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Religious Education

As a department we aim to encourage a respect for religious and moral values and a tolerance of other religions and ways of life. Pupils are given the opportunity to explore issues which are relevant to their lives and to develop skills which will help them cope with the world in which we live.

Additional Information

Pupils are encouraged to express their own point of view and engage in learning through a wide variety of teaching strategies. We also use outside agencies when they are relevant to our course. Pupils have enjoyed visits and presentations from Open Doors and Scripture Union which have enhanced their understanding of previous learning in the classroom.

Pupils are also given the opportunity to enhance their learning outside the classroom. In the past, pupils have attended relevant A level conferences at Queen’s University as well as being able to participate in school trips to London and Rome where pupils have been able to visit a number of sites, relevant to their study of Early Church History.

Religious Education Staff

  • Mrs S Patterson B.A. P.G.C.E. Dip Health and Nutrition(Curriculum Leader)
  • Mr M Dickie B.D. P.G.C.E
  • Mrs A. McConaghie BA; P.G.C.E
  • Mrs L. McClure BSSc P.G.C.E
  • Mr T.A Hamilton A.;M.Ed.P.G.C.E
  • Mrs R Smyth Ed. M.A. P.G.C.E.

In the Junior School we follow the core curriculum which was designed and agreed by the four main churches in Northern Ireland. At Key Stage 3 we provide opportunities for pupils to develop their knowledge of two world faiths other than Christianity.We have chosen to look at Judaism and Islam.

Year 8

  • The Bible
  • John Wycliffe
  • Brother Andrew & Open Doors
  • Christian Symbols
  • Abraham
  • Isaac, Jacob & Esau
  • Introduction to Judaism
  • Corrie Ten Boom
  • Introduction to Islam

Year 9

  • The Life of Moses
  • The Ten Commandments
  • Are the Ten Commandments relevant today?
  • Martin Luther King
  • World Faiths – focus on Islam, Judaism and Christianity

Year 10

  • Detailed study of Holy Week
  • The Early Church
  • Missionary Organisations & Missionaries today

GCSE Religious Studies encourages students to develop an enquiring, critical and reflective approach to studying religion. Students explore and engage with important questions about belief and respond to them personally. This can enhance their spiritual, moral and cultural development, helping them to contribute to social cohesion.

All pupils at Coleraine Grammar School will study Religious Studies. The course is based on the CCEA Specification. Those students who choose to follow Full Course will sit two modules- Unit 4: The Gospel of Matthew & Unit 6: Christian Ethics, while students following the Short Course will sit one module – Unit 6: Christian Ethics.

Students can progress to A level Religious Studies with either Full or Short Course GCSE.

Course Content for each Unit

Unit 4: The Gospel of Matthew
  • The Identity of Jesus
  • The Death & Resurrection of Jesus
  • Jesus the Miracle Worker
  • The Parables of Jesus
  • Christian Discipleship
Unit 6: Christian Ethics
  • Personal & Family Issues
  • Matters of Life & Death
  • Developments in Bioethics
  • Contemporary Issues in Christianity
  • Modern Warfare


As a department we are very proud of the continually high numbers of students who choose Religious Studies at A level. We continue to produce excellent examination results when compared with the examination performance of their peers in other NI Grammar Schools.

Students will study two units: The Early Church to 325AD and Ethics, following CCEA’S specification.



AS 4: The Origins and Development of the Early Christian Church to AD325 Students will explore the beginnings of the Christian Church up to 325AD, focusing in particular on its spread, expansion, persecution and the development of Christian worship. The relationship with other aspects of human experience is also a requirement.
AS 7: Foundations of Ethics with Special Reference to Issues in Medical Ethics
Students will explore the role of Christian scripture in informing Christian ethics, the deontological approach and the teleological approach. These ethical approaches are then applied to key issues in medical ethics, such as human infertility, surrogacy and embryo research. Students explore the relationship between ethics and the other aspects of Human Experience.
A2 4: Themes in the Early Church and the Church Today Students will learn about Church authority and division; early Christian literature, modern Christian writers and consider the synoptic themes of belief and belonging in the modern world and faith, morality and state.
A2 7: Global Ethics
Students learn about global rights such as sexual identity and gender-related issues. Students examine the nature and purpose of justice and punishment and the problems presented by contemporary warfare. They also study the synoptic themes of conscience, freedom and tolerance.

The RS Department offer A Level Students the opportunity to visit Rome, where we visit a number of historical sites that are relevant to the Early Church unit of study. It really helps to bring the unit to ‘life’ as students see first- hand what is mentioned in class. The trip is certainly a highlight for both students and staff. We visit the following places:

  • The Colosseum, Arch of Constantine
  • The Roman Forum
  • The Church of Mary Magdalene
  • Vatican City – the Sistene Chapel, St Peter’s, climb the dome of St Peter’s, St Peter’s Square
  • The Catacombs
  • The Borghese Gallery

What our students say about the subject……

“I wanted to do an essay-based subject but didn’t like the idea of analysing literature so RE suited perfectly. The two modules went together nicely providing a good mix of historical and contemporary content which meant that the course was nice and varied. The class was top craic and the RE trip to Rome was definitely a highlight from my whole time at school! Now at uni, I’m really glad to have established good essay writing skills through having studied RE – it teaches you how to organise ideas coherently and express your own opinions clearly. The teachers are really friendly and helpful and will always be there to help you  – 10/10 – would recommend!’”  G Carson –Past Head Girl

” I picked RE because I enjoyed learning about the history of the Christian faith. The subject has really helped me to develop my essay writing skills and both teachers have made the subject even more enjoyable, definitely worth picking.” P McCrellis U6th

‘I chose RE because it is very relevant to our world today. The different topics have given me an insight into controversial issues as well as how the Church grew and spread. The teachers are very helpful and always give good feedback. – we also get tea and biscuits!’ B McClelland U6th