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Sixth Form Core RE


According to Pope St John Paul II, Religious Education (RE) is the "core of the core curriculum" (1992, Redemptor Hominis, 8) in a Catholic school and it is helping Cardinal Heenan Sixth Form to fulfil its mission to educate the whole person in discerning the meaning of their existence.

The RE Curriculum Directory (2012 p.4) stated that: “Without Religious Education, students would be deprived of an essential element of their formation and personal development, which helps them attain a vital harmony between faith and culture." Furthermore, the New Religious Education Directory (RED 2023) described RE as the “…source and summit of the whole curriculum.” (p.6 Article 4)

Religion shapes our everyday life from politics and art to law and international relations, and a lack of religious literacy can lead to intolerance and hatred. Cardinal Heenan is built on the principles of Catholic education which foster a belief in the importance and value of individuals. We have the highest expectations of our students to live out the Gospel values of love, peace, justice, reconciliation, community, and care for creation and service.

RE is a core subject at Cardinal Heenan and is at the heart of our school community. All Year 12 and 13 students are timetabled for one Core Religious Education lesson per week.

Aims of Religious Education

The RED (2023) states the following aims for Religious Education:

1. to engage in a systematic study of the mystery of God, of the life and teaching of Jesus Christ, the teachings of the Church, the central beliefs that Catholics hold, the basis for them and the relationship between faith and life;

2. to enable students continually to deepen their religious and theological understanding and be able to communicate this effectively;

3. to present an authentic vision of the Church’s moral and social teaching to provide pupils with a sure guide for living and the tools to critically engage with contemporary culture and society;

4. to give students an understanding of the religions and world views present in the world today and the skills to engage in respectful and fruitful dialogue with those whose world views differ from their own;

5. to develop the critical faculties of students so to bring clarity to the relationship between faith and life, and between faith and culture;

6. to stimulate pupils’ imagination and provoke a desire for personal meaning as revealed in the truth of the Catholic faith;

7. to enable students to relate the knowledge gained through religious education to their understanding of other subjects in the curriculum.

Curriculum intent

The RE curriculum is determined by the Bishops of England and Wales. It is our intent for the RE curriculum to engage, inspire, challenge and encourage students, equipping them with the knowledge, understanding and skills to answer and ask challenging questions and to be ready to be valuable citizens and life-long learners both in and beyond school.

RE contributes significantly to the Catholic character of the school and enables students to ask deep and often searching questions about their own faith and belief, and the beliefs, faiths and opinions of others regarding pertinent contemporary moral issues. At Cardinal Heenan, we are committed to helping our young people understand their gifts and their calling in life, and we work closely with our school Chaplain to walk beside our students through their journey in faith.

Key Stage 5 Curriculum

As part of the Core RE curriculum, students discuss important social, moral and religious issues, with the opportunity to explore their relevance to current affairs. This lesson provides time and space for students to think and reflect and is designed to encourage them to develop their own beliefs, opinions and ideas.

Core RE is a non-examination pathway with certification provided by the Archdiocese of Liverpool through the Catholic Education Service. Students will cover 5 units in Year 12 and 4 units in Year 13 exploring a range of themes including: The Holocaust, Fairtrade, World Religions, Catholic Social Teaching, Religious Experience and Ethical Issues. They will prepare themselves as global citizens within the context of Christian values whilst exploring such key skills as effective communication, leadership, critical analysis and presenting personal views in a fair and balanced manner supported by reliable evidence.

Note: there is the opportunity for students to study A Level Philosophy and Ethics via Broughton Hall.

Extra-Curricular Activities

The department works closely with the school Chaplain to provide a Faith in Action Group and from September 2023 we will be introducing a CAFOD and Justice and Peace group in the school focusing on local, national and international issues.

Students are offered the opportunity to actively participate in a prayer, worship and reflection programme throughout the year including Wednesday Morning Reflection, half-termly Mass, Stations of the Cross, experiential activities and retreats.

Useful Websites


Christian Aid:

Pax Christi:

Justice and Peace Commission:

Catholic Education Service (CES):

Archdiocese of Liverpool:

Amnesty International: