Introduction to Foundation and Key Stage 2 Syllabus

This syllabus is based on the Religious Education Curriculum Directory for Catholic schools. It has been developed by teachers in direct response to a perceived need for a clear framework for effective, systematic and rigorous teaching and learning, at least equal to that of other curriculum areas. To this end it addresses both content and methodology.

The primary content of all religious education material is the teachings and practices of the Catholic Church and their implications for the lives of people today, and particularly for the lives of the pupils. Religious education material must, therefore, always present the three key elements of the Christian faith:

  1. that every human event is marked by the creative activity of God which communicates goodness to all beings;
  2. that the reality and power of sin limit and numb every person;
  3. that the life, death and resurrection of Christ, communicated by the Holy Spirit, give believers the hope of a definitive ‘fulfilment’.

Material not incorporating those three elements “cannot be authentically Christian”. (cf. GDC para 16)

Other faiths are addressed as a consequence of, and in the context of, Catholic teaching. Catholic teaching about the action of God in the world requires an informed and respectful approach to other faiths. By a study of the action of God in these faiths, Catholics can come to a deeper appreciation of the revelation of God in Christ. Catholics can also learn from the practices of other faiths (e.g. patterns of prayer, fasting, pilgrimages etc. cf. GDC para. 200).

The syllabus incorporates attainment targets: learning about the Catholic faith (AT1) and learning from the Catholic faith (AT2). These are set out in the form of specific key learning objectives for each module.

The pupils’ books to accompany this syllabus provide rich resources: they are imaginative, engaging and challenging. The teachers’ books have theological notes, additional suggestions, activities, liturgies, worksheets and levels of achievement based on QCA guidelines.

I warmly welcome these initiatives.

Archbishop Vincent Nichols

Foundation Stage, Key Stage 1 and Key Stage 2 link directly to the Secondary Key Stage 3 Syllabus. These syllabi provide the framework for ‘The Way, the Truth & the Life’ Pupils’ and Teacher’s Books for Years 1 – 9. 

The Advantages of a Syllabus for Religious Education

  1. A Syllabus based on the Curriculum Directory, which consists of clear, concise statements of the key theological content to be taught in Primary and Secondary schools - from Foundation Stage to the end of Key Stage 3 - would provide enormous benefits to bishops, advisers, head teachers, teachers, pupils, parents and governors.
  2. Bishops will be able to tell at a glance if the correct theological content is being covered for each year group
  3. If progression and continuity are carefully tracked through each syllabus, there will be much less danger of repetition and less likelihood that students will ‘switch off’ when they reach secondary level because they feel the same ground is being covered over again.
  4. Advisers will be able to build-in assessments tasks for schools and have a bank of exemplification material to provide evidence of what pupils are able to do.
  5. Because there is a syllabus, teachers would be able to choose from a variety of Catholic resources that have the Imprimatur and Nihil Obstat and cut down on the overuse of photocopied material. Teachers will welcome their own professional judgement being recognised in freedom to choose resources.
  6. If all schools are working from the same syllabus in-service can be based on the importance of developing literacy, thinking skills, brain-based learning, cross curricular links with PSHE and citizenship rather than a very narrow focus on a particular programme.
  7. Parents and governors have a right to know the theological content of what is being covered in every term in RE – a syllabus is the answer. It can also be put on the website.
  8. If teachers have the freedom to choose a textbook for pupils it will cut-down drastically on the amount of preparation they have to do because the activities will actually be planned textbook.
  9. Pupils will benefit enormously from colourful textbooks, which give Religious Education a similar status to other subjects in the curriculum.
  10. Pupils could be given concise statements of key learning objectives from the Syllabus at the start of each half term to put into their exercise books so that they can tick them off as they are covered. They could also receive a Record of Achievement at the end of the term.


Our starting point in presenting the religious content specified by the Religious Education Curriculum Directory [RECD] should be REVELATION. God is always the initiator in the history of our creating and redemption; it is His revealing of himself that makes classroom religious education possible. To begin with Revelation ensures that we respect the revealed nature of Christian faith.

From Revelation we move onto CHURCH; in other words, we consider how Revelation gives life to the Church. The Church is, at one and the same time, the bearer of God’s Revelation and the divinely ordered means by which human beings live out their response to Revelation, enlivened by the Holy Spirit who fills the Church.

From here we focus on two aspects of the Church’s response to God’s Revelation: CELEBRATION – the liturgical and sacramental life of the Church, and LIFE IN CHRIST – the moral life and the pursuit of holiness – both enabled and enlivened by the activity and presence of God in the Church.





It is proposed that each of these Areas should, as far as possible, without artificial distortion of the content areas, be covered in each Module of work.

However, attempts to make clear connections between the truths of faith and the pupils’ own experience of life are essential. For many it is only when they see the relevance to their own lives of what they are learning that they become fully engaged in it. At times this will mean starting with the pupils’ experience. For example, in studying ‘conflict and reconciliation’ we might well want to begin with reflection on conflict in the lives and experience of the pupils. Nevertheless, REVELATION in the strict sense of the word would remain the starting point for the delivery and presentation of the specifically religious content material. We would look, in other words, at conflict in our world and in our lives as a sort of background, and then begin our religious education proper with how Christian Revelation addresses itself to conflict in human life.

“The Gospel message always, at some point, takes the person beyond the scope of their own experience, challenging and transforming it. It is a message of a saving and transforming gift”.

Archbishop Vincent Nichols

Foundation & Key Stage 1

The Way, the Truth & the Life syllabus (click panel for more details).

 Autumn 1Autumn 2Spring 1Spring 2Summer 1Summer 2
Foundation F1 God's World F2 God's family F3 Getting to know Jesus F4 Sorrow and joy F5 New Life F6 Church
Year 1 KS 1.1 God's great plan KS 1.2 Mary mother of God KS 1.3 Families & celebrations KS 1.4 Following Jesus KS 1.5 Resurrection KS 1.6 Miracles
Year 2 KS 2.1 Chosen people KS 2.2 Mysteries KS 2.3 The Good News KS 2.4 The Mass KS 2.5 Eastertide KS 2.6 Birth of the Church

Key Stage2

The Way, the Truth & the Life syllabus (click panel for more details).

 Autumn 1Autumn 2Spring 1Spring 2Summer 1Summer 2
Year 3 3.1 The Christian Church 3.2 Mary our mother 3.3 Called to change 3.4 Eucharist 3.5 Celebrating 3.6 Being a christian
Year 4 4.1 The Bible 4.2 Trust in God 4.3 Jesus the teacher 4.4 Jesus the Saviour 4.5 The mission of the church 4.6 Belonging to the Church
Year 5 5.1 Creation 5.2 God's Covenents 5.3 Inspirational people 5.4 Reconcilliation 5.5 Life in the risen Jesus 5.6 Other Faiths
Year 6 6.1 The Kingdom of God 6.2 Justice 6.3 Jesus the Bread of Life 6.4 Jesus the Son of God 6.5 The work of the Apostles 6.6 Called to serve