School Curriculum - Religion, Philosophy and Ethics
Pupils at Kirkham Grammar School study a range of religions. In today's multi-cultural society, we believe that it is imperative for our pupils to gain a full and balanced understanding of world faiths. Through the study of Religion, Philosophy and Ethics we aim to assist pupils in their search for meaning and purpose.
The department sets out to ensure pupils have an appreciation for the religious and spiritual dimension of life, both their own and that of others. Through the use of ICT, drama, imaginative work and discussion, the department aims to engage pupils of different learning styles and backgrounds.
Pupils in the First Year at Kirkham Grammar School are introduced to the six major world religions of Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism, Islam, Judaism and Sikhism. The main beliefs of each faith are studied.
Pupils also have the opportunity to study a range of stories from the Old Testament. The latter part of the year is devoted to considering rites of passage. The similarities as well as the differences between the ways in which religions mark important life events are highlighted.
The Second Year begins with pupils considering ultimate questions and the ways in which religions have attempted to answer them. Pupils are also encouraged to examine their own responses to age old questions. Pilgrimage is a main focus of Second Year study. There is an exploration as to the reasons why religions take part in spiritual journeys. The life of Jesus, festivals and places of worship are studied in detail.
Third Year begins with a unit of work on forgiveness, courage, crime and punishment. Pupils then go on to consider the religion of Judaism in detail before moving on to consider the twentieth century Holocaust and its effects.
Finally, pupils are introduced to a number of philosophical problems, particularly the existence of God.
There are three components to study for this GCSE.
Component 1: Religious, Philosophical and Ethical Studies in the modern world (50%).
Theme 1 – Relationships
Theme 2 – Life and Death
Theme 3 – Good and Evil
Theme 4 – Human Rights
Component 2: Teachings and Practices of Christianity (25%).
Component 3: Teachings and Practices of Islam (25%).
The course aims to develop the students' knowledge and understanding of religion and non‑religious beliefs. It is designed to develop their ability to construct well informed, balanced and well-structured arguments. It will also provide an opportunity for the students to engage with questions of belief, value, meaning, purpose, truth, and their influence on human life. All this will contribute to their preparation for adult life in a pluralistic society and global community.
The three components are given proportional teaching time over the two years. All components will be examined at the end of the Fifth Year.
A-LEVEL RELIGION PHILOSOPHY AND ETHICS CURRICULUM
Religious Studies A-level
Students study three components for A-level.
Component 1: Christianity
Component 2: Philosophy of Religion
Component 3: Religion and Ethics
Each component has equal weighting.
Students will study the religious figure of Jesus and beliefs about him as a Messiah, a Christ and God incarnate. Religious concepts, such as the trinity, atonement, faith and morality will also be discussed. Social and historical developments within the religion are also looked at, including secularisation, feminism, science and migration. Finally, religious practices will be studied.
Philosophy of Religion
The philosophy course looks at debate and discussion on attempts to prove the existence of God. It also looks at challenges to religious belief, like the problem of evil and differing psychological approaches leading to the rise of atheism. This continues with an exploration of religious experience and religious language.
Religion and Ethics
All three aspects to studying moral philosophy/ethics are covered by the course; normative ethics, applied ethics and meta-ethics. Normative ethics takes the bulk of the course (Virtue Ethics, Natural Law, Situation Ethics, Utilitarianism) which are then applied to a variety of given issues. For example; abortion, euthanasia, capital punishment, immigration, homosexuality, polyamorous relationships, animal experimentation and nuclear weapons. Meta-ethical debates are looked at in detail, as are the arguments put forward by freewill and determinism.
This is a two year course and examinations will be undertaken at the end of Upper Sixth. However, there is an option for students to study an abridged version of the course over one year if they do not wish to take the full A-level. They would be certificated with an AS qualification. The two courses are fully co-teachable.
Pupils have the opportunity to take trips to enhance their religious and cultural knowledge.
Visitors are arranged when appropriate.
Pupils are taken to appropriate revision conferences if available at GCSE and A-level.
The department takes part in the Holocaust Educational Trust's Lessons from Auschwitz Project.