Religious Education and Philosophy

Aims and Ethos of the Department

  • To nurture philosophical enquiry about ultimate questions
  • To learn from and about religion
  • To develop students’ spiritual, moral and philosophical dispositions
  • To allow students to reflect on their own beliefs and ideas and develop the intellectual skills to explain and evaluate them

Staff Names and Roles

  • Dr. D. McKee – Subject Leader and class teacher
  • Mr. A. Northcott – class teacher

Useful Websites to support your son’s learning

Use the VLE first for every lesson PowerPoint and resource, plus extra videos, articles, links, etc. See also:

Opportunities outside of lessons
  • A-Level Philosophy Conferences (Recent conferences have taken place at Oxford, Cardiff University, the University of Birmingham, and through Peter Vardy’s Candle Conferences)
  • Year 10 Philosophy Morning and House Philosophy Competition (in conjunction with Warwick University)
  • Annual Year 12 participation with Holocaust Educational Trust’s “Lessons From Auschwitz” Project
  • Participation in practical philosophical research at Warwick University

Course information

BACK

YEAR 7

In Year 7 we look at three major world religions through the lens of a different philosophical or ethical question.

Autumn 1 – Judaism: Beliefs, Foundations and Worship
  • Foundations of Judaism
  • Jewish Scriptures and teachings
  • Different ways of being Jewish
Autumn 2 – Judaism: How can an all-loving God allow evil?
  • Nature of God in Judaism
  • The Holocaust
  • The philosophical Problem of Evil
Spring 1 – Christianity: Beliefs, Foundations and Worship
  • Foundations of Christianity
  • Trinity, Incarnation and Atonement
  • Different ways of being Christian
Spring 2 – Christianity: Is it ever right to go to war?
  • The nature of ethics in Christianity
  • Parables
  • Just War Theory
Summer 1 – Islam: Beliefs, Foundations and Worship
  • Foundations of Islam
  • The Five Pillars of Islam
  • Different ways of being Muslim
Summer 2 – Islam: how do we know what is true?
  • Truth and interpretation of scripture
  • Contemporary perceptions of Islam in the media
  • Comparative reflection on Abrahamic religions
How will your son be assessed during Year 7? 

There will be three Common Assessment Tasks across the year, asking students a mixture of AO1 and AO2 questions involving their Learning From and Learning About the religious, philosophical and ethical ideas studied. The task will require either evaluating and analysing an issue raised (AO2) or Describing, Explaining and Analysing a key aspect of the topic studied (AO1). Answers will be graded on a scale of 1 – 9.  

How could you support your son to learn during Year 7?

As well as key resources and lesson materials being available each week via Moodle, the school VLE, the following textbooks may offer useful support materials:

  • C M Hoffman: Teach Yourself Judaism: An Introduction
  • J Green and C Wood: OCR GCSE Judaism
  • M Keene: This Is Judaism
  • R W Maqsood: Teach Yourself Islam: An Introduction
  • F Hassan, R Tomlinson and C Wood: OCR GCSE Islam
  • J Thompson: Islam – A New Approach
  • J Young: Teach Yourself Christianity: An Introduction
  • K Clemmey, et al: OCR GCSE Christianity
  • K O’Donnell: Christianity: A New Approach
BACK

YEAR 8

In Year 8 we look at three more major world religions through the lens of a different philosophical or ethical question.

Autumn 1 – Hinduism: Beliefs, Foundations and Worship
  • Foundations of Hinduism
  • The nature of Brahman
  • Puja at home and in the mandir
Autumn 2 – Hinduism: How do I know right and wrong?
  • Varna
  • Ashrama
  • Dharma
Spring 1 – Buddhism: Beliefs, Foundations and Worship
  • Foundations of Buddhism
  • Four Noble Truths / Noble Eightfold Path
  • Different ways of being Buddhist
Spring 2 – Buddhism: What happens when we die?
  • Anicca, anatta, dukkha
  • Rebirth
  • The Wheel of Life
Summer 1 – Sikhism: Beliefs, Foundations and Worship
  • Foundations of Sikhism
  • The Khalsa
  • The Guru Granth Sahib
Summer 2 – Sikhism: How should we treat each other?
  • Gurdwara
  • Langar
  • Sewa
How will your son be assessed during Year 8?

