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Religion Philosophy and Ethics

RE

Intent

We endeavour to enable students to explore their own beliefs and values as well as becoming more informed about those of others. Students acquire and develop knowledge and understanding of a range of religious and non-religious life stances and to develop respect and sensitivity so that, as future citizens, they will value and celebrate cultural and religious diversity.

Introduction 

Religion, Philosophy and Ethics makes a valuable contribution to students’ life long search for truth and meaning. In a world full of ethical and philosophical issues this is as important now as it has ever been.

We deliver our lessons with vibrancy and enthusiasm and through our dedication to the subject area we ensure high standards and outcomes. We aim to challenge our students in their Religious Studies lessons so that they learn to challenge their own views and question the views of others. We aim to develop young people who understand the positive contribution this subject can make in their further study and careers prospects.

RPE has always been highly relevant in public life and never more so than at the moment. We live in increasingly diverse multi-cultural and multi-religious societies though the world is becoming more secular. This potent mixture means that an understanding of the ways that different religious communities can work together and how organisations can have a successful relationship with clients from these backgrounds is very attractive to employers. 

Colleges, universities and employers value the opportunities that students have had in Religion, Philosophy and Ethics to develop skills and qualities such as debating ideas, evaluating views, demonstrating empathy and tolerance of others.

Examples of cross-curricular links

English:

Non-fiction reading - religious texts   

Vocabulary strategy - subject-specific vocabulary is taught explicitly

Purpose and audience writing - debate, argue, and justify.

Humanities: Prejudice and discrimination, social issues
Sociology: Societal culture and norms
Science: Genetics

 

Examples of Cultural Capital entitlement from NC

  • Knowledge and understanding of a variety of religious and cultural stances
  • Recognition of prejudice and discrimination
  • Knowledge and appreciation of a variety of moral and ethical issues
  • An awareness of self.

Key Stage 3

The Key Stage 3 curriculum in Religion, Philosophy and Ethics is designed to introduce students to the concepts of religion and beliefs. There are opportunities to study both Christianity and Buddhism as a grounding for further work later in the school. Students enjoy the philosophical and moral issues we present them with across Key Stage 3 and they have opportunities to share their views while examining the views of others, both religious and secular.

Year 7

Term 1 Term 2 Term 3
Skills Focus – an introduction to RPE The Island – an introduction to community, equality, law and order The Island – making links from community to religion
Term 4 Term 5 Term 6
Buddhism – an introduction.  Where it all started. Buddhism –Teachings of the Buddha Consolidation: Skills linked to religion

 

Year 8

Term 1 Term 2 Term 3

Morality

Stewardship

Dominion

Human Rights

Rights of children

Animal Uses:

Charity

Welfare

Rights
Term 4 Term 5 Term 6

Animal Uses:

Entertainment

Food

Medicine

Charities:

Work of charities

Mother Teresa

Gandhi

Religious and cultural attitudes:

Rights of women

Media resource

 

Year 9

Term 1 Term 2 Term 3
Attitudes to drugs: Christian and other religious responses

Attitudes to drugs

Modern medical dilemmas: start of life
Modern medical dilemmas: Christian and other religious responses
Term 4 Term 5 Term 6
Crime and Punishment – Christian and other religious responses Crime and Punishment – Christian and other religious responses

Relationships and families: GCSE Theme A

 

 

Example of skill progression

Development of ideas and opinions with increasing complexity from describe to explain to justify.

Key Stage 4

The GCSE Religious Studies follows the AQA ‘specification A’ course.  It is designed to help students to develop their knowledge, skills and understanding of religion by exploring philosophical and ethical questions. Students will be challenged to explore the significance and impact of beliefs, teachings, practices and ways of life as well as studying key religious texts. Students will also be encouraged to express personal responses and informed insights on fundamental questions and issues about meaning, purpose, truth, values and commitments. At GCSE level schools are required to study two religions and our students study Christianity and Buddhism.

Unit 1 is a study of the beliefs, teachings and practices of Christianity and Buddhism. This is examined by a 1 hour and 45 minutes written paper. 50% of total GCSE. Unit 2 is a thematic study of four religious, philosophical and ethical themes. This is examined by a 1 hour and 45 minutes written paper. 50% of total GCSE. All examinations are carried out at the end of Year 11.

