Curriculum Leader: Mr P Ascroft
Second in the Curriculum Area: Miss C Robinson
Staff: Mr T Clare
  Mrs L Cogley
  Mr A Duckworth
  Mr S Edwards
  Mr T Sixsmith
  Mrs J Speakman


Religious Education at Bishop Rawstorne is a core subject alongside maths, science and English. RE is an academically rigorous subject in which we embark on an in-depth study of the major world religions, alongside philosophical and ethical investigations.

We want our students to all:

Think Like Theologians

Ponder Like Philosophers

Assess Like Ethicists

As a Church of England school, we recognise the central place of Christianity in our studies, as a result, we dedicate a larger proportion of curriculum time to the study of Christianity in KS3. The curriculum is delivered in a varied and engaging way and is complimented by extra-curricular opportunities, for example educational visits to places of worship.


Vision: Religious education is an academic curriculum area in which students are engaged, work hard and flourish. In the RE curriculum area, our teachers are innovative and engaging. RE is a core subject at Bishop Rawstorne in which our students achieve above the national average.


“Whatever you do, do it with all of your heart…”

Colossians 2:23

Curriculum Intent


All students at Bishop Rawstorne study religious education from Year 7 through to Year 11; all students meet the statement of entitlement and complete RS GCSE. Taking the lead from Blackburn Diocese’s Illuminating Pathways, our rigorous curriculum creates a laboratory of learning that promotes high standards of religious literacy, diversity dexterity, and critical thinking. RE seeks to promote an informed understanding of the world in which we live through the lenses of Theology, Philosophy and Social Science, exploring a variety of engaging topics in breadth and depth. Moreover, our curriculum provides space and a catalyst for SMSC development and encourages students to develop curiosity, empathy, self-awareness and respect. Essentially, RE at Bishop Rawstorne aims to prepare students for life in the 21st century.


Through a thorough understanding of the KS2 curriculum of our primary partners, we ensure that our curriculum builds on prior learning. We develop the diocese’s Questful RE but are mindful that not all students have followed this curriculum.  Early assessments allow us to plan the learning journey so that students can join various pathways where gaps in knowledge are identified. Those students identified as having specific additional needs are acknowledged during transition and a number of strategies are put in place to support learning.


In KS3, we teach mixed ability classes, providing a positive, high achieving environment for every student and fostering an exceptionally high level of self-belief. Those with SEND and / or gaps in their learning are supported through scaffolding and support, to access the same curriculum as their peers. Whilst it is the responsibility of teachers to meet the individual needs of each student within their class, we also offer additional support classes after school to close the gap. Where appropriate, they are always used to provide further guidance for those students considered as disadvantaged.





We commence Y7 with the unit ‘Introduction to RE at Bishop Rawstorne – What does it mean to belong?’. This unit allows us to assess prior knowledge and skills, create the foundational building blocks for KS3 RE, and engage and inspire students. It provides an opportunity for students to explore expressions of identity and belonging, linked to their school community. It also encourages students to evaluate the importance such expressions have on the communities to which they belong. It encourages the building of respectful relationships rooted in Christian values during this transitional phase.


Moving on from this unit, Y7 study ‘What does it mean to be a person of faith? – Judaism’. We start with this unit so that we can follow the Abrahamic narrative. Research shows narrative teaching engages and promotes understanding, particularly for groups that traditionally do less well in academic settings. We follow a spiral curriculum that builds on KS2 work on the Passover. Study of the Passover in Y7 then prepares students for the following unit on Christianity, where students explore how the nature of Passover changes for those who believe in Christ.  The unit introduces students to the key beliefs, practices and values of Judaism, and the role of Judaism for individuals and communities. It also allows students to consider the diversity that can be found within Judaism.


The third unit is ‘What does it mean to be a person of faith - Christianity’. This unit of work builds on fundamental knowledge and understanding of the Christian faith, in particular, understanding of the Christian celebrations, core concepts of Easter, and personhood of Jesus that many students have studied through Questful RE at Primary School. It also links to the study of Judaism in the first term of Y7. This unit allows students to delve deeper into theological concepts such as incarnation, salvation and resurrection. It also encourages students to evaluate the role of Christianity for individuals, communities and as a global faith. Finally, this unit allows students to explore the diversity of Christians around the world.

