Dominican College, Fortwilliam was established by the Irish Dominican Sisters in 1930. In common with all Dominican Schools and Colleges throughout the world Dominican educators draw their inspiration from St. Dominic, founder of the Order of Preachers (1170 – 1221) who based his ministry and that of his followers on the life and work of Jesus, the teacher and preacher.
The motto of all Dominican Schools is Veritas - Truth. St Dominic believed that he had a mission to bring the truth of the Gospel to the world and to remind people that this truth was an encounter with the God of love. Veritas is not just our motto, it sums up the whole purpose of being a Dominican: to praise, to bless and to preach the truth of the Gospel.
Religious Education is central to the ethos of Dominican College, Fortwilliam.
We, as a department, see our primary function as enabling each individual to grow in her relationship with Christ. Our aim is to help our pupils mature in their faith. We wish to help our pupils arrive at a point in their faith journey where they can make personal the choices made for them at baptism. We encourage pupils to appreciate their own religious values and traditions whilst respecting the traditions of others and challenge them to live out the Christian values in their daily lives. We want them to be sure of their identity and worth as individuals created in the image and likeness of God.
Key Stage 3
The ‘Fully Alive' programme feeds into a comprehensive faith-based programme delivered at Key Stage 3. The programme centres on faith in God, the Bible, sacraments, moral teachings and prayer and meets the requirements of the NI Curriculum. Through the programme the students are given the opportunity to:
develop their understanding of God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit.
appreciate the scriptures.
celebrate the sacraments.
understand the Church and its teachings.
experience different forms of prayer.
be supported in their faith and spiritual development.
In Year 8 pupils have the opportunity to study: the history of St. Dominic and the Dominican Order; the Bible and its relevance to the modern world; the Rosary; the life and ministry of Jesus; Advent; the Eucharist; Baptism, Confirmation, Holy Week; Easter, and Reconciliation.
In Year 9 pupils have the opportunity to study: Creation, Environmental Stewardship, the Covenant, Conscience and Morality, the Reformation, Denominations of Christianity, Christian Unity, and Judaism.
In Year 10 pupils have the opportunity to study: Christian Values, Equality and Human Rights; Jesus’ Ministry and the Role of Discipleship; and Islam.
The Religious Studies course which begins in Year 11 is a two year course which seeks to consolidate and build on the knowledge and skills developed at earlier stages in the school, and to facilitate further study at a more advanced level.
The Religious Studies syllabus is designed to help students to appreciate religious, spiritual and moral dimensions of life with respect to the beliefs, values and attitudes of others. Pupils are encouraged to study life at a deeper level and to consider the views and deeply held perspectives of others. This subject is also focused on the moral development and faith nurturing of our pupils.
GCSE Religious Studies requires the ability to examine important questions with an open mind, to weigh up arguments and arrive at reasoned conclusions. A significant part of the external assessment is evaluation which requires students to weigh up issues by examining diverse interpretations and then offering informed judgement.
All pupils are entered for the CCEA Religious Studies examination. Pupils follow a modular course over two years which is made up of two sections:
Christianity through a Study of the Gospel of Mark (Year 11).
(ii) An Introduction to Christian Ethics (Year 12)
The scheme of assessment will comprise of two externally assessed written papers, one paper on each of the above sections.
Each examination paper is of 1 hour 30 min duration and carries 50% of the total marks.
Throughout the written papers, pupils are given the opportunity to demonstrate Knowledge, Understanding and Evaluation skills.
There is no internal assessment (no Controlled Assessment or Coursework).
Please consult the CCEA website for further information regarding the specification: https://ccea.org.uk/key-stage-4/gcse/subjects/gcse-religious-studies-2017
AS and A2
The study of Religion makes a particular contribution to student’s understanding of spiritual, moral ethical and cultural issues by encouraging them to reflect upon their own attitudes, and those of others, to the topics under consideration. This course aims to develop an interest in and enthusiasm for Religion. It provides students with the opportunity to learn about, discuss, evaluate and learn from religious beliefs, practices and values. It offers opportunities for candidates to engage with challenging questions about the meaning and purpose of life, peoples place in society and the world around them. It allows them to evaluate information and evidence and arrive at reasoned conclusions and judgements. Students will be taught to develop their skills of analysis and enquiry, enabling them to adopt a critical and empathetic approach to Religion.
A Popular Choice: Religious Studies is the second most popular A-Level Choice for females in Northern Ireland**.
