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Theology at Blanchelande is a goldmine for any student with an enquiring mind and has proven to be one of the most popular subjects at A-Level.



Theology is a goldmine for any student with an enquiring mind. Students are introduced to the timeless wisdom of the Judaeo-Christian tradition, while acquiring an appreciation of, and due respect for, different religious traditions and their adherents. At Blanchelande, all students study Theology to GCSE, and at A-Level Theology has proven to be one of our most popular subjects.

As a Catholic school, Blanchelande follows the guidance of the Bishops’ Conference, meaning that Theology (RE) is a core subject. In the senior school three-quarters of lessons focus on Catholic Christianity and one quarter on other world religions. Students acquire both a detailed and deep understanding of the teaching of the Church and respect for other beliefs.

If there were no God, there would be no atheists.
G K Chesterton
When you seek truth, you seek God whether you know it or not.
St Edith Stein
Faith seeks understanding.
St Anselm

As an academic subject, students are always taught to question what they are studying. Students learn to analyse ancient and contemporary religious texts, debating their meaning and their merits in the world today. Religious claims are considered in the context of challenges and counter-arguments to belief. The depth of understanding that students develop over the course of their studies makes Theology also one of the most popular subjects to study at A-Level.


Years 7 - 9

The course – based on the Religious Education Directory – is a spiral curriculum. It follows six branches that will reoccur within every year from Primary to the end of Year 9:

  1. Creation and Covenant
  2. Prophecy and Promise
  3. Jerusalem to Galilee
  4. Desert to Garden
  5. To the Ends of the Earth
  6. Dialogue and Encounter

Each branch is designed to recap and develop student knowledge whilst following the liturgical year. As a department, we will move Dialogue and Encounter to ensure that it is relevant and meaningful to the students depending upon festivals within the other world faith studied that particular year.

‘Dialogue and Encounter’ follows the papal letter ‘Ecclesiam Suam’ which places importance on the knowledge of Christianity and the various denominations, alongside the wider Abrahamic and Dharmic faiths.

Year 7

Year 7 is focused around the theme of Revelation. Creation and covenant engages students with Genesis and understanding the religious belief about how the universe was created, alongside the scientific theories. The topic also allows students to consider how we should treat the earth as God created it for us.

Prophecy and Promise engages students with the Second Vatican Council’s ‘Dei Verbum’ (paragraph 9) and how God reveals himself through the Old and New Testaments. Students also understand the Mass as a way for God to reveal himself.

From Galilee to Jerusalem focuses on Jesus as the Son of God and the Son of Man. Students have the opportunity to develop their understanding of Jesus’ life and example. This understanding is then applied to lived examples, such as St Mother Teresa of Calcutta.

From Desert to Garden focuses on the Paschal Mystery, with an in depth study on the Eucharist and its centrality as the ‘source and summit’ of Christian life.

For the Dialogue and Encounter unit, students will understand the importance of learning about other denominations and world religions based on the teachings of Vatican II. Year 7 study Islam, including the core Islamic beliefs and practices.

To the Ends of the Earth encourages students to think deeply about the significance of the Holy Spirit within Jesus’ Baptism, Pentecost and the Nicene Creed. Students apply this to the sacrament of confirmation and how Pentecost is celebrated around the world.

Year 8

Year 8 is focused around the theme of existential questions Creation and Covenant this unit engages students with Genesis chapter 3 and the Decalogue (Ten Commandments). It covers original sin and the sacrament of Baptism. It also considers how individuals put these beliefs into action, primarily through the actions of Henry VIII’s chief minister, the martyr St Thomas More.

Prophecy and Promise focuses on prophetic texts within the Bible. It considers the messianic nature of Jesus and the texts that foretell of his coming. Students will discuss the concept of truth and how we know what is true alongside the life of a prophetic voice such as the twentieth century martyr, St Oscar Romero.

From Galilee to Jerusalem students study the ministry of Jesus, focusing particularly on his proclamation of the kingdom reign of God through his action, parables and miracles. Students will then make connections between Jesus’ teaching on the kingdom, specifically his encounters with the sick and sinful, and the Sacrament of the Anointing of the Sick. Finally, they

will consider ways in which Christians today are to show special care for the poor, sick and marginalised through the corporal and spiritual works of mercy.

From Desert to Garden begins with a study of the account of Jesus’ passion and death, reflecting on the meaning of this suffering by making links with the Suffering Servant prophecy of Isaiah. Students will also be expected to show some understanding of how the Church celebrates Jesus’ passion,

death and resurrection during the liturgies of the Triduum. Finally, they will look at the relationship of faith to life by considering ethical questions that arise because of Catholic responses to the meaning of suffering (such as questions surrounding end of life care), at the role art can play in responding to suffering, and at different Lenten, cultural practices from around the world.

For the Dialogue and Encounter unit, students will continue to develop their knowledge of different denominations alongside the discreet study of Buddhism. Within this unit they will learn the core beliefs and practices of the religion, with the opportunity to compare how Siddhartha Gautama taught his followers through parables as Jesus did.

To the Ends of the Earth begins by looking at two scriptural passages that provide the basis for a belief in the

Resurrection and the hope of eternal life: one of the accounts of the Resurrection from the Gospels and St Paul’s explanation of the centrality of the resurrection of the body to Christian belief in his letter to the Church in Corinth. Students study the main elements of a Catholic funeral rite within a Requiem Mass, understanding its significance and the ways in which it reflects Catholic beliefs about resurrection and the hope of immortality.

Year 9

This year is focused around the theme of the mystery of the human person.