The fourth unit completes the Abrahamic narrative, as we study the youngest of the Abrahamic faiths, Islam. This unit ‘What does it mean to be a person of faith - Islam’ introduces students to the key beliefs and practices of Islam, encourages them to evaluate the impact of Islam for individuals, communities and globally, and introduces them to the diversity that can be found within the faith. This unit is of particular importance because our local communities lack the diversity that is often found elsewhere in the UK. The lessons allow preconceptions to be challenged and the study of all three Abrahamic Faiths promotes tolerance, respect and understanding.


The fifth and final unit Y7 complete is ‘Why should we treat people with dignity and respect? Is life always fair?’ This unit of study builds on knowledge and understanding regarding sources of authority within Christianity and encourages students to consider their impact on Christians today. It also examines how the teaching of Jesus challenges churches and communities to respond to those who are rejected by society, disadvantaged and in need. There is opportunity to reflect on how prejudice and discrimination impacts on society and faith communities, locally, nationally and internationally. Students are offered a selection of Christian based community projects to study and critically evaluate whether society truly has a need for faith-based projects, working in the margins of society today.


To further support our students’ RE learning journey and SMSC development, every year Y7 student is taken on an educational visit to a cathedral and mosque. Most recently this visit has included Blackburn Cathedral and Blackburn Mosque and has also included entry to the Jewish Exhibition. Our young people get to encounter lived faith in the community, experience real life diversity, and appreciate the awe and wonder that places of worship can have for religious believers.

Y8 begin the academic year by exploring the philosophy unit - ‘Where is there any evidence that God exists?’. This unit challenges students to critically assess, evaluate and analyse. Lessons are planned to build on prior knowledge of Christianity and explores key theological themes such as the teleological argument, the problem of evil and Christian theodicies, but also explores a range of more complex philosophy such as Dualism and Materialism. Students dive into the depths of Christian theology and philosophy but also consider other world views, such as atheism.


The second unit Y8 study is ‘What does it mean to be a person of faith – The Dharmic Faiths’. This unit facilitates exploration of the Dharmic Faiths, predominantly Hinduism and Buddhism. Students investigate the key beliefs and practices of both faiths, explore the diversity of both faiths and evaluate their impact for individuals, communities, and globally. Students also have the opportunity to compare and contrast the Abrahamic and Dharmic faiths, facilitating a recognition of differences in belief and practice, but also a recognition of similarities across faith.


The third unit of work in Y8 ‘Where in the world is Christianity’? builds on fundamental knowledge and understanding of the Christian faith and explores what it means to be Christian from the perspectives of different Christian denominations. This unit provides enables students to gain knowledge and insight into the diversity of Christian beliefs and expressions of faith in Britain and around the world. There will be opportunities for students to critically evaluate the impact that Christianity has had on the world around us.


The fourth unit is ‘What happens when faith and courage collide’? This unit invites students to revisit the impact of Jesus’ life and death on his followers through the life and witness of his disciples, the early church and contemporary Christians. The unit also offers opportunities for students to evaluate and analyse critically the similarities and differences in the lives of agents of change from other faith traditions and explore further the concept of what it means to be a hero.


Finally, Y8 study an ‘Alternative World Views’ topic, which explores other world views such as atheism, Humanism and conspiracy theories. This unit builds on prior learning of faith communities and the exploration of arguments against the existence of God studied at the start of Y8. It reveals the diversity of belief in the twenty first century and allows students to consider the nature and role of faith in the modern world.


To compliment and further promote student progress and SMSC development, all students in Y8 take part in our annual ‘World Faith and Views Day’. Each year we have a several guest speakers delivering workshops and presentations on a variety of world views. In recent years, this has included workshops on Judaism, Christianity, Islam, Sikhism, Buddhism and Humanism. This brilliant event has always received positive student feedback and has enabled students to explore lived faith and diversity in modern day Britain. Many of the workshops also tackle prejudice and discrimination, promoting the values of respect and kindness.


