Religious Education Curriculum Overview, 2020-2021

Why do we teach RE at Ark BDA?

As a Church of England High School, Religious Education will play a vital role in everyday school life. Our aim is to provide all pupils with a forum for discussion and debate on a range of religious matters, whatever their personal opinions or background. RE will inform and educate pupils on the key beliefs and teachings of the six major world religions, whilst also provoking challenging questions about meaning and purpose in life, ultimate reality, issues of right and wrong and what it means to be human. 

In RE, students learn about religions and worldviews in local, national and global contexts. They discover, explore and consider different answers to these questions. They learn to weigh up the value of wisdom from different sources, to develop and express their insights in response, and to agree or disagree respectfully.

How do we deliver our Christian values in RE?

Burlington Danes Academy is proud of its Church of England status and throughout all key stages we promote the Christian ethos and values whilst engaging with all other world religions, spiritualties and worldviews.

We lead students to live out our Christian values by:

• Aiming high: all pupils are challenged to explore a range of stimulating and difficult topics and ideas from Y7 to Y13. They are taught to delve into a space of critical thinking where they can express well-balanced opinions, rooted in excellent subject knowledge and understanding about different worldviews.

• Being brave: we encourage all pupils to confront controversial ideas and events; discussing them openly and frankly to explore beliefs, practices and ideas which can be controversial.  Pupils explore the complex ways in which religions, denominations, communities and societies are linked, and to appreciate the diversity of all people’s faiths and backgrounds.

• Keep learning: reflecting on pupils’ progress is a core tenet of the religious education curriculum at BDA. Pupils regularly and methodically revisit core knowledge and skills in order to ensure that they all have mastery over the build

• Be kind: all students are aware that all topics, conversations and opinions are to be expressed sensitively. All are to responsibly treat others with respect.

How do we build core skills and knowledge over time?


Throughout years 7-9 we provide a curriculum that has a balanced representation of different world religions. In Year 7 students look at world religions in depth, often through historical narratives which can be applied to modern day living. Students are immersed in a Judeo-Christian historical exploration after learning the key skills needed to be a good theologian and finishing the year learning how to be independent and critical thinkers using philosophy as a platform. We believe that these challenging and ‘higher’ skills are necessary at a young age for an excellent foundation later on.

In Year 8 students build upon their understanding of the how Christian values can impact social justice by looking at Moral Exemplars such as Martin Luther King and Malcolm X and then finish of looking at the Eastern religions such as Hinduism, Buddhism and Sikhism. This will give students the opportunity to have studied all major faiths within their first two years before preparing for GCSEs. Christianity is interspersed throughout the Key Stage 3 curriculum looking at Jesus, Christmas, Easter, Pilgrimage and the Sacraments.

Year 9 students begin studying Islam beliefs and practices in preparation for their GCSEs which they will revisit and be examined on at the end of year 11, accounting for 25% of their GCSE grade.


In Year 10, students study Christianity beliefs and practices. Year 11 students will study religious perspectives on philosophical, ethical and moral issues. Thus, the content learnt from year 9 to year 11 will make up three separate examinations leading to a full GCSE qualification taken at the end of Year 11. Students develop key skills in writing to time with a focus on explanation and evaluation. The results have consistently been of the highest in the academy, with staff who structure and scaffold work tailored for the appropriate set they teach.

Students are monitored and have the opportunity to move between sets within two groups (sets 1-3 and sets 4-7) according to their end of term assessments. Homework is set regularly and will always be exam focused to thoroughly prepare them for the reality of their GCSE.


How does the study of RE prepare students for life beyond Ark BDA?

The study of Religion also known as Theology is a subject which was originally taught in medieval universities across Italy, Spain, France and England alongside the Arts, Law and Medicine. The skills that are found in this traditional academic subject are diverse and cross-curricular.

Theology is effectively a systematic and rational ‘study of God’, embedding the skills of reasoning, analysis, historical interpretation, critical thinking and contextualisation which we do through the eyes of Christianity and Islam; it is therefore a subject that often best suits people of faith. It is a subject which universities highly regard as worthwhile due to its versatile nature even though it is often not a requirement for many degrees, it will sit alongside Science or RE A Levels well to show diversity or complement others such as History or English Literature. Cambridge University in particular considers Theology as a good subject for studying the Arts or Social Sciences. The course is made up of two exams at the end of each year.


