Religious Education

Religious Education

Religious Education is a compulsory part of the Northern Ireland Curriculum. Schools must offer access to at least one course that leads to a qualification in Religious Education.

Religious Education at Key Stage 4 gives pupils further opportunities to develop their personal understanding and enhance their spiritual and ethical awareness.

The Department of Education and the four main Christian Churches in Northern Ireland define the curriculum for Religious Education in the Core Syllabus.

Schools must provide Religious Education in line with this syllabus, which at Key Stage 4 includes the Revelation of God, the Christian Church and Morality. At this stage, pupils also study the Christian Church from both a Protestant and Roman Catholic perspective.

The syllabus provides a basis for Religious Education teaching that schools can build on in a way that suits their pupils’ needs and the school’s ethos. This matches the Northern Ireland Curriculum’s flexibility and allows schools to include, for example, extra material on morality.

Parents can withdraw their child from part or all of Religious Education or collective worship.

Whole Curriculum Skills and Capabilities

Pupils must have opportunities to develop the Cross-Curricular Skills of Communication, Using Mathematics and Using ICT, and the Other Skills through Religious Education. Teaching should promote the relevance of learning to everyday life and work.


School Boards of Governors should decide if their pupils must study for a qualification in Religious Education.

We provide a range of qualifications that build on the knowledge, understanding and skills developed through Religious Education. These include: