Religious
Studies

“The unexamined life is not worth living”  Socrates

Curriculum intent: To develop pupils’ religious literacy, by grasping the origin of key beliefs in major faiths and how these are interpreted (Theology), enabling the students to explore philosophical questions about what it means to be human (Philosophy) and understand the diversity of lived religious belief and how this impacts on behaviour (Social Sciences).

Religious Studies deals with people and ideas, developing thinking skills which are needed for any academic subject. Pupils develop the ability to find information, use a variety of enquiring techniques, ask and consider challenging philosophical questions and empathize with alternative viewpoints. Religious Studies also provides an opportunity for pupils to explore their own beliefs and gain great understanding about the world we live in and the other people we share it with.

The Ancient Greek philosopher, Socrates, considered the investigation of life’s most ultimate questions as a pastime worth dying for. As a teacher he was a maverick: he never asked his students to write a word but he did expect them to think deeply and question everything. His commitment to moving beyond superficial understanding, led to his pupils becoming the rebels of their day. Their refusal to accept laws without questioning them meant their mentor Socrates was considered a rabble-rouser. He was eventually charged with corruption and rebellion. Socrates ultimately considered the study of religion, philosophy and ethics worth dying for. He refused to compromise his belief in questions and as such, opted for a lethal hemlock poison, rather than imprisonment.

The study of RS at King Edward VI Handsworth is designed to encourage students to live the examined life. Students apply the three hermeneutical ‘lenses’ of Theology, Philosophy and Social Science to a variety of different topics. In RS classrooms, students will develop the questioning habit, as they explore such topics as the meaning of life, the nature of morality and the origin of the world. Whilst the RS department does not expect the same level of dedication as Socrates, it will expect students to open their minds to a range of views! It is only through the examination of a wide range of perspectives, that students will begin to be sure of their own views.

Aims:

  • Develop life-long learners with intellectual curiosity and a passion for understanding the world
  • Develop deep thinkers who can confidently evaluate complex religious, moral and philosophical questions
  • Develop an enquiring, critical and reflective approach to the study of religion
  • Empower students to recognise the important and distinctive features of religious expression, and to recognise the diversity inherent in faith traditions
  • Enhance their personal, social and cultural development, their understanding of different cultures locally, nationally and in the wider world and to contribute to social and community cohesion
  • Recognise the holistic development of the child, encouraging them to reflect upon and express elements of our common humanity
  • Empower all students to express their personal theology (or atheology!) in a developed way

Curriculum and Assessment Maps

Subject Leader: Dr. E. Clewlow • email: eclewlow@kingedwardvi.bham.sch.uk

Year 7

Key Learning Constructs to be developed over the academic year

Scheme of Learning 

Autumn Term

Scheme of Learning 

Spring Term

Scheme of Learning 

Summer Term

  • Accurate use of religious vocabulary
  • Explaining diverse viewpoints
  • Supporting arguments with evidence
  • Evaluating

What is religion? (Social Sciences)

What is religion and what is its function in society?

What are worldviews and how do we look at the world through different ‘lenses’?

Why believe in God? (Theology)

Investigations into arguments for and against the existence of God

Worldviews studied: Theism, Atheism, Agnosticism

Why does God have so many names? (Theology)

Examining the concept of God from different religious viewpoints

Religions studied: Christianity (Trinity), Islam (Tawhid), Hinduism (Trimurti), Sikhism, Judaism

Why might religious leaders be inspirational in the 21st century? (Theology/Social Sciences)

Investigating the life and work of a religious leader and evaluating evidence on their effectiveness. 

Religions studied: Christianity, Islam, Sikhism, Buddhism, Judaism

Why is the covenant important in understanding Judaism? (Theology, Social Sciences)

Introduction to Judaism

Concepts of law (mitzvot) and covenant

Key stories – Abraham’s sacrifice

The influence of Jewish beliefs on practice – kashrut laws, Brit Milah, Bar Mitzvah, Shabbat, Orthodox and Reform

How do Creation Myths shape what it means to be human? (Philosophy)

What is a myth?

Investigation into concepts of literal and universal truth

Analysis of Creation myths 

Religions/worldviews studied: Christianity, Judaism, Islam, Sikhism, Buddhism, Hinduism, 

Humanism

Are religious believers more likely to care for the planet? (Theology/Social Sciences)

Examination of environmental problems and the religious and Humanist responses to these issues.

