RE & Philosophy

Staffing

Mr D Proctor (Head of Department)
Mrs K Davies (Head of Citizenship)
Mr M Fellows (Teacher of Religious Studies)

Department Overview

The RE department deliver lessons across all keys stages with all students taking GCSE RE. At A Level we follow the Philosophy course with those students who choose the subject in Years 12 and 13.

Key Stage 3 Curriculum

In Key Stage 3 RS we build on students’ learning from primary school. We look in a bit more detail at three religions and explore some common themes within religious belief. We also look at the religions of the United Kingdom.

PART ONE: INTRODUCTION TO BELIEFS: WHY DO BELIEFS MATTER?

We begin the course by looking at the various types of belief, both religious and nonreligious, in modern Britain. We consider how beliefs influence people in their lives. We do this by looking at the story of Anne Frank and Nazism. Students have the chance to examine different beliefs and to reflect upon their own.

PART TWO: JUDAISM

We look at the early history of the Jewish people from the time of Abraham to the time of Moses through the stories in the Hebrew Scriptures. We look at the summary of Jewish beliefs contained in the Shema as well as the meaning behind the most important Jewish tradition, the Pesach

PART THREE: WHO WAS JESUS?

Once, whilst on a journey, Jesus turned to his followers and asked the question: ‘Who do people say that I am?’ In this part of the course we look at the ways people have tried and still do try to answer him. Did he really work miracles? Did Jesus rise from the dead? What were Jesus’ moral teachings? Is Jesus the most important person in history?

PART FOUR: ISLAM

We begin year 8 by looking at Islam. Topics include the life of Muhammad, the Five Pillars, the Hajj and Salah.

PART FIVE: HINDUISM

We end the year by examining some of the beliefs, traditions and stories associated with the Hindu tradition, from the extraordinary tale of Ganesha to the love story of Rama and Sita.


 

Key Stage 4 Curriculum 

Why study Religious Studies at GCSE?

Religious studies provides students with an opportunity to undertake a detailed study of two different religious traditions, both of which have a strong presence in Cumbria and indeed the world at large. Alongside this, there is opportunity to discuss important contemporary moral issues. Students will be given the chance to develop their analytical and evaluative skills at the same time as increasing their understanding of the subject. Features of the course:

There are two main sections of the course. In the first section students will study the main beliefs and practices of Christianity and Buddhism. In the second section of the course they will study four significant contemporary issues, including peace and conflict and crime and punishment. Key information:

GCSE Religious Studies Topics for Study: Christianity, Buddhism, philosophical and ethical issues Assessment summary 2 x 1 hour 45 minutes written examinations Paper 1 – Buddhism and Christianity (50%) Paper 2 – Ethical Issues (50%) Exam Board AQA.


 

Key Stage 5 Curriculum

Why study Philosophy of Religion?

This course is designed to give students the opportunity to explore big questions within an academic context. This includes questions such as does God exist? Can we find an objective way of determining what is right and wrong? The skills nurtured in the course are useful in higher education as well as in various professions. Students, for instance, will be taught how to construct reasoned arguments as well as make balanced judgments on a variety of different issues whilst developing the skills of critical analysis.

Students are required to demonstrate knowledge and understanding of the content, including through the use of philosophical analysis, conceptual analysis and argument analysis. They must also be able to analyse and evaluate the philosophical arguments within the subject content to form reasoned judgements.

Features of the course:

Philosophy: In this part of the course students will learn different methods of argumentation, such as deduction and induction. They will examine a series of topics including cosmological, ontological and design arguments as well as issues such as the problem of evil and scepticism. They will also analyse and evaluate several short philosophical texts including the famous radio debate between catholic philosopher F Copleston and atheist philosopher B Russell.

Ethics: This part of the course will involve students examining the nature of right and wrong. Is it possible for us to objectively define a good moral action? A series of ethical theories will be studied, including Utilitarianism and Natural Law. Students will analyse and evaluate several short ethical texts by philosophers such as Kant. In addition to the topics above one of the following will be studied depending on interest. It should be noted that both these modules will be studied within a secular context. No religious faith is required.

Buddhist Philosophy: Students here will study the philosophy of Buddhism. They will examine Buddhist teaching on karma, rebirth and nirvana as well as the nature and purpose of existence. Methods of meditation will be explored and the applicability of Buddhist teaching in a modern context will be evaluated e.g. the scientific basis of mindfulness as a support for mental health.

Key information: Topics for Study: Philosophy, Ethics and Buddhist Philosophy Paper 1: 3 hour examination (50%) Paper 2: 3 hour examination (50%)

Entry requirements Grade B in GCSE RE Exam Board AQA.


 

Careers

Religious Studies at this school supports a wide variety of careers. The emphasis on ethical thinking in Key Stage 4 and 5 is good preparation for a wealth of professions, from careers relating to justice to the caring professions such as nursing and medicine. Similarly, the critical thinking skills nurtured in this subject are important in a wide variety of professions, including management positions in every profession where clear thinking is essential.


 

Extra-Curricular

The department undertakes many extra-curricular activities. These include mindfulness meditation on Wednesday afternoons for years 11,12 and 13. There are also a number of trips undertaken, such as the annual trip to Rome for year 12 students in conjunction with the Art department. There is also a trip to Manjushri Buddhist Centre for year 10 as well as a visit to the different churches in Kendal for year 9.