Religious Education

Religious Education provokes challenging questions about the meaning and purpose of life, beliefs about God and issues of right and wrong. It offers opportunities for personal reflection and spiritual development. It explores the influence of religion on individuals, families, communities and cultures and enhances pupils’ awareness of religious beliefs and practices. Religious Education encourages pupils to learn from different religious beliefs and practices while exploring their own. It encourages pupils to reflect on, consider, analyse and evaluate issues of belief, faith and ethics and encourages them to communicate their responses sensitively and effectively.

STAFF

  • Mrs A. Harris – Head of Department

  • Mrs K. Rafferty

  • Mrs E. Heslip

THE IMPORTANCE OF RELIGIOUS EDUCATION

Religious Education plays an important role in preparing pupils for adult life, employment and lifelong learning. In view of this, the general aims of the Religious Education Department of the Royal School, Armagh are as follows;

GENERAL AIMS

  1. To increase spiritual awareness and understanding of the spiritual and religious dimensions of life.

  2. To encourage pupils to examine their own views and reflect on their response to moral questions.

  3. To promote respect for and understanding of others regardless of religion, colour or creed, gender or intellect.

  4. To teach pupils about the central beliefs, ideas and practices of Christianity, Judaism and Islam.

  5. To offer pupils the opportunity to reflect on issues raised in Religious Education, whether through the media or personal experience.

CURRICULUM

 

KEY STAGE 3

The N.I. Core Curriculum for Religious Education covers the following assessment objectives:

  • The Revelation of God

  • The Christian Church

  • Morality and World Religions.

Year 8 (1 period per week)

Life in Palestine at the time of Jesus

Jewish Religious Groups

The Synagogue

Religious Festivals – Passover/Ramadan

Jesus and his ministry.

Year 9 (2 periods per week)

The Bible as a library

Prayer

Jewish Worship

Muslim Worship

The Family

Friends and peers

The Easter Story

Year 10 (1 period per week)

World Religions – Rites of passage in Judaism and Islam.

In the third term pupils begin the GCSE Short Course Religious Studies curriculum by studying the unit ‘Care for the Environment.’

KEY STAGE 4

SHORT COURSE GCSE – All Year 11 and 12 students, apart from those taking Full Course GCSE Religious Studies, complete a GCSE Short Course in Religious Studies. They complete the course over two years and sit the CCEA examination at the end of Year 12 along with their other GCSEs. This examination equates to half a GCSE award. They follow the CCEA specification, studying the unit – ‘An Introduction to Christian Ethics’

One of our students recently came second in Northern Ireland in GCSE Short Course RS.

FULL COURSE GCSE – Students have the opportunity to select Religious Studies as a full GCSE. They follow the CCEA specification studying the units

  • A Study of the Gospel of Matthew

  • An Introduction to Christian Ethics.

KEY STAGE 5

Religious Studies is an academic discipline which incorporates the same educational principles and standards which are applied to all A level subjects. At the Royal School, students follow the CCEA specification studying the following units:

  • A Study of Acts of the Apostles, 1 Corinthians and Galatians

  • The Christian Church in the Roman Empire to 325 A.D.

Religious Studies may be taken up as a new subject and no special GCSE subjects are required. It would, however, be necessary for those choosing the subject to have a genuine interest in, and critical approach to, the study of Religion. A grade B in GCSE English would be desirable given the substantial amount of written communication required in this subject.

We encourage ‘scientists’ to consider this option as Religious Studies offers variety in academic study and often serves to broaden one’s academic profile – something which is becoming increasingly important to universities and employers.

All universities and colleges accept Religious Studies as an academic subject as far as entry requirements are concerned. Indeed Religious Studies is an excellent preparation for a wide range of university courses in the arts, humanities and sciences. It develops the skills to analyse and assess arguments and to reflect and discuss fundamental issues.

Religious Studies is a subject that requires the ability to examine important questions with an open mind, to weigh up arguments and reach reasoned conclusions. Skills such as these are relevant, not only in life generally, but are also essential in most careers.

Students of A level Religious Studies at the Royal School have pursued careers in the following areas: medicine, nursing, social work, law, banking, psychology, ministry, teaching, travel and tourism, catering, I.T. and engineering, to name but a few!

Curriculum

KS3

GCSE
At GCSE, we follow the CCEA specification, which develops on foundations laid in KS3.

In Form 4, pupils study Philosophy of Religion. This GCSE focuses on some of the ‘big’ questions in life, for example, Does God exist? Is there an afterlife? Why is there evil and suffering in the world? The course is relevant for pupils of any faith, or none.

In Form 5, we concentrate on Ethics, covering issues such as animal rights, abortion, euthanasia, family issues and human sexuality.

AS/A2
Following the CCEA specification, we study the following modules:

  • New Testament Texts

  • Ethics in Society

The New Testament module investigates the development of the early church, as detailed in the Acts of the Apostles. There is a focus on key people, particularly the apostle Paul. At A2 level the areas for study include two of Paul’s letters, Galatians and I Corinthians.

Ethics in Society involves studying ethical theories such as Utilitarianism, Natural Law and Virtue Ethics. The practical application of these theories are considered in relation to issues such as bio-ethics, suicide, the environment, war and peace and capital punishment.

Facilities and Resources

Religious Education makes use of ICT facilities in the teaching of the subject.

 Extra-curricular

There exists a vibrant Christian Union, divided into three age groups, each with regular meetings and varied activities.  Highlights of the year include residential weekends, social outings and BBQ.