Investigation into how religious teachings may motivate environmental action.

Religions/worldviews studied: Christianity, Judaism, Islam, Sikhism, Hinduism, Buddhism, Humanism

 

Why is celebrating and remembering important?

(Theology/Social Sciences)

Investigation of why we celebrate/why celebrations are important

Reflecting on the importance of stories behind religious festivals, particularly Diwali

Religion studied: Hinduism

Assessment Pieces

Written Piece: Why believe in God?

Assessment Pieces

Jewish practices assessment:

‘Modern Jews should forget the old laws and live as they please’.

Assessment Pieces

Summer exam

Key vocabulary

Worldview, Atheism/Atheist, Agnosticism/Agnostic

Theism/Theist

Omnibenevolent, Omnipotent, Monotheism/Monotheist, Polytheism/Polytheist

Tawhid, Trinity, Trimurti, Waheguru

Covenant, Mitzvot, Ten Commandments, Kosher, Treyfah, Kashrut Laws, Brit Milah, Orthodox, Reform, Bar/Bat Mitzvah, Shabbat

Creation, Universal Truth, Literal Truth, Myth

Stewardship/Khalifah, Creation, Eden, Interdependence.

Diwali, Navaratri, Rama, Sita

Outside the taught curriculum

Suggested reading

BBC Religion and Ethics website

Subject Leader: Dr. E. Clewlow • email: eclewlow@kingedwardvi.bham.sch.uk

Year 8

Key Learning Constructs to be developed over the academic year

Scheme of Learning 

Autumn Term

Scheme of Learning 

Spring Term

Scheme of Learning 

Summer Term

  • Accurate use of religious vocabulary
  • Explaining diverse viewpoints
  • Supporting arguments with Scripture
  • Interpreting philosophical views
  • Evaluating

What does it mean to say that God became human? (Theology)

Jesus as the prophesied Messiah

The importance of the birth of Jesus

Teaching about the Kingdom of God in Parables

Jesus’ miracles and what they show us about God and Jesus

Was Jesus a rebel or a revolutionary?

Comparison of the Crucifixion narratives

The meaning of Jesus’ Crucifixion for Christians – why did Jesus have to die?

Religion studied: Christianity

Why is Islam the way it is? (Theology/Social Sciences)

History, cultural and religious context of Makkah and Madinah

Consideration of why a Prophet was needed

The emergence of Islam against this context

Religion studied: Islam

Why are religions so diverse? (Theology)

One God or many?

Examination of how Guru Nanak and Buddha challenged Indian Philosophy

The British Empire and its’ influence on Dharmic faiths

Ambedkar’s reform of Indian society

The influence of the 8th century prophets on religion in Israel

Quakerism’s challenge to Christianity

Black theology’s challenge to Christianity

The Piety movement – how did it change Islam for women in Egypt?

Religions studied: Christianity, Judaism, Islam, Sikhism, Hinduism, Buddhism

To what extent can an individual challenge injustice? 

 (Theology/Social Sciences)

Analysis of religious teachings about justice and injustice.

Investigation into how these teachings have motivated individuals to tackle types of injustice and whether this has been effective.  

Religions studied: Christianity, Sikhism, Hinduism, Islam

Is prayer meaningful in the 21st century (Theology)

Identification of types of prayer

Comparison of practices of prayer in the Abrahamic religions

Court case debate: Is prayer meaningful and valuable in the 21st century?

Religions/worldviews studied: Christianity, Judaism, Islam, Hinduism, Sikhism, Buddhism, Atheism

To what extent are religions reflected in culture and society? (Social sciences)

Examination of how religious symbolism is represented in art, literature, film and architecture.

Religion studied: Christianity

Assessment Pieces:

Assessment on the Islamic History unit

Assessment Pieces

Assessed essay on what has brought about the main change in Dharmic religion.

Assessment Pieces

Summer exam

Key vocabulary

Messiah, Incarnation, Kingdom of God, Parables, Miracles, Atonement.