Creation and Covenant begins by revisiting the Creation accounts last studied in Year 7 but focusing particularly

on those aspects of the accounts that speak of human dignity and the equality of men and women (Genesis 1:26-28, 2:7, 2:21-24). Students make links with these passages and the Church teaching about the dignity of the human person made in the image of God (imago Dei). Students make connections between the Church’s teaching on the dignity of the human person and marriage with contemporary ethical questions such as abortion and capital punishment

Prophecy and Promise focuses on the role of the Blessed Virgin Mary in the narrative of salvation history. This unit builds on the last by recognising the ways in which Mary is seen to be the fulfilment of the Protoevangelium in Genesis and the role typology plays in the allegorical sense of Scripture. Students connect the Church’s beliefs about Our Lady to the Marian titles, feasts and devotions that are characteristic of Catholic popular piety. They will explore ways in which the life of Mary and her hymn of the Magnificat resonates with poor people who are inspired by its song of liberation and salvation

From Galilee to Jerusalem focuses on the study of discipleship allows this unit to be connected to the previous one on Mary, who offers the perfect model of discipleship. Students will reflect on the demands of discipleship today and the importance of discerning the distinctive way in which Christ calls individuals to follow him through their own distinctive vocations.

From Desert to Garden. The main focus of the learning at the beginning of this unit is on chapter of the letter to the

Hebrews. This is a difficult passage, but one that is made more accessible once students understand the historical layout of the Temple in Jerusalem and its role in sacrificial atonement for the Jewish people at the time of Jesus. As a result, students gain a better understanding of what it means to speak of Christ as the High Priest and the language of sacrifice, covenant blood and Jesus as the Lamb of God in the Eucharistic Liturgy.

To the Ends of the Earth allows students to study the Church by looking at one of the earliest records we have of the

existence of the Church in the letters of St Paul, specifically his letter to the Church in Corinth, making links between this early record of a particular Church and the Catholic belief that the

Church is the communion of saints in heaven and on earth.

For the Dialogue and Encounter unit, students will study Judaism. Within this they establish the basic understanding of Jewish beliefs and practices in preparation to develop this knowledge further during Year 10 when they study the religion as part of their GCSE.

GCSE (Years 10-11/ Key Stage 4)

Syllabus: AQA Specification B Catholic Christianity, Judaism and Themes B and C

Developing their knowledge from Key Stage 3 Theology, students explore Catholic Christian and Jewish beliefs, teachings, and practices. Students also thematically study a range of philosophical and ethical topics including peace and conflict and human rights. Each topic is highly relevant for life in the 21st century as well as enhancing understanding of other subjects at GCSE and beyond.

Component 1: Catholic Christianity

Students study Catholic beliefs, teachings, practices, sources of authority and forms of expression through six units: Creation; Incarnation; Triune God; Redemption; Church and the Kingdom of God and Eschatology.

This unit is assessed by an exam which lasts for 1 hour 45 minutes and constitutes 50% of the GCSE.

Component 2: Perspectives on faith

Students study Jewish beliefs, teachings, practices, and sources of authority. As well as studying two Ethical Themes: Theme B: Religion, Peace and Conflict and Theme C: Religion, Human Rights and Social Justice from a Catholic Perspective. This paper allows students to apply their knowledge from Paper one to current issues.

This paper lasts for 1 hour 45 minutes and constitutes 50% of the GCSE.


A-Level (Years 12-13/ Key Stage 5)

Syllabus: OCR Religious Studies A-Level

The A Level is a thought-provoking course allowing students to develop their understanding and appreciation of religious beliefs and teachings alongside focusing on specific ethical theories and philosophical arguments for the existence of God. It is split into three units: Philosophy of Religion, Religious Ethics and Developments in Christian Thought. Each unit is assessed by a 2-hour written paper and is worth 33.33% of the overall grade.

Component 1: Philosophy of Religion

Students study philosophical language and thought, and issues and questions raised by belief:

  • Ancient philosophical influences
  • The nature of the soul, mind and body
  • Arguments about the existence or non-existence of God
  • The nature and impact of religious experience
  • The challenge for religious belief of the problem of evil
  • Ideas about the nature of God
  • Issues in religious language.

Component 2: Religious Ethics

Students explore key concepts and the works of influential thinkers, ethical theories and their application:

  • Normative ethical theories
  • The application of ethical theory to two contemporary issues of importance
  • Ethical language and thought
  • Debates surrounding the significant idea of conscience
  • Sexual ethics and the influence on ethical thought of developments in religious beliefs.

Component 3: Developments in Christian Thought

Students explore:

  • Religious beliefs, values and teachings, their interconnections and how they vary historically and in the contemporary world
  • Sources of religious wisdom and authority
  • Practices which shape and express religious identity, and how these vary within a tradition
  • Significant social and historical developments in theology and religious thought
  • Key themes related to the relationship between religion and society.


Thought and Culture (General RE)

Blanchelande students develop a strong moral sense which is developed at Sixth Form by the opportunity to explore broad philosophical and theological questions. Sixth Formers learn to discuss and debate with enthusiasm and respect for different points of view and belief, promoting tolerance and understanding in the search for truth.

While there is a T&C course outline – with key resources including the online ‘Word on Fire’ platform developed by Bishop Robert Barron – the aim is for the sessions to be meaningful for students, and sessions often develop spontaneously based on the questions and points raised by Sixth Formers.

Students are introduced to key thinkers from the past, such as St John Henry Newman and G K Chesterton, as well as leading contemporary voices such as Bishop Robert Barron and Dr Jordan Peterson.


Students have the opportunity to:

  • Experience and pray the Stations of the Cross during Lent
  • At Key Stage 4 and 5, the opportunity to access Candle Conferences webinars and masterclasses
  • Key Stage 3 Philosophy club which will result in achieving the NCH School Certificate in Philosophy


Useful Links

Key Stage 4 RS One Stop Document
Key Stage 5 RS One Stop Document