Religious Education

Curriculum Leader: Mr S. Nesbitt


Religious education 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 Christianity, other principal religions, other religious traditions and other world views that offer answers to questions such as these. It offers opportunities for personal reflection and spiritual development.

Aims of Religious Education

Religious Education is concerned with the deep meaning that individuals and groups make of their experiences and how this helps them give purpose to their lives.

The purpose of Religious Education is to help pupils to reflect upon the experiences and the mysteries of life and the contribution of religious and spiritual dimensions.

Religious Education should enable pupils to:

  • Acquire and develop knowledge and understanding of Christianity and the other principal religions.
  • Develop an understanding of the influence of beliefs, values and traditions on individuals, communities, societies and cultures;
  • Develop the ability to make reasoned and informed judgements about religious and moral issues, with reference to the teachings of the principal religions and thereby develop confidence in their own beliefs and values;
  • Enhance their spiritual, moral, social and cultural development by:
    • developing awareness of the ultimate questions of life raised by human experiences, and of how religions can relate to them;
    • responding to such questions with reference to the teachings and practices of religions and other belief systems, relating them to their own understanding and experience;
    • reflecting positively on their own identity, beliefs, values and experiences in the light of their study;
  • Develop positive attitudes:
    • of respect towards other people who hold views and beliefs different from their own, and;
    • towards living in and contributing to an inclusive and caring community and a society of diverse religions.

Fulford has an enthusiastic, experienced and successful team of three full-time specialist Religious Education teachers, and one part time teachers. The department prides itself on providing religious, philosophic and moral education that meets the interests and needs of young learners. The department makes a significant contribution to the results of the school both at GCSE and A level as well as contributing to whole school improvement.

The school operates a two week timetable with 25 one hour lessons each week. Students in Years 7 and 8 receive a weekly one hour lesson in Religious Education. Y9 students will have three lessons per fortnight and in Year 10, students will have four lessons per fortnight. Those completing the full course GCSE will continue with one lesson per week in Year 11, the short course exam will be sat at the end of Year 10.

Those students currently in Years 11 will have one lesson per fortnight and will complete the short course at the end of this year.

At Key Stage 3 there are eight classes split into two halves of the year. Each half has one lower ability set, with the rest of the students mixed into the other three sets. In Year 8, each half of the year has one set one, two set twos and one set three. In Year 9, there are two set ones; one set two and one set three.

In Year 7 the students study Islam, Sikhism and Judaism, exploring key beliefs and practices in each religion. There is also a visit to Leeds to study places of worship which offers an experiential insight into both religions.

In Year 8 the students will study Christianity; Life of Jesus. They will also explore the study of ethics, philosophy and the key beliefs and practices within Buddhism.

In Year 9 the students start their GCSE course. See Key Stage 4 for more information.

In Year 9, 10 and 11 all students will study the brand new GCSE. They will be doing the AQA Specification A, which includes a study of the beliefs, teachings and practices of both Christianity and Islam. It also includes a component which involves the study of four religious, philosophical and ethical themes including; Relationships and families, Religion and life, Religion, Peace and Conflict and Religion, The Existence of God and Revelation. These units will cover a variety of topics relevant in society today such as prejudice, war and the environment, as well as tackling key medical issues such as abortion and euthanasia. They will utilise and develop their learning from KS3 in order to apply their religious understanding to the topics they study.

Link to specification:

The Religious Education Department also offers A Level Religious Studies following the OCR Specification. This will involve the study of units on Philosophy of Religion, Religion and Ethics and Development of Christian Thought. Within this course students will have the opportunity to explore the works of some of history’s greatest philosophers, such as Plato, Aristotle, and Aquinas. They will consider important questions about the nature and origins of morality, and the existence and potential of God. They will analyse issues such as the problem of evil and the relationship between religion and science. At the end of both Year 12 & Year 13 students will be assessed by examinations in Philosophy of Religion, Religion and Ethics, and Developments in Christian Thought respectively.

This year’s A-Level uptake is at the highest it has been, recent A-Level results have been excellent at both AS and A2, placing Fulford RE students amongst the top 25% in the country.

Link to specification:

Lessons are varied concentrating on contemporary issues within local, national and global societies, using research based activities, worksheets, use of the interactive smart board, DVDs, debating and group work. ICT is used to enhance students learning where possible, for example for researching and presenting information and through ICT software tailored to the course.

The department has friendly, enthusiastic and committed teachers who are continuing to improve the already high standards of the department.

At KS3 in Year 7 we run an alternative curriculum day to Leeds to experience cultural and religious differences between two major world religions.

The department works in close association with YoYo (York Youth Christian Organisation)

The department holds a series of lunch time discussion meetings with outside providers.

The department offers two assembly opportunities during the year for pupils to engage with the Archbishop of York of contemporary issues.