Y9 continue with the KS3 curriculum up until Christmas. The focus in Y9 is on social science, in particular the study of ethics. This section of study compliments the citizenship programme and helps to facilitate SMSC development through the variety of issues explored. The first unit is ‘Religion, Ethics and Human Rights’ and builds on prior study, in particular the ‘Is it fair?’ unit studied at the end of Y7. It allows students to discover and evaluate key ethical theories, such as Deontology, Utilitarianism and Situation Ethics and apply them to modern day issues. Students explore human rights laws in the modern world and a range of dilemmas which challenge their application, for example capital punishment or animal rights. Finally, this unit focuses on social justice and the variety of faith and non-faith attitudes towards social justice, with particular focus on Christian views.


The second, and final KS3 unit, that Y9 study is ‘Religion, Ethics and Science’. This unit allows students to explore the link between faith and science and analyse the ethical dilemmas that modern science and medicine have introduced. Students are encouraged to explore issues such as abortion, euthanasia, and genetic engineering, and are facilitated to evaluate and analyse a range of religious and non-religious responses to these ethical dilemmas.


By the end of the autumn term in Y9, students have completed an academically rigorous and comprehensive spiral KS3 curriculum that has built on prior learning and equipped students with the skills required to commence study of the RS GSCE.





At Key Stage 4 religious education follows the Edexcel exam board, Specification B, Christianity and Islam. The paper code for this is 1RB0 Zn. There is no coursework.


In our GCSEs study our students examine the world’s two largest religions. We look at the core beliefs within Christianity and Islam. This leads on to enabling students to assess their approaches to various ethical and philosophical themes as well as applying theological views to contemporary issues, studying religious literature that dates back thousands of years. Students cover a wide range of themes and cultures, allowing them to enhance their understanding of differences and perspectives over time and form independent opinions on a variety of themes, such as equality, moral judgements, gender roles and relationships.


All students sit two one hour and forty-five-minute exams at the end of Y11. Area of Study 1 is Christian Ethics. This first paper explores God, The Family, Worship as well as Life and Death. Area of Study 2 is Peace and conflict. This exploration through Islam looks at Muslim ideas about God, Reconciliation, Worship and Conflict.





In religious education we follow key whole school literacy and oracy initiatives. Specifically, this involves an appropriate selection of active strategies such as ‘stand and speak’, ‘popcorn’ reading, and ‘think, pair, share’ to encourage all students to grow their confidence in articulating their views and opinions. This is in addition to the. In RE, we develop use of subject specific vocabulary through ‘Word of the Week’ and use ‘slow writing’ and frameworks such as PEELE to teach students how to structure and improve their written work. Consistent use of such approaches is vital to cultivate academic writing techniques; they ensure students can develop the detail and depth of their responses, whilst also exercising high levels of academic skills through analysis and evaluation. We use a variety of primary texts such as the Bible and Quran to ensure reading and research is expansive.


Whilst staff are well practised in checking books and marking tests, students are part of the assessment process too. We use self and peer assessment, including ‘flashmarking’, to enable students to assess their own work and set their own targets for development. The emphasis is heavily on formative feedback, enabling students to develop their metacognitive skills, by taking a proactive role in their learning. Live marking is used across the curriculum area as part of our formative assessment. This further allows students to respond to feedback with a ‘green pen’ to correct, improve and redraft their work. Grades are introduced in the summer term of Y9 but, only in specific summative assessments which outline gaps in knowledge and inform intervention approaches.





Our department highly values continual professional development.  We welcome the opportunity to train future teachers but also continue to develop our own practice with new ideas and approaches. We work collaboratively, through the sharing of resources on Teams and within our own curriculum meeting time. Central to the school’s CPD programme and professional development of staff is ‘Action Research’. Through this we regularly discuss, trial and evaluate different pedagogical approaches to continually share best practice and develop the way we do things effectively. We have a clear homework policy that focuses on revision and retention of key knowledge through quizzes and extended written pieces. Each year we produce a personalised revision programme for Y11.

Our curriculum mapping is strengthened by offering a range of enrichment opportunities, particularly for those we feel may be at a disadvantage when it comes to enjoying a wide range of cultural experiences. All students are involved in experiencing visits to a mosque and cathedral. Additionally, we offer philosophy club as well as our annual Word Faith Day, Lancaster University trip, and participation in our annual Culture Day.



