Philosophy, Ethics, Religion and World Views
At the Junior & Senior School, Philosophy, Ethics, Religion and World Views enables students to engage critically with significant ethical, philosophical and social issues to understand the world we live in more fully. Students learn about a wide range of religious beliefs and practices, and non-religious world views. They do this for the development of their knowledge, for their capacity to flourish in our diverse society, and for their growing understanding of their own identity and outlook. At the Junior & Senior School, students are encouraged to develop their own considered opinion, to articulate their views, and engage in productive dialogue and debate with others.
Our lessons are aimed at developing, with increasing depth and discernment, students’ knowledge and understanding of religious traditions and non-religious world views. Students will learn how religious identity influences people’s lives and will be encouraged to express their own considered opinions about the nature and value of religion on people and the planet. Students will develop the skills of listening, speaking and discussing, as well as those of enquiry, analysis and evaluation.
“It is important for young people to acquire a better understanding of the role that religions play in today’s pluralistic world. The need for such education will continue to grow as different cultures and identities interact with each other through travel, commerce, media or migration. Although a deeper understanding of religions will not automatically lead to greater tolerance and respect, ignorance increases the likelihood of misunderstanding, stereotyping, and conflict.”
- Toledo Guiding Principles for Teaching about Religions and Beliefs, 2007
In Religious Education at the Junior & Senior School, we look to encourage students to develop by giving them time to ask their own questions, and evaluate the different answers offered by faiths to the questions they are investigating. Lessons are challenging and encourage students to think about the religious experiences and concepts they have learned.
KS3 (Years 7 to 9)
Students who follow the Philosophy, Ethics, Religion and World views programme at The Senior School, gain a deep awareness of their own and others’ identities; they wrestle with the mysteries of life and the answers given by a wide variety of religions and beliefs; they develop a clear sense of what is of real value in world today. Through reflection on their own beliefs and values in the light of their learning, they grow in respect for themselves and others. Students encounter the transformative power of religions and beliefs in people’s lives – in Cyprus and in the wider world. They demonstrate curiosity about men and women of faith and commitment who have changed individual lives, society and culture. Through RE, they feel compelled to imagine and contribute to the creation of a better world for all.
Students are expected to think in increasing depth about complex issues to do with faith, beliefs, ideas and motivation. Philosophical enquiry-based approaches such as mind-mapping help students to think creatively, analytically and critically; to listen to, evaluate and respond to the views and ideas of others; to give reasons for their opinions, make connections and hypothesise; to give both sides of an argument, evaluate and draw conclusions.
The key themes studied in KS3 are as follows:
Year 7 and Year 8
Studying Worldviews – A multidiscipline approach, using the lenses of Religious Studies and Sociology, analysing data and developing theories
Spiritual. What’s That? Using a working definition of the spiritual to notice that different people find that different things are spiritual at different times.
Studying Sentientism through the lens of philosophy.
Studying Religion through the lens of philosophy
Studying God through the lenses of psychology, religious & non-religious worldviews.
Studying Religion and the environment – through the lenses of religious and non-religious perspectives, the lens of theology to study creation and the lens of natural sciences to explore the relationship between people and the environment, David Attenborough and the role of the prophet to communicate God’s truth to people.
Studying good and evil – through the lenses of theology and philosophy.
Ethical themes including the sanctity of life vs quality of life debate.
Throughout Key stage 3 we encourage students to develop and use their dialogic skills to have meaningful discussions about every topic covered. We aim to enable pupils to develop the crucial ability to empathise with, respect, and learn from perspectives and ideas which are different from their own. The curriculum is designed to prepare students to be ready for the challenges of the GCSE and A Level, with 21st century Learning Design at its core.
KS4 (Years 10 and 11): GCSE
AQA GCSE Religious Studies A, specification 8062
The GCSE course comprises a study of the role and influence of religious and non-religious beliefs, values and traditions. It is a relevant, dynamic and engaging course seeking to explore some key areas of thought and introduce philosophical and ethical questions and skills.
What will i learn?
The course is designed to:
Develop your knowledge and understanding of non-religious beliefs, such as atheism and humanism and of religious beliefs, including Christianity and Buddhism, their teachings and sources of wisdom and authority, including through reading of key religious and other texts. You will also develop your knowledge and understanding about current philosophical and ethical themes such as Religion peace and conflict, crime and punishment, life, and human rights and social justice.
- Develop the skills to reflect on and develop your own values, beliefs, and attitudes in the light of what you have learnt and contribute to your preparation for adult life in a pluralistic society and global community.
Component 1 – Study of religions: Christian and Buddhist beliefs teachings and practices
Component 2 – Thematic studies: Students study four areas of religious, philosophical, and ethical debate in depth. These include:
- Relationships & Families: gender, sexuality, divorce.
- Religion & Life: origins of life, abortion, euthanasia.
- Religion Peace & Conflict: justice, forgiveness, reconciliation, pacifism, just war, holy war.
- Religion Crime and Punishment: causes of crime, aims of punishment, attitudes to suffering, forgiveness, the death penalty.
The course is examined through two written papers, each of 1 hour and 45 minutes.
What sort of homework will I be set?
There is a homework menu, allowing students to choose 3 from 12 to complete, allowing breadth and depth of study, to be completed over half a term in the students’ own time. Regular practice of exam style questions.
How Will My Work Be Assessed?
Continual assessment is used throughout the course to monitor your progress.
How is the Course Examined?
There are two written papers, each of 1 hour and 45 minutes. Paper 1 examines Christian Beliefs and Practices and Buddhist Beliefs and Practices. Paper 2 examines philosophical and ethical themes.
Sixth Form: A level
Students study Religious Studies in the Sixth form leading to the A level qualification AQA 7061
The course is designed to encourage students to
engage in debate in a way that recognises the right of others to hold a different view.
develop their interest in a rigorous study of religion and belief and relate it to the wider world
develop knowledge and understanding appropriate to a specialist study of religion
develop an understanding and appreciation of religious thought and its contribution to individuals, communities and societies
adopt an enquiring, critical and reflective approach to the study of religion
reflect on and develop their own values, opinions and attitudes in light of their study.
Students sit two three hour long written papers at the end of Year 13 for the A level qualification.
What are the GCSE requirements for this course?
There are no previous learning requirements. Any requirements for entry to a course based on this specification are at the discretion of the school. However, we recommend that students should have the skills and knowledge associated with a GCSE Religious Studies course or equivalent.
Future Career Choices
Studying RE at GCSE and A Level can provide invaluable life skills, offer opportunities to further education and enhance careers. http://casestudies.reonline.org.uk/