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.”


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 an introduction to Philosophy, Religion and Ethics (PRE) we will begin to analyse key elements of world religions. Our first investigations are into places of worship.  Next, we explore key figures in these world religions such as Abraham, Moses, Muhammad (*pbuh) and Guru Nanak to introduce students to comparative religion. We delve into ethical practices within the 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 Buddha and Jesus 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’. We probe into philosophical study in a quest to ask and answer ‘big’ or ‘ultimate questions’ such as; What is the meaning of life? What happened at the beginning of the Universe? Where do you go when you die? We analyse the responses from atheists and scientists as well as the six main world religions.

Year 8

In Year 8 we delve into ethics where we discuss human rights, the violation of these and religious and secular attitudes towards protecting them.  We also consider the treatment, use and abuse of animals in our world. 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.  We compare and contrast Sikhism and Hinduism analysing their births ceremonies, weddings, festivals and funerals to name a few. Finally, we reflect on the philosophical topic of the problem of evil. If there is a God surely he loves us (humans) enough to stop evil and suffering in our world? This is a challenging unit but forms the basis of a GCSE topic so gives learners a real insight to studying GCSE Philosophy.

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.

Revision materials/knowledge organisers have been made available to all Yr 9, 10 and 11 students via SMHW. 

Students should print these out themselves (using the school/home printers) to form their own FREE revision guide that should be used regularly independently to review the content learned in lessons.

KS3 Useful resources

KS4 Useful Resources

Parry & Hayes, My Revision Notes AQA GCSE (9-1) Religious Studies Specification A, Hodder Education, 2017
ISBN: 1510404791

Fleming, Nagapriya and Smith, AQA GCSE Religious Studies A: Christianity and Buddhism Revision Guide, OUP Oxford, 2018, ISBN: 0198422857

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