Key Stage 3
Pupils learn about the meaning of symbolism in religion and key beliefs about God from the perspective of different world religions. This includes the study of the attributes of God in the monotheistic faiths. This topic allows pupils to investigate the skills needed in RS and the purpose of RS in schools. Pupils examine the arguments for and against the existence of God. Pupils will also make comparisons between different religions and secular beliefs. Pupils will explore Judaism and compare and contrast with the other Abrahamic religions. Pupils will examine in depth the life of Christ and the early Church. There will be an opportunity for pupils to explore the significance of Jerusalem as a place of pilgrimage to all three Abrahamic faiths. In addition, all Year 7 students also study a Philosophy of religion lesson or theology lesson once a fortnight.
Pupils will study the concept of ‘the Church’ in Christianity and develop an understanding of different denominations within Christianity. Through the study of contemporary issues pupils will have an opportunity to develop an understanding about key religious beliefs in respond to poverty and war. Through the study of these issues, pupils are encouraged to relate key ideas to their own experiences and to reflect upon ultimate questions about life. Pupils will investigate Eastern religions and religion alongside the media. These topics will develop critical thinking skills, needed for their RS GCSE course which they will begin in Year 9.
Pupils begin to study for the RS GCSE full course. Pupils will develop an understanding of some of the moral and ethical issues facing people in today’s society. They will focus on the relationship between religion and equality, exploring issues relating to racial prejudice and sex discrimination. This includes the study of key biblical teachings about relationships and the study of contemporary Christians who have promoted equality. Pupils explore different denominational views about the ordination of women and also the importance of the Church within the Christian faith. Pupils will study the role of marriage within the Church and society. Further to this pupils will examine the ethics of divorce and sex outside of marriage. Through the study of these contemporary and moral issues, pupils are encouraged to evaluate material and to give their own viewpoint about a number of the issues raised. Pupils will also study Christianity in further depth. They will explore the Trinity, incarnation, Christian eschatology, the problem or evil and suffering, worship, Pilgrimage and Christian religious celebrations.
Years 10 and 11 (Key Stage 4)
All pupils are completing the full Edexcel GCSE course.
Religious Studies pupils explore ethical and philosophical issues facing people in today’s society. They will focus on the relationship between religion and belief about life after death, exploring issues relating to belief about God. This includes the study of key biblical teachings about the concept of a heaven and hell. Pupils will examine the ways in which Christians have responded to these beliefs. Pupils will also study about the moral dilemmas surrounding medical ethics and the sanctity of life. Through the study of these contemporary and moral issues, pupils have been encouraged to evaluate material and to give their own viewpoint about a number of the issues raised. Pupils will also study one other religion which will be Judaism. They will investigate the Jewish way of life and fundamental Jewish beliefs. This will include moral principles, festivals, the concept of life after death and ceremonies.
RS (OCR) Philosophy & Ethics – A level
Philosophy of Religion:
- Ancient Greek influences on religious philosophy such as Plato and Aristotle.
- Arguments for the existence of God. The relationship of body and soul, and different theories of life after death. Analysis of religious experience, miracles and religious language and investigation with the problem of Evil.
Religious Ethics (moral philosophy):
- Ethical theory – Virtue Ethics, Situation ethics, Kantian ethics and Natural Moral Law.
- Application of theory to such issues as: abortion, genetic engineering, embryo research, environmental ethics, sexual ethics and war, peace & justice.
- Connections in Philosophy and Ethics: free will, morality, God, evil, psychology, sociology and life after death.
Development in Christian Thought:
- Religious beliefs, values and teachings, their interconnections and how they vary historically and in the contemporary world.
- Sources of religious wisdom and authority, such as the knowledge of God’s existence and the person of Jesus Christ
- Practices which shape and express religious identity and how these vary.
- Significant social and historical developments in theology and religious thought as well as key themes related to the relationship between religion and society, such as gender and society.
- Philosophy of Religion (examination – 2 hours)
- Religious Ethics (examination – 2 hours)
- Development in Christian Thought (examination – 2 hours)
Teaching and learning styles
In working with philosophical and ethical issues, as much class time as possible is devoted to the learned discussion of relevant topics. This means that students are expected to prepare and expand their studies with the necessary research and written work in private study. Students may be asked to present their findings to the group and they will need to be prepared to support their views in debate.
Students taking Philosophy and Ethics at A Level will go on to study virtually any subject in Higher Education. Philosophy and Ethics combine well with the study of all subjects because they develop the powers of rational and critical thinking. The skills developed in Philosophy and Ethics could be particularly useful for careers in law, education, journalism, politics, medicine, administration or the media, charities, publishing houses, social services and other caring professions.