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. 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 religious 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 pupils 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.
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.
Pupils 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 pupils 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.
Studying Religious Studies at A Level not only promotes a positive awareness of the major religions of the world, it also promotes discussion and debate in a wider philosophical and ethical context. The course does not assume religious belief and will suit people of no religious faith or someone from a faith background.
It is hoped that A Level Religious Studies will encourage our pupils to grow and develop into mature adults who will have a good solid knowledge and understanding of religion and its relationship with man's quest for meaning in life and the expression of such quests. The course will also develop individuals who are encouraged to think for themselves, yet have great empathy. In addition, pupils will develop the much needed skills of critical analysis, independent thought and evaluation. These are skills required to study most subjects at university level.
Religious Studies is an acceptable entry qualification for all universities in the UK. The A Level has recently been reformed. It is not necessary for you to have a GCSE in Religious Studies for you to study it at A Level.
The RPE department offers A Level Religious Studies from Eduqas. This qualification is split into three components.
Component 1 – Christianity
Component 2 – Philosophy of Religion
Component 3 – Religion and Ethics
The unit is a detailed and interesting look at the world religion of Christianity. Obviously the religious figure of Jesus will be studied in depth, while also pondering big questions about the belief of the incarnation. Religious concepts such as the trinity, atonement, faith and community will also be discussed. Also, the patriarchal view of God. Social and historical developments within the religion are also looked at, including secularisation, feminism, science and migration. Studies will be taken further by looking at multi-culturalism, pluralism and diversity. Finally, religious practices will be studied with a look at what it really means to be a Christian in the 21st Century.
Philosophy of Religion
Is there a God? Can it be proved? Why do people stop believing in God? Why do people have no belief? These are just some of the questions looked at in this section of the course. The course begins by looking at arguments for the existence of God and challenges to religious beliefs; like the problem of evil and the differing psychological approaches leading to the rise of atheism. This continues with an exploration of religious experience and religious language.
Religion & Ethics
Is there a universal moral law? Is morality relative to time and culture? How do we decide what is the right thing to do? Should we lie to save someone's life?
All three aspects of studying ethics are covered by this course. Normative ethics makes up the bulk of the course (Virtue Ethics, Natural Law, Situation Ethics, Utilitarianism), which are then applied to a variety of given issues (abortion, euthanasia, animal experimentation). Meta-ethical debates are looked at in detail, as are the arguments put forward in the freewill and determinism debate.
This is a two year course and examinations will be taken at the end of Upper Sixth. However, there is an option for pupils 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 certified with an AS qualification. The two courses (AS and A-level) are fully co-teachable.
An A Level course in Religious Studies links well with many other A Level courses and provides a good foundation for degree subjects such as English, Government, History, Law, Philosophy, Politics, Psychology and Theology. As well as studying PPE (Politics, Philosophy and Economics) many of the issues are also relevant to further study within the sciences. The skills and knowledge developed will be helpful in any discipline or further career. For example:
Journalism and Broadcasting
Counselling and Psychotherapy
University admissions tutors regard a qualification in Religious Studies as a serious academic subject. It shows a well-rounded individual, who possesses excellent literacy skills, as well as a lively, enquiring and analytical mind.