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Religious Education and Philosophy


On leaving the school we expect all students who have studied RE/Philosophy to be capable of continuing critical reflection about their own beliefs, and the beliefs of others, drawing from a broad body of relevant knowledge.  Using the knowledge and skills gained, our students should be able to evaluate the justifications for different positions, including their own, and identify fallacies, logical reasoning, and competing interpretations, in order to engage constructively as citizens of the world. 


Staff:

  • Dr D McKee, Head of Department 
  • Mr A Northcott,  Teacher
  • Miss A Norris 

Trips and Visits:

  • Participation in 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 local universities or philosophers – past guests have included scholars from Warwick University, York University, and Panpsycast's host, Jack Symes). 
  • Year 11 'Philosopher’s Stone' inter-school Competition between KE Aston, KE Handsworth Girls, KE Handsworth Boys and KE Handsworth Wood Girls.  
  • Year 12: annual participation with Holocaust Educational Trust’s 'Lessons from Auschwitz' project.

Year 7

Summary of curriculum:

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

Main topics:

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: Did the resurrection really happen? 

  • Investigation of resurrection stories and the nature of religious knowledge and faith. 
  • The nature of ethics in Christianity 
  • Parables 

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 combat Islamophobia and religious prejudice? 

  • Contemporary perceptions of Islam in the media 
  • Islamophobia and religious prejudice 
  • Comparative reflection on Abrahamic religions 
Assessment throughout the year:

There will be three Common Assessment Tasks (CATs) during 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 parents can support their son’s learning:

As well as a complete reading list found in your son’s study pack for each topic and key resources and lesson materials being available each week via OneNote, 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 
Able and inspired opportunities:

Each study pack is crammed full of 'push yourself' tasks and wider reading opportunities. 

Useful websites:  

 

Year 8

Summary of curriculum:

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

Main topics:

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 
Assessment throughout the year:

There will be three Common Assessment Tasks (CATs) during 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 parents can support their son’s learning:

As well as a complete reading list found in your son’s study pack for each topic and key resources and lesson materials being available each week via OneNote, 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 
Able and inspired opportunities:

Each study pack is crammed full of 'push yourself' tasks and wider reading opportunities. 

Useful websites:  

 

Year 9

Summary of curriculum:

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. 

Main topics:

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 and Starting GCSE Religious Studies 

  • Is knowledge about God possible? 
  • Can we believe in miracles? 
  • GCSE then begins: see years 10 and 11 below for full information about the Existence of God and Revelation topic. 
Assessment throughout the year:

There will be three Common Assessment Tasks (CATs) during 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 parents can support their son’s learning:

As well as a complete reading list found in your son’s study pack for each topic and key resources and lesson materials being available each week via OneNote, 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 

Able and inspired opportunities:

Each study pack is crammed full of 'push yourself' tasks and wider reading opportunities. Plus the option to study the New College of the Humanities’ School Philosophy Certificate qualification. There is also encouragement to write their own independent philosophy via the website. www.philosophyunleashed.com 

Useful websites: www.philosophyunleashed.com 

 

Year 10

Summary of curriculum:

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

Main topics:
  • Existence of God and Revelation 
  • Christianity: Beliefs, Teachings and Practices 
  • Islam: Beliefs, Teachings and Practices 
Assessment throughout the year:  
How parents can support their son’s learning:

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 OneNote, 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. 

Able and inspired opportunities:

Each study pack is crammed full of 'push yourself' tasks and wider reading opportunities.  Plus the Philosophy Morning/House Philosophy offers unique opportunities to the top seven students in each form. There is also encouragement to write their own independent philosophy via the website www.philosophyunleashed.com 

Useful websites: www.philosophyunleashed.com 

 

Year 11

Summary of curriculum:

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

Main topics:
  • Religion and Life 
  • Religion, human rights and social justice 
  • Religion, peace and conflict 
  • Revision 
Assessment throughout the year:

External

  • assessment will consist of two exam papers, each 1 hr 45 min long.   
  • Each paper will require answers to four five-part questions.   
  • The Component 1 paper (religious beliefs, teachings and practices) will assess knowledge of Christianity and Islam, and candidtaes 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 

  • There will be CAT tests at the end of each section of the course, alongside a Mock exam and regular half termly practice examination questions. 

How parents can support their son’s learning:

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 OneNote, 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. 

Able and inspired opportunities:

Each study pack is crammed full of 'push yourself' tasks and wider reading opportunities. Plus the interschool 'Philosopher’s Stone competition offers unique opportunities to the top students in the year. There is also encouragement to write their own independent philosophy via the website www.philosophyunleashed.com 

Useful websites: www.philosophyunleashed.com 

 

Year 12

Summary of curriculum:

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

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

Main topics:
  • Epistemology 
  • Moral philosophy 
Assessment throughout the year:

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, during 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 parents can support their son’s learning:

OneNote, 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 edition, 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. 

Able and inspired opportunities:

Extensive study notes and departmental library offer students various pathways to wider learning, as well as trips and conferences where relevant and available.  There is also encouragement to write their own independent philosophy via the website www.philosophyunleashed.com

Useful websites: www.philosophyunleashed.com 

 

Year 13

Summary of curriculum:

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 

Main topics:
  • The Metaphysics of God 
  • The Metaphysics of Mind 
Assessment throughout the year:

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. 

How parents can support their son’s learning:

OneNote, 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 edition, 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. 

Able and inspired opportunities:

Extensive study notes and departmental library offer students various pathways to wider learning, as well as trips and conferences where relevant and available.  There is also encouragement to write their own independent philosophy via the website www.philosophyunleashed.com 

Useful websites: www.philosophyunleashed.com