Religion & Philosophy Curriculum

The Religion & Philosophy department would like to welcome you to the study of religions in a genuine spirit of friendship and a desire to help you grasp the historic, artistic and spiritual significance of our global religious heritage. The history, culture and beliefs of religions have shaped the world’s cultures and civilisations and have yielded wonderful masterpieces of architecture, sculpture and music.

It is impossible to appreciate this cultural beauty without considering the social and religious context in which they were produced, the liturgical, devotional and educational function they were intended to perform and the language and message that is used.

Above all else, it is necessary to be open and sensitive to the human yearning for the infinite, to the paths taken by the individual and the community to draw closer to God, to the mystery of Love, which is transcendent and at the same time revealed and at work in religious history.

For those who wish to hear it, the religions of the world speak a language full of sensibility, imagination, intelligence and feelings. They stir memories, open up horizons of hope and offer a glimpse of the splendour of Truth and of Good. Whether this is a reflection of God on earth, we leave that decision to you. The information, suggestions and guidelines contained in our studies are designed to help you listen to this language and to enable it to reverberate in your heart.

KS3

FOCUS RELIGIONS

MICHAELMAS

SYMBOLISM AND TRUTH

LENT

PHILOSOPHY

TRINITY

ETHICS

Christianity

Hinduism

Introduction to Symbolism/Inner truth

Life after death

Intro to ethics through animal rights, environment, poverty.

Christianity

Islam

Music and worship

Myth/science and truth

Nature and the existence of God

Ethics and values

Equality relationships family and marriage  and  war & peace

Christianity

Judaism

Buddhism

Where was God? Holocaust

Religion and the media

 

Ethical theory

Capital punishment

GCSE

RE at GCSE is compulsory for all students.
AQA Religious Studies B FULL course Options 2 and 3 Unit code: 4055

What the course involves….

  • In 4th year, 3 lessons a week.
  • In 5th year, 4 lessons a week.
  • NO COURSEWORK
  • Two end of course examinations.

A two year course studying eight ethical issues from differing religious perspectives. Examining these important issues will enable you to develop your opinion and you will come across Christian, Buddhist and Islamic ideas to help you shape your own views.

Fourth Year – 4 topics

  • Crime and punishment: What causes crime and what are the different philosophies of punishment?  Is it moral to have the death penalty?  What do prisons achieve?
  • Attitudes to drug abuse: Why are drugs a problem in Britain?  How do drugs impact upon the life of the users and what can be done about this?
  • Global poverty: Why are some parts of the world so poor and others so rich? How can we best offer aid to these countries?  What problems can occur with charity and how can we become more globally conscious in our daily lives?
  • Attitudes to the elderly and death:  What is death and how should we feel about it?  Is euthanasia acceptable?  How should we care for the elderly and the terminally sick?  How should we help the grieving?

Fifth year – 4 topics

  • Animal rights and the environment- what is our duty of care towards the natural world and what problems are faced by nature? How can we most effectively help the natural world and do we have any moral obligation to do so? ( 2 topics)
  • Prejudice – how does prejudice manifest itself in the modern world and why is it a danger? How can it best be addressed and who from history has done so? Do we have a moral obligation to address prejudice in society?
  • War and peace - What do we mean by peace and how can we achieve it? When war occurs; what causes it and how can this be morally addressed? Is it ever right for a religious believer to go to war and what is meant by pacifism? In a world of weapons of mass destruction, what should a religious believer who is committed to peace do?

For information on the A Level Philosophy and Ethics Course, please click here for the Sixth Form Academic Prospectus. 

Sixth Form

A Level Religious Studies

Throughout the year we will be developing your exam skills to the highest level possible so you will attain the highest grade of which you are capable!

For a more detailed description of the A Level Philosophy and Ethics course, please click here for the Sixth Form Academic Prospectus.  

Content
The department will be following the Edexcel Course in Religious Studies which has three modules:

  • The Philosophy of Religion
  • Religious ethics
  • Buddhism theology

Students will sit all three modules simultaneously and will see how their learning in one influences their knowledge in the other two.

This gives you an excellent introduction to many challenging and complex theories in Philosophy of Religion, Theology and Ethics, which will stretch and test you. You will learn how to write concisely and succinctly, to argue intelligently and to evaluate evidence in building up a powerful case for or against a key topic. This course will really develop your ability to make connections and observe subtle but powerful shades of difference between thinkers. 

All modules are exam assessed and there is no coursework. Each of the three modules is assessed in a 2-hour exam at the end of the Upper Sixth.

How the course is taught
Each course is normally taught by two subject teachers. A heavy emphasis is placed on student participation, presentation, research and independent learning. The School Library is well resourced for all courses. Further learning resources are available through the RE Department Virtual Learning Environment.

Expectations/Homework
Subject teachers set tasks according to an agreed work programme which helps students to manage their time. All students are expected to engage fully in lessons, keep up to date and to read and research widely in order to support their independent learning.

