REQM-Gold-LogoThe RE department is a highly successful department within The Ilfracombe Academy. Last year 59% of our GCSE students achieved grades 9-4, with 17% gaining grades 9-7.

Our approach is to apply Religious Education to contemporary contexts. This method gives students an opportunity to explore matters of faith and belief by examining how this may inform personal, social and political issues.

We strive to foster a love of the subject we teach through exciting and innovative lessons, using a variety of teaching methods delivered by enthusiastic and committed staff.

The outstanding quality of Religious Education at the Ilfracombe Academy has recently been nationally recognised and was awarded the RE Quality Mark GOLD award.

Our aim is to equip students with the academic skills and to empower them with a personal and social awareness desired for a full and happy life.


Course Outline:

Year 7


  • To enable students to recognise diverse perspectives
  • To reflect and examine questions of truth in their own story
  • To compare and contrast two religions
  • To explore how belief informs practice
  • An in-depth study of Buddhism as a philosophy for life

In Year 7 students examine questions of truth in their own story, comparing and contrasting Christianity and Sikhism as alternative perspectives while giving them an opportunity for personal reflection on their own beliefs and values. At the end of the year students then focus on Buddhism as a system of belief and a philosophy for life adopted by those searching for truth.

Pedagogical approach Year 7 Researchers

Year 8


  • To reflect and examine questions of truth in the Biblical narrative
  • To recognise and analyse the key concepts which underpin liberation theology
  • To explore how meta-narratives inform our own beliefs and practices

In year 8 students go on to examine their story in the context of a wider narrative. This is achieved through studying the Abrahamic religious traditions (Judaism, Islam and Christianity). Students then have an opportunity to explore how this narrative informs beliefs about ourselves, communities, the wider world and ultimately God.

We adopt The Church of England Education Office project ‘Understanding Christianity’ to support our pupils in developing their own thinking and their understanding of Christianity, as a contribution to their understanding of the world and their own experience within it.

Understanding Christianity

Pedagogical approach Year 8 Concept Cracking

Year 9


  • To reflect and examine how religious belief has informed social and political change.
  • To understand and analyse the development of human rights.
  • To explore issues of prejudice and how religious communities have responded
  • To prepare for GCSE course

The year 9 SOW builds on this by offering students the opportunity to investigate how Abrahamic religions inform social, political and economic issues of justice in our world today. Pupils are encouraged to consider how they may respond to these issues while reflecting on their own moral development and personal beliefs. In the summer term students will begin preparing for their GCSE course.

 Key Stage 4

All students take Religious Education GCSE (Edexcel) in Years 10 and 11.


  • Develop students’ knowledge and understanding of religions and non-religious beliefs.
  • Provide opportunities for students to engage with questions of belief, value, meaning, purpose, and truth.
  • Challenge students to reflect on and develop their own values, beliefs and attitudes in the light of what they have learnt.
  • Construct well-informed and balanced arguments on matters concerned with religious beliefs and values.


Full Course:

Paper 1 Full Course: Christianity: Ethics: Written examination: 1 hour and 45 minutes (50%)

Students will study the first of two religious traditions. Christianity, its beliefs and teachings on life specifically within families and with regard to matters of life and death. This approach encourages students to reflect upon the links between beliefs and teachings of Christianity and the topics of families and matters of life and death, which are an important part of life today. There are four sections: Christian Beliefs, Marriage and the Family, Living the Christian Life and Matters of Life and Death.

Paper 2 Full Course: Islam: Peace and Conflict: Written examination: 1 hour and 45 minutes (50%)

The second area of study is Islam, its beliefs and teachings on life specifically about issues of peace and conflict, crime and punishment. This approach encourages students to reflect upon the links between beliefs and teachings of Islam and the issues of peace and conflict, and crime and punishment, which are part of life today. There are four sections: Beliefs in God, Crime and Punishment, Living the Religious Life and Peace and Conflict.

Short Course:

Paper 1 Short Course: Christianity: Ethics: Written examination: 50 minutes (50%)

Students will study the first of two religious traditions. Christianity, its beliefs and teachings on life specifically within families, which is an important part of life today. There are two sections: Christian Beliefs and Marriage and the Family

Paper 2 Short Course: Islam: Peace and Conflict: Written examination: 50 minutes (50%)

The second area of study is Islam, its beliefs and teachings on life specifically about issues of crime and punishment, which is part of life today. There are two sections: Beliefs in God and Crime and Punishment.


Students should recognise that within Islam and Christianity there may be more than one perspective in the way beliefs and teachings are understood and expressed. Students will be expected to study both Islam and Christianity within the context of the wider British society. Students should recognise that Islam and Christianity are just two of many religious traditions in Great Britain.

Key Stage 5

The RE department offers students the opportunity to continue studying RE at A level. It is a popular option for many of our students.


