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Subject Overview

All students study Religious Studies in Key Stage 3 and 4, it is an optional subject at Post 16.  Studying Religion allows students to develop their knowledge of Christian Teaching and explore its application to modern living.

Key Stage 3

Year 8 - Year 8 students study the following topics:

  • Fully Alive 1

  • New Beginnings

  • The Bible

  • Sacraments

  • Life and Ministry of Jesus

  • Parables

  • Holy Week

  • Mary

  • The Eucharist

Year 9 - Year 9 students study the following topics:

  • Caring For the Earth

  • Morality

  • Advent and Christmas

  • Different Churches

  • Christianity Today

  • Holy Week

  • Judaism

Head of Department

Mrs J McGinn


Year 10 - Year 10 students study the following topics:

  • I Am Valuable

  • Death and afterlife

  • Advent and Christmas

  • Miracle Stories

  • Justice and Human Rights

  • Islam

  • Holy Week

  • Background to Mark’s Gospel

Key Stage 3 Extra Curricular Activities /Trips/Industry links


  • Participation in parish services and activities

  • Participation in SVDP Society


Key Stage 4

Why Study the Subject

All students in Key Stage 4 study either GCSE Religious Studies or OCN Level 2 Religious Studies. Studying Religion allows students to develop their relationship with God through the study of scripture and religious ethics.

Assessment structure

GCSE Religious Studies

Year 11 – Unit 5 exam | 50%

Year 12 – Unit 6 exam | 50%

OCN Level 2 Religious Studies

9 units internally assessed over Years 11 and 12

Year 11 - GCSE Religious Studies

Unit 5 Christianity Through a Study of the Gospel of Mark

Year 12 - GCSE Religious Studies

Unit 6 An introduction to Christian Ethics

Year 11 - OCN Level 2 Religious Studies

  • Exploring personal identity and faith

  • Life of a famous person

  • Exploring religious traditions

  • Prejudice and reconciliation

  • Charity and religious charities

Year 12 - OCN Level 2 Religious Studies

  • Marriage and divorce

  • Life and death issues

  • Addiction

  • World faiths

Employability/job opportunities/further study

Studying GCSE Religious Studies can allow students to progress to work in a range of occupational areas.  Students who want to enter teaching may choose RS as their main subject.

Post 16


Studying Religion at ‘A’ Level gives pupils the opportunity to examine their beliefs and the beliefs of others in much more depth than GCSE.  It enables pupils to look deeper into scripture and learn about the importance of the gospels in our Christian lives.  It also provides opportunities to examine current ethical and moral issues in detail and to develop thinking skills and the ability to make informed personal moral decisions.

Assessment structure

4 examination papers  | 2 AS and 2 A2

AS Papers  | 40% of A Level

A2 Papers  | 60% of A level

Year 13 - Topics studied


  • Unit AS1 an Introduction to the Gospel of Luke

  • Unit AS7 Foundations of Ethics

  • Unit 7: Exercise, Health & Lifestyle

Year 14 - Topics studied


  • Unit A21 Themes in the Synoptic Gospels

  • Unit A27 Global Ethics

Employability/job opportunities/further study


A Level RE is an academic subject recognised by all universities and is accepted as part of the entry requirements for most undergraduate courses.  Students who want to enter teaching may choose RS as their main subject.

Post 16 Extra Curricular Activities /Trips/Industry links

  • Pope John Paul Award

  • Participation in parish services and activities

  • Participation in Liturgy Committee

  • Participation in SVDP Society


St Mary's High School, Newry

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