Preparatory Work
It is recommended that all students read an introductory text to familiarise themselves with the periods of study before they embark upon the course. Further advice will be given about appropriate reading.

So, what can you do with an A level in RE?

We really focus on the skills you develop in the course with writing, debate, evaluation of evidence and the ability to present a complex series of ideas in a manner which doesn’t over-simply it. These skills are transferable and will help you attain higher grades in your other subjects. We find that many of our RS level students have the skills which make them successful Russell group level applications for

  • Law
  • International relations
  • The military
  • The medical services
  • Business and management

IB World Religions (Standard Level)

Humankind has been concerned throughout recorded history with religious questions, such as the existence of God, the meaning and purpose of life and death, and the sense we make of our lives. In the contemporary world, religion has a significant influence on individuals and societies across the globe. The power of religion to both unite and divide affects believers and unbelievers alike. Therefore, religion in its varied forms is a distinctive realm of human experience that demands academic inquiry.

The course consists of an introductory unit, exploring five of the nine living world religions that form the basis of the syllabus. This is complemented by an in-depth study of two religions chosen from six world religions. This part of the syllabus is guided by themes, key concepts and key questions. The final component is the investigative study, which provides opportunities for individual research of an aspect of the religious experience, practice or belief of a group and/or individual adherents.

  • Part 1: Introduction to world religions: Five world religions to be studied – probably including Christianity, Judaism, Taoism, Hinduism, Buddhism - Externally moderated by exam
  • Part 2: In-depth studies: Two world religions to be studied, Buddhism and Christianity - Externally moderated by exam
  • Part 3: Internal assessment: Investigative study - Internally assessed, externally moderated

Content
World Religions comprises a systematic, critical, yet sensitive study of the variety of beliefs, values and practices encountered in religions around the world. A rigorous attempt is made to maintain objectivity in the analysis and evaluation of religions. This requires, at the very least, an authentic attempt to understand the beliefs, values and practices of the religion being studied by using language and concepts drawn from that religious tradition. The concern is not just with what the followers of a faith believe and do, but also with an understanding of why they do so, through an appreciation of the form of life and world outlook that they constitute.

How the course is taught
The World Religions course is normally taught by one subject teacher. A heavy emphasis is placed on student participation, presentation, research and independent learning. The Learning Resource Centre is well resourced for all courses. Further learning resources are available through the RE Department Virtual Learning Environment. Students are supervised through the process of completing their Internal Assessment.

As part of the course, World Religions students visit various religious places of worship, such as a Hindu mandir, an Orthodox church, a mosque, to give an insight into religion as lived.

Expectations/Homework
Subject teachers set tasks according to an agreed work programme which helps students to manage their time. All students are expected to engage fully in lessons, keep up to date and to read and research widely in order to support their independent learning. IB students are expected to be resourceful and committed to intellectual enquiry.

The Extended Essay
Extended Essays in World Religions provide students with the opportunity to undertake an in-depth investigation into a limited topic within the field of World Religions. The study should integrate disciplined research that is informed by scholarly methods with original and imaginative analysis, interpretation, and critical evaluation of the results of that research. Extended Essays must address the beliefs, values and practices of religious traditions and show a genuine understanding of the religion from the standpoint of its adherents. The result of writing an essay in World Religions should be, among other things, improved intercultural understanding. The essay must be completed within 4000 words. Up to five hours of staff supervision are available to assist with the planning, research and execution of the Extended Essay.

Preparatory Work
It is recommended that all students read an introductory text to familiarise themselves with the main themes before they embark on the course.

IB Philosophy (Higher and Standard Level)

Content
Students study the “Core Theme”: Being Human. Students question whether their lives have meaning and purpose, examine nihilism and existentialism and non-Western responses. We question what is important about being a person, whether animals or machines could be persons, consciousness, human nature, whether we have free will, our relations with others. Students examine famous thinkers like Sartre, Camus, Wittgenstein and Daniel Dennett, as well as formulating their own ideas. We also make connections with theatre, films and pop music.

Students study a unit on exploring the nature of philosophical activity, looking at the purpose of Philosophy, its aims and methods, whether it should be accessible, whether anyone can be a philosopher, whether it makes progress.

There are no formal entry requirements for IB Philosophy. However, the subject requires rigorous analysis and the ability to structure coherent essays. As such, an A in GCSE English Literature and an A in GCSE Mathematics are an advantage.

How the course is taught
The IB Philosophy course is taught by one or two subject teachers. A heavy emphasis is placed on student participation, presentation, discussion, research and independent learning. Students are encouraged to think for themselves and “do Philosophy”, rather than passively repeating the ideas of dead thinkers. The classroom fosters intellectual inquiry and debate. Students are supervised through the process of completing their Internal Assessment.

Expectations/Homework
Subject teachers set tasks according to an agreed work programme which helps students to manage their time. All students are expected to engage fully in lessons, keep up- to-date and to read and research widely in order to support their independent learning. IB students are expected to be resourceful and committed to intellectual enquiry.