Head of Department Mr. D. Irvine
Teacher Mrs J. Abraham
Teacher Mrs J. Barbour
Teacher Mrs S. Hanna
CCEA GCSE Religious Studies aims to provide opportunities for pupils to:
- be inspired, moved and changed by following a broad, satisfying and worthwhile course of study that will challenge and equip them to lead constructive lives in the modern world;
- develop their interest in and enthusiasm for the study of religion, and relate it to the wider world;
- adopt an enquiring, critical and reflective approach to the study of religion;
- reflect on and develop their own values, opinions and attitudes in light of their learning;
- explore religions and beliefs, giving them opportunities to reflect on fundamental questions related to belief, engage with them intellectually and respond personally;
- enhance their spiritual and moral development and contribute to their health and wellbeing;
- and enhance their personal, social and cultural development, along with their understanding of different cultures locally, nationally and in the wider world, so they may contribute to social and community cohesion.
GCSE pupils study the following two units:
- 1) An Introduction to Christian Ethics
- 2) An Introduction to Philosophy of Religion
There is no Controlled Assessment component in GCSE Religious Studies. Pupils will complete 2 examination papers, one on each unit they have studied. Each examination lasts 1 hour 30 minutes.
The CCEA specification aims to encourage students to:
- develop their interest and enthusiasm for religious studies;
- relate their studies to the local cultural and religious environment and to the wider world;
- draw together different areas of knowledge, skills, understanding, synthesis and evaluation via synoptic assessment;
- develop higher order thinking skills, for example independent learning, creative thinking and problem-solving;
- reflect on and develop their own values, opinions and attitudes in the light of their learning;
- develop the ability to make responsible judgements on significant textual, theological, philosophical and moral issues;
- work with others in groups both locally and further afield;
- develop advanced study skills that help them prepare for third level education and the world of work;
- provide extended responses and evidence of quality of written communication; and demonstrate through external assessments that they can understand and evaluate key concepts.
The Units Studied in Lurgan College are:
AS 2: An Introduction to the Acts of the Apostles
AS 4:The Origins and Development of the Early Church to 325AD
A2 2: Themes in Selected Letters of St Paul
A2 4: Themes in the Early Church and the Church Today
Unit AS 2: An Introduction to the Acts of the Apostles
In this unit, students explore the beginnings of the Church of the New Testament. Students trace the journey of the Gospel, from Jerusalem to Judea and Samaria and into the Gentile world of the first century. At the start of the unit, students set the Acts of the Apostles in the context of the New Testament by studying authorship, date and purpose. They also learn about the organisation and worship of the early Christian community. Students identify the role and importance of key individuals in the growth and expansion of the church and assess their contribution. Students focus on Peter, Stephen and Philip with the start of the missionary work in Jerusalem, and the first expansion to Judea and Samaria. They study Paul’s work as a missionary and evangelist through his missionary journeys and speeches. Students also explore the relationship between the Acts of the Apostles and other aspects of human experience.
Unit AS 4: The Origins and Development of the Early Christian Church to AD 325
In this unit, students explore the beginning, growth and development of the Christian Church in the first three centuries. Students focus on the possible reasons for expansion and study the causes and course of persecution. Students learn about the development of early Christian thought as characterised by Apostolic Fathers and apologists. They also examine in detail the contribution of the writings of Ignatius of Antioch and Justin Martyr. Students learn about the development of the sacraments. They study the doctrine and practice of baptism and the Eucharist, referring to evidence in the sources from the period. Finally, students examine the relationship between the Christian Church and the state through the life of Emperor Constantine. They focus on events leading to his ‘conversion’ and his subsequent religious policies up to the Council of Nicaea. Students also explore the relationship between the Early Christian Church to AD 325 and other aspects of human experience.
Unit A2 2: Themes in Selected Letters of St Paul
This unit builds on the study of Paul’s missionary activity completed at AS level. Students explore Paul’s role as a Christian evangelist in greater depth through his letters to the churches established during his missionary journeys in Acts. Students engage in detailed study of three New Testament texts and critically assess the importance of Paul’s teaching for early Christian communities and the church today. Students also focus on the role of Paul as pastor and theologian. In the final theme on controversy, division and resolution, students examine the problem of controversy in religion and highlight some potential areas of conflict. The contribution of religion in encouraging dialogue and resolution is an important issue relating to controversy and division. Students initially study this theme in relation to New Testament texts. It then provides a perspective from which students can consider the content of other units.
Unit A2 4: Themes in the Early Church and the Church Today
The first two sections of this unit consist of themes in the Early Church followed by a section dealing with belief and belonging in the modern world. Students learn about the changing nature of authority and church government and the challenges of heresy. They link these to leadership, organisation and challenges to belief. Students also study the writings of Tertullian and Cyprian and consider the impact of modern theologians and apologists. In the final theme on faith, morality and the state, students consider the relationship between religious faith and state authority. This includes lessons that can be learned from historical and contemporary examples. The role religion plays in reconciliation is an important issue relating to faith and the state. Students initially study this theme in relation to the Early Church.
Synoptic assessment at A2
Synoptic assessment encourages candidates to develop their understanding of the subject as a whole. Each synoptic question will assess the candidates’ ability to explore the set theme in relation to their areas of study and to other aspects of human experience. In our GCE Religious Studies, synoptic assessment involves:
- building on material from the AS units;
- reflecting on, selecting and deploying specified knowledge to identify, investigate and analyse questions related to the set theme;
- bringing together and making connections between areas of knowledge and skills that they have explored throughout the course;
- interpreting and evaluating religious concepts in relation to the set theme;
- considering the impact on individuals, communities and societies where relevant in relation to the set theme; and
- using appropriate language and terminology in context.
A2 2: Themes in Selected Letters of St Paul: Controversy, Division and Reconciliation
A2 4: Faith, Morality and State
Unit AS2 and Unit AS4
- There are two examination papers (each from a different area of study).
- The total time for each paper is 1 hour 20 minutes.
Unit A24 and Unit A24
- There are two examination papers (each from a different area of study).
- The total time for each paper is 2 hours.
Here are the occupational groups in which Religious Studies graduates first gain employment.
- Professional Occupations
- Associate Professional & Technical Occupations (including social welfare)
- Sales & Customer Service
- Personal Services
- Management and Senior Officials
- Health & Social Work
- Business & Research
- Public Administration
- Other Community & Social
Here are some examples of jobs where a Religious Studies degree may be useful.
- Advice Worker
- Housing Adviser
- Minister of Religion
- Social Worker
- Youth & Community Worker
Here are some examples of the transferable skills developed as a result of studying Religious Studies. They are not limited to your academic study and can be applied to other contexts. Employers' job vacancy details often refer to them when they advertise the positions available. They can also be used on the skills sections of your CV to demonstrate the broad range of qualities you have to offer.
- Clear & Logical thinking
- Critical evaluation
- Literacy & Expression
- Problem solving
- Working to deadlines