Pre-Islamic Arabia, Jahiliyyah, Risalah (Prophethood), Night of Power

Sanatana Dharma, Monism, Dualism, Pluralism, Langar, ‘caste system’, Dalits, anatta, four noble truths, re-birth

Justice/Injustice, Parable of the Sheep and Goats, Sewa

Supplication, Petition, Adoration, Petition, Confession

Outside the taught curriculum

Visit to various local places of worship

Suggested reading

BBC Religion and Ethics website, A Little History of Religion by R. Holloway

Subject Leader: Dr. E. Clewlow • email: eclewlow@kingedwardvi.bham.sch.uk

Year 9

Key Learning Constructs to be developed over the academic year

Scheme of Learning 

Autumn Term

Scheme of Learning 

Spring Term

Scheme of Learning 

Summer Term

  • Accurate use of religious vocabulary
  • Explaining diverse viewpoints
  • Supporting arguments with Scripture
  • Interpreting Scripture
  • Evaluating

How do religious beliefs impact upon human relationships? (Social Sciences)

Different types of Relationships

Religion and Children

Polygamy

Christian attitudes towards homosexuality

Marriage

Religion and the Elderly

Religions studied: Christianity, Judaism, Hinduism

Is the concept of God coherent? (Theology/Philosophy)

Is it reasonable to believe upon insufficient evidence?

Teleological Arguments

Cosmological Arguments

The Moral Argument

The Argument from Religious Experience

Religions studied: Christianity, Islam

Did the Resurrection actually happen? (Theology)

What is the Resurrection and why are the Gospel accounts different?

Crime scene investigation into the Resurrection of Jesus – what happened to Jesus’ body?

What does the Resurrection mean to Christians?

Resurrection Art project

Religion studied: Christianity

Is it reasonable to believe in Life After Death? (Philosophy)

Should death be celebrated?

Religious and non-religious beliefs about life after death

Philosophical arguments about the existence of a soul

Religions/worldviews studied: Christianity, Islam, Hinduism, Atheism

Are responses to the Problem of Evil convincing? (Philosophy)

What is evil?

The philosophical Problem of Evil and responses to it (Theodicies)

Religions/worldviews studied: Christianity, Judaism, Buddhism, Atheism

What does it mean to live a ‘good life’? (Social Sciences)

Absolutist and Relativist approaches to Ethics

Religious Ethics– Divine Command Theory

Secular Ethics – Utilitarianism

Ethical Egoism

Applied Ethics – Organ Donation, Business Ethics

Religions studied: Christianity, Islam, Hinduism, Sikhism

Assessment Pieces

Newspaper report: Christian attitudes towards homosexuality

Assessment Pieces

CSI investigation into the possible explanations for Jesus’ missing body

Assessment Pieces

Summer exam

Key vocabulary

Liberal, Conservative, Fundamentalist, Polygamy, Homosexuality, 

Teleological, Design, Cosmological, Cause, ‘Goldilocks effect’, Miracle, Numinous Experience, Conversion

Theodicy, Inconsistent Triad, Moral Evil, Natural Evil, Protest Atheism

Resurrection, Synoptic Gospels, Oral Tradition, Eternal Life 

Heaven, Hell, Purgatory, Judgement, Barzakh, Karma, Samsara, Atman, Moksha, Dualism, Materialism

Absolutist/Relativist, Divine Command Theory, Utilitarianism, Egoism, Sanctity of Life, Quality of Life

Outside the taught curriculum

Suggested reading

GCSE bitesize on Human Relationships, BBC Religion and Ethics website

Subject Leader: Dr. E. Clewlow • email: eclewlow@kingedwardvi.bham.sch.uk

Year 10 – GCSE 

Key Learning Constructs to be developed over the academic year

Scheme of Learning 

Autumn Term

Scheme of Learning 

Spring Term

Scheme of Learning 

Summer Term

Specification: AQA Religious Studies A

https://www.aqa.org.uk/subjects/religious-studies/gcse/religious-studies-a-8062

A01:Demonstrate knowledge and understanding of religion and beliefs, including:

Beliefs, practices and sources of authority

Influence on individuals, communities and societies

Diversity within and/or between religions and beliefs

A02: Analyse and evaluate aspects of religion and belief, including their significance and influence.

