Department Leader: Laura Shocklidge

“What is wanted is not the will-to-believe, but the wish to find out”

Bertrand Russell

At KBA students will be introduced to philosophical, religious and ethical study using a wide range of enjoyable and interactive tasks.  We explore ‘ultimate’ or philosophical questions through independent thinking and class debate.  We analyse the six main world religions; Christianity, Islam,  Judaism,  Sikhism,  Hinduism  and  Buddhism  and  reflect  on  their  beliefs,  teachings  and practices. We assess what it means to be ‘ethical’ and how we all, as human beings, try to make the right decisions when faced with moral dilemmas in life. 

“It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it.”

Arisotle

Philosophy, Religion and Ethics is a highly regarded academic subject. It is traditional enough to be highly respected by employers and Universities but modern enough to engage with people of any age… the content affects everyone.

Transferable skills:

  • Critical and analytical thinking skills
  • An ability to interpret information, formulate questions and solve problems
  • Personal reflection
  • Discursive and persuasive writing
  • The ability to express complex ideas
  • Research and presentation skills 

Year 7

After considering What is Belief?, students will have a short introduction to Philosophy, based on some of the principles of Philosophy for Children.   Students will then undertake a unit in comparative religion, where they will analyse key beliefs of six Major World Religions to form the basis of future studies.     The link between these beliefs and religious practices is explored through the Places of Worship unit.  We delve into Christianity further by analysing key events in the Life of Jesus.  In our final unit of study, we consider Belief/faith in Action and ethical practices within world religions to identify what it means to be a good person and why humans try to achieve this goal.   We look at key figures such as the Buddha and how religion can sometimes act as a guide to being a good person.  We also analyse the non-religious/ atheist viewpoints to create a collective definition of a ‘good person’.

Year 8

Students will probe into philosophical study in a quest to ask and answer ‘big’ or ‘ultimate questions’ such as; What is the meaning of life?  What makes us human?  What is the soul?  Where do you go when you die?  We analyse the responses from atheists and scientists as well as a range of the main world religions.  We complete a unit of study on Hinduism, analysing features such as the nature of belief (monotheism or polytheism?), worship, rites of passage and festivals.  This leads us into a discovery of religious festivals where we as questions such as who, what, when, where and importantly, why?  Our final units of study revolves around creation and the environment, asking philosophical and ethical questions such as; Where did the universe come from?  Do science and religion oppose or complement one another?  How should we treat the environment?     Here we delve into ethics and also consider the treatment, use and abuse of the environment and animals. From ‘meat’ to ‘best mate’ we reflect on religious teachings about animals in our world and discuss our own views towards the status of the animal. 

Year 9

We begin by asking philosophical and ethical questions such as; Where did the universe come from?  Do science and religion oppose or complement one another?  How should we treat the environment?     Here we delve into ethics and also consider the treatment, use and abuse of the environment and animals. From ‘meat’ to ‘best mate’ we reflect on religious teachings about animals in our world and discuss our own views towards the status of the animal.  Students are challenged through the philosophical unit of Evil and Suffering to grapple with the problem of evil: how can we reconcile the existence of evil with an omnipotent, omniscient and benevolent God?   This is a challenging unit but forms the basis of a GCSE topic so gives learners a real insight to studying GCSE Philosophy and Ethics (Religious Studies).  Students will also consider Jewish responses to the Shoah, which bridges the Evil and Suffering topic and the final unit of study, Judaism.

AQA A GCSE Religious Studies - Philosophy, Religion and Ethics

The study of two traditional world religions is fused with the exploration into philosophical, ethical and contemporary issues.  Students will be challenged to examine what they believe and do and compare and contrast this with the two faiths studied. They will be required to provide reasoning and evidence for beliefs and practices as well as the ethical and philosophical positions held by the religions studied.

What do we study?

Component 1: The study of religious beliefs, teachings and practices.

Beliefs, teachings and practices of Christianity and Buddhism

Component 2: Thematic Studies

Religious, philosophical and ethical themes from the choice below (students are examined on FOUR of these):

  • Theme A: Relationships and families.
  • Theme B: Religion and life.
  • Theme C: The existence of God and revelation.
  • Theme D: Religion, peace and conflict.
  • Theme E: Religion, crime and punishment.
  • Theme F: Religion, Human Rights and Social Justice.

How is the course assessed?

Paper 1 – Religious Beliefs and Practices: 1 hour 45 minutes written examination

Paper 2 – Religious Themes: 1 hour 45 minutes written examination

Possible Careers and Further Education: Careers using Philosophy, Religion and Ethics include; advertising, PR and communications, media, journalism, publishing, politics, teaching, law, medicine, social work, event management, marketing, working with charities and much more!

Philosophy, Religion and Ethics is a highly regarded academic subject. It is traditional enough to be highly respected by employers and universities but modern enough to be relevant and engaging for people of any age… the content affects everyone.

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