Educating concerned, informed, adaptable
members of the world community


Religious Education forms part of the core curriculum in Thornhill College. All aspects of school life are underpinned by the teaching of Christ and the RE programme of study reflects this.


Faith Development

The academic and catechetical programme of Religious Education in Thornhill College incorporates many opportunities for students to develop their spiritual and moral selves. Faith Development involves supporting students in the process of recognising, articulating and reflecting on the experience of God in their lives. There are numerous opportunities for such Faith Development.


The promotion of collaborative liturgy which reflects the Church calendar and includes the whole school community is a primary focus in supporting faith development within Thornhill College.  

There is much evidence of Faith development and Liturgical events throughout the school. Annual celebrations include, end of Year Masses (Yr 12/14), Ash Wednesday Services, Lenten reflections and Masses, Easter Liturgies, Staff Prayer Services, start of term School Masses, Year 8 Service of Light, November remembrance services, a whole school penitential service, Advent masses and Christmas Liturgies .

Yr 14 Liturgy Prefects attend a retreat which aims to prepare students for their role as Liturgy Prefects in the school. The girls are commissioned as Eucharistic Ministers by our school chaplain Fr Clerkin. Many people from all areas of school life contribute to such celebrations at different times throughout the year. Particular support is given to the school community by our chaplain.

The Oratory

The Bishop of Derry has kindly given permission for the Reservation of the Blessed Sacrament in the school Oratory. This is a most important and respected aspect of the school’s Catholic Ethos. The Blessed Sacrament is visited daily by many students and staff members who welcome the daily opportunity for peaceful reflection and tranquil meditation in the school Oratory.

The Faith Friends Programme

Faith Friends takes place between Year 13 students and Primary 4 students who are preparing for First Holy Communion. Year 13 girls are currently offering a 6 week Faith Friends programme for preparation for the Sacrament of the Eucharist with Hollybush Primary School and Bunscoil Cholmcille. This is a very popular programme and both Yr 13 and P4 students gain much from the experience.

Religious Education at KS3

Key Stage 3 students follow the Fully Alive revised resource especially commissioned to suit the needs of the Revised Curriculum and in tandem with Diosecan guidelines. This resource is supplemented by the RE Department with units of work deemed appropriate to our school ethos and the revised curriculum.  To this end students of Key Stage 3 study the following modules:

  • The life of Catherine McAuley and the Mercy tradition of the school;
  • A specially designed RSE programme of study (Relationship and Sexuality Education);
  • A unit on Sikhism as an introduction to World Religions.;
  • Year 9 also visit two Christian Churches as part of their unit of work on Christian Denominations. This year students visited the Presbyterian Church in Carlisle Road and the neighbouring Methodist Church. 

Religious Studies at KS4

All students in Key Stage 4 study GCSE Religious Studies (CCEA Syllabus)

The CCEA Religious Studies Specification encourages candidates to:

  • develop their interest in, and enthusiasm for, a study of religion and its relation to the wider world;
  • develop their knowledge, skills and understanding of religion by exploring the significance, impact of beliefs, teachings, sources, practices, ways of life and forms of expressing meaning;
  • express their personal responses and informed insights on fundamental questions about identity, belonging, meaning, purpose, truth, values and commitments.

Students study the following options:

  • Unit 5:  Christianity through a Study of the Gospel of Mark
  • Unit 6:  An Introduction to Christian Ethics.

Assessment is by modular examination: (I Hour and 30 minutes)

  • Year 11:   Modular examination Summer series 50% of GCSE (Mark’s Gospel)
  • Year 12:   Modular examination Summer series 50% GCSE (Christian Ethics)

Career Awareness

Due to the diversity of topics covered, Religious Studies engenders in students a sense of moral responsibility, tolerance and understanding of religious diversity. Such skills and values equip young people to enter the world of work and higher education as mature and responsible people ready to make a meaningful contribution to society.

There are many career pathways open to the student of Religious Studies.  Post-16: a study of an Ethics and Theology course can prepare students for a Career in Medicine, Law, Teaching, Nursing, Social Work, working for International Charities and Human Rights groups and any of the Caring Professions.

Many students have applied to study humanity related degree courses and find the skills acquired through the study of Religious Studies highly beneficial.


Entry Requirements:

Most students who opt to study AS Religious Studies usually have a grade A* or A Grade at GCSE, however students with a grade B are often accepted onto the course. This is a very popular AS subject choice and currently there are 4 Year 13 AS classes.

Course Content:

At Thornhill College we study the CCEA revised (2016) AS/A2 Religious Studies specification.  

The units of study are:

AS1: An introduction to the Gospel of Luke

AS7: Foundations of Ethics with Special reference to Issues in Medical Ethics    

A21: Themes in the Synoptic Gospels

A27: Global Ethics  

Assessment Duration Weighting
AS Examination

2 external written papers

1 hour 20 mins

Each paper is worth 50% of AS-level


20% of A-level

A2 Examination  

2 external written papers

2 hours


Each paper is worth 50% of A2-level


30% of A-level

There is no coursework component with this area of study.

Good Combination With:

Any study of humanities, such as English, History and Geography. There is some over lap of course content with Psychology and Health and Social Care.

Why choose GCE Religious Studies?

Religion plays an important role in our society and can influence what people think, feel, and believe. Through studying Religious Studies, students reflect on how religion and spirituality form the basis of a culture. Religious Studies also helps students develop marketable skills and aptitudes including:

  • analytical and strategic thinking;
  • research skills;
  • critical evaluation;
  • the ability to work with abstract, conceptual ideas;
  • an ability to 'understand both sides' and negotiate and resolve conflict;
  • problem-solving skills;
  • leadership skills;
  • understanding of the impact of conflicting ideologies; and
  • an appreciation of human diversity, belief systems, cultural and spiritual experiences.

Towards Higher Education/Career

This course appeals to students who:

  • enjoy stimulating and lively discussion;
  • enjoy finding out answers, not just being told them;
  • want to develop an inquiring mind; and/or
  • want to research and develop independent learning.
  • enjoy wider reading and contemporary awareness of moral issue

These skills are particularly useful for future careers in law, education, social work, politics, medicine, nursing, working for NGO’s, administration or the media.


Mrs T Hodgins, Head of RE


     200Affilitation School The Lyric Theatre

© Thornhill College 2022 / Crafted by zoocreative