Theme A: Relationships and families

Marriage: Ceremony and beliefs

Divorce

Sex outside Marriage

Homosexuality and Civil Partnerships

Cohabitation

Role and purpose of the family

Contraception and family planning

Gender equality

Christian beliefs

Nature of God

The Trinity

Christian beliefs about Creation

Beliefs about Jesus: Incarnation, Crucifixion, Resurrection, Ascension

Beliefs about Life after Death: Heaven, Hell, Purgatory, Judgement and Salvation

Christian practices

Mission and Evangelism

Church Growth

The sacraments: Baptism and Holy Communion

Forms of Christian Worship

Prayer

Festivals: Christmas and Easter

Pilgrimage: Iona and Lourdes

Work of the Church in the Local Community: Street Pastors and Food Banks

Response of the Worldwide Church: Persecution and Responses to Poverty

Theme B: Religion and Life 1

The Origins of the Universe

The Origins and Purpose of Human Life

The value of the world and how to protect it

Pollution

Theme B: Religion and Life 2

The use and abuse of animals

The Origins and Purpose of Human Life

Abortion

Euthanasia

Death and the Afterlife

Theme F: Religion, Human Rights and Social Justice

Social justice

Human rights and responsibilities

Equality and freedom of religion

Prejudice and discrimination: gender, sexuality, disability and race

Attitudes towards wealth

Fair pay and the exploitation of the poor

Charity and giving money to the poor

The responsibilities of those living in poverty

NB: Due to a change in curriculum delivery, the current Year 10 students will cover Islamic Beliefs and Practices and Religion, Peace and Conflict in Year 11.

Assessment Pieces

GCSE style HL questions and assessment pieces on subject material

Assessment Pieces

GCSE style HL questions and assessment pieces on subject matter

Assessment Pieces

Summer exam

Key vocabulary

Marriage, Divorce, Annulment, Civil Partnerships, Contraception, Nuclear Family, Extended Family

Trinity, Omnipotent, Omnibenevolent, Just, Incarnation, Crucifixion, Resurrection, Ascension, Salvation, Atonement

Infant Baptism, Believers’ Baptism, Holy Communion/Eucharist, Sacraments, Liturgical/Informal/Non-Liturgical/Private Worship, Set and Informal Prayers, The Lord’s Prayer, Lourdes, Iona

Stewardship, Creation, Evolution, Big Bang

Sanctity of Life, Quality of Life, Abortion, Euthanasia.

Human rights, religious freedom, homophobia, protected characteristics, positive discrimination

Outside the taught curriculum

General RE days are organised for students once a term, on the topics of Medical Ethics, Religion and Society and the Holocaust. This includes a visit from a Holocaust survivor.

Suggested reading

GCSE bitesize on the individual themes studied and Christian beliefs/practices.

Subject Leader: : Dr. E. Clewlow • email: eclewlow@kingedwardvi.bham.sch.uk
Year 10 – General RS days

Purpose of the General RS days

If students have not opted to study RS at GCSE level, they will participate in General RS days during Years 10 and 11. There is one General RS day for these year groups per term.

The main purposes of the General RS days are to encourage pupils to engage with philosophical and ethical debates and to develop an awareness of how religion has a significant impact on the world in which we live.

Students should also be aware of differing religious perspectives on certain issues and be able to compare, contrast and evaluate these.

Year 10: Autumn Term

Religion and Society

Religion and the Law Religion and the Media Religion and Economics Religion and Science

Year 10: Spring Term

Religion and Medical Ethics

What is Medical Ethics? Research and presentation into religious views on one aspect of Medical Ethics:

Fertility Treatments Abortion Euthanasia

Cloning

Genetic Engineering/Saviour Siblings

Year 10: Summer Term

Holocaust/The Problem of Evil

What was life like for Jews before the Holocaust?

Speech from a Holocaust survivor (Mindu Hornick)

‘Is it possible to have faith after the Holocaust?’ – research and debate on theodicies

Outside the taught curriculum

It is expected that students will reflect on the issues considered and how religion may impact upon current affairs.

Subject Leader: Dr. E. Clewlow • email: eclewlow@kingedwardvi.bham.sch.uk

Year 11 – GCSE 

Key Learning Constructs to be developed over the academic year

Scheme of Learning 

Autumn Term

Scheme of Learning 

Spring Term

Scheme of Learning 

Summer Term

Specification: AQA Religious Studies A

https://www.aqa.org.uk/subjects/religious-studies/gcse/religious-studies-a-8062

A01:Demonstrate knowledge and understanding of religion and beliefs, including:

Beliefs, practices and sources of authority

Influence on individuals, communities and societies

Diversity within and/or between religions and beliefs

A02: Analyse and evaluate aspects of religion and belief, including their significance and influence.