There will be three Common Assessment Tasks across the year, asking students a mixture of AO1 and AO2 questions involving their Learning From and Learning About the religious, philosophical and ethical ideas studied. The task will require either evaluating and analysing an issue raised (AO2) or Describing, Explaining and Analysing a key aspect of the topic studied (AO1). Answers will be graded on a scale of 1 – 9.  

How could you support your son to learn during Year 8?

As well as key resources and lesson materials being available each week via Moodle, the school VLE, the following textbooks may offer useful support materials:

  • V. P Kanitkar: Teach Yourself Hinduism – An Introduction
  • V Voiels: Hinduism – A New Approach
  • L Gibson: Hinduism
  • C Erricker: Teach Yourself Buddhism – An Introduction
  • D Side: Buddhism
  • S Clarke: Buddhism – A New Approach
  • W O Cole: Teach Yourself Sikhism – An Introduction
  • P Draycott: Sikhism – A New Approach
  • J Mayled: Sikhism
BACK

YEAR 9

In Year 9 we begin an introduction to Philosophy, Ethics and Religious Philosophy, in preparation for their GCSE which we start in the final weeks of Year 9.

Autumn Term – Introduction to Philosophy
  • What is Knowledge?
  • Are my mind and my brain the same thing?
  • Should I do what I am told?
  • Does life have meaning?
  • Is a zombie a person?
Spring Term – Introduction to Ethics
  • Is it wrong to eat meat?
  • Am I always responsible for my actions?
  • Whose life should I save?
  • Is my music moral?
  • Is file-sharing stealing?
  • Is it always wrong to lie?
Summer Term – Introduction to Theology/Start GCSE Religious Studies
  • Is knowledge about God possible?
  • Can we believe in miracles?
  • GCSE THEN BEGINS – See YEAR 10/11 SECTION OF WEBSITE FOR FULL INFORMATION ABOUT the “Existence of God and Revelation” topic we shall be studying.
 
How will your son be assessed during Year 9?

There will be three Common Assessment Tasks across the year, asking students a mixture of AO1 and AO2 questions involving their Learning From and Learning About the religious, philosophical and ethical ideas studied. The task will require either evaluating and analysing an issue raised (AO2) or Describing, Explaining and Analysing a key aspect of the topic studied (AO1). Answers will be graded on a scale of 1 – 9.   However, the final CAT of the year will be an assessment of GCSE style questions in preparation for Year 10.

 

How could you support your son to learn during Year 9?

As well as key resources and lesson materials being available each week via Moodle, the school VLE, the following textbooks may offer useful support materials:

  • D Hunt: Introducing Philosophy of Religion
  • S Law: The Complete Philosophy Files
  • S Law: The Philosophy Gym
  • D White: Philosophy for Kids
  • S Kaye and P Thomson: Philosophy for Teens

Also use all the resources mentioned on the YEAR 10/11 page

 

BACK

GCSE YEAR 10 & 11

Specification and Topics covered at GCSE

In Years 10 and 11 all students will undertake a GCSE in Religious Studies.  This is the AQA Religious Studies A course (8062) for first teaching September 2016.  The GCSE covers two major world religions, Christianity and Islam, as well as exploring four different philosophical and ethical themes.

YEAR 10

  • Existence of God and Revelation
  • Christianity: Beliefs, Teachings and Practices
  • Islam: Beliefs, Teachings and Practices

YEAR 11

  • Religion and Life
  • Religion, Human Rights and Social Justice
  • Religion, Peace and Conflict
  • Revision

Further information can be found here:  http://www.aqa.org.uk/subjects/religious-studies/gcse/religious-studies-a-8062

How will your son be assessed at GCSE? 

External

Your son will have 2 exam papers, each 1 hour and 45 minutes long.  

Each paper will require him to answer 4 five-part questions.  

The Component 1 paper (religious beliefs, teachings and practices) will assess his knowledge of Christianity and Islam, and he will have to answer two five-part questions on each religion studied.  