Philosophy & Ethics is a subject which is made up of the philosophy of religion (which is the love of human wisdom as it understands religion) and moral philosophy (which is systematically defending and recommending the concepts of right and wrong behaviour). This is applied in the form of arguments about the existence of God and an application to medical ethical issues. This subject is often suited for people of faith, agnostic or atheist which can create a healthy debate in class as students work through rational and logical propositions. The skills that are acquired from this subject are versatile in nature with students developing proficiency in analysis, evaluation and critical thinking. Universities value this subject highly as an academic discipline which finds its foundations on western Greek ideology. Students who study Psychology, Sciences, English Literature and History will find this complementary and also a useful addition to A Levels that are preparing students for a degree in Medicine.



In year 7, 8 and 9 there are 2 lessons of RE each week. These year groups have slightly less RE curriculum time as they master the basics in RE which sets the foundation for key stage 4. In year 10 and 11 they are lucky to have are 3 lessons of RE. Finally, in year 12 and 13 there are 7 face to face lessons of RE per week. When students have free periods, they are required to study independently in the 6th form library. This style of timetable mirrors university and is therefore developing the independent study skills needed for students to be successful at university.

BDA RE lessons are sequenced from foundational to more abstract and advanced topics which are within the GCSE course and demand both more preparation and personal maturity. For example, beginning with worship and prayer at BDA in Yr7, then beliefs and practices (which is a more familiar topic to our students which they already have a degree of background knowledge on) before progressing to matters of life and death such as abortion and euthanasia in the Autumn term of Year 11. BDA RE topics are grounded in key questions about the nature of religious belief and practice and ethical issues which are often linked to current and relevant issues affecting our students. The structuring of topics reflects the demands of the Eduqas and Edexcel specifications and our anticipation of misconceptions and of more subtle and abstract moral questions. Core knowledge is explicitly planned and clear in knowledge organisers and booklets, and homework focuses on learning key concepts and ideas. Regular retrieval is built into lessons to revisit and consolidate prior learning.


Pupils are assessed in a variety of ways. Pupils' self or peer mark their work every lesson with a green pen. Within the class we assess formatively to give students immediate feedback, so that pupils can improve, in books as well as fast feedback to a whole class after assessments. Based on research this is the most effective form of immediate feedback that allows students to make the most progress but has the least impact on teacher workload. In addition to this, we use summative assessments at the end of every term. This is to ensure that students are building on their knowledge each term. Finally, we do one final assessment at the end of the year. For year 7 this includes the topics they have learned that year. For year it includes the topics learned in year 7 and 8, and so on.


That said, the curriculum at BDA is driven by our curriculum intent as opposed to assessment models. We will know if students at BDA have met our curriculum intention if they are developing these key skills both academic and personal:

a)    Investigation - this includes:

  • asking relevant questions;
  • knowing how to use a variety of sources in order to gather information;
  • knowing what may count as good evidence in understanding religion(s).
  1. Interpretation - this includes:
  • the ability to draw meaning from artefacts, works of art, poetry and symbolism;
  • the ability to interpret religious language;
  • the ability to suggest meanings of religious texts.
  1. Reflection - this includes:
  • the ability to reflect on feelings, experience, attitudes, beliefs, values, relationships, practices and ultimate questions.
  1. Empathy - this includes:
  • developing the power of imagination to identify feelings such as love, wonder, forgiveness and sorrow;
  • the ability to consider the thoughts, feelings, experiences, attitudes, beliefs and values of others;
  • the ability to see the world through the eyes of others, and to see issues from their point of view.
  1. Evaluation - this includes:
  • the ability to debate issues of religious significance with reference to evidence, argument, opinion and statements of faith;
  • weighing the respective claims of self-interest, consideration for others, religious teaching and individual conscience.
  1. Analysis - this includes:
  • distinguishing between opinion, belief and fact;
  • recognizing bias, caricature, prejudice and stereotyping;
  • distinguishing between the features of different religions.
  1. Synthesis - this includes:
  • linking significant features of religion(s) together in a coherent pattern;
  • connecting different aspects of life into a meaningful whole.
  1. Application - this includes:
  • making links between religion and individual, community, national and international life;
  • identifying key religious values and their links with secular values.
  1. Expression - this includes:
  • the ability to articulate ideas, beliefs and values;
  • the ability to respond to religious ideas, beliefs and questions through a variety of media.
  1. Self-understanding - this includes:
  • the ability to draw meaning from significant experiences in their own and others' lives and from religious questions and answers.