Theme D: Religion, Peace and Conflict

Introduction to Religion, Peace and Conflict – Peace, Justice, Forgiveness and Reconciliation

Causes of war

Terrorism and Violent Protest

Nuclear Weapons and WMD

Pacifism and Peacemaking

Gandhi

Religious Responses to the Victims of War

Religion and Belief as a Cause of War

Religious Attitudes to Forgiveness

Theme B: Religion and Life

The Origins of the Universe

The value of the world and how to protect it

Use and abuse of the environment

Pollution

Use and abuse of animals

The Origins and Purpose of Human Life

Abortion

Euthanasia

Death and the Afterlife

Theme F: Religion, Human Rights and Social Justice

Social justice

Human rights and responsibilities

Equality and freedom of religion

Prejudice and discrimination: gender, sexuality, disability and race

Attitudes towards wealth

Fair pay and the exploitation of the poor

Charity and giving money to the poor

The responsibilities of those living in poverty

Revision and preparation for Summer GCSE exams

NB: Due to a change in curriculum delivery, the current Year 11 students covered Christian Beliefs and Practices, Hindu Beliefs and Practices and Theme A in Year 10.

Assessment Pieces

Year 11 Mock examination

Assessment Pieces

March GCSE style paper – Thematic Studies

Assessment Pieces

GCSE examinations in the summer term

Key vocabulary

Peace, Justice, Forgiveness, Reconciliation, Pacifism, Just War, Holy War 

Sanctity of Life, Quality of Life, Abortion, Euthanasia, Stewardship, Creation, Evolution, Big Bang.

 Human rights, religious freedom, homophobia, protected characteristics, positive discrimination

Outside the taught curriculum

General RE days are organised for students once a term, on the topics of Justice and the Philosophy of Happiness.

Suggested reading

GCSE bitesize on the various themes studied in Year 11.

Subject Leader: : Dr. E. Clewlow • email: eclewlow@kingedwardvi.bham.sch.uk
Year 11 – General RS days

Purpose of the General RS days

If students have not opted to study RS at GCSE level, they will participate in General RS days during Years 10 and 11. There is one General RS day for these year groups per term.

The main purposes of the General RS days are to encourage pupils to engage with philosophical and ethical debates and to develop an awareness of how religion has a significant impact on the world in which we live.

Students should also be aware of differing religious perspectives on certain issues and be able to compare, contrast and evaluate these.

Year 11: Autumn Term

Religious Perspectives on Justice

Religion and Human Rights

Research into religious perspectives on the following issues:

Death penalty Exploitation Trafficking Gender equality LGBTQ+ equality

Treatment of refugees Religious persecution

Taking action to promote justice Creative task on justice

Year 11: Spring Term

Philosophical Perspectives on Happiness

What is happiness?

Research and presentation on philosophical perspectives on happiness:

Aristotle Bentham Buddha Seneca Socrates Cynics

Subject Leader: Dr. E. Clewlow • email: eclewlow@kingedwardvi.bham.sch.uk

Year 12 – A level 

Key Learning Constructs to be developed over the academic year

Scheme of Learning 

Autumn Term

Scheme of Learning 

Spring Term

Scheme of Learning 

Summer Term

WJEC/Eduqas A level Religious Studies https://www.eduqas.co.uk/qualifications/religious-studies/as-a-level/

ï reflect on, select and apply specified knowledge 

ï understand, interpret and evaluate critically religious concepts, texts and other sources 

ï account for the influence of social; religious and historical factors on the developments in the study of religions and belief

 ï identify, investigate and critically analyse questions, arguments, ideas and issues arising from within this component, including the views of scholars and academics 

ï identify and analyse the nature of connections between the components you have studied

 ï construct well informed and reasoned arguments substantiated by relevant evidence 

ï engage in debate in a way that recognises the right of others to hold a different view 

ï present responses to questions which are clear and coherent 

ï use specialist language and terminology appropriately.

Ethics:

Ethical thought

Divine Command Theory

Virtue Theory

Ethical Egoism

Deontological Ethics

Natural Moral Law

Teleological Ethics

Situation Ethics

Utilitarianism

Philosophy:

Arguments for the Existence of God

Inductive and Deductive Arguments (Cosmological, Teleological, Ontological)

Philosophy:

Challenges to Religious Belief

The Problem of Evil

Religious responses to the problem of evil

Religious Experiences

The nature of religious experience

Mystical experience

Challenges to the objectivity and authenticity of religious experience

Christianity 1:

Religious Figures and Sacred Texts:

Birth Narratives

Resurrection Narratives

The Bible as a Source of Authority in Daily Life

Religious Concepts

Is God Male?

