Religious Education is the "core of the core curriculum" (St. Pope John Paul II), its primary objective is to develop religiously literate and tolerant young people who have the knowledge, understanding and skills to reflect spiritually and think critically about contemporary issues and how they interact with religious beliefs.
About the curriculum
At St. Cuthbert’s we adopt a spiral approach to learning which focuses on the mastery of key skills. In Religious Education, the following skills are learned and mastered by studying a broad range of topics over five years. Pupils will master the skills of:
· Explaining, with reference to religious teachings;
· Analysing, and;
These skills are mastered through the study of a broad range of topics, which are constantly recalled and practised through revision starters as well as formative and summative assessments.
In Year 7, pupils develop and master the skills of identifying, naming, describing, explaining and explaining with reference to religious teachings by learning about the life of our Patron, St. Cuthbert, how he followed the teachings of the Gospel and why he is a good role model for Catholic Christians today. Pupils then move on to learn in detail about the beliefs, teachings and practices of three of the six major world faiths, namely Christianity – with a particular focus on Catholic Christianity - Judaism and Islam.
In Year 8, pupils continue to master the skills they have developed in Year 7 and may also begin to learn how to evaluate and appraise by learning about the different ways that God is believed to have revealed himself to humanity, the person and teachings of Jesus Christ and ethical and moral issues such as evil and suffering, euthanasia and abortion.
In Year 9, pupils begin their Religious Studies GCSE. At St. Cuthbert’s we follow Edexcel Specification A which consists of Paper 1A: Catholic Christianity, Paper 2F: Judaism and Paper 3A: Catholic Christianity Philosophy and Ethics. In Year 9, the skills outlined above are constantly revisited and developed by learning about Arguments for (and against) the existence of God, Catholic Beliefs and Teachings and Catholic Practices.
In Year 10, pupils move on to master their skills by learning about Catholic Sources of Wisdom and Authority, Catholic Forms of Expression and Ways of Life and Marriage and Relationships in the 21st Century.
Finally, in Year 11, pupils hone the skills that they have mastered by covering the remaining topics from the GCSE specification. This academic year, Year 11 will learn about Jewish Beliefs and Teachings, Jewish Practices, Arguments for (and against) the existence of God and Marriage and Relationships in the 21st Century before finalising their preparations for their GCSE examinations in the summer.
The topics listed above are flexible and fluid. Teachers will not move on until pupils have demonstrated that they have mastered the skill(s) required in each topic, meaning that, in some cases, classes in the same Year Group are at different stages of the course. This approach is underpinned by the school’s championing of a spiral/mastery curriculum, which insists that topics and skills should be constantly revised and revisited throughout the five years.