RE can help pupils to:

  • investigate beliefs, practices and ways of life using resources effectively and developing knowledge and understanding;
  • think creatively, sharing their own thoughts and conclusions, reflecting on how religions and beliefs express key beliefs and teachings in a variety of ways;
  • investigate, reflect on and evaluate important question of meaning;
  • communicate both ideas and values in religion and belief and their own thoughts and ideas, interacting with different audiences and using a range of media;
  • evaluate the place and significance of religion and belief in today’s world, developing their own views, using reasoned and thoughtful arguments.


RE can help pupils to:

  • identify their strengths and areas for improvement in their learning in RE be aware of both their own feelings and those of others, especially people from different faiths and beliefs;
  • reflect on their experiences and how these might relate to their learning in RE;
  • work both independently and collaboratively with others;
  • demonstrate perseverance in their learning in RE especially when faced with challenging concepts and ideas.


RE can help pupils to:

  • listen well and respond respectfully and sensitively when encountering people from different faiths and beliefs;
  • show both empathy and critical awareness;
  • consider their rights and responsibilities and the key beliefs and teachings within religion on human nature, relationships and the value /purpose of human beings.









Autumn 1

Autumn 2

Spring 1

Spring 2

Summer 1

Summer 2


I am unique

People who help us


Fairy Tales

New life

Animals (Habitats)


Poetry Day (Rhymes)

Grandparents Day





Black History Month 


Bonfire night

Remembrance Day




Chinese New Year 

Valentine’s Day 

Mother’s Day 

World Book Day 


St Patrick’s Day 

St George’s Day


Queen’s Birthday 


Father’s Day 

 Reception RE

Who Made The Wonderful World and Why?

Why Is Christmas Special For Christians?


How Did Jesus Rescue People?


What Is So Special About Easter?


Why Do Christians Believe Jesus Is Special?


Who Cares For This Special World?


 Year 1 RE

What Is The Story Of Noah REALLY About?

Nativity Characters: Which Character Are You?

Why Are You Important?


What Is It Like To Live As A Jew?

Why Are They Having A Jewish Party?

Why Is Easter The Most Important Festival For Christians?

 What Does It Mean To Be A Buddhist?


Why Do Christians Make And Keep Promises Before God?

Record RE in books from Summer 1

Year 2 RE

What is God’s rule for living? Core Christian belief: basis of Christian morality. Story of 10 commandments, Moses, etc. Importance/relevance today. Golden rule.

Why are saints important to Christians? Qualities that make a saint, All Saints Day.

What is the story of our school name? Story behind the school, background, traditions, ritual, history, relevance of saint to school community today. 

Where is the light of Christmas? Christians’ understanding of Jesus as light of the world, the Christingle, light in art to show Jesus as the light of God, the Wise Men being guided by a light, guiding lights in our lives. (CM)

What is the importance of Symbols, Beliefs and teaching in Hinduism? Diwali; Holi; sacred books; worship – in the home, in the Hindu Mandir; belief in 1 god.  


What does it mean to be a Hindu? Key beliefs of Hinduism and how these are applied to daily life for some Hindus. Key practices and how values and ideals influence and underpin behavior and attitude.

How do Easter symbols help us to understand the meaning of Easter for christens? This unit covers the different Christian symbols linked to the Easter story, specifically focusing on the cross and water as symbols of forgiveness and new life. 

What does it mean to be a Muslim? The importance of Muhammad, of the Qur’an and how it is treated by Muslims. What stories teach about Muslim beliefs, Islamic practices (including prayer, birth rites and Islamic art), significance of the mosque and similarities and differences of worship and ideas about Allah (God) between Islam and other faiths. 

 What is the best way for a Muslim to show commitment to God (Allah)? The importance of the following: The Shahadah: Call to faith, Salah (The role prayer plays in a Muslim’s life), Zakat (giving to charity), Hajj (the importance of pilgrimage, Eid-ul-Fitr and Eid-ul-Adha. 

