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RE at St James's

“The RE curriculum is impressive for its breadth and challenge and for the pastoral awareness and care that underpins its structure.” Siams Report 2016. 

Religious Education at St James’s enables our pupils to understand the world in which they live, allowing them to be critical thinkers and to consider a range of important and difficult questions related to their morality and values. RE encourages our pupils to ask fundamental questions and make world view comparisons. Our lessons create an environment where pupils can search for truth, encouraging decision making skills, collaboration & independent work.  Our pupils are given the opportunity to develop their skills of debate, dialogue, interpretation and analysis. Through our curriculum, they develop social, cultural, spiritual, and philosophical awareness. It encourages pupils to respect and understand their own identity, whilst exploring and respecting the identity of others. Our curriculum contributes to the development of a more religiously literate and tolerant society.

Throughout Key Stage 3, pupils study the three Abrahamic faiths; Christianity, Islam and Judaism. The lessons are fun and engaging yet challenging and the religions studied at KS3 ensure progression at KS4. At GCSE level, Religious Education is a rigorous, demanding and academic subject in which our pupils will be asked to consider different religious and humanist viewpoints on topics such as; war, crime, marriage, euthanasia and abortion. 

“RE provision for Year 11 pupils is exciting because, free from the constraints of an examination, pupils have the opportunity to question more deeply a range of moral and religious themes. They explore them from theological and philosophical perspectives.” (Siams Report 2016) Throughout Year 11, pupils are able to study the Holocaust, prejudice & discrimination and medical technology. The reduction of pressure in Year 11 ensures a good balance of progress and pastoral care for our pupils. 

The spiritual development of our pupils through RE lessons is key. We hope all of our pupils leave St James’s living out our motto; ‘‘Caring for others † Achieving excellence’.

Curriculum Features

Please click below to view what you will study in RE

RE Curriculum

Key Stage 3

If you say sorry but don’t really mean it, does it still count?

Can people change?

Is love an invention created by humans?

Where is God when people are suffering?

These are the types of questions raised in Religious Education, and sometimes there are no clear answers! Being able to think and write about issues from more than one point of view, particularly sensitive issues, is one of the most vital R.E skills a person can develop.

We recognise that religion and life are two sides of the same coin. Religious Education at St James’s aims to challenge the intellect and promote awareness, understanding and respect for life. It also raises awareness of ‘the inner self’ and allows pupils to ask their own questions.

Pupils at KS3 will also study something of world religions and the impact of faith in people’s lives. They will focus on personal spirituality, creativity and literacy skills. One of the highlights of Year 7 is the visit to Manchester Cathedral which focuses on aspects of self-awareness using silence, reflection, art, history and poetry.

In Year 9, all pupils begin the GCSE course, following the AQA Specification A syllabus. We focus on Christian Ethics …….. [“Can a person claim to love God but refuse to help someone in need?”] and a study of the person of Jesus Mark’s Gospel, [“Is Easter more important than Christmas for Christians?”] with a view to sitting the final exam at the end of Year 10.

Key Stage 4

Was Jesus a pacifist? How do we know? How can people manage to forgive those who have done terrible things? Whose job is it to care for people in need? What is a Pharisee? Is marriage out of date? Did Jesus actually feed 5,000 people? Does God really want me to recycle?  

Like two sides of the same coin, religion is very much linked with real life and Religious Education involves developing that really important skill of being able to look at issues from more than one point of view and evaluate the thinking.

Religious Studies, as it becomes known, is not part of the options programme because all pupils begin the GCSE course in Year 9 as part of the core programme. We follow the AQA specification A syllabus, Units 2 and 5.  Assessment for the GCSE takes the form of two examinations at the end of Year 10. A small number of pupils will follow a similar course which focuses on internal assessment and does not lead to external examination.

The following topics are studied:-


The Ethics paper focuses on moral issues in Christianity, concentrating on personal relationships, prejudice and discrimination, the environment, crime and punishment, war and peace, decisions on life and living, in fact all areas of life which are of concern to thinking people.


Who was Jesus, when did he live? What did he have to say about God, about faith, about life? Why did Jesus die in the way he did? What does resurrection mean? Did Jesus ever get angry? Did he have a family? What was his most important message? The study of Mark’s Gospel puts the emphasis on the life and teaching of Jesus, including his ministry, his followers, and the last week of his life.


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