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Philosophy, Religion and Ethics

The PRE Department is the study of Philosophy, Religion and Ethics, and aims to educate students in religious and theological disciplines, including the study of religious texts, histories, beliefs, practices, and ethics. The department aims to:

  • Educate students in the knowledge and skills they need to think in an open minded way about religion and matters of faith.
  • Encourage critical and ethical reasoning about personal beliefs and institutional religious practices, asking how religious, philosophical and non-religious worldviews may affect attitudes and beliefs.
  • Explore how religions are lived and practised in local communities and global contexts.
  • Cultivate a sense of responsibility for communities informed by the study of theology and religion.

Our PRE lessons provide opportunity for students to progress through the:

  • Philosophy core skills of critical thinking, creating and articulating coherent arguments, engaging in open-minded reflection which may include challenging pre-conceptions and questioning assumptions.
  • Theology core skills including learning about the origins, core beliefs and core practices of religions; understanding sources of wisdom and authority of religions, including hermeneutical investigations where appropriate; linking beliefs to practice; evaluating divergent beliefs; and comparing and contrasting varied interpretations within and between religious traditions and non-religious worldviews.
  • Ethics core skills of analysing real-world issues of morality, and considering diverse viewpoints available to assess moral arguments and ethical perspectives.

KS3: Philosophy, Religion and Ethics

In Key Stage 3, PRE aims to develop characteristics and key skills that help prepare all students for dealing with life: raising awareness of other faiths, establishing a sense of identity, developing open and enquiring minds and encouraging empathy with others.

In Year 7 the students will study elements of community in ‘The Island’ unit, then will look at world religions, their beliefs and practices.

In Year 8 we will start with a unit on ‘Looking for Meaning’, then continue with topics on: religion and art, philosophy, ethics, an investigation of the meaning of the Old Testament for Christians and we finish by looking at the problem of evil and possible solutions to the problem.

In Year 9 we study religion and the media, Global issues of peace and conflict, the Holocaust, the nature of God and belief, Global issues of equality and end with a study of the early histories of Islam and Christianity.

 

 

 

 

 

Key Stage 4

Edexcel GCSE RS is offered as a full course option.

The GCSE is designed to move with the times.  Therefore, it is important that you have an interest in what’s going on in the world.  We frequently look at current issues that affect both religious and non-religious people in our society and assess and evaluate attitudes to these issues.

The skills you can develop in PRE are extremely helpful once you leave school.  Being able to express your opinion clearly, being able to discuss and debate in a reasoned way, and improved writing skills, will all be important whether you decide to stay on in the Sixth Form, go to college, or start employment.  Through studying GCSE Religious Studies students will encounter a wide range of concepts allowing them to confidently interpret, contextualise and analyse the expressions of religions and world views they encounter.

Topics studied:

Christian Beliefs

Marriage and the Family

Living the Christian Life

Matters of Life and Death

How am I assessed?

The Full Course culminates in two 1 hour 45 minute examinations at the end of Year 11.

Which examination board will I follow?

You will be following the Edexcel GCSE Full Course in Religious Studies B, Beliefs in Action.

 Is there any additional information about this course?

Universities highly value the study of PRE because the skills and knowledge you acquire can help you in a variety of subjects.  There are also many occupations that require an understanding of other people and their lifestyles:  from doctors and nurses to shop assistants and air stewards; from police officers to lawyers.

 

How can parents help at home?

At Key Stage 3 parents can help by discussing the issues and topics we learn about in PRE.  Many of these topics will be reflected in the wider world, in the news and in TV programmes.  In PRE we encourage debate and discussion so parents can help by asking students what they are learning, and by asking them to explain the various religious, philosophical or ethical viewpoints on the issues.

At Key Stage 4 parents can help by quizzing and testing students on their GCSE work – the text book has a list of revision questions at the end of each chapter, and if students were asked regularly about ANY of the topics they have already covered this would help them enormously in their learning.  Testing and discussion does not have to be limited to the topic the students are studying right now, by asking them about something studied last year parents can help strengthen the learning over time!

Useful Links:

Bible Gateway – Good News Translation: https://www.biblegateway.com/

 

BBC Bitesize – Religious Studies: Christianity and Islam: http://www.bbc.co.uk/education/subjects/zb48q6f

 

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

Religious Studies

 Millions saw the apple fall, but Newton was the only one who asked why?

Are evil people just the result of a bad upbringing? Can a war ever be justified?
Should Euthanasia be legalised?  Is it best to go with the majority vote??
Are the body and soul separate? Is it reasonable to believe in God?

 

Find these questions interesting? Find current affairs and issues interesting?

Then A Level Religious Studies is the course for you!

Course Structure

This will be a two year course, there is no coursework. The exam consists of three papers (each 2 hours). A Level Religious Studies is an academic subject that is suitable for students of any or no faith background

Some of the topics studied include:

Philosophy of religion:

  • Ancient philosophical influences
  • Arguments about the existence or non-existence of God
  • The nature and impact of religious experience
  • The challenge for religious belief of the problem of evil
  • The nature of the soul, mind and body
  • The possibility of life after death
  • Ideas about the nature of God
  • Issues in religious language.

Religion and ethics:

  • Normative ethical theories
  • The application of ethical theory to two contemporary issues of importance
  • Ethical language and thought:
  • Debates surrounding the significant ideas of conscience and free will
  • The influence on ethical thought of developments in religious beliefs and the philosophy of religion.

Developments in religious thought:

  • Religious beliefs, values and teachings, their interconnections and how they vary historically and in the contemporary world
  • Sources of religious wisdom and authority
  • Practices which shape and express religious identity, and how these vary within a tradition
  • Significant social and historical developments in theology and religious thought
  • Key themes related to the relationship between religion and society.

Complementary subjects: Just about every other subject.

Future Pathways

Many employers and Universities value the skills that are fostered through a course such as this. There are a variety of career opportunities that students could follow including: Law, Accountancy, Medicine, Commerce and Industry, Politics and Research, Business Management, Journalism, Civil Service and Teaching.

Useful Links:

Philosophical Investigations: http://peped.org/philosophicalinvestigations/

OCR A level Religious Studies – Philosophy and Ethics: http://www.rsrevision.com/Alevel/

The Exam Board: http://www.ocr.org.uk/qualifications/as-a-level-gce-religious-studies-h173-h573-from-2016/