Catholic Institute of Education


Draft Core Curriculum Statement

Two main factors have led to the necessity of developing a core curriculum for Religious Education in South African Catholic schools. In the first place, current policy from the South African Catholic Bishops gives very broad guidelines which essentially leaves curriculum in the hands of individual school boards and governing bodies. A second factor – rather onerous demands of the State Curriculum together with the marginalisation of religion in this curriculum – leads to the neglect and demise of Religious Education in some of the schools. 

The Core Curriculum statements are available on the Religious Education Resources page. Click the links below.

Download the Draft Core Curriculum Statement (Grade R-7)

Download the Draft Core Curriculum Statement (Grade 8-12)

The two statements are accompanied by suggested programmes from Lifebound (Gr R-7) and CORD (Gr 8-12) which will cover the core curriculum. These are also available on the Resources page.

Suggested Programmes for 2018

To meet the requirements of the Draft Core Curriculum Statement, teachers of Religious Education can either develop their own programmes and lessons, or they can choose to use the core programmes of 32 lessons per year drawn from Lifebound and CORD that can be downloaded from the RE Resources page. The programmes identify a single lesson per teaching week of the year, aligning them where feasible with religious festivals and with topics dealt with in Life Orientation.

Curriculum processes

The curriculum for Religious Education in South African Catholic schools weaves together a number of processes to create a holistic programme. Both the primary school curriculum Lifebound and the secondary school curriculum CORD take these processes into consideration.

  1. Education by Environment (Ethos) 
  2. Theological Education 
  3. Spiritual Education 
  4. Prayer Education 
  5. Worship Education (Liturgy & Sacrament) 
  6. Education by Arts 
  7. Education by Story 
  8. Scriptural Education 
  9. Education by Models 
  10. Philosophical Education 
  11. Personal Moral Education 
  12. Education in Structural Morality (Social Justice) 
  13. Education for Personal Growth and Relationships 
  14. Education for Religious Community (Church Life) 
  15. Intensive Religious Education (Special Events) 

Click here for a more detailed description of the curriculum processes.


The following four statements give a description of the desired outcomes of Religious Education. The numbers in the round brackets identify the curriculum processes listed above. (Note, however, that 1 and 15 are not classroom processes.)

RE1. Spiritual Awareness (3,4,6,7) 

The learner shows understanding and appreciation of the spiritual dimension of life, and of the ability of religion to answer deeper questions and needs.

RE2. Social Development (9,12) 

The learner shows respect for the dignity of self, others, and the whole creation, and reaches out in compassionate service.

RE3. Personal Development (9,10,11,13) 

The learner demonstrates growth in personal identity and relationships, and makes appropriate religious and moral decisions.

RE4. Religious Tradition (2,5,8,14) 

The learner demonstrates knowledge and understanding of sacred writings, beliefs, teachings, and traditions of his/her faith community, and puts them into practice.

For available resources related to the curriculum, see RE Resources  

Lifebound (Gr R-7) Primary School Curriculum

  • Lifebound Curriculum 

Lifebound Assessment Instruments 

Assessment instruments designed for particular groups of lessons or for more general use can be downloaded here.

GENERIC INSTRUMENTS (for use in different grades)

My Teaching     Classroom Atmosphere Profile    Skills Self-Assessment   Knowledge, Skills & Values   My Work

Group Work   My Participation   Activity    Two Things    Feedback    Group Work 2

SPECIFIC INSTRUMENTS (for use in particular grades and lesson groups)


 Grade 1 Learner Profile     Lessons 17-20      Lessons 21-24


 Grade 2 Lessons 1-4     Lessons 5-8       Lessons 9-12       Lessons 13-16     Lessons 17-20   Lessons 25-28    Lessons 29-32    Lessons 33-36     Lessons 37-40    Lessons 41-44


 Grade 3 Lessons 1-4     Lessons 5-8       Lessons 9-12       Lessons 13-16       Lessons 17-20   Lessons 25-28    Lessons 29-32   Lessons 33-36     Lessons 41-44


 Grade 4 Lessons 1-4     Lessons 5-8       Lessons 9-12        Lessons 13-14      Lessons 17-20   Lessons 25-28    Lesson 41-44      Lesson 41-44 (2)    Year End


 Grade 5 Lessons 1-4     Lessons 5-7       Lessons 5-8          Lessons 9-12        Lessons 13-16      Lessons 17-19     Lessons 21-24       Lessons 21-24 (2)           Lessons 29-31   Lessons 33-36


 Grade 6 Lessons 1-4     Lessons 5-8       Lessons 5-8 (2)   Lessons 13-16      Lessons 17-20       Lessons 17-20 (2)   Lessons 21-24     Lessons 33-36       Lessons 37-40      Lessons 49-52


 Grade 7 Lessons 1-2     Lessons 6,13-14      Lessons 19-23   Lessons 11-12, 42    Lesson 21    Lesson 22   Lesson 26    Lesson 27    Lesson 30     Lesson 37-3

Lifebound Worksheet Guides 

These guides contain factual or suggested answers to the worksheets where necessary. In many instances, however, the worksheets call for open responses from learners and no suggestions are offered for these.

