Religious Education


Mr M Nesbitt (Head of Department)

Mrs S Crawford

A number of non-specialist teachers assist with teaching in KS3.


Subject Overview

Religious Studies covers a wide range of topics all of which help to improve understanding of people and the religious influences on their lives.  The subject helps students develop important skills and abilities:

  • analytical thinking
  • research skills
  • critical judgement
  • an ability to 'understand both sides‘
  • problem-solving skills
  • leadership skills
  • understanding conflicting views
  • Understanding human diversity


The Religious Studies department has 2 fully equipped general purpose classrooms with a resource room.  The staff within the department make use of a wide range of materials and teaching strategies to present the curriculum in an engaging way.


The Religious Studies department continues to produce excellent examination results at both GCSE and at A level.  In the Summer A2-level examinations between 2013 and 2016, 100% of our pupils achieved A*-C grades compared with the NI average of 87% over the same time period.  This figure dropped in 2017 to 85% but our pupils were still performing well when compared with their target grades for the subject and the NI average figures for boys.  In 2018 100% of our pupils, once more, achieved A*-C grades and outperformed their peers in other NI Grammar schools where the average percentage achieving A*-G grades was only 92.5%.  As such studying Religious Studies as one of their A’Level options at Bangor Grammar has given our pupils an excellent platform to move onto higher study in the top universities.

At GCSE Full Course level between 2013 and 2015, 100% of our pupils achieved  A*-C grades and 93% achieved  A*-C grades in 2016.   In 2017 61% of pupils studying Full Course Religious Studies achieved an A*-A grade which was over 20% above the NI figures for boys in grammar schools.  In 2018 our pupils continued to perform well with 33.3% achieving and A*-A grade.  At A*-C grade our pupils also continue to perform better that their peers in grammar schools.  In 2017 the overall figure for boys in NI grammar schools achieving an A*-C grade was 87% compared to 94.5% in Bangor Grammar and in 2018 the overall figure for boys in NI grammar schools was 86.8% compared to 91.7% in Bangor Grammar.  On average pupils studying Full Course Religious Studies in Bangor Grammar continue to outperform their peers in other schools in NI.

Key Stage 3

This is based on the requirements described in the Revised Curriculum for Northern Ireland and covers topics such as:

  • Personal identity and value
  • A study of books or themes from the Bible such as the origins of the Bible, the story of Daniel and the Easter story.
  • Ethical debate – pupils discuss differing viewpoints on a variety of ethical issues.
  • Arguments for the existence of God.
  • The impact of the lives of significant figures from history, for example, William Wilberforce, Mother Teresa, Martin Luther King and C.S. Lewis.
  • A study of different World Religions – Judaism, Islam and Buddhism.


Pupils can opt to study for the CCEA Full Course.  The modules taught include ‘An Introduction to Christian Ethics’ and ‘An Introduction to Philosophy of Religion’.  Students who select the Full Course option with study both of the modules listed above and will sit an examination in each module at the end of Y12.  There is no controlled assessment in GCSE Religious Studies.  The specification for the GCSE course can be found at the following link: CCEA GCSE Religious Studies.

Those pupils who do not select Religious Studies as one of their GCSE choices will be entered into a non-certificated RE class.  These classes will follow similar topics to those studied in the GCSE course but in reduced teaching time.  There is no external qualification associated with this option.

AS and A2

At AS and A2 pupils will study different religious and secular beliefs, teachings, ideas and theories and how these are expressed in a range of written texts and their application in life. Pupils will also consider the contribution of significant people or traditions relating to the areas studied. An important area of the course is the study of ‘other aspects of human experience’. This focuses on the relevance and practical application of the course content to modern living.


The two areas of study covered in the course are:

AS 8: Philosophy of Religion

AS 7: Religious Ethics with Special Reference to Medical Ethics

A2 8: Philosophy of Religion

A2 7: Ethics and Society

The specification for the AS/A2 course can be found at the following link: CCEA GCE Religious Studies.

Career Opportunities

The Ethics (Moral Philosophy) and Philosophy modules studied at both GCSE and A Level equip pupils with valuable skills for today’s world. Harvard university says on its website that “a philosophy degree is a path to poverty. But in fact the skills you acquire studying philosophy are highly marketable, especially in a volatile and rapidly changing economic climate. Many specialized skills eventually become obsolete, and in any case most people end up changing careers several times over the course of their lives. The skills that philosophy teaches you will always be in high demand: the ability to think and write clearly, the ability to bring to light unnoticed presuppositions, to explain complex ideas clearly, to tease out connections and implications, to see things in a broader context, to challenge orthodoxy. In short, philosophy gives you skills that you can apply to any line of work.” As such the skills learned in Religious Studies mean that it has value and relevance to a number of different career paths. These include: Accountancy, Business Studies, History of Art, Law, Management Studies, Media Studies, Philosophy, Politics, Psychology, Religious Studies, Sociology. Indeed, past A Level Religious Studies students from the school have pursued a variety of careers in the areas mentioned above.