What do Sikhs believe? An introduction to the basic beliefs and practices of the Sikh faith. Pupils are given the opportunity to develop their own understanding of what they believe about belonging and making commitments. 


What does it mean to be a Sikhs? What it means to belong to a community; the key teachings of Sikhism; the Gurdwara and Guru Granth Sahib and what it means to be a Sikh and its link to Islam. 

 Year 3 RE

What is the Bible’s ‘big story’ and what does it reveal about having belief  in God?

Children will be exploring the metanarrative of the Bible (one plot which is made up of these key parts: 

God, Creation, The Fall, People of God, Incarnation, Gospel, Salvation, Kingdom of God) and how Christians have shown faith in the past and continue to show faith today.



Why is Remembrance important?

Children will be answering why is it important to remember those who have fallen. They will also be considering how remembering helps the cause of peace. 

How did advent and Epiphany show us what Christmas is really like?

This unit teaches the children about Advent as a time of preparation and looks at the signs in the Bible that point to the birth of Jesus. It looks at the impact of the message of Christmas on the people of God and then the clues to be found in the celebration of Epiphany about Jesus’ life.



What does it mean to be a Jew?

The importance of the Covenant, of the Shema and how it is treated by Jews. Children will be learning about the different promises that the Jewish people made to God.  

How do Christians believe following Jesus’ new commandments and his 2 greatest commandments make a difference?

Children will be discovering what Jesus taught his followers and how we can relate Jesus' teachings to our own values and attitudes.

Who is the most important person in the Easter story?

Children will be focussing on the 4 main questions of the Eater Story:

 1 – Why did Judas betray Jesus? 

2 – What does Peter’s denial say about the challenges of Christian faith? 

3 – Why were there women at the crucifixion of Jesus?

4 – Who is the most important person in the Gospel accounts of Holy Week and why?

What does it mean to be Buddhist?

Children will be exploring who Siddhartha was and the circumstances that led to him becoming Buddha and achieving enlightenment. Children will be introduced to Buddhist virtues and beliefs using stories that Buddha told.




Who is Jesus  

Pupils will be learning about how Jesus described himself through symbolism. They will also be discovering;

The 7 “I am. . .” statements of Jesus and their meanings to Christians;

How the “I am…” statements relate to the personal lives of Christians;

Creation of an “I am. . .” statement by each pupil for Jesus;


 Year 4RE

How did belief in God affect the actions of people from the Old Testament?

 6 sessions 

What are the beatitudes and what do they mean to Christians? 2 sessions  

What do Christians mean by peace at Christmas? 4 sessions


What is the best way for a Muslim to show commitment to God (Allah)?

Do fame and Christian faith go together? 2 sessions 

How does Holy Communion build a Christian community? 4 sessions


What do Sikhs Believe?

How did belief in God affect the actions of people from the Old Testament?



Autumn 1

Autumn 2

Spring 1

Spring 2

Summer 1

Summer 2


Year 7


Origins of the universe






Benefits of religion

Key question

What do people believe about how the world was made?

Why are covenants important to the Jewish people?


Why are covenants important to the Jewish people?

What did Jesus do?

Is pilgrimage still relevant today?

Does religion do more harm than good?


  • Literal and non-literal interpretations
  • Judeo-Christian creation story Implications stewardship
  • Islamic creation story
  • Hindu creation story
  • Scientific origins of the universe



  • Introduction to Judaism The covenant with Noah The Tower of Babel
  • The covenant with Abraham


  • Brit Milah
  • The covenant with Moses
  • The Passover Seder
  • King David


  • The birth of Jesus
  • The parables of Jesus
  • The miracles of Jesus
  • Holy Week
  • The last supper
  • The crucifixion of Jesus
  • The resurrection
  • The ascension
  • Introduction to pilgrimage
  • Abrahamic faiths: Jerusalem
  • Christian pilgrimage: Lourdes
  • Muslim pilgrimage:
  • Hajj
  • Hindu pilgrimage: Varanasi
  • Buddhist pilgrimage: Bodh Gaya
  • Non – religious pilgrimage
  • Evaluation: Is pilgrimage still relevant today?
  • Crusades
  • Northern Ireland: Catholics
  • Northern Ireland: Protestants
  • Israel and Palestine
  • Terrorism
  • The benefits of religion
  • Evaluation



EOT Assessment on

origins of the universe



EOT assessment on Judaism


EOY assessment on Judaism and Jesus


Year 8


Moral Exemplars


Good and Evil





Key question

How do Malcolm X and Marti Luther King provide good moral examples?


