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Notre Dame High School

Notre Dame
High School

Religious Studies

What is Religious Studies?

A GCSE in Religious Studies gives candidates the opportunity to explore the moral, social and religious dimensions of their own lives and the lives of others. The course, whilst respectful of all points of view, offers a clear study of Catholic Christianity and Judaism, as a second religion, studied in Paper 2.

The course studies Christian and Jewish beliefs and teachings and how these are expressed in lifestyle, worship and organisation. We also study a variety of moral issues and religious and nonreligious responses to them, opening opportunity for students to engage in philosophical and ethical thinking and to formulate and share their own opinions.

How is the subject taught?

Religious Studies is taught in mixed ability groups. Pupils are expected to be active and engaged in their learning and are encouraged to participate in discussion and debate. As a literacy-based subject, focus is placed on developing coherent written work, with the inclusion of rich vocabulary and personal appraisal.


The course is designed to help all students to:

  • Develop a wider awareness of religious and moral beliefs and practices
  • Explore faith
  • Understand the importance of being a responsible citizen in a multi-ethnic and multi-faith society
  • Develop confidence and be self-regulated in their studies
  • Gain a GCSE in Religious Studies
  Year 10 Year 11
Aut.1 GCSE retrieval  of 
Paper 1: Section 1 from Year 9 Summer Term
GCSE Paper 1: Section 2 Practices
RE GCSE Paper 2: Section 2 Judaism
Aut.2 RE GCSE Paper 1: Section 3
Sources of Wisdom and Authority
RE GCSE Paper 2: Section 2 Judaism
Spr.1 RE GCSE Paper 1: Section 4
Forms of Expression and Ways of Life
RE GCSE Paper 3:
Philosophy and Ethics Section 1
Arguments for the existence of God
Spr.2 RE GCSE Paper 2: Judaism
An Introduction to key concepts, Tier 3 vocabulary and sources of wisdom and authority
RE GCSE paper 3:
Philosophy and Ethics Section 2
Religious teachings on relationships and families in 21st century
Sum.1 RE GCSE Paper 2: Section 1: Judaism
Beliefs and Teachings
Retrieval and revision: Papers 1, 2 and 3
Sum.2 RE GCSE Paper 2: Section 1 Judaism
Beliefs and Teachings
Exam Season: Retrieval and revision: Papers 1, 2 and 3

How is the subject assessed?

Religious Studies is assessed by three papers which are taken at the end of Year 11 

Paper 1: Study of Catholic Christianity (1 hour 45minutes).

Paper 2: Study of Judaism (50 minutes).

Paper 3: Philosophy & Ethics based on Catholic Christianity (50 minutes).

Career Pathways 

The A Level course in Religious Studies: Philosophy, Ethics and Developments in Christian Thought, is offered to students with sufficiently high GCSE grades. It provides an excellent preparation for careers in law, medicine, teaching, social work, politics, management, personnel work, journalism and various ministries within the Church.

Students who study Philosophy and Ethics A Level often combine this subject with History, English, Psychology or Sociology.

For more information click on our A Level Philosophy and Ethics course.

Career Options

You can watch a great series of videos of young people who are working in jobs that use Religious Studies on the BBC Bitesize website.

For examples of careers leading from this subject, click here.