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The Religious Education Department Key Information

‘It is important that all involved in education in our diocese recognise that we give primacy of purpose to helping everyone within the school community to grow in faith.’

(Fit for Mission, Bishop Patrick O’Donoghue)


At St. Joseph’s Catholic High School all students study Religious Education as a core subject. Throughout their studies, students are challenged to evaluate their own faith, attitudes, behaviour, opinions and values. Students of all or no religious background are invited to learn about Christ, his teachings and his Church and share their own faith and life experiences within our Catholic faith community. All students are invited to develop their personal relationship with Christ who stands in the centre of all we do and who we are. Jesus Christ wants us to share in his perfection and that is what we want for each of our students. We want them to be as perfect as possible in each area of their lives. That is why RE teachers help pupils to develop academically, spiritually, socially, emotionally and morally.

 RE Staff

Mr Peter Hornak, BA, MA (Director of Religious Education)

  • BA in Catholic Theology and Philosophy, (All Hallows, Dublin, Ireland)
  • MA in Mathematics (Teaching and Learning), (Liverpool Hope, Liverpool, UK)

Mr Robert Gabuguga, BA, BA, MA (Teacher of Religious Education)

  • BA in Philosophy, (Urbaniana, Rome, Italy)
  • BA in Catholic Theology, (Middlesex University, London, UK)
  • MA in Education, (Durham University, Durham, UK)

Mr Ben Jackson, BA (Teacher of Religious Education)

  • BA in History and History of Art, (Manchester University, Manchester, UK)
  • PGCE in Religious Education, (University of Cumbria, Lancaster, UK)


RE Curriculum

The RE Curriculum at St. Joseph’s implements the requirements of the RECD (Religious Education Catholic Directory). The new version of RECD, referred to as RED (Religious Education Directory) is expected to be published in January 2023. Once published, a timeline and plans for the implementation will be drawn up. There will be an allowance of a few years for implementing the new RED. Students at St. Joseph’s follow the Edexcel RE GCSE course which is one of three endorsed by the Bishops’ Conference.

Year 7

The underlining theme for Year 7 students is ‘faith’ and the opportunity to meet Christ who is the one who gives meaning to our lives and is the source of all happiness.


Y7 Autumn Term topics

  • The Search for Meaning, Sources of Meaning, The World Religions as the Sources of Meaning; God (The Holy Trinity) as the Source of Meaning and the Holy Scripture.
  • Faith as a Response to God: Stages of Faith, Prayer as a Sign of Faith, Collective Worship as a Sign of Faith and sacraments.


Y7 Spring Term Topics

  • The Liturgical Year as a Sign of Faith (Advent, Christmas and Lent)
  • The Liturgical Year as a Sign of Faith (Holy Week and Triduum)


Y7 Summer Term Topics

  • The Liturgical Year as a Sign of Faith (Easter, Ascension and Pentecost)
  • Places of Worship and Pilgrimage as a Sign of Faith, Moral Life as a Sign of Faith


Year 8

The underlining theme for Year 8 students is the ‘History of Salvation’.


Y8 Autumn Term Topics

  • Prehistory: Creation, Original Sin and the promise of the Messiah
  • Judaism: Location, Culture and Patriarchs
  • Judaism: Moses and the Torah
  • Judaism: Beliefs, practice, worship and festivals


Y8 Spring Term Topics

  • Judaism at the time of Jesus (Holy Land, Roman Empire, Life in Palestine, the Expectations for the Messiah)
  • Jesus – the expected Messiah and the Saviour, the Beginning of the New Testament, Gospels and History Documents, teachings of Jesus (Parables)

Y8 Summer Term Topics

  • Miracles and Jesus’ first disciples
  • The Church and Salvation, the Magisterium, Councils, Religious Orders and Clergy
  • The Mission of the Church: Evangelism and the Social Teachings of the Church
  • The Church and other religions: Islam


Year 9

Students in Year 9 study two Philosophy units which allow them to develop philosophical vocabulary needed for the future theological units. Philosophical thinking is well used in the delivery of non-GCSE topics which are required to be taught by RECD, such as value of life, abortion and euthanasia. Philosophy units are followed by a study of Judaism which will lay down historical and doctrinal foundations for Catholic Theology.