Careers and Progression

As a core subject, religious education is studied by all students and is highly regarded by further education institutions, apprenticeship providers and universities.

The skills developed in religious education (including reading, writing, spoken language, religious literacy, cultural awareness, the ability to consider different points of view, evaluate and analyse and form an argument) are transferable to all other subjects and offer a sound basis for future study and life in the workplace. Whilst the future career choices for students of religious education are many and varied, the subject particularly lends itself to careers working with people, public services and academic research.



Curriculum Implementation


Assessment is via regular checking of students’ books, as well as a number of more formally set and assessed tasks throughout the year within each topic. Each student will be provided with targets for development.  Assessment folders and cover sheets are used for self, peer and teacher assessment in KS4.

 KS3: YEARS 7-8

Pupils engage in a progressive programme over three years studying aspects of 5 world religions: Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism, Islam and Judaism. Classes are taught in mixed ability groups.

 KS4: YEARS 9-11

At Key Stage 4 Religious education follows the Edexcel exam board Specification B Christianity and Islam. There is no coursework. All students sit two one hour and forty-five-minute exam at the end of Y11.

 All pupils study a full course GCSE (Edexcel Specification B).

 Pupils Study 2 religions:

  • Christianity
  • Islam

AND apply these religions to two areas of study chosen from the three below.

 Each of these areas is worth 50% of the GCSE:

  • Area of Study 1 is Ethics.

This explores God, The Family, Worship as well as Life and Death. (50%)

  • Area of Study 2 is Peace and conflict.

This explores God, Reconciliation, Worship and Peace (50%)

Students sit TWO papers. There are four sections within each paper with a combination of structured questions (worth 25%) and extended open-response/critical thinking. (Worth 75%)

Curriculum Impact

The spiritual development

  • Space and lesson allow reflectiveness about students own beliefs, religious or otherwise, that inform their perspective on life and their interest in and respect for different people’s faiths, feelings and values
  • Sense of enjoyment and fascination in learning about themselves, others and the world around them
  • Use of imagination and creativity in their learning
  • Willingness to reflect on their experiences

The moral development

Offers students the ability to recognise the difference between right and wrong and to readily apply this understanding in their own lives, recognise legal boundaries and, in so doing, respect the civil and criminal law of England.

 Understanding the consequences of their behaviour and actions

 Interest in investigating and offering reasoned views about moral and ethical issues and the ability to understand and appreciate the viewpoints of others on these issues

 The social development of pupils is shown by their:

  • Use of a range of social skills in different contexts, for example, working and socialising with other pupils, including those from different religious, ethnic and socio-economic backgrounds
  • Willingness to participate in a variety of communities and social settings, including by volunteering, cooperating well with others and being able to resolve conflicts effectively
  • Acceptance and engagement with the fundamental British values of democracy, the rule of law, individual liberty and mutual respect and tolerance of those with different faiths and beliefs; they develop and demonstrate skills and attitudes that will allow them to participate fully in and contribute positively to life in modern Britain.

The cultural development of pupils is shown by their:

  • Understanding and appreciation of the wide range of cultural influences that have shaped their own heritage and those of others
  • Understanding and appreciation of the range of different cultures within school and further afield as an essential element of their preparation for life in modern Britain
  • Interest in exploring, improving understanding of and showing respect for different faiths and cultural diversity and the extent to which they understand, accept, respect and celebrate diversity, as shown by their tolerance and attitudes towards different religious, ethnic and socio-economic groups in the local, national and global communities.


Careers and Progression

As a core subject, Religious Education is studied by all students and is highly regarded by further education institutions, apprenticeship providers and universities.

The skills developed in Religious Education (including reading, writing, spoken language, religious literacy, cultural awareness, the ability to consider different points of view, evaluate and analyse and form an argument) are transferable to all other subjects and offer a sound basis for future study and life in the workplace.

Whilst the future career choices for students of Religious Education are many and varied, RE particularly lends itself to careers working with people.

Programmes of Study: RE

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