Back to Subject Information

Religion, Philosophy & Ethics

Religion philosophy and ethics website bannerGBHS Students Study Religion, Philosophy and Ethics to… 

  • Appreciate the influence of religions and beliefs on individual’s culture, behaviour and national life. Most religions and beliefs offer answer to life’s deepest questions.  

  • Seek answers to some of life’s deepest questions that belief and religion can offer answers to. 

  • Grow into independence and work out how to live a good life. 

  • Reflect on and analyse the beliefs and opinions of others, to discuss and debate, to explore and discover, and to learn to respect themselves and their own identity in relation to the world in which they live. 

Transferable Skills

  • Critical Thinking 

  • Empathy  

  • Expressing Ideas 

  • Listening  

  • Communication 

  • Problem Solving 

  • Emotional Intelligence  

  • Persuading Others 

  • Describing Feelings 

  • Verbal Communication 

  • Meet Deadlines 

  • Work Ethic 

Key Stage 3

During Key Stage 3, students learn to develop skills that are central to Religion, Philosophy and Ethics. These include enquiry, reflection, communication and evaluation. During the first year study areas include beliefs about God, festivals and rites of passage and Buddhism. 

In Year 8 the focus switches to the study of Sikhism followed by importance of sacred texts. We reflect on what makes a place sacred and we explore the Hindu faith. 

In Year 9 the students explore attitudes to Islam, followed by exploring human rights issues. Students consider ultimate questions such as ‘why are we here’ when they study the topic of science and creation. We consider important and contemporary questions such as is religion dangerous? 

Key Stage 4

Core RE 

Alongside Personal Development all Year 10 students follow a Core RE course exploring contemporary religious, moral and philosophical issues. 

In the first term the course focuses on the moral issues surrounding money, wealth and poverty. In the second term the students will consider the question of whether religion makes you happier. In the third term there will be a focus on whether some careers are more moral than others. Finally, we will consider matters of life and death such as abortion, euthanasia and animal rights. 

Although this is a non-examined course, students will be assessed on the skills they have developed through both verbal and written tasks. 

Religious Studies AQA GCSE Full Course specification 

At GCSE students study AQA Religious Studies (Specification A). Students focus on the beliefs and practices of Christianity and Islam. They will examine key beliefs within those religions such as the nature of God, creation and life after death. Students will also learn about key practises within these religions such as worship and their role within the community. Students are given the opportunity to apply their knowledge of Christianity and Islam to four contemporary ethical themes: Peace and conflict, Religion and life, Crime and punishment and Human Rights and Social Justice. 

This GCSE course is 100% exam based and is assessed in two papers: 

  • Christian beliefs and practice and Islam beliefs and practices (1 hour 45 minutes exam) 

  • Thematic studies (1 hour 45 minutes exam). 

Key Stage