  • Develop students interest in a rigorous study of belief and relate it to the wider world
  • Develop knowledge and understanding appropriate to a specialist study of religion
  • Develop an understanding and appreciation of religious thought and its contribution to individuals, communities and societies
  • Adopt an enquiring, critical and reflective approach to the study
  • Reflect on and develop their own values, opinions and attitudes in the light of their study


A Level Religious Studies consists of three externally-examined papers.

Paper 1: Philosophy – Written examination: 2 hours (33.33%)

The content for this paper helps students to explore some of the main contemporary, philosophical issues and questions about religion, such as belief in God or the conviction that life has both meaning and purpose. It provides a relevant and challenging context for exploring the particular beliefs, values and practices that characterise religious communities. Students will engage with arguments and debates on religious and non-religious views of life, which focus on some key areas of controversy that shape modern views of the world, such as the problem of evil and suffering. Students will extend their understanding through engagement in debates on issues such as the value of evidence based on accounts of religious experience. They will analyse and evaluate particular viewpoints of thinkers who have contributed to these debates. Students will extend the breadth and depth of their study by considering how religious ideas are expressed and communicated, and how they may differ from other contemporary ways of expressing beliefs about the world – for instance whether religious and scientific language is incompatible or complementary, whether ideas about life after death are tenable in or relevant to the modern world. As part of this process, students will study how ideas about the philosophy of religion have changed over time, and the most important influences on this process. They will use the writings of key scholars to explore differing viewpoints about the development of ideas in the philosophy of religion. Overall, this study will enhance students’ capacity to deal with controversial issues about beliefs and values, to have confidence in their ability to express their ideas and to put forward their own beliefs and ideals supported by reasoned argument and evidence.

Philosophical issues and questions

  • Design argument
  • Cosmological argument
  • Ontological argument

The nature and influence of experience

  • Nature and influence of religious experience

Evil and suffering

  • Problem of evil and suffering
  • Theodicies to evil and suffering

Religious language

  • Analogy and Symbol
  • Verification and falsification debates
  • Language

Works of scholars

  • Critique of religious belief
  • Comparison of critiques

Influences of development of religious belief

  • Views of life after death
  • Religion and science

Paper 2: Ethics – Written examination: 2 hours (33.33%)

The content for this paper is focused on exploring both common ground and controversy in dealing with issues that arise in the areas of morality and religion in the context of the modern world. The paper will help students to study some of the underlying ideas and concepts of these issues, as well as questions and issues about how ethical and religious ideas and solutions may be applied in practice in contemporary social, political and personal situations. The study addresses an important part of the key underlying concerns that students raise about the world in which they are growing up, and about their own views, opinions and commitments. In this paper, students will study issues such as equality, war and peace and sexual ethics. A representative array of ethical stances provides a basis for discussion and debate about major issues. This is further sharpened by engagement with the views and stances of significant ethical thinkers who have contributed to the debates. Students at this level will consider, and respond to, the contrasting views of key scholars to broaden their awareness of the underlying issues. Overall, this study will provide engaging, contemporary and relevant study for students on whichever course they choose to embark in higher or further education, or whatever career they may choose to follow.

Key concepts

  • Environment
  • Equality

Ethical theory

  • Utilatarianism
  • Situational ethics
  • Natural Moral Law

Appliction of ethical theory

  • War and peace
  • Sexual ethics

Ethical Language

  • Meta-ethics
  • Religion and morality

Deontology and virtue ethics

  • Kantinian denontology
  • Aristotelian virtue ethics

Medical ethics

  • The beginning and end of life

Paper 3: Religion – Written examination: 2 hours (33.33%)

The content for this paper comprises a focused and in-depth study of a chosen religion. The study provides a foundation for understanding the key beliefs and values of a religion. The study helps students to explore how believers attribute authority both to key people within the religious community and to various kinds of traditional, sacred texts. This study also explores diverse ways in which religious believers express their sense of identity through, for example, their most sacred rituals and codes of behaviour. It gives students an opportunity to explore both common ground and diversity within the religious tradition. They will broaden their understanding through familiarity with the views of various contributors, from within and outside the tradition, who have studied this religion in some depth. Students will deepen and extend their understanding of their chosen religion by studying an aspect of the way in which the religion has changed and developed over time, so that they increase their awareness of diversity within traditions. Further depth of study is provided by a study of key scholars who have made a significant contribution, either historically or in the present, to an understanding of what it means to be a follower of this religion. Further breadth is added by giving students the opportunity to explore the interface between the religion and contemporary society. Students will explore a passage of text that is influential in the tradition of this religion. Overall, this study will give students the understanding and skills needed to be able to explore what it means to be a religious believer today, in the context of an increasingly diverse and secular society. Students study one religion from the following six options:

4A: Buddhism

4B: Christianity

4C: Hinduism

4D: Islam

4E: Judaism

4F: Sikism.

For this paper students will be examined on the following key areas:

  • Beliefs, values and teachings
  • Sources of wisdom and authority
  • Practices
  • Social and historical developments
  • Works of scholars
  • Religion and society


For further information please contact Head of Department:
Miss Z Bullamore

Useful Links and Supporting Documents:


A Level:









Content updated September 2018