs about God and also holy books. They next look at the different ways in which religious people practice worship. Work in the review week will allow them to consider how these beliefs and practices are interconnected.

In keeping with the recent OFSTED review into religious education the curriculum at Norlington allows students to cover substantive content in depth, rather than covering excessive amounts of information superficially. In addition:

  •  What is taught and learned in RE is grounded in what is known about religion or non-religion from academic study. This helps prevent pupils from developing misconceptions about religion and non-religion.
  • Pupils study certain areas of the RE curriculum in depth and acquire a range of detailed knowledge of different concepts and ideas, which they remember long term. Drawing on this prior knowledge enables them to consider more complex ideas about religion. Leaders and teachers select this ‘depth of study’ from contrasting religious and/or non-religious traditions so that pupils avoid developing misrepresentations.
  • The curriculum is well sequenced to ensure that pupils learn the knowledge they need for later topics.
  • There is a consideration of when pupils should relate the content to their own personal knowledge (for example, their own prior assumptions).
  • How the curriculum is taught and assessed focuses pupils’ attention squarely on the knowledge they need to learn.

Year 7

Cycle 1


Cycle 2

Holy Books

Cycle 3


Cycle 4

Religious rules and Teaching

Cycle 5


Cycle 6

Ultimate Questions

Religions studied: Christianity, Islam, Judaism, Hinduism, Buddhism, Sikhism as well as non-religious points of view.

Year 8

Cycle 1

Prejudice and Equality

Cycle 2

Family and Community

Cycle 3

The Environment

Cycle 4


Cycle 5

Is religion a force of good

Cycle 6

Ultimate questions (Part 2)

Religions studied: Christianity, Islam, Judaism, Hinduism, Buddhism, Sikhism as well as non-religious points of view.

Key stage 4

In year 9 pupils will cover everything that is part of the AQA GCSE syllabus. However, lessons will be sequenced so that logical links will freely be made between beliefs and practices. For instance instead of an isolated lesson on ‘Afterlife’ or ‘Salvation,’ a lesson could be taught on ‘How do Christian beliefs about charity affect the judgement day.’ This opens up the possibility of discussion on Jesus’ teachings and biblical evidence, how Christians conduct charity in the world; discussion of Christian beliefs about the Afterlife (already covered in year 7) and what Jesus’ sacrifice means to Christians. This approach can be conducted over a number of lessons. It historicizes information and will hopefully give pupils a well-rounded understanding of faith. Evaluative questions will underpin all learning in this year. Pupils will have full knowledge at the beginning of each cycle which questions they are working towards answering.

In year 10 lessons will have a greater emphasis on enquiry learning, with each lesson headed by a question. Building on previous knowledge students will be encouraged to develop their responses in the style of the longer form (AO2) exam style questions. This approach allows previous knowledge to be recapped and any misunderstandings addressed, whist also adding greater depth of enquiry and independent thinking.

We follow AQA Religious Studies A (8062). The course has two components:

1. The study of religions
Students learn about the beliefs, teachings and practices of two religions. We choose to study:

  • Islam
  • Christianity

2. Thematic studies
Students study four different themes and apply teachings from Islam and Christianity to each of these. Currently we choose to study:

  • Relationships and families
  • Religion and Life
  • Religion, peace and conflict; and
  • Religion, crime and punishment

For full details of the specification and methods of assessment please visit the AQA website

Key stage 5

Students who choose to study Religious Studies will follow OCR Religious Studies (H173, H573). The course has three components:

1. Philosophy of Religion
Students study philosophical language and thought, and issues and questions raised by belief:
Ancient philosophical influences

  • The nature of the soul, mind and body
  • Arguments about the existence or non-existence of God
  • The nature and impact of religious experience
  • The challenge for religious belief of the problem of evil
  • Ideas about the nature of God
  • Issues in religious language.

2. Religion and Ethics
Students explore key concepts and the works of influential thinkers, ethical theories and their application:

  • Normative ethical theories
  • The application of ethical theory to two contemporary issues of importance
  • Ethical language and thought
  • Debates surrounding the significant idea of conscience
  • Sexual ethics and the influence on ethical thought of developments in religious beliefs.

3. Developments in Religious Thought
Students select one religion. We choose to study Islam. They explore:

  • Religious beliefs, values and teachings, their interconnections and how they vary historically and in the contemporary world
  • Sources of religious wisdom and authority
  • Practices which shape and express religious identity, and how these vary within a tradition
  • Significant social and historical developments in theology and religious thought
  • Key themes related to the relationship between religion and society.

For full details of the specification and assessment please visit the OCR website.