Philosophy, Religion and Ethics

Introduction:

The Philosophy, Religion and Ethics course aims to give students insight into the world around them, and introduce them to important thinking skills and ideas. Alongside studying the six major world religious traditions, students are introduced to key concepts within Philosophy, as well as being given the opportunity to evaluate core ethical issues and ideas in the modern world.  Alongside this, pupils are encouraged to explore their own spirituality and identity, and reflect on their own ideas about life.

Although we have been successful in obtaining top examination results at GCSE and A Level, the main focus of the PRE department is on the personal and spiritual development of every individual within the school.

Facilities/resources:

We have a suite of three dedicated teaching rooms in the school which include a number of computers. The A Level teaching room is small and intimate with a seminar style lay out, making it ideal for the discussions so central to A level classes.

What we do:

At Key Stage 3 pupils receive two lessons in Year 7, one in Year 8 and two in Year 9. We also deliver our Spirituality and Ethics curriculum to all pupils in Year 11 for one lesson per week. Students also have the option of a two-year GCSE RS course involving three lessons per week. We have two sets in Year 10 and two sets in Year 11. Sixth Form pupils can choose to study Religious Studies at A Level.

Pupils follow a lively and varied curriculum with a thematic approach.  This includes:

  • Year 7 – Theme “God” – Introduction to God and religion; Philosophical arguments for and against the existence of a God; Different understandings of God’s nature; Does religion need God?; Portrayals and understanding of God in the 21st Century.
  • Year 8 – Theme “Love” – Introduction to different understandings of love; Love through Christianity; Love in action; Love through Sikhism.
  • Year 9 – Theme “Truth” – Introduction to truth and belief; Ultimate questions; Personal truth and identity; Truth through Hinduism; The potential dangers of belief; Media portrayals of truth; Islam and truth; Moral truth.
  • GCSE – Students study the AQA Specification A.  This course is divided into two components. Component 1 looks at the core beliefs and practices of two different religions. Component 2 looks at ethical issues in the modern world, evaluating them with relation to religious, secular and personal belief.
  • Year 11 Spirituality and Ethics – A course designed to enable pupils to reflect on the spiritual dimension of their lives, as well as their own ethical perspectives.  This is a non-examined course, the purpose of which is to address and support the moral and spiritual needs of our pupils as they begin to enter adult life.  Particular emphasis is placed on enabling pupils to consider what values they hold and who inspires them.

A Level – Students currently follow the Eduqas specification. This comprises one unit focusing on Philosophy, one unit on Ethics and one unit looking at Christianity in the modern world.  In Philosophy, students study a variety of different topics, including the Philosophy of Language, arguments for and challenges to the existence of God, as well as the psychology of religion and religious experiences.  In Ethics, students study a variety of religious and non-religious ethical systems, including Utilitarianism and Virtue Ethics, and apply these to a number of contemporary issues such as euthanasia and sexuality, as well as considering the ideas surrounding free will.  In Christianity, students look at the theology and phenomenology of Christianity in the modern world, including different interpretations of scripture and the ways in which Christianity responds to challenges such as secularisation. 

Staff:

Head of Department: Mr P Bond
Teaching Staff: Mrs A Jewell, Miss S Burton, Mr P Manning, Mrs A Lockey

Trips

There needs to be an experiential dimension to pupils’ study of religion. Thus, in Year 7, pupils visit Singer’s Hill synagogue in Birmingham and in Year 8 they visit Coventry Cathedral. In the Sixth Form, students have the option to visit the Trappist monastery at Mount St Bernard, Leicestershire to experience the Christian contemplative tradition.
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