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Religious Studies

We study EDEXCEL Faith and Practice in the 21st Century (spec A)

This area of study comprises a study in depth of Catholic Christianity as a lived religion in the United Kingdom and throughout the world.

There are four sections: Beliefs and Teachings; Practices; Sources of Wisdom and Authority; Forms of Expression and Ways of Life.

Students will be expected to study Catholic Christianity within the context of the wider British society, the religious traditions of which are, in the main, Christian. Students should compare and contrast the areas of belief and practice within

Catholic Christianity with wider Christian. Students should recognise that Catholic Christianity is one of the many religious traditions in Great Britain which include Buddhism, Hinduism, Islam, Judaism and Sikhism. 

Year 9

  • Old Testament Patriarchs: Abraham – Students will develop knowledge and understanding of the foundations of faith by exploring Abraham as the father and founder of faith. Students will explore the covenants God made with Abraham and how his descendants developed this faith. They will also explore the sacrifice of Isaac and the conflict between Jacob and Esau.
  • Moses – Students will explore the life of Moses including God’s revelation through the burning bush. They will also explore the 10 plagues that led to the exodus. Students will then go on to explore the Mosaic Covenant and the importance of the Torah, Talmud and Shekhinah for Jewish faith.
  • Mark’s Gospel – Students will explore who Mark was and the genre he was writing in. This will give students an insight to hermeneutics and the message the Mark was trying to deliver. Students will also explore the accounts of Jesus’ life according to Mark and what it teaches us about Jesus and his mission.
  • Foundations of the Church – In this section students will explore the history of Christianity including the Great Schism and the Reformation. They will also explore different Christian denominations and how Catholics and other Christians practice their faith today.
  • Beatitudes in the Media – Students will explore the meaning and importance of the beatitudes in a modern context. Students will explore each beatitude with a piece of media to illustrate the importance and significance of each action and reward of the beatitudes.
  • Beliefs and Teachings – Students explore the Trinity and the biblical understanding of the Trinity, they also explore the beliefs and teachings of creation and what this teaches us about the nature of humanity. Students then explore the Incarnation including the events of the Paschal Mystery. They go on to study the nature of salvation and grace and finally complete the section with exploring what Catholics and other Christians believe about eschatology.
  • Practices – In this section students explore how Catholics practice their faith. They explore the sacramental nature of reality, Catholic liturgical worship including the funeral rite. Students also explore how and why Catholics and other Christians pray using forms of popular piety and pilgrimage to develop their faith. Students will then cover key material on Catholic Social Teaching and mission and evangelism.
  • Sources of Wisdom and Authority – In this section students explore the sources of wisdom and authority that give Catholics and other Christians their beliefs, teachings and how to practice their faith. To understand this, students explore the Bible, interpretations of the Bible, the Magisterium as the teaching council of the Catholic Church and the authority they hold. Students also study the Second Vatican Council as a major influence on how Catholics worship today and develop understanding of the Church as the body of Christ. Students then complete this section by studying the four marks of the Church, Mary as a model of the Church and sources of personal and ethical decision-making.
  • Forms of expression and ways of life – In this section students explore how Catholics and other Christians express their faith both in the Church and in their everyday lives. The main areas that are explored are the architecture, design and decoration of Catholic Churches, the internal features of the Catholic Church including sacred objects, statues and symbols. Students then explore how Catholics express their faith through religious art, the meaning and significance of drama and the use of traditional and contemporary styles of music in worship.
  • Arguments for the existence of God – In the first section of the Philosophy and Ethics paper students explore different arguments and theories for the existence of God. They start with revelation, visions and miracles as arguments to prove God’s existence that can be found both in the Bible and in modern day. These arguments are linked to religious experience and Catholic attitudes towards them. Students then explore biblical and philosophical arguments such as the Design Argument, the Cosmological Argument and complete this section with the problem of evil and suffering.
  • Religious teachings on relationships and families in the twenty-first century – In this section students explore Catholic and other Christian teachings on the purpose of marriage and family life and the equality of men and women. Students start by exploring the importance of marriage and what the sacraments of marriage means. From this students explore sexual relationships, the family and how the family can be supported by the local parish. They then explore what contraception is and the Catholic teachings on contraception. This section then focuses on divorce and remarriage and the Catholic teachings on both as well as teachings on equality of men and women in the family and gender prejudice and discrimination.

Year 11

In Year 11 students complete the third section of the GCSE which is the Study of Judaism. In this section students study what Jewish people believe and teach as well as how they practice their faith. When this section is completed, students then complete a revision section that is designed to go over all the content on the GCSE syllabus to consolidate their knowledge and understanding and prepare them for their GCSE.

  • Jewish Beliefs and Teachings – Students explore the key areas of what Jewish people believe including the nature of the Almighty (God), the Shekhinah and teachings on the messiah. They then explore the Abrahamic and Mosaic covenants and what they teach Jewish people about God. Students then explore the sanctity of life and moral principles and the laws. Students complete this section by exploring Jewish beliefs about life after death.
  • Jewish Practices – In this section students explore how Jewish people practice their faith including synagogue worship, prayer and rituals and ceremonies. Students also explore the key festivals in Judaism and what they mean for Jewish people today.