Can God suffer?

Trinity

Atonement

Religious Life 

Faith and Works (Luther)

Key moral principles

Community of believers

Christianity 2:

Religious Practices that Shape Religious Identity

Baptism

Eucharist

Christmas

Easter

Ethics Year 2 work:

Meta-ethical theories – Emotivism, Intuitionism, Naturalism

Free Will and Determinism

(Theological/Psychological/

Philosophical/Scientific)

Modern Developments of Natural Moral Law

John Finnis’ Modern NML

Hoose’s Proportionalism

Assessment Pieces

Assessed essay – A01 and A02 skills

Assessment Pieces

Assessed essay – A01 and A02 skills

Assessment Pieces

End of year examination

Key vocabulary

Deontological, Teleological, Relativist, Absolutist, Act-centred, Agent-centred

Cosmological, Teleological, Ontological, Theodicies, Object-related and subject-related challenges

Incarnation, Hypostatic Union, Inspiration, Authority, 

Arianism, Tritheism, Modalism, Christus Victor, Moral Example, Penal Substitution Model

Transubstantiation, Consubstantiation, Virtualism

Predestination, Free Will, Bad faith, Self-actualisation, Compatibilism

Basic Goods, Principles of Practical Reasonableness, Common Good

Pre-moral evil, Ontic evil, Good act, Right act, value, disvalue, Proportionate reason. 

Outside the taught curriculum

Students are encouraged to attend various Philosophy and Ethics Master Classes and Seminars

Wider reading is also expected

Suggested reading

Peter Vardy The Puzzle of Ethics, The Puzzle of God and The Puzzle of Evil, Bowie Ethical Studies, Joseph Fletcher Situation Ethics, Aristotle Nichomachean Ethics

Subject Leader: Dr. E. Clewlow • email: eclewlow@kingedwardvi.bham.sch.uk

Year 12 – A level 

Key Learning Constructs to be developed over the academic year

Scheme of Learning 

Autumn Term

Scheme of Learning 

Spring Term

Scheme of Learning 

Summer Term

WJEC/Eduqas A level Religious Studies https://www.eduqas.co.uk/qualifications/religious-studies/as-a-level/

ï reflect on, select and apply specified knowledge 

ï understand, interpret and evaluate critically religious concepts, texts and other sources 

ï account for the influence of social; religious and historical factors on the developments in the study of religions and belief

 ï identify, investigate and critically analyse questions, arguments, ideas and issues arising from within this component, including the views of scholars and academics 

ï identify and analyse the nature of connections between the components you have studied

 ï construct well informed and reasoned arguments substantiated by relevant evidence 

ï engage in debate in a way that recognises the right of others to hold a different view 

ï present responses to questions which are clear and coherent 

ï use specialist language and terminology appropriately.

Ethics:

Ethical thought

Divine Command Theory

Virtue Theory

Ethical Egoism

Deontological Ethics

Natural Moral Law

Teleological Ethics

Situation Ethics

Utilitarianism

Philosophy:

Arguments for the Existence of God

Inductive and Deductive Arguments (Cosmological, Teleological, Ontological)

Philosophy:

Challenges to Religious Belief

The Problem of Evil

Religious responses to the problem of evil

Religious Experiences

The nature of religious experience

Mystical experience

Challenges to the objectivity and authenticity of religious experience

Christianity 1:

Religious Figures and Sacred Texts:

Birth Narratives

Resurrection Narratives

The Bible as a Source of Authority in Daily Life

Religious Concepts

Is God Male?

Can God suffer?

