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Religious Education

About the Faculty

Religious Education is at the heart of the school’s curriculum.

All students follow a course of religious education from KS3 to KS5. The faculty comprises five full-time teachers. Students learn what it means to be a responsible Catholic Citizen in the Twenty First Century.

KS3

In Years 7 and 8, students explore the key religious teachings of Christianity within a multi-faith society, whilst learning about the major world religions.    Students in Year 7 explore what it means to belong to a Catholic community, the importance of the Bible as a Holy book, Catholic practices during Advent and Christmas, the person of Jesus, his life and work and the sacramental life of the Church.  Students in Year 8 study why people believe in God and why some people reject religious beliefs.  They also explore World Religions of Judaism, Islam and Eastern Mystical religions.

YEAR 7

Autumn Term:

Year 7 Induction work - An introduction to St Thomas Aquinas School – a community of faith; practicing Bible skills; how can I use my gifts and talents to build up my new community?

The Bible - The word of God. Why the Bible is important; How Catholics use the Bible; the place and role of interpretation of the Bible

Advent and Christmas - How Catholics prepare for Christmas during Advent; Is Christmas a religious or secular celebration today?

Spring Term:

The world and work of Jesus - Jesus begins his public work; What is meant by the Kingdom of God? How do the miracles and parables reveal God’s Kingdom?

Lent and Holy Week - How Catholics prepare for Easter during Lent; the events of the last week of Jesus’ life; Why did Jesus die and who is responsible for the death of Jesus?

Summer Term:

The Sacraments - What is a sacrament; How does God’s grace help us in our lives; Should adults or children be baptised? How does confirmation help us to witness to Jesus?

Marriage part 1 - What is love? What is needed in a loving relationship?  What happens at a Catholic wedding service; How is marriage a sacrament?

 

YEAR 8

Autumn Term:

Belief and Believers - Why people believe in God; Reasons for not believing in God; the impact of prayer and pilgrimage on believers; Does belief in God make a difference?

Covenants - Covenants in the Bible;Covenants God made with Noah, Abraham and Moses; Jesus as the New Covenant.

Spring Term:

World Religions: The Easter Mystical Traditions - A study of the Easter Mystical religions of Buddhism, Hinduism and Sikhism including founders, sacred texts and ways of worship.

World Religions: Islam - A study of Islam including the life of the prophet, the Qur’an and ways of worship and life style.  The unit of work also looks at challenging stereotypical attitudes towards others

Summer Term:

Creation and Stewardship - An exploration of the Creation stories found in Genesis; Does Science prove religion wrong? How can we be stewards of the earth for future generations?

Marriage Part 2 - What makes me happy? What are my values for life?  What does the church teach about the nature of sexual relationships?  How can family life help me grow closer to God?

 

KS4

Students will begin RS GCSE following EDUQAS exam board Route B
Students will be expected to demonstrate an understanding of the influence of religion on individuals, communities and societies. They will be expected to support their responses using appropriate knowledge and understanding of key sources of wisdom and sacred texts.  At GCSE students must be aware how varied interpretations of sources and/or teachings may give rise to diversity within traditions or textual studies on religious, philosophical and ethical studies in the modern world. Pupils will be expected to demonstrate an understanding of different perspectives. These may derive from either different religions or different views/denominations within a particular religion.

YEAR 9

Students follow a programme of study in order to prepare them for the rigour and challenges of the new specifications at GCSE. 

In preparation for GCSE you will need to study the following:
Autumn:
Belief about God and related theological Issues - 
Why people believe in God? The Cosmological and Design arguments for belief in God, Religious Experience, the nature of God and the Problem of Evil and Suffering.
The Sacramental Life of the Church - The sacraments including adult and infant baptism and diversity of practice among Christians, Catholic beliefs about life after death and Catholic funeral and burial rites; The Mass as the ‘source and summit of Catholic worship’
Spring:
Marriage, family life and sexual ethics - 
including the nature and purpose of Marriage and how this is reflected in the Rite; Catholic attitudes to separation, divorce and annulment; the place of Sex within marriage supported by Aquinas’ Natural Law; The issues of homosexuality and contraception.
VOCATION:  Christian vocation as priest, prophet and King, The role of the Laity, the ordained and Religious life; The importance of respect for the human body including food, drug and alcohol misuse; How our gifts and talents may help us in a career.
Summer:
Sanctity of life -
 An introduction to sanctity of life issues of Abortion and Euthanasia in preparation for work at GCSE.