Lifebound Gr 6 Guide

CORD Curriculum

CORD (Gr 8- 12) Secondary School Curriculum

The Christian Story

This text, available from CIE, is designed as a student text for high School (Gr 8-12) Theological Education. Lesson ideas based on a reading of this text are available at the following links: 

Theological Education Lessons - Grade 8 

Theological Education Lessons - Grade 9 

Theological Education Lessons - Grade 10 

Theological Education Lessons - Grade 11 

Theological Education Lessons - Grade 12   

National RE Tests

Grade 6 RE Test 2010 

To download the test and the memorandum, click on the following links:

  • Grade 6 Test 
  • Grade 6 Test Memo 

To download the full report, click on the following link:

  • Grade 6 Test Report 

Grade 6 and Grade 9 RE Tests 2011 

For papers, memorandums and reports, click here.

Grade 6 and Grade 9 RE Tests 2012 

For information, papers and memorandums, click here.

Grade 6 and Grade 9 RE Tests 2014 

For information about these tests click here.

To download the tests and memorandums, click here.

Grade 6 and Grade 9 RE Tests 2015 

To download the information packs click here.

To download the tests and memorandums, click here.

Grade 6 and Grade 9 RE Tests 2016 

To download the Grade 6 information pack click here.

To download the Grade 9 information pack click here.

Download the 2016 RE Tests   Grade 6 SECTION A    SECTION B

                                                        Grade 9 SECTION A    SECTION B

To download the memorandums click here

Grade 6 and Grade 9 RE Tests 2017 

To download the Grade 6 Information pack click here.

To download the Grade 9 Information pack click here.

Note that these tests will be based on the core curriculum and the suggested programmes given at the top of this page.

Download the 2017 RE Tests     Grade 6   SECTION A    SECTION B

                                               Grade 9   SECTION A    SECTION B

Common assessment tasks

You can download common assessment tasks here. They are based on material from Lifebound (Grade 7) and CORD (Grades 8-11)

Grade 7      Grade 8      Grade 9      Grade 10      Grade 11

Religious Education & Life Orientation

Catholic schools face the dilemma of meeting the requirements of the Religious Education policy Fostering Hope and of the National Curriculum. In practice this means that Religious Education and the learning area Life Orientation compete for the same 2 hours of the school week. Innovative and creative strategies need to be developed so that the offering of Religious Education remains central to the school's curriculum without prejudicing the National Curriculum. We offer such a strategy which we call A Harmonious Marriage.

In practice, the harmonious implementation of Fostering Hope together with the requirements of the National Curriculum calls for creative planning and timetabling. To see the implications for religious Education that arise from the new Curriculum and Assessment Policy Statements (CAPS), click here.

Teachers in Catholic schools need to adopt a critical approach to the use of materials provided by the Department of Education, especially in the learning area Life Skills/Life Orientation, so that their teaching is in harmony with the school's Catholic vision. A document of the Catholic Schools Proprietors' Association (CaSPA), Sexuality Education Guidelines for Catholic Schools, provides guidelines on the use of sexuality education materials distributed or purchased in public schools.

Religious festivals

The multi-religious dimension of our society is featured in the Catholic school Religious Education curriculum and in the Religion Education component of Life Orientation. A calendar of major festivals of the world religions, and a supplement including days of national and international significance is provided as a resource for making this dimension visible in the school.

Click here for the 2018 calendar.

Click here for a full liturgical calendar.


The following paraliturgies, while designed for a specific year, can easily be adpated to suit current contexts and needs.

Click here for a paraliturgy to mark Eid Al-Fitr (1 Shawwaal 1438 AH) (Monday 26 June 2017)

Click here for a paraliturgy to mark the Hindu Diwali festival (Thursday 19 October 2017)

Click here fro a paraliturgy to mark the Jewish New Year festival Rosh Hashanah (Thursday 21 September 2017)