Religious Education at Alder Community High School is taught according to the Tameside Agreed Syllabus. Religious Education is not designed to indoctrinate students to a particular religion or belief. It involves learning about different faiths, beliefs and practices and how this might influence a chosen lifestyle. It allows students to learn how to think and talk about their own beliefs and values and analyse and evaluate the responses of other people to important moral issues with a religious dimension.

Our schemes of work and lesson plans seek to ensure that students explore the beliefs and practices of World Faiths as well as their own responses to questions about the meaning and purpose of life. Such lessons are planned to reflect the fact that religious traditions in Great Britain are in the main Christian, whilst taking into account the teachings and practices of the other principal religions represented in the country, as well as non-religious worldviews such as Humanism and Atheism.

Our principal aim within the department is for students to engage in systematic enquiry into significant human questions which religion and worldviews address, so that they can develop the understanding and skills needed to appreciate and appraise varied responses to these questions, as well as develop responses of their own.

The aim of RE at Key Stage 3 is threefold: for students to know about and understand a range of religious and worldviews; for students to be able to express ideas and insights about the nature, significance and impact of religious and worldviews; and for students to be able to gain and deploy skills needed to engage seriously with religious and worldviews so that they are able to understand why they may be important in their own and other people’s lives.

As Religious Education is a legal requirement up to leaving school, at Key Stage 4 all students study core RE, which is taught on a fortnightly basis. This course seeks to teach a number of moral and ethical issues from both a religious and personal stand point. The three religions focused on are Christianity, Judaism and Islam, though equal time is given to developing a student’s own perspective. If a student wishes to, they can opt to take a full GCSE in the subject.

Religious Education Course Information

Year 7

Students focus on the following key questions:

1. What is so radical about Jesus? (Christianity)
2. Should religious buildings be sold to feed the starving? (Christianity, Islam, Sikhism)
3. What is good and what is challenging about being a young Sikh or a young Muslim in Britain today? (Islam, Sikhism)

Year 8

Students focus on the following key questions:

1. Does living biblically mean obeying the whole Bible? (Christianity)
2. Is death the end? Does it matter? (Christianity, Humanism, Atheism)
3. How can people express the spiritual through the arts? (Christianity, Buddhism, Islam)

Year 9

1. Why is there suffering? Are there any good solutions? (Christianity, Buddhism, Atheism)
2. Do we need to prove God’s existence? (Christianity, Humanism)
3. Is religion a power for peace or a cause of conflict in the world today? (Christianity, Islam, Humanism, Atheism.

Core RE

Students study a variety of different moral and ethical issues. In Year 10, themes include: Matters of life and death such as abortion, euthanasia and life after death; and British Values and what it means to be British. In Year 11, themes include: Crime and Punishment and topical issues such as crime, justice and the death penalty.




Students follow the AQA syllabus. There are two components that make up the GCSE. Component 1 focuses on the Beliefs, Teachings and Practices of Christianity and Islam. Component 2 focuses on Philosophical and Ethical issues:

Component 1: The study of religions: beliefs, teachings and practices

  • A study of Christianity:


Christian Beliefs and Teachings

  • The nature of God; issues relating to God as omnipotent, loving and just, and the Trinity.
  • Creation.
  • Jesus Christ; beliefs about Jesus, his crucifixion, resurrection and ascension.
  • Salvation.
  • Afterlife

Christian Practices

  • Forms of worship
  • Prayer
  • The sacraments; the role of Baptism and the Eucharist
  • Pilgrimage
  • Festivals
  • The role of the Church in the local community
  • Mission and Evangelism
  • The Worldwide Church
  • Christian persecution
  • The Church’s response to poverty
  • A study of Islam:


Muslim Beliefs and Teachings

  • The nature of Allah
  • Key beliefs of Sunni Islam and Shi’a Islam
  • Angels
  • Predestination
  • Life after death
  • Prophethood and Adam
  • Ibrahim
  • Muhammad and the Imamate
  • Holy books

Muslim Practices

  • The five pillars, ten obligatory acts and the Shahadah
  • Salah
  • Sawm
  • Zakah
  • Pilgrimage
  • Jihad
  • Festivals



Component 2: Thematic Studies (from a Christian, Muslim and Worldview perspective)

Theme 1: Relationships and families

  • Family relationships
  • Sexual relationships
  • Marriage and Divorce
  • Gender equality

Theme 2: Religion and Life

  • Origins of the universe
  • The value of the world
  • The use and abuse of the environment
  • Pollution
  • The use and abuse of animals
  • The origins of human life
  • Abortion
  • Euthanasia
  • Death and the afterlife

Theme 3: Existence of God and revelation

  • The Design argument
  • The First Cause argument
  • Miracles
  • Arguments against the existence of God
  • Revelation and enlightenment
  • Different ideas about the divine

Theme 4: Crime and Punishment

  • Reasons for crime
  • Attitudes to lawbreakers and different types of crime
  • Suffering and causing suffering in others
  • Aims of punishment
  • Corporal punishment and community service
  • Forgiveness
  • The death penalty


Two exams:

Component 1 = 1 hour and 45 min (50% of the qualification)

Component 2 = 1 hour and 45 min (50% of the qualification)