 

YEAR 10

Students will study
Component 1: Foundational Catholic Theology
Written examination: 1½ hours (to be completed at the end of Y11)
For this component pupils will study two themes:
Theme 1: Origins and Meaning   Autumn Term
Theme 2: Good and Evil             Spring term

Pupils will be expected to demonstrate an understanding of the influence of religion on individuals, communities and societies. They will be expected to support their responses using appropriate knowledge and understanding of key sources of wisdom and sacred texts. These texts might include, for example: the Bible; extracts from the documents of Vatican II or other ecumenical councils, extracts from Papal encyclicals and exhortations, extracts from the work of key theologians and thinkers such as St Augustine of Hippo as well as the views of past and current philosophers (including ethical philosophers).

Pupils must be aware how varied interpretations of sources and/or teachings may give rise to diversity within traditions or textual studies on religious, philosophical and ethical studies in the modern world. Pupils will be expected to demonstrate an understanding of different perspectives. These may derive from either different religions or different views/denominations within a particular religion.

Component 3: A study of a world religions: Judaism   Summer Term (1 hour Examination Paper at the end of year 11) 25% of the GCSE grade.

Jewish Beliefs and practices

  • The nature of God:
  • God as one
  • God as Creator
  • God as Law-Giver and Judge, loving and merciful.
  • The divine presence (Shekhinah).
  • Beliefs about life after death, including judgement and resurrection.
  • The nature and role of the Messiah, including different views on the role and importance of the Messiah.
  • The Covenant and the mitzvot
  • The promised land and the Covenant with Abraham, Genesis 12:1-3.
  • The Covenant at Sinai and its importance including the role of Moses and the Ten Commandments, Exodus 20:1-17.
  • Key moral principles including justice, healing the world, charity and kindness to others.
  • The importance of the sanctity of human life, including the concept of ‘saving a life’ (Pikuach Nefesh).

Written examination: 1 Hour (to be completed at the end of year 11)

In Year 11 Students will study Component 2 (students sitting GCSE exams in 2018)

 

CURRENT YEAR 11 (ACADEMIC YEAR 2016-2017)

Year 11 Students taking GCSE exams this academic year are following the WJEC exam board.   Students will sit Roman Catholicism 1 in May 2017 and Roman Catholicism 2 in June 2017.

Autumn:
All topics from paper 1 - 
Students have studied most of the content for this paper in year 9.  In year 11 they will review these topics with particular focus on extended writing, key religious teachings and the impact of belief on the believer and the role of religion in society.  Topics are Sources of Authority, The life and teachings of Jesus, Key times in the liturgical year, Rites of Passage and beliefs about life after death, Marriage and Sexual Ethics, Prayer and worship – especially the Mass as the source and summit of Catholic worship, The sanctity of life with reference to Abortion and Euthanasia

Spring:
All topics from Paper 2 -
 Students have studied most of the content for this paper in year 10.  In year 11 they will review these topics with particular focus on extended writing, key religious teachings and the impact of belief on the believer and the role of religion in society.  Topics are The role of the Pope in Catholic decision making, the existence of God and belief in God, The nature of God and the problem of Evil, War and Peace, Crime and punishment, Vocation, Catholic beliefs about Mary, and Justice and fairness and the work of CAFOD.

Summer:
Students will sit 2 final exam papers during the summer term.  IN preparation students will focus on exam question practice, revision skills and be given an opportunity to complete a walking-talking mock.

 

KS5

YEAR 12 ADVANCED LEVEL RELIGIOUS STUDIES:  Theology, Philosophy and Ethics
The aim of the A2 Religious Studies course is to further develop an interest in and enthusiasm for a rigorous study of religion and relate it to the wider world. Students are expected to reflect on and develop their values, opinions and attitudes in the light of their learning.

What will I be Studying?