Y9 Autumn Term Topics

  • Arguments for the existence of God (Revelation, Visions, Miracles, Religious Experiences, The Design and Cosmological arguments, The Existence of Suffering and Solutions to the Problem of Suffering), Value of life, Abortion and Euthanasia


Y9 Spring Term Topics

  • Religious Teachings on Relationships and Families in the 21st Century (Marriage, Sexual relationships, The Family, Support for the Family, Family Planning, Divorce, Annulment, Equality of Men and Women, Gender Prejudice and Discrimination)


Y9 Summer Term Topics

  • Judaism (The Almighty, The Shekhinah, The Messiah, The Covenant at Sinai, The Covenant with Abraham, The Sanctity of Life, Moral Principles and Mitzvot and Life after Death)


Year 10

Students in Year 10 study their second Judaism unit which will complete their preparation for theological studies. After the Philosophy and Judaism foundations, students study Catholic theology units.


Y10 Autumn Term Topics (and the first part of the Spring Term)

  • Judaism (Public Acts of Worship, The Tenakh and Talmud, Private and Public Prayer, The Shema and the Amidah, Ritual and Ceremony, Shabbat, Festivals and Synagogue)
  • Catholic Christianity (The Trinity, The Trinity and the Bible, Creation, Creation and the Nature of Humanity, The Incarnation, The Paschal Mystery, Eschatology)


Y10 Spring Term Topics (Starting at the second half of this term)

  • Catholic Christianity (The Sacramental Nature of Reality, Liturgical Worship, The Funeral Rite, Prayer, Popular Piety, Pilgrimage, Catholic Social Teaching, Evangelism)


Y10 Summer Term Topics

  • Catholic Christianity (The Bible, Interpretation of the Bible, The Magisterium, The Second Vatican Council, The Church as the Body of Christ, The Four Marks of the Church, Mary, Ethical Decisions)


Year 11

Y11 students complete their theological studies and then revise all topics again for their GCSE exams.


Y11 Autumn Term Topics

  • Catholic Christianity (Architecture, Sacred Objects, Artwork, Sculptures and Statues, Symbolism, Drama and Music)
  • Catholic Christianity Mock
  • Final Revision (Judaism Topics)


Y11 Spring Term Topics

  • Final Revision (Judaism)
  • Judaism Mock
  • Final Revision (Catholic Christianity Topics)


Y11 Summer Term Topics

  • Final Revision (Philosophy)
  • May/June GCSE Exams



There is a mutual relationship between knowledge and skills that students develop during their Religious Education studies. These skills may include:

  • Investigation Skills, e.g., listen carefully, know where to look for evidence, observe accurately;
  • Interpretation Skills, e.g., categorise and classify, interpret symbols, signs, develop hypothesis;
  • Communication Skills, e.g., know religious language, exercise imagination through role play;
  • Critical Skills, e.g., question your own point of view, form reasoned opinions, weight evidence;
  • Affective Skills, e.g., relate well with others, work in a group, exercise empathy;
  • Evaluation Skills, e.g., make reasoned value judgements, distinguish between rules and principles and make responsible choices.


Future careers and vocation

All humanity shares in the same vocation which can be described as becoming a Saint or being called to possess the fullness of life in and with God. He calls every human being into a relationship of love and happiness. However, becoming a Saint can be achieved in many ways.

There is a special call to become a priest, a monk, a nun, a religious brother or sister. These are calls into the priesthood or religious life. If this is the case, talk about it with your RE teacher, chaplain or your parish priest to discern this call further.

Careers which may require specific RE knowledge include:

  • Archivist
  • Biblical Archaeologist
  • Journalist, religious press
  • Librarian, religious section
  • Manager / Leader of a retreat centre
  • Curator/Museum worker
  • Radio/TV presenter of religious programmes
  • University lecturer and RE teacher and so on…

Careers with people:

  • Advice worker
  • Careers adviser
  • Care assistant
  • Counsellor
  • Politician
  • Police officer
  • Social Worker and so on…

Careers in business:

  • Advertising account executive
  • Charity fundraiser
  • Civil service administrator
  • Public relations officer
  • Funeral Services
  • Solicitor and so on…


Tel: 01900 873290

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