Philosophy, Religion and Ethics

Philosophy, Religion and Ethics (PRE) aims to break down common misconceptions often found among young people. It equips our students with the tools to contemplate questions about the meaning of life, the nature of morality and the importance of understanding the significance of collective worldviews in a continually growing global community.

Students leave RPA with the confidence to share their view, challenge intolerance, and enter adulthood with the skills and imagination required to contribute positively to society.

Teachers

Mr K Martin - Subject Leader

Ms A Mathisen

Ms W Briggs

Ms C Binnington

Key Stage 3

Year 7: What is religion?

In Year 7, students build on what they learn at Key Stage 2. With a specific emphasis on comparative religious studies, they continue to develop their foundational knowledge and understanding of the many dimensions of religious practises - including beliefs and teaching, forms of worship, sources of authority, and religious practises - from a range of religious and cultural perspectives.

Year 8: What is ethics?

In Year 8, students study various approaches to ethical decision making from both religious and non-religious perspectives, and learn how to apply their knowledge and understanding of ethics to specific moral issues including law, justice, animal rights, environmental issues and human rights.

Year 9: What is philosophy?

In Year 9, students learn about the history and development of intellectual thought beginning with ancient Greek philosophy before jumping into the minds of medieval and modern scholars. This is a thought-provoking subject that will undoubtedly leave you with more questions than answers, but also open you up to new ways of thinking about the world around you and your place in it.

Key Stage 4

GCSE Religious Studies challenges learners to reflect on and develop their own values, beliefs and attitudes in the light of what they have learnt in Key Stage 3, and it also contributes to their preparation for adult life in a pluralistic society and global community. It helps to develop learners’ knowledge and understanding of religions and non-religious beliefs, such as atheism and humanism along with religious beliefs, teachings, practices, and sources of wisdom and authority, including through their reading of key religious texts, other texts, and scriptures of the religions they are studying. Students will also improve their ability to construct well-argued, well-informed, balanced and structured written arguments, demonstrating their depth and breadth of understanding of the subject.

Exam board: Eduqas

Year 10

  • Issues of Life and Death: origins of the world, origins and value of human life, afterlife
  • Issues of Relationships: marriage, divorce, sexual relationships, issues of equality: gender, prejudice and discrimination
  • Issues of Human Rights: human rights and social justice, prejudice and discrimination, wealth and poverty
  • Issues of Good and Evil: crime and punishment, forgiveness, good, evil and suffering

Year 11

  • In-depth study of Christianity: The nature of God, creation, Jesus, salvation, the afterlife, forms of worship, sacraments, pilgrimage, celebrations, Christianity in Britain, the local community and the world
  • In-depth study of Islam: The nature of Allah, prophethood (risalah), akhirah (afterlife), foundations of faith, the Five Pillars of Sunni, ten obligatory acts of Shi’a Islam, jihad, festivals and commemorations

Assessment

Three exam papers:

  • Paper 1: Philosophical and Ethical Issues in the Modern World (2 hours) - 50%
  • Paper 2: Christianity (1 hour) - 25%
  • Paper 3: Islam (1 hour) - 25%

Key Stage 5

Students who choose to study Philosophy at A level will continue to develop their knowledge and understanding of the big questions, such as: “What is knowledge?” and “What do good, bad, right and wrong really mean?” They will also consider further questions including: “Is the concept of God incoherent?” and “What is mind?” This is a truly challenging A level with an array of thought-provoking topics to keep students coming back with more questions than answers.

Exam board: AQA

AS

  • Epistemology: what is knowledge?, the tripartite view, perception as a source of knowledge: direct realism, indirect realism, reason as a source of knowledge, the limits of knowledge
  • Moral Philosophy: normative ethical theories, utilitarianism, Kantian deontological ethics, Aristotelian virtue ethics, Applied ethics, Meta-ethics, Moral anti-realism

A2

  • Metaphysics of Mind: dualist theories, physicalist theories, eliminative materialism, functionalism
  • Metaphysics of God: the concept and nature of 'God', arguments for the existence of God, ontological arguments, teleological/design arguments, cosmological arguments, the problem of evil, whether God’s attributes can be reconciled with the existence of evil

Assessment

Two exam papers:

  • Paper 1: Epistemology and Moral Philosophy (3 hours) - 50%
  • Paper 2: Metaphysics of Mind and Metaphysics of God (3 hours) - 50%

What makes teaching PRE at RPA special?

“It is a fantastic privilege to lead the PRE curriculum at RPA. Our students show a keen interest in the subject - from year 7, all the way to A Level - and it never ceases to amaze me just how well they can grasp some of the more difficult concepts and issues we discuss, and debate them in such depth. They seem to relish the challenge - and if they enjoy it? - well that makes RPA one special place to teach.” (K. Martin)