AS Component (Year 13): Two modular units are studied.
Module 1: An Introduction to the Gospel of Luke (AS 1)
Module 2: Foundations of Ethics with Special Reference to issues in Medical Ethics (AS7)
The Celtic Church in Ireland in the Fifth, Sixth and Seventh Centuries (AS5).
A2 Component (Year 14): A further two modules are studied to complete the ‘A’ Level course.
Module 3: Themes in the Synoptic Gospels (A2 1)
Module 4: Global Ethics (A27)
Themes in the Celtic Church, Reformation and Post-Reformation Church (A25)
Format of Assessment/Examination Structure
AS: 2 Papers
Each paper is worth 50% of the AS and 20% of the A-Level.
Each AS paper is 1 hour 20 minutes long.
A2: 2 Papers
Each paper is worth 50% of A2 and 30% of the A-Level.
Each A2 paper is 2 hours long.
Please consult the CCEA website for further information regarding the specification: https://ccea.org.uk/post-16/gce/subjects/gce-religious-studies-2016
True religious education leads to an opening of student's minds and helps them along the first steps to reflection on the meaning of their own lives and values.
Religious Studies is an excellent subject at both GCSE and A-Level as it is compatible with a broad range of subjects. Religious Studies can equip you with many skills and abilities suited to further study and Degree courses.
Moreover, as an academic subject, it is widely recognised and respected by Universities. Candidates engage with great debates and are, thus, provided with the opportunity to hone their skills in ‘arguing a case on the basis of evidence’ – a skill which is absolutely central to progress in the world of work.
Students of Religion have chosen to pursue the following career routes:
Medicine/ Dentistry/ Pharmacy
Biological Science/ Environmental Biology
Business Management/ Marketing
Economics/ Finance/ Commerce
Social Work/ Sociology
Enhanced RE Programme
All students in Year 13 and 14 (with the exception of those studying AS/A2 RE) participate in the Enhanced Religious Education programme. This is a specially designed course which allows our pupils to focus on topics such as Human Rights and Justice (with links to SVP and Trocaire); Faith in the Modern Day World; Prayer and Spirituality. Guest speakers are invited in on a regular basis to enrich this learning experience.
Prayer and Celebration
“Prayer is not asking. Prayer is putting oneself in the hands of God, at his disposition, and listening to his voice in the depth of our hearts.”
— Mother Teresa
The Chapel of Our Lady of the Rosary stands at the heart of our school and has been a sacred and much cherished space for generations of pupils. It contains a beautiful selection of stained glass windows which were designed by local artist, Mr Dan Braniff.
Prayer opens our minds and expands our vision. We encourage our pupils to integrate prayer into their daily life. As such, prayer and liturgy play a central role within school life. Our staff and pupils are invited to attend and participate in a variety of liturgical events including school Masses, reconciliation services and prayer services. Special emphasis is paid to the seasons of Advent and Lent.
In our very complex and fast moving world there is a need to be reminded that a person is more than their achievements. They have an absolute value and dignity given to them by God because they are ‘made in the image and likeness of God’.
A central element in the education of our students at Dominican College, Fortwilliam, is their spiritual development. Retreat days are offered to our pupils and provide a unique experience to develop their personal spirituality, mental well-being and a more positive outlook on life. These retreat days allow them time and space to reflect, to discuss their faith and to share this experience with their classmates and friends. These are always memorable experiences which remain in the memories of our pupils long after they leave Dominican College.
Fundraising and Social Justice
Extra-curricular activities help to enrich the life of the school and students at Dominican College are offered opportunities to participate in a variety of fundraising initiatives. Our school has a long history of supporting both St Vincent de Paul and Trócaire throughout the year. We also support a number of other charities including the Christmas ‘shoe box’ appeal, the Welcome Organisation, Aware NI, Children in Crossfire, and the Northern Ireland Hospice.
Pope John Paul II Award
Co-ordinator: Mrs C. Niblock
This award recognises the voluntary work undertaken in both school and parish settings over the course of a two year period. The pupils involved in the Pope John Paul II Award make a significant contribution to the life of the school, leading the younger pupils in prayer services during the various liturgical seasons, as well as raising awareness and coordinating events for St Vincent de Paul and Trócaire. The pupils are required to undertake half of their voluntary service in their local parish; contributing to activities like Children’s Liturgy, helping to facilitate youth groups and volunteering their time and talents in the aid of local charities.