What is the nature of good and evil?

Why are the sacraments important to Christians

What are the fundamental beliefs and practices in Hinduism?

What are the fundamental beliefs and practices in Buddhism?

What are the fundamental beliefs and practices in Sikhism?


  • Introduction
  • The Jim Crow Laws
  • MLK’s life and values
  • Malcolm X’s life
  • Comparison of MLK and Jesus
  • Malcolm X and racism
  • The Nation of Islam
  • Traditional Islam approach to racism
  • Malcolm X reformed


  • Biblical theodicy:
  • The fall of Lucifer
  • Fall of humanity
  • Story of Job
  • Ireneaus and soul making
  • St Augustine
  • Free will defence        


  • Introduction to the sacraments / overview
  • Baptism
  • Eucharist
  • Confirmation
  • Reconciliation
  • Anointing of the sick
  • Marriage
  • Holy Orders
  • Comparison of the sacraments


  • Origins of Hinduism
  • Nature of God: Brahman
  • Nature of God: Trimurti
  • Karma, Samsara and Moksha
  • The Varna system
  • The Mandir and Puja


  • Buddha’s early life
  • Four sights and the Middle Way
  • Enlightenment
  • Four Noble Truths
  • The Eightfold Path
  • Samsara and Karma
  • The 5 precepts
  • Meditation
  • Comparison to Hinduism
  • Life of the Guru
  • Guru’s teachings
  • Gurdwara and equality
  • The Khalsa and the 5 K’s
  • Festivals



EOT assessment on Moral Exemplars



EOT assessment on the Sacraments


EOY assessment on Hinduism and Buddhism




Introduction to Islam

Beliefs of Islam


Five Pillars of Islam

Five Pillars of Islam

The Nature of God


Key question

What are the fundamental beliefs that underline a Muslims life? 

What are the fundamental beliefs that underline a Muslims life? 


How does a Muslim live their life?

How does a Muslim celebrate festivals?

What are the fundamental beliefs that underline a Christian’s life?

Who is Jesus and why is he important to Christians?


  • The rightly Guided Caliphs
  • The Nature of Allah
  • Revleation, Fitrah, Hanif & Taqwa
  • Shia interpretation & Adalat
  • Prophet hood (Risalah)
  • Past prophets
  • Muhammad as the seal of the prophets
  • Community in Medina


  • Angels (Malaikah)
  • Difference in Sunni/Shia Beleifs for Angels and Freewill
  • Akhirah
  • Al Qadr
  • Free Will
  • Heaven
  • Hell
  • Foundations of Faith
  • Usul-al Din (Shia principles of faith)
  • Holy Books
  • Shahadah
  • Salah
  • Zakah
  • Sawm
  • Hajj
  • Hajj
  • Review
  • Review and redraft
  • Review and redraft
  • Ten Obligatory Acts of Shia Islam
  • Comparison of Sunni/Shia belief
  • Jihad
  • Great Jihad
  • Lesser Jihad
  • Festivals
  • Eid – ul – Adha
  • Eid – ul- Fitr
  • Ashura
  • The Night of Power
  • The God of classical theism
  • The apostles creed
  • The doctrine of the trinity
  • Evil and suffering
  • Creation
  • Biblical Creation and interpretations of Genesis
  • The role of the word and Spirit in creation
  • Jesus
  • Incarnation
  • Incarnation
  • Crucifixion
  • Resurrection and Ascension



EOT assessment of Islam Beliefs




EOY assessment of Islam Beliefs and Islam Practices


Year 10


Christian Beliefs and Practices.

Christianity in Britain and the Church in the local community



Equality and Life and Death

Life and Death

Life and Death

Key question

How does a Christian live their life?

What part does the Church play in the local community?

What is the nature of a family and how does this translate to religious views?


What are religious attitudes towards marriage and sex?

What is the role of men and women within religion and are they equal?


How was the world created according to religious believers?

How should religious believers treat the world, their lives and the lives of others?

What is a religious believer’s attitude towards the afterlife and how humans get there?


