Religious Education and Philosophy: Curriculum
Key Stage 3
- In Year 7 students cover a curriculum designed to introduce some of the world's major faiths through specific prisms, as well as investigating some of the core contentious issues at the heart of religion:
- Hinduism through reincarnation
- Sikhism through worship & practice
- Judaism through the Covenant (including 1st & 2nd covenants, Passover, Post-Holocaust theology)
- Christianity through the person of Jesus
- Buddhism through the Buddha & his teachings
In Year 8 the focus moves towards a Philosophy and Ethics based approach and encourages students to apply the religious teachings they have previously encountered to a range of controversial questions:
- Introduction to ethical theories e.g. Utilitarianism, Deontology, Situation Ethics
- Applied Ethics e.g. Animal Rights, Just War theory
- Moral Issues Project e.g. Legalisation of drugs, cloning & genetic engineering, capital punishment
- Introduction to the Philosophy of Religion – arguments for and against the existence of God and a consideration of the Problem of Evil
Key Stage 4
- All students study GCSE Religious Studies and we follow the course on Islam, Christianity & applied ethics offered by AQA (AQA Religious Studies A). The GCSE is taken a year early at the end of Year 10. The content covered includes:
- Islam: Key Beliefs and Authority
- Christianity: Key Beliefs and Jesus Christ & salvation
- Relationships and families
- Religion, peace and conflict
For full details of the content of each topic, please see the AQA specification.
Key Stage 5
A Level PhilosophyPhilosophy is best seen as asking and attempting to answer questions in a search for the truth. What do we know? How do we know it? What is it that knows? What is our “mind”? Do we have a soul? Is there a God? Can we prove God‘s existence? Can we know our own minds? These are just a few of the questions that will be discussed during the course. You will also be introduced to a number of seminal works of philosophy. Philosophy is a subject that appeals particularly to those who enjoy discussion and debate, who are prepared to think hard about abstract questions and not settle for superficial answers, who enjoy reading and who are prepared to work hard at expressing themselves clearly and precisely both orally and in writing.
The A Level course followed is that provided by AQA and covers the following content:
Year 12Section A: Epistemology
This seeks to introduce students to one of the major areas in the history of Philosophy – Epistemology. In this section students examine issues such as where we acquire our knowledge from and whether we are born with some kind of innate knowledge – at birth is the mind a blank slate or ‘tabula rasa’? Does knowledge come through reason, experience or a combination of the two? Theories of perception such as Direct and Indirect realism and Idealism are also covered.
Section B: Philosophy of Religion
Four principle areas of the Philosophy of Religion are covered:
- The concept of God: what do people mean when they use the term God philosophically? Is it possible to have a coherent concept of a being that is omnipotent, omniscient and omnibenevolent? Can God be both outside time and involved in time? What are the problems with these attributes?
- Arguments relating to the Existence of God: Ontological arguments, Design arguments and Cosmological Arguments
- The Problem of Evil: how to reconcile God’s omnipotence, omniscience and supreme goodness with the existence of evil
- Religious Language: what do people actually mean when they say they believe in God and how does our understanding of language affect this?
Year 13Section A: Ethics
This unit looks at answers to 2 main questions in the field of ethics – how do we decide what is morally right to do and what do we actually mean when we use the language of morality? Ethical theories encountered include: Utilitarianism, Kantian Deontological Ethics and Aristotle’s Virtue Ethics. Students will consider the issues with each of these theories as well as the strengths before moving onto consider the status of ethical language in philosophical discussion
Section B: Philosophy of Mind
The study of Philosophy of Mind revolves around on key question: what is the relationship between the mental and the physical? This raises both metaphysical and epistemological questions concerning the mind: What is the mind? What is its place in nature? What is the relationship between mentality and physicality? How are mental states identified, experienced and known?