GCSE RE at City of Birmingham School


Secondary Religious Education at City of Birmingham School

Religious Education in our secondary centres will be delivered to all pupils for one lesson per week. A range of topics are covered though a mostly thematic approach, allowing pupils to investigate a range of themes from a wide variety of world views. We will cover aspects of each of the major religions that are represented in the United Kingdom today and investigate diversity within religious traditions and in the wider, secular world.

Through studying religious education, our pupils will acquire core knowledge and understanding of the beliefs and practices of the religions and worldviews which not only shape their history and culture but which guide their own development.

Aims of Religious Education at City of Birmingham School

  • To enable our pupils to respond to a range of ultimate questions and philosophical theories;
  • To enable our pupils to identify, investigate and respond to questions posed, and responses offered by some of the sources of wisdom  found in religions and worldviews;
  • To allow our pupils to explain in detail their ideas about how beliefs, practices and forms of expression influence individuals and communities;
  • To allow our pupils to enquire into what enables different individuals and communities to live together respectfully for the wellbeing of all;
  • To encourage our pupils to appreciate and appraise varied dimensions of religion or a worldview;
  • To provide our pupils with the skills necessary to describe, explain and analyse beliefs and practices;
  • To encourage our pupils to express personal view points on a range of religious and secular issues.


 Assessment in Religious Education

Each unit of work includes a mid- point written assessment that will enable staff to monitor progress and identify any gaps in learning. A final assessment will be

completed at the end of each unit and the lesson following the assessment will provide dedicated improvement and reflection time to enable pupils to reflect on their learning and make improvements to maximise progress.

Staff will also use ongoing formative assessment throughout the lessons to continually monitor the progress of students. This will include giving personalised written and oral feedback to pupils on a regular basis.


Key Stage 3 Curriculum Content



                                                                  Key Stage 3 RE programmes of study


Cycle 1


Cycle 2




An introduction to the very origins of the world’s major religions. Pupils will study the lives, examples and legacies of Moses, Jesus, Buddha, Muhammad and Guru Nanak. Through this unit of work pupils will consider what it is that makes a good leader.

Celebrations and festivals:


Pupils will investigate a range of religious festivals including Sukkot, Holi and Ethiopian Christmas to understand why remembering key events in religious history is so important.


Beliefs into Action:


Through this unit of work pupils will investigate how key beliefs have led individuals to stand up to injustice in the world. Pupils will consider the achievements of these inspirational people but also the personal sacrifices made by them in the fight against injustice.

Bloody RE: the concept of sacrifice;


We will continue the theme of festivals here but our focus will be on festivals that remember or celebrate the sacrifices made by significant figures in religious history. Pupils will learn about Eid Ul Adha, Vaisakhi and Easter.

HT 3

Islam in the World today:


Pupils will discover what it is to be a Muslim in the world today and how there can be challenges for religious people who live in a largely secular environment. Pupils will learn of the key practices in Islam and how they have can fit in with modern day life.

Special places:


This unit of work will take us on a journey around the world to investigate particular sites of pilgrimages. Pupils will investigate how pilgrimage is both a physical and spiritual journey. We will study Lourdes, Makkah, Ganges, Bodhgaya and the Golden Temple in Amritsar.


Alternative Religions


Through this unit of work we will investigate some alternative religious beliefs and New Religious Movements. Pupils will decide if they are in fact variations of the world’s main religions or indeed completely separate world views. Scientology, The Illuminati and Mormonism are amongst the groups we will study.



We will continue with the theme of special places but our focus here will be on the City of Jerusalem. We will learn about why Jerusalem is a special place for Jews, Christians and Muslims and how each of these religions live together today in possibly the holiest city in the world.

HT 5




Is there an Afterlife?


This unit will stretch over two half terms to allow an even deeper study of what is perhaps the ultimate question. Pupils will investigate a range of ideas about what happens after death and try to evaluate the existence of evidence to support these key beliefs and theories.

Pupils will be encouraged to express personal opinions on the issue of life after death and to reflect on the ‘evidence’ they have seen to justify and support their views.





Moral Codes:


Most religions teach that treating people will is a key part of the religion but there are many other moral codes that religions share. Pupils will learn about these and look at how they can be put into practice in an increasingly secular world.


HT 6



This unit will allow pupils to explore a range of factors that might influence our decision making. We will look at both religious and secular responses to a range of ethical issues and will encourage pupils to give their own opinions using reasoned evaluation.


Useful websites:


A site full of fun quizzes that can be useful for revision or just to reinforce knowledge




BBC website covers a wider range of topic relate to RE. All religions are covered plus some non-religious world views.



An excellent resource that covers every aspect of Christianity




This website covers all of the world’s major religions key beliefs and practices.

For further information please speak to a member of the Humanities teaching staff:

Grove- Ms Dawson Clarke

Millpool-Ms Murphy

Link- Ms Carter

Firsbrook- Ms Maher

Kings-Ms Shakeel

At City of Birmingham School, RE GCSE covers two major world religions (Christianity and Islam) and four contemporary ethical themes.

Students will be challenged with questions about belief, values, meaning, purpose and truth, enabling them to develop their own attitudes towards religious issues. Students will also gain an appreciation of how religion, philosophy and ethics form the basis of our culture. They will develop analytical and critical thinking skills, the ability to work with abstract ideas, leadership and research skills. All these skills will help prepare them for further study.

PAPER 1 – Christianity and Islam

  • Christian Beliefs
  • Christian Practices
  • Islam Beliefs
  • Islam Practices

How it's assessed

  • Written exam: 1 hour 45 minutes
  • 96 marks, plus 6 marks for spelling, punctuation and grammar (SPaG)
  • 50% of GCSE

PAPER 2 - Contemporary Themes (choice of 4)

  • Theme A: Relationships and families.
  • Theme B: Religion and life.
  • Theme C: The existence of God and revelation.
  • Theme D: Religion, peace and conflict.
  • Theme E: Religion, crime and punishment.
  • Theme F: Religion, human rights and social justice.

How it's assessed

  • Written exam: 1 hour 45 minutes
  • 96 marks, plus 3 marks for spelling, punctuation and grammar (SPaG)
  • 50% of GCSE


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