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Religious Studies

Religious Studies offers students the opportunity to explore the reasons why people think and act the way they do, and how we are motivated by our beliefs. It involves the study of the major world religions, and requires the ability to compare and evaluate their ways of worship and their teachings.

In Key stage 3 the foundations are laid for a thorough understanding of what it means to be religious by examining Christianity, Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism, Judaism and Sikhism. Influential figures within these religions are studied, and students are encouraged to formulate their own ideas about what they have learnt.

In Key Stage 4, the GCSE Short course asks for a more in depth examination of Christianity and assesses Christian responses to social and moral issues. Some students can take an AS Level in Religious Studies or GCSE Full Course.

For sixth form students, Religious Studies is offered as an A Level. With a background in Philosophy and Ethics, students are well-equipped to combine this study with any other discipline.

One of the key things I enjoy about studying The Philosophy Of Religion is that we are given the opportunity to think more deeply about things we normally take for granted, which can lead to some really mind-blowing moments! The discussion and debating skills have been really useful in other subjects too, because you are able to analyse things from a different
Claire

Course Offerings

Course Title Qualifications Obtainable Awarding Body
Key Stage 4 Courses
Religious Studies (short course) GCSE AQA
Religious Studies (full course) GCSE AQA
Key Stage 5 Courses
Religious Studies AS Level OCR
Religious Studies A Level OCR

Year 7
Curriculum Content: The year 7 RE course begins with a look at symbolism. It then moves on to look at Islam as a world religion. The five pillars of Islam, other Muslim beliefs, and the role of the mosque are of key importance. The next module is about Jesus; As the founder of Christianity, a Muslim prophet, and himself a Jew, Jesus is important to any study of religion. The background to his life and many of his teachings still influence people today. Evaluation of religious beliefs becomes important; For example, what are your views on miracles, parables and resurrection?
Year 8
Curriculum Content: The religions of India form a large part of year 8. How Hinduism and Buddhism began and the basic beliefs of these religions are important. The role of pilgrimage and beliefs in life after death for the Hindu and Buddhist communities is also studied. There is also a study of food laws from a Jewish perspective. A brief study of prejudice and human rights ends the year 8 RS course, including a study of both Martin Luther King and Gandhi. Students also consider relevant responses to the Holocaust.
Year 9
Curriculum Content: In Year 9, this includes a study of Christian perspectives on Personal, Social and World issues, such as relationships, love, marriage, divorce, the sanctity of life, birth control, crime, prejudice, discrimination, war, peace, and drugs. It not only includes the views of a variety of Christian denominations, but also asks students to assess their own views to these issues.
More Information: AQA Website
Year 10
Curriculum Content: In Year 10, this includes a study of Christian perspectives on Personal, Social and World issues, such as fertility treatment, genetic engineering, abortion, euthanasia, the family, poverty and the environment. It not only includes the views of a variety of Christian denominations, but also asks students to assess their own views to these issues.
More Information: AQA Website
Year 11
Curriculum Content: In Year 11, this includes a continuing study of Christian perspectives on Personal, Social and World issues. Students revise the views of the Christian denominations studied so far, and also asks them to assess their own views. Comparing different viewpoints becomes a critical area of development. Students take ONE examination of ninety minutes, which covers all topics from the following list: Prejudice, Crime, Drugs, Relationships, Abortion, Euthanasia, Fertility Treatment, Genetic Engineering, Poverty and The Environment.
More Information: OCR Website
Year 12
Curriculum Content: In Year 12, the RS AS and A2 course follow a Philosophy of Religion and Religious Ethics syllabus as follows:

The Philosophy of Religion:

  • Does God exist?
  • What is God like?
  • Why is there evil in the world?
  • Can religion and science co-exist?
  • Why are people religious?

Religious Ethics:

  • What is the definition of right and wrong?
  • Can you measure wrongness?
  • Do we all have a duty?
  • Is love the most important thing of all?
  • Is the majority always right?
  • Is religion “good”?
  • The sanctity of life and war

Two papers are sat, each of ninety minutes, one on Philosophy of Religion, one on Religious Ethics, each worth 50%.

More Information: OCR Website
Year 13
Curriculum Content: In Year 13, the AS and A2 course follow a Philosophy of Religion and Religious Ethics syllabus as follows:

The Philosophy of Religion:

  • Do I have a soul?
  • What does it mean to be human?
  • Is there life after death?
  • Do miracles really happen?
  • Is religion an invention of society?
  • Is it possible to describe religion in human language?

Religious Ethics:

  • What are virtues and vices?
  • Is my life already planned out?
  • Do I have a conscience and how does it work?
  • Relationships, the environment and business ethics
  • Why do we have laws?

Two ninety minute papers are sat, one on each module, each worth 50%.

In Philosophy IB students study:

  • A set text (Descartes’ Meditations), (20%)
  • Personhood, which combined with Philosophy of Religion and Ethics from Year 12 forms Paper 1 (40%)
  • Coursework (Standard and Higher) (20%)
  • and their Unseen Text (Higher only). (20%)
  • Higher students sit three examinations. Standard students sit two examinations.
More Information: OCR Website
IB
Curriculum Content: Philosophy involves thinking about some of the most profound questions we face as humans, questions such as: What is it to be human? Do we have free will? Does God exist? What makes some actions right and others wrong?

The emphasis of the Diploma Programme philosophy course is on “doing philosophy”, that is, on actively engaging students in philosophical activity. All students study the core theme of “Being Human”, which examines key concepts such as identity, free will, human nature, and the boundaries between humans and non-humans, such as animals and machines.

Students develop their skills through the study of philosophical themes such as Ethics and the Philosophy of Religion, and the study of Descartes’ Meditations, one of the most influential books ever written. Students will also develop the ability to apply their philosophical skills to real-world situations, and also to “read” non-philosophical material in a philosophical way: recent students have considered works of art ranging from Munch’s The Scream to scenes from Star Wars.

Philosophy is highly regarded by universities and employers alike, and our philosophers have frequently gone on to study at Oxbridge and other leading universities.

Philosophy Syllabus Outline

Core theme
“Being human”

Optional themes:
Ethics
Philosophy and Contemporary Society
Philosophy of Religion

Philosophical Text
Meditations – Descartes

Exploring Philosophical Activity (HL only)