GCSE students may find the following sites helpful:

https://revisionworld.com/gcse-revision/rs-religious-studies

http://www.rsrevision.com/GCSE/

 

Year 10

Term 1 Term 2 Term 3

Buddhism:

Beliefs and teachings,

Practices

Buddhism:

Beliefs and teachings,

Practices
Christianity: Beliefs and teachings, Practices
Term 4 Term 5 Term 6

Theme C:

Arguments for God and revelation

Theme C conclusion

Theme E:

Religion, crime and punishment

Theme E conclusion

Revision and exam techniques

 

Year 11

Term 1 Term 2 Term 3

Theme B:

Religion and life

Revision strategies

Theme B conclusion

Theme D:

Religion, peace and conflict

Theme D:

Religion, peace and conflict
Term 4 Term 5 Term 6

Revision: Christian and Buddhist practices

Revision and exam techniques

Revision and GCSE examination

 

Example of skill progression

Debate and written skills progress from supporting an opinion, to evaluation and justification.

Key Stage 5

The A level course develops skills of interpretation and analysis. It equips students to be independent thinkers and to be strong in powers of persuasion. It encourages open mindedness while examining critically, various religious and ethical belief systems. It will develop essay writing skills and the ability to evaluate issues and develop critical awareness of personal points of view. This course will increase awareness of the beliefs and issues that affect our society today as well as considering on-going controversial issues.

Unit 1: Philosophy of Religion – 2 hours written examination. 33.3% of total A level

This unit studies philosophical arguments about the existence or non-existence of God as well as the nature and problem of evil. It also studies different views on life after death. It asks whether or not the soul can exist outside of the body.  It studies the validity of religious experience and miracles and looks at whether or not religious language has any meaning.

Unit 2: Religious Ethics – 2 hours written examination. 33.3% of total A level

This unit studies the relationship between ethical theories and religious methods of ethical decision making. It contrasts religious and secular approaches to morality. It will also consider a variety of ethical issues such as euthanasia and sex and sexuality. It also studies freewill and determinism and considers to what extent the future is already mapped out. It also studies the nature and role of conscience in decision making and whether this comes from God or society.

Unit 3: Developments in Christian thought – 2 hours written examination. 33.3% of total A level

This unit studies the Christian religion, looking at religious beliefs, values and teachings. It also studies the significant social and historical developments in Christianity as well as the relationship between religion and society.

Due to the nature of this qualification, it can be applied to any university course or career because it develops skills that are valuable and can be applied in many areas – Law, Journalism, Teaching, Media, Social Work, Community Work. The ‘Ethics’ part of the course will sit well with Advanced Level Biology and will be of value for those thinking of going into medicine.

Good combinations of other subjects to study with Religious Studies are:

History, Geography, Sociology, Psychology, English, Biology, Business Studies.

 

Example of skill progression

Skills of evaluation and justification are refined further considering the authenticity of supporting evidence and conducting independent research.

Careers and progression

Qualification pathways 

The GCSE offered at KS4 prepares students perfectly for the A level offered at KS5, which in turn prepares students for further study at degree level or employment.  The skills that students develop in Religion, Philosophy and Ethics A level are transferable and essential to work in, for example uniformed services, social work, advice work, archivist, charity officer, teaching, retail, customer service, human resources, civil service administrator journalism and law.

Example of successful progressions

One student from Y13 progressed to higher education/careers in RPE-related area in 2019.

Examples of links to Gatsby benchmark 4 (Linking curriculum to careers) 

In units such as crime and punishment and start of life we delve into the difficult moral and ethical decisions that people in careers such as law and science have to make through their careers and explore the types of skills they need for this and how RPE helps them.

Examples of link to Gatsby benchmark 5 (encounters with employers)

We regularly have people in from ‘Souster Youth’ a local charity involved in schools work and counselling.

Employability skills

Debating, demonstrating empathy, analysis & evaluation, justifying, evaluation, communication skills.

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