  • Jesus
  • In the Bible
  • Sin and Original Sin
  • Sin
  • Pentecost and the Holy Spirit
  • The Afterlife
  • Eschatological Beliefs
  • Judgement
  • Heaven and Hell
  • Forms of Worship
  • Liturgical, Informal and Worship
  • The nature and importance of Prayer
  • Quakers and Evangelists
  • Sacraments
  • Baptism
  • Eucharist
  • Christmas
  • Easter
  • Pilgrimage and celebrations
  • Pilgrimage importance
  • Pilgrimages (Lourdes)
  • Pilgrimages (Taize)
  • Evangelism
  • Church Growth
  • Tear fund
  • The Ecumenical Movement
  • The Worldwide Council of Church
  • Persecution of Christians Past and Present


  • Types of Family
  • Roles of Women
  • Importance of family
  • Nature and purpose of marriage in Christianity
  • Nature and purpose of marriage in Islam
  • Interfaith marriage
  • Cohabitation
  • Adultery
  • Divorce
  • Separation
  • Remarriage
  • Arranged marriage
  • Sexual relationships
  • Purpose of sex
  • Chastity and celibacy
  • Contraception
  • Christian attitudes towards contraception
  • Same-sex relationships: Christian attitudes
  • Same-sex relationship: Christian attitudes
  • Same sex relationships: Humanist attitudes.
  • Issues of equality:
  • Gender prejudice and discrimination
  • Role of men and women in worship and authority
  • Roles of men and women in worship and authority
  • Issues of Life and Death
  • The world
  • Christian and Muslim attitudes to creation
  • Theory of evolution
  • Theory of the big bang
  • Christian and Muslim responses.
  • Design argument
  • Science and religion
  • Christian stewardship
  • Muslim stewardship
  • The origin and value of human life
  • Sanctity and Quality of life
  • Christian attitudes towards sanctity of life
  • Religious and non-religious attitudes towards abortion
  • Religious and non-religious attitudes towards euthanasia
  • Beliefs about death and the afterlife
  • Religious and non-religious attitudes towards afterlife
  • Christian attitudes to judgement, heaven and hell
  • Muslim attitudes to judgement, heaven and hell



EOT assessment on Christianity




EOY assessment on Christianity and Islam


Year 11


Good and Evil


Good and Evil

Human Rights




Key question

What impacts the way that religious believers make moral decisions?

What impacts the way that religious believers make moral decisions?

How do religious believers support human rights?





  • Morality and crime
  • Aims of punishment and Justice
  • Christian/Muslim attitudes towards punishment and justice
  • Prison reformers
  • Death penalty
  • Christian attitudes towards death penalty
  • Muslim attitudes towards death penalty
  • Christian and Muslim attitudes towards forgiveness
  • Suffering (holocaust)
  • Examples of suffering
  • Christian attitudes towards free will
  • Human rights and social justice
  • Personal conviction – Martin Luther King and Malala Yusefzai
  • Censorship
  • Freedom of religious expression and extremism
  • Prejudice and discrimination
  • Religious attitudes towards prejudice and discrimination
  • Racial prejudice
  • Christian and Muslim attitudes
  • Wealth and poverty
  • Christian and Muslim attitudes



  • Islam beliefs
  • Islam practices
  • Christianity beliefs
  • Christianity practices
  • Issues of relationships
  • Issues of life and death
  • Issues of good and evil
  • Issues of Human Rights






2 hour mock exam

Islam and Christianity beliefs and practices

2 hour mock exam






Year 12



 Pre-Islamic Arabia

Philosophy: Teleological argument




Life of the Prophet


Cosmological argument


Situation ethics


Six Beliefs

Philosophy: Ontological argument


Natural Moral law


 The Five Pillars


Religious Experience


War and peace


The Ummah


Problem of evil


Sexual Ethics


Anthology – Surah 1 and 2


Origins of life


Environmental issues and equality






End of term assessment for each unit


EOT assessment for each unit


EOT assessment for each unit


Year 13



Rightly guided caliphs


Religious Language


Ethical language


Shia and Sunni



Atheism and Postmodernism





Islam and science



Russell and Copletson


Relationship between religion and morality




The relationship between mind and body

Religion and science


Comparative study of Kant and Aristotle


Gender in Islam





Issues in medical ethics




End of term assessment for each unit


End of term assessment for each unit