Religious Studies

St. Mary’s aims to develop the Catholic faith and the spiritual growth of each child. Through the taught curriculum and extra-curricular opportunities, the Religious Studies Department is committed to nurturing the faith life of pupils and equipping them with the knowledge to defend their faith in a world that is increasingly challenged by social, economic and cultural change.

SPECIFIC AIMS OF THE DEPARTMENT

The Religious Studies Department aims to:

  • lead all pupils to an experience of Jesus Christ through a taught programme, liturgies and other prayer experiences;
  • continue the work of parents and the Church by handing on the faith;
  • provide opportunities for pupils to develop a mature understanding of the Catholic faith; and
  • encourage all pupils to pursue academic excellence within the subject area.

OVERVIEW OF KEY STAGE 3 CURRICULUM

At Key Stage 3, Religious Studies is delivered over four lessons per fortnight.

Pupils follow the Fully Alive Programme under three key areas:

  • Traditions and Practice
  • World Religion
  • Revelation

Taking into account the different learning styles of our pupils, a variety of methodologies and forms of assessment are adopted in our classrooms. Opportunities are also provided for pupils to improve their thinking skills and develop their personal capabilities.

YEAR 8 CURRICULUM

In Year 8, pupils study the following topics:

  • The Rosary
  • The Mass
  • Palestine at the Time of Jesus
  • Early Judaism
  • The Bible

YEAR 9 CURRICULUM

In Year 9, pupils study the following topics:

  • Morality
  • Sacrament of Reconciliation
  • Ecumenism
  • Judaism

YEAR 10 CURRICULUM

In Year 10, pupils study the following topics:

  • Prayer and Pilgrimage
  • Islam
  • Jesus’ Relationship with Others

OVERVIEW OF KEY STAGE 4 CURRICULUM

At Key Stage 4, the Religious Studies Department offers Religious Studies at GCSE Level. Pupils follow the CCEA specification. Religious Studies is delivered over six lessons per fortnight.

Unit 3.5: Christianity Through A Study Of Mark’s Gospel (50%)

This unit aims to gives pupils the opportunity to study key events in the life of Jesus and key themes found in St. Mark’s Gospel. In this unit pupils are required to consider the significance of these stories for Jesus, his disciples and for modern Christians. This unit is externally assessed in the form of a written examination lasting 1 hour 30 minutes at the end of Year 11.

Unit 3.8: An Introduction To Christian Ethics (50%)

This unit aims to introduce students to ethics within the study of religion. Students explore personal and family issues, matters of life and death, care for the environment, equality and war and peace. In this unit, pupils are required to develop their knowledge, skills and understanding of religion, exploring the significance and impact of beliefs, teachings, sources, practices and ways of life and express their personal responses and informed insights This unit is externally assessed in the form of a written examination lasting 1 hour 30 minutes at the end of Year 12

OVERVIEW OF KEY STAGE 5 CURRICULUM

At Key Stage 5, the Religious Studies Department offers Religious Studies at AS and A2 Level. Students follow the CCEA specification. At AS and A2 Level, Religious Studies is delivered over ten periods per fortnight.

At AS Level, students must successfully complete two modules. A further two modules must be successfully completed at A2 Level.

AS RELIGIOUS STUDIES

Unit 2: An Introduction to Acts of the Apostles (25%)

This unit aims to explore the beginnings of the Church of the New Testament.

In this unit, students are required to trace the journey of the Gospel. In addition, students are required to explore the relationship of Acts with other aspects of human experience.

This unit is assessed in the form of a written examination. Students will have 1 hour and 20 minutes to complete the assessment for this unit.

Assessment of this unit will take place at the end of Year 13. Students’ work in this unit will be externally assessed.

Unit 6: Religious Ethics: Foundations, Principles and Practice (25%)

This unit aims to explore a number of themes and principles that are foundational to religious ethics: foundations, natural law, situation ethics, bioethics, sexuality and life and death issues.

In this unit, students are required to critically consider ethical issues. In addition, AS Level candidates are required to explore the relationship of this unit with other aspects of human experience.

This unit is assessed in the form of a written examination. Students will have 1 hour and 20 minutes to complete the assessment for this unit.

Assessment of this unit will take place at the end of Year 13. Students’ work in this unit will be externally assessed.

A2 RELIGIOUS STUDIES

Unit 2: A Study of Acts, Galatians and 1 Corinthians (25%)

This unit aims to explore Paul’s work as pastor and preacher through a study of relevant chapters from the book of Acts, Galatians and 1 Corinthians.

In this unit, students are required to trace Paul’s journey to Rome and explore the themes in his letters. In addition, students are required to explore the relationship of Acts, Galatians and 1 Corinthians with another area of study and other aspects of human experience.

This unit is assessed in the form of a written examination. Students will have 2 hours to complete the assessment for this unit. Assessment of this unit will take place at the end of Year 14. Students’ work in this unit will be externally assessed.

Unit 6: Ethics and Society (25%)

This unit aims to explore the contrasts and similarities between religious and non-religious ethics across a range of issues: human rights, environmental ethics, war and peace issues and the ethics of punishment.

In this unit, students are required to explore connections with another area of study and other aspects of human experience.

This unit is assessed in the form of a written examination. Students will have 2 hours to complete the assessment for this unit. Assessment of this unit will take place at the end of Year 14. Students’ work in this unit will be externally assessed.

EXTRA-CURRICULAR PROVISION

The Religious Studies Department contributes extensively to the school’s extra-curricular provision. Extra-curricular activities include:

  • Faith Development Week
  • Year Group Retreats
  • Pope John Paul II Award
  • Muiredach Award
  • Whole School Masses
  • Year Group Masses with Parents (Years 8, 12 and 14)
  • Faith Development Programmes for Year 13 and Year 14
  • Faith Speakers (e.g. Turlough Quinn, Richard Moore from Children in Crossfire, Marion Carroll who was healed at Knock, and Christy Kenneally)
  • Commissioning of Eucharistic Ministers and Ministers of the Word
  • Joint Prayer Service with St Pius X College (for all pupils doing examinations)
  • St. Vincent De Paul Hamper Appeal
  • School Carol Service

FACILITIES AND RESOURCES

The Religious Studies Department has three classrooms and one Oratory.

CAREERS INFORMATION

Religious Studies helps many pupils go forward and secure places in third level education or other alternative work pathways. The skills developed at various Key Stages in Religious Studies, have proven to be very beneficial in helping students to make the transition to academic study at university level.

Our teaching methodologies are designed to develop critical thinking skills, interpretative and analytical skills and encourage independent learning where pupils must research various schools of thought and offer their own personal insights. The content of the Ethics programme gives a meaningful moral and ethical backdrop to key areas such as Medicine, Journalism or Law.

Students who have studied Religious Studies to A-Level have pursued university courses and careers in areas such as:

  • Law
  • Journalism
  • Teaching
  • Priesthood
  • Biomedical Science
  • Computing with Education
  • Psychology
  • Medicine
  • Occupational Therapy
  • Business Management
  • Nursing