Department Leader: Dan Prudden

“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

Students begin by considering the nature of faith and why people believe different things. Students will then undertake a unit in comparative religion, where they will analyse key beliefs of six Major World Religions (Christianity, Judaism, Islam, Buddhism, Hinduism and Sikhism) to form the basis of future studies. Having completed a broad overview of world religions students then explore the oldest of the Abrahamic religions: Judaism. This allows students to deepen their understanding of Judaism as a religion in itself, but also as the foundation of Christianity which students will study once they have completed their exploration of Judaism. In their final unit of study, students 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. Students look at key figures such as the Buddha and how religion can sometimes act as a guide to being a good person.  Students also analyse the non-religious/ atheist viewpoints to create a collective definition of a ‘good person’.

Year 8

Students will begin by studying religious festivals, their meaning and importance for different religious faiths and communities, including the Buddhist festival of Kathina, the Christian festivals of Christmas and Easter, the Jewish festival of Hanukkah and the Sikh festival of Vaisakhi. Students then complete a unit of study on Hinduism, analysing features such as the nature of belief (monotheism or polytheism?), worship and rites of passage. Students conclude Year 8 by probing 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 purpose of life? What is the soul?  Where do you go when you die?  Students analyse the responses from atheists and scientists as well as a range of the main world religions.

Year 9

Students begin by looking at 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 students delve into ethics and consider the treatment, use and abuse of the environment and animals. From ‘meat’ to ‘best mate’ students reflect on religious teachings about animals in our world and discuss their own views towards the status of the animal.  Students are then 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? Students will then focus on beliefs and practices in Judaism before considering Jewish responses to the Shoah, which bridges the Evil and Suffering topic and their Judaism study.

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.

Short Course

All year 10 students complete a GCSE Short-Course.

What do we study?

Component 1: The study of religious beliefs and teachings.

Beliefs, teachings and practices of Christianity and Buddhism

Component 2: Thematic Studies

Religious, philosophical and ethical themes below:

§ Theme A: Relationships and families.

§ Theme D: Religion, peace and conflict.

How is the course assessed?

Exam paper – 1 hour 45 minutes written examination

 

 

Full Course

Students can opt to study a Full-Course GCSE.

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.

Contacts:

For further information/clarification about this course please contact Mrs W O’Sullivan

KS3 Useful resources

http://www.bbc.co.uk/religion/religions/

https://www.bbc.co.uk/education/subjects/zh3rkqt

http://www.rsrevision.com/contents/index.htm

https://www.educationquizzes.com/ks3/religious-education/

KS4 Useful Resources

http://www.bbc.co.uk/religion

http://www.rsrevision.com/contents/index.htm

https://www.clear-vision.org/Schools/Ask-a-Buddhist.aspx

http://www.rsrevision.com/contents/newgcse_aqa.html

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

https://clearvision.education/students/

BBC Bitesize AQA GCSE Religious Studies – Buddhism https://www.bbc.co.uk/bitesize/topics/zfxchbk

BBC Bitesize AQA GCSE Religious Studies – Christianity https://www.bbc.co.uk/bitesize/topics/zbndy9q

Parry, Hayes & Butler, AQA GCSE (9-1) Religious Studies Specification A, Hodder Education, 2016, ISBN: 1471866858
Fleming, GCSE Religious Studies for AQA A: Christianity, OUP, 2016, ISBN: 0198370334
James, GCSE Religious Studies for AQA A: Buddhism, OUP, 2016, ISBN: 0198370326

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