Trinity

Atonement

Religious Life 

Faith and Works (Luther)

Key moral principles

Community of believers

Christianity 2:

Religious Practices that Shape Religious Identity

Baptism

Eucharist

Christmas

Easter

Ethics Year 2 work:

Meta-ethical theories – Emotivism, Intuitionism, Naturalism

Free Will and Determinism

(Theological/Psychological/

Philosophical/Scientific)

Modern Developments of Natural Moral Law

John Finnis’ Modern NML

Hoose’s Proportionalism

Assessment Pieces

Assessed essay – A01 and A02 skills

Assessment Pieces

Assessed essay – A01 and A02 skills

Assessment Pieces

End of year examination

Key vocabulary

Deontological, Teleological, Relativist, Absolutist, Act-centred, Agent-centred

Cosmological, Teleological, Ontological, Theodicies, Object-related and subject-related challenges

Incarnation, Hypostatic Union, Inspiration, Authority, 

Arianism, Tritheism, Modalism, Christus Victor, Moral Example, Penal Substitution Model

Transubstantiation, Consubstantiation, Virtualism

Predestination, Free Will, Bad faith, Self-actualisation, Compatibilism

Basic Goods, Principles of Practical Reasonableness, Common Good

Pre-moral evil, Ontic evil, Good act, Right act, value, disvalue, Proportionate reason. 

Outside the taught curriculum

Students are encouraged to attend various Philosophy and Ethics Master Classes and Seminars

Wider reading is also expected

Suggested reading

Peter Vardy The Puzzle of Ethics, The Puzzle of God and The Puzzle of Evil, Bowie Ethical Studies, Joseph Fletcher Situation Ethics, Aristotle Nichomachean Ethics

Further information

  • Dr E Clewlow (Head of Department)
  • Mrs B Nock
  • Miss C Berry (Deputy Head)
  • Discuss your own beliefs and reasons for these with your daughter. Ask questions about moral issues in the news (e.g. Is it ever right to forgive a murderer?)
  • Help your daughter to self-assess her exercise book using the assessment booklet
  • Visits to local places of worship and exhibitions.
  • Television programmes on religious and ethical issues are popular. Encourage your daughter to watch programmes that discuss religious practice or belief, or moral issues. A useful source is often 4thought (3 minutes programme following the Channel 4 news).
  • Encouraging your daughter to take advantage of the opportunities available at school.

Where next?

RS helps us understand other people better, and helps us recognise, develop and express our own values and beliefs. This subject is useful for a variety of career options, in particular those that demand analytical and writing skills (e.g. journalism, law, politics) and the caring professions (e.g. medicine, social care)

RS is a well-respected GCSE and A Level option and an increasing number of our girls are going on to study Theology, Religion and/or Philosophy at University. At A Level RS works well alongside other Humanities, but is particularly popular alongside the sciences as it provides a good underpinning for Medicine due to compulsory Medical Ethics section. It also provides critical thinking and analytic skills that are well suited to careers in Law, Media and Politics.

Although RS is not a facilitating subject (as it is rarely a requirement for particular degree entry) The Russell Group’s ‘Informed Choices’ recognises it as a demanding and highly suitable preparation for university entrance.   ‘There are some advanced level subjects, which provide suitable preparation for entry to university generally… Examples of such subjects include Economics, Religious Studies and Welsh.’ (Informed Choices)

20% of those who study PPE, 18% of those who study English and 13% of those who study History at Oxford have RS A Level. Philosophy graduates are popular candidates for a variety of high-powered professions – journalism, research, the civil service, politics, and law.

A recent Times poll revealed that the business world favours philosophy graduates above all others. Barristers or solicitors benefit from training in philosophy as they have been taught to examine and dissect arguments, even cabinet ministers find a philosophic training useful as they seek to master complex ‘briefs’ and to analyse opposing arguments.

What will I gain from a study of Theology?

  • The opportunity to study a wide range of subjects using a variety of approaches
  •  Encounters with people from all faiths and none
  •  An ability to handle sensitive topics intelligently and with circumspection
  •  Critical skills and the ability to argue my case
  •  An appetite for the ‘search for wisdom’
  •  Integration of intellectual and personal formation
  •  Challenges to my own prejudices and assumptions
  •  An in-depth exploration of some of the most important questions I will ever ask
  •  An appreciation of complexity and paradox in the role of religion in society

Final words from our ex-Head Girl, now studying Medicine at University

‘So glad I took RS, in my other subjects I just learnt things, in RS I learnt how to think’

The Religious Studies department runs a Varied Voices discussion group, where we welcome those of all faiths or none to debate current issues.

Students in year 10 are encouraged to enter the national ‘Spirited Arts’ competition, which involves creating a piece of art work from a choice of themes.

As part of the year 8 ‘Sacred Space’ module, students visit a variety of places of worship.

Since 2016, year 8 girls have participated in the Anne Frank Exhibition, which aims to teach year 7 students about the life and death of Anne Frank, and what we can learn from it.