Religious Education

Staffing: Mrs F Lowe (Head of Department), Miss K Chapman, Mr I Jackson and Mrs H Martin, Mrs H Schofield

Religious Education in Church of England Schools

As ‘schools of faith’ Church of England schools including Bury Church of England High School recognise the common search of all humanity for ultimate truth and relationship with the Divine.  A vision of education inspired by the life and example of Jesus Christ is a catalyst for a process of formation for the whole person and the whole human family.  RE is key to fulfilling the purpose of a church school as described by the late Lord Runcie when he was Archbishop of Canterbury: ‘to nourish those of the faith; encourage those of other faiths and challenge those who have no faith.’ Inspired by this statement, the North West of England dioceses set out that the principal aim of Religious Education is to affirm and nourish, encourage and challenge all pupils on their spiritual journey.

In an Anglican school, the educational process is rooted in the Christian foundation of the school community.  Therefore all teaching, learning and planning take place within the ethos of the school community.  Religious Education lies at the very heart of the curriculum, reflecting and conveying the distinctively Christian character of the school community as reflected in the Anglican tradition.

RE has a key role in helping pupils to:

  • engage with the living faith of the school;
  • understand how religious faith can provide a vision to sustain and develop their spiritual and personal life;
  • develop a sense of themselves as significant, unique and precious;
  • become active citizens, understanding and serving their neighbour;
  • find reason for hope in a troubled world.

In order for these aims to be fulfilled pupils are entitled to the highest standards of teaching and learning in Religious Education to enable them to:

  • think theologically and explore ultimate questions;
  • reflect critically on the truth claims of Christian belief;
  • face the challenge of Jesus’ teaching in a pluralist and post-modern society;
  • develop the skills to analyse, interpret and apply the Bible text;
  • recognise that faith is commitment to a particular way of understanding and responding to God and the world;
  • analyse and explain the varied nature and traditions of the Christian community;
  • make a well-informed response to Christianity;
  • respect those of all faiths in their search for God;
  • reflect critically on areas of shared belief and practice between different faiths;
  • enrich and expand their understanding of truth;
  • reflect critically and express their views on the human quest.

Teaching and learning in world religions and world views

Church schools such as ours have a duty to foster accurate and increasing understanding of world religions and world views.  As a result pupils will gain greater insight into the world and the society in which they are growing up.  They will also be able to appreciate the faith of others and develop a deeper understanding of their own beliefs and practices.  These outcomes must contribute to building up harmonious relations within and between communities, promoting inclusion for all and combating the evils of racism.  The principal aim for Religious Education sets out that all pupils should be enabled to explore and grow in understanding of their own faith or philosophical stance.

Therefore in Key Stage 3

  • two thirds of the curriculum each year is spent in the study of Christianity;
  • at least two other religions will be studied overall, and one in depth.

And in Key Stage 4

  • the study of Christianity is required as part of an accredited course (GCSE);
  • pupils will study at least one other principal religion.

Key Stage 3

In Year 7 pupils complete five schemes of work (3 lessons a fortnight)

What makes Bury Church High School a Christian school?

Understanding Religion; including an investigation in what makes us human

Hope and Faith; contributing to the Arch Bishop of York Award’s Personal Volunteering Challenge.

Introducing World Religions; giving an overview of the key beliefs and practices of the 6 major World Religions.

The Old Testament; investigating the stories as a common heritage of Judaism, Christianity and Islam.


In Year 8 pupils complete three schemes of work (3 lessons a fortnight)

An Introduction to Islam; allowing pupils to gain an insight into this major World Religion

The Life of Jesus; a systematic study of the gospel accounts of the life of Jesus

Religion and Community Cohesion: Britain as a diverse society


Pupils achieve highly in the Religious Studies GCSE at Bury CofE High School with results consistently above national average.

Year (when exam sat)

A*-A A*-C
2015 34% 80%
2014 38% 73%
2013 36% 77%


Due to the changes in the GCSE specification arrangements for completing the RE GCSE are as follows:

Year 9 2016-17 Pupils will begin the exam syllabus as outlined below at the start of year 9 and sit the exam in year 10 in June 2018.

Year 9 2015-16

Pupils will begin the year working from the draft AQA GCSE Religious Studies. As the course is updated and accredited, schemes of work will be developed along with assessment tasks and exams. Due to the changes the actual exam will be sat at the end of year 11 in 2018 to ensure pupils have had the full time needed to prepare. Topics to be covered include: Christianity: Beliefs and teachings, Practices

Islam: Beliefs and teachings, Practices

Theme A: Relationships and Families Theme B: Religion and Life Theme D: Peace and Conflict Theme E: Religion, Crime and Punishment

Year 10 2015-16

Pupils will study for a Full Course GCSE in Religious Studies (Edexcel 5RS01/5RS08).  This is started in Year 9 (5 lessons a fortnight) and completed in Year 10 (5 lessons a fortnight) with pupils sitting both of the exams in the June series of exams.

In Year 9 pupils complete the Religion and Society units including:

  • Religion: Rights and Responsibilities
  • Religion: Medical and Environmental Ethics
  • Religion: Crime and Punishment
  • Religion: Peace and Conflict
  • Pupils will sit a mock exam during the summer term.
  • In Year 10 pupils complete the Religion and Life units including:
  • Believing in God
  • Matters of Life and Death
  • Marriage and the Family
  • Religion and Community Cohesion

Year 11

In year 11, pupils work towards the Archbishop of York KS4 Young Leaders Award. Completing four leadership challenges including ‘Public Speaking’ and ‘Events Management’.

Drop-down Days

The department organises several Drop Down Days throughout the year including activities designed to deepen pupils understanding of key topics, including a multi-faith day, a trip to Liverpool to visit the Cathedrals and a day looking in depth at the Incarnation.

Extra Curricular Activities

  • Trip to Rome 2013
  • Scripture Union Bible Quiz Teams
  • Schools week by the band ‘Taste’ (with concert held at Metro Christian Centre)
  • Visit from the band Malokai (in conjunction with the Music Department)
  • Prayer Space week
  • Message Higher Tour, including trip to 02 Apollo

Future Developments include

  • Trip to Rome 2015
  • Trip to Taize in France
  • Gifted and Talented enrichment events
  • Visit from BrightLine