Religious Education is a subject at the heart of every Catholic School. The study of religious belief and practice enables students to develop an understanding of people and the codes of behaviour they follow. The emphasis is not just on learning about religion, but also the learning from religion.
The outcome of religious education is religiously literate young people who. . . think spiritually, ethically and theologically and who are aware of the demands of religious commitment in everyday life.
The Curriculum Directory for Catholic Schools (1996)
RE at St Catherine’s is taught by specialist staff, using a range of methods and resources designed to engage the interests of students and stimulate discussion. It is a core subject with every student taking RE at GCSE and following a non-examined General RE course in the Sixth Form
Key Stage 3
All students study RE from Year 7 to 9 in three 45 minute lessons per week.
At Key Stage3 the girls are introduced to the foundations of the Christian Faith in Year 7 and 8, learning about key Christian beliefs, the organisation of the Church, the Bible, and sacraments. Students will also learn about Judaism in Year 8. They are encouraged to develop the critical thinking skills needed to explore, question and challenge the beliefs and ideas studied.
In Year 9 they move on to consider what it means to be a religious person, and will explore the reasons people choose to follow a religion as well as exploring how religions deal with ethical issues. The Spring Term focuses on a study of the beliefs and practices of Islam, Hinduism, Sikhism and Buddhism before moving on to begin the GCSE course in the Summer Term.
Key Stage 4
All students take RE to GCSE. At St Catherine’s we follow the Edexcel course looking at Roman Catholic Christianity in Year 10 and Religion and Life from the Roman Catholic perspective in Year 11. The course is linear, with students taking exams in both units at the end of Year 11. Students of all faiths achieve well in this subject with more than half of Year 11s obtaining an A or A* every year since 2008.
In the Sixth Form, all students follow a course in General Religious Education for one lesson per week, exploring a range of topics including religion in the local area, spirituality, Philosophy, Ethical thinking, human rights and social justice.
Sixth Formers also have the option of choosing to study Philosophy and Ethics at A level. We follow the OCR course.
In Year 12 Philosophy, students explore ancient Greek influences on Western ideas as well as the classical arguments for God’s existence and challenges to belief from the problem of evil and science.
Year 12 Ethics explores key ethical thinking from Kant to Utilitarianism and Natural Law, and how these are applied to issues of abortion, euthanasia, the right to a child and Warfare.
In Year 13, Philosophy explores Religious language, Religious Experience, Miracles, Attributes of God and Life after Death.
The Ethics course in Year 13 focuses on Meta-ethics, Conscience, Free will and Determinism and Virtue Ethics, applying them to issues of Business and Environmental Ethics and Sexual Ethics.
Spirituality is an important aspect of life at St Catherine’s School. All pupils are offered the opportunity to reflect on their own faith and grow as individuals, mindful of their own beliefs and respectful of the beliefs of others. A programme of day retreats runs for all year groups in the Senior School, with the Sixth Form going out to the Franciscan Retreat Centre at Cold Ash in Berkshire.
Whole school Masses are held for the Feast of Our Lady of Mercy (September), the Feast of St Catherine of Siena (April) and to mark the beginnings of Spring Term and the end of the Year. A special service is held for those preparing for exams.
Beyond the school, the RE Department works with the Catholic Children’s Society to plan and lead their Advent Carol Services and the Good Shepherd Masses at Westminster Cathedral, taking students from Year 5 and Year 7 to help lead the singing.
Miss M Ryan - Head of Department
Mrs S Blackman
Mrs P Bath