The Component 2 paper (philosophical themes) will ask one five-part question on each of the four themes studied across the two years.

Each five part question consists of a 1, 2, 4, 5 and 12 mark question.

Internal

Your son will have a CAT test at the end of each section of the course, alongside a Mock exam and regular half-termly practice examination questions.

How could you support your son to learn during Years 10 & 11?

Ensure your son completes and keeps safe his study for each unit. Study Packs will contain the bulk of your son’s work for each unit, alongside a wealth of useful printed notes for revision and further reading. It is vital that he retains his Year 10 study packs for revision in Year 11.

As well as these study packs, and key resources and lesson materials being available each week via Moodle, the school VLE, the following textbooks may offer useful support materials:

  • Fleming, et al: AQA Religious Studies A: Christianity (OUP)
  • Fleming et al: AQA Religious Studies A: Islam (OUP)
  • Parry, et al: AQA GCSE 9 – 1 Religious Studies Specification A (Hodder Education)

You can also encourage your son to read around the subject, either using the school VLE for useful links to RS websites, or encouraging him to read a newspaper if there are matters of religious, philosophical and ethical interest being covered.

Ask him what topics he is covering and ask him questions about them. Challenge his answers. Encourage him to give good reasons to back up the answers he gives, including specific religious teachings to support religious arguments and ideas.

BACK

A LEVEL 12 & 13

Specification and Topics covered at A Level

In the Sixth Form we offer an A-Level in Philosophy. This is the 2017 AQA Philosophy A-Level (Specification Course 7172).

 

http://www.aqa.org.uk/subjects/philosophy/as-and-a-level/philosophy-7172

The course covers the following topics in philosophy:

  • Epistemology
  • The Metaphysics of God
  • The Metaphysics of Mind
  • Moral Philosophy

 

How will your son be assessed at A Level? 

This is a linear, two year course and will be assessed at the end of Year 13 through two three-hour papers.  Paper 1 will cover Epistemology and Moral Philosophy and constitute 50% of the assessment.  Paper 2, the other 50%, will cover The Metaphysics of God and The Metaphysics of Mind.  Each paper consists of two sections, with five questions on each topic – one worth 3 marks, two worth 5 marks, one worth 12 marks and a piece of extended writing worth 25 marks.  A total of 100 marks per paper.

Internally, alongside regular practice questions, each half term there will be a timed Common Assessment essay to further develop and assess student progress, as well as an internal final exam at the end of Year 12 on which to decide progression into Year 13.

How could you support your son to learn during Years 12 & 13?

Moodle, the school VLE, will be a key learning resource for your son throughout his A-Level. Key resources, lesson notes, further reading materials, etc, will be available there, alongside a comprehensive reading list and the AQA’s own online anthology of key philosophical texts. However, to compliment this, the following textbooks may offer useful support materials:

  • Lacewing, M, Philosophy for AS and A-Level: Epistemology and Ethics*
  • Lacewing, M, Philosophy for A-Level: Metaphysics of God and Metaphysics of Mind*
  • Cardinal, D, et al, AQA A-Level Philosophy Year 1 and AS: Epistemology and Moral Philosophy*
  • Cardinal, D, et al, AQA A-Level Philosophy Year 2: Metaphysics of God and Metaphysics of Mind*
  • S Blackburn: Think
  • T Nagel: What does it all mean?
  • N Warburton: Philosophy: The Basics

*Ensure it’s the 2017 Lacewing/Cardinal books, not previous editions published for the old Philosophy course in 2014!

You can also encourage your son to read around the subject, either using the school VLE for useful links to Philosophy websites/podcasts/blogs, etc., the reading list we have supplied or encouraging him to read a newspaper if there are matters of philosophical and ethical interest being covered.  He should also be encouraged to follow our Twitter feed where further interesting links will be shared.

Ask him what topics he is covering and ask him questions about them. Challenge his answers. Encourage him to give good reasons to back up the answers he gives.

 

  • YEAR 7
  • YEAR 8
  • YEAR 9
  • GCSE YEAR 10 & 11
  • A LEVEL 12 & 13

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