Autumn:
Philosophy of Religion:
1. Inductive arguments: 
 Cosmological arguments especially Aquinas’ 3 ways and The Kalam Argument; The Teleological Argument including Aquinas’ 5th way and Tennant’s anthropic and Aesthetic principles and challenges to inductive arguments with reference to David Hume and scientific explanations including Big Bang and Darwins theory of evolution
2. Deductive Arguments: Origins of the Ontological argument; Anselm’s 2 forms and Descartes and Malcolm’s  development of the argument; challenges to the ontological argument including Gaunilo and Kant
3. The problem of Evil: The logical problem of evil (Epicurus) and Mackie’s development,  William Rowe intense and animal suffering , Evil as a consequence of sin The Augustinian theodicy  and Irenaean theodicy.
4. Religious Experience:  The nature of religious experience including Teresa of Avila, Mystical experience with reference to William James and Rudolf Otto, Challenges to religious experience including the objectivity and authenticity of religious experience

Spring:
Ethics:
1 Ethical though including Divine Command Theory, Virtue Theory and Ethical Egoism and the challenges of each
2. Natural Law with reference to Aquinas’ laws, precepts, virtues, the application of the theory to Abortion and Euthanasia
3. Situation Ethics – Joseph Fletcher theory and the application of the theory and its application to homosexual and polymorous relationships
4. Classical Utilitarianism including Bentham’s Act Utilitarianism, John S. Mill’s development of utilitarianism and application of the theories to animal experimentation and the use of nuclear weapons

Summer:
THEOLOGY/CHRISTIANITY:
1.Jesus’ birth and Resurrection the consistency and credibility of the narratives and the views of Bultmann and NT Wright on the Resurrection; The Bible as a source of wisdom and authority in daily life; Religious concepts of the nature of God  including Is God Male? And Can God Suffer? The concept of the doctrine of the Trinity and the filioque controversy and religious concepts of Atonement
2. RELIGIOUS LIFE – faith and works with reference to Luther’s argument of justification by faith alone and EP Saunders role of works in justification; the community of believers in Acts as a model of Church today and key moral principles for Christian behavior. Practices the shape religious identity including diversity in Baptism, Eucharist and the celebration of Christmas and Easter.

 

YEAR 13 A2 RELIGIOUS STUDIES WILL COMPLETE FROM THE WJEC EXAM BOARD
In Year 13 students follow courses in the Philosophy of Religion. In Philosophy of Religion students study the topics of Religious Language, Free Will and Determinism, Faith and Reason and Science and Religion. 

Autumn:

  1. Is Religious Faith Rational?  The Ontological argument for the existence of God; Theories about the nature of faith and its relation with revelation and reason; Propositional and Non-Propositional concepts of revelation.  Students will explore the philosophical contributions of Anselm, Descartes, Guanilo, Hume, Kant, Kierkegaard, Clifford and Pascal.
  1. Is Religious Language meaningful?   Inherent problems of religious language and challenges to its meaningfulness; Philosophical concepts of falsification and verification; The concept of religious language as analogical, symbolic and a language-game.  Students will explore the work of the Vienna Circle, Ayer, Flew, Aquinas, Ramsey, Tillich, Wittgenstein and Phillips.

Spring:

  1. Is religious Faith Compatible with Scientific Evidence?   Philosophical definitions and concepts or miracle, including inherent difficulties; challenges to belief in miracles with reference to Hume; arguments in defense of miracles; The relationship between contemporary religious and scientific views of the origin of the universe including concepts of Creation, Evolution and Intelligent Design, Big Bang and Continuous creation
  1. Are We ‘Free Beings’   Philosophical concepts of ‘hard and soft determinism; the nature-nurture debate and Libertarianism; religious concepts of ‘free will’ and ‘predestination’ with particular reference to Augustine, Pelagius, Calvin, Arminius and other religious authorities within Christianity; The relationship between concepts of ‘free will’, ‘determinism; and religious beliefs and moral attitudes.

Summer:

  1. The Synoptic Paper:  Religious Experience. Students will undertake independent research in response to a issue given by the exam board in January.  Students will need to draw on all topics students and make conceptual links showing evidence of independent philosophical enquiry.  Students will write their response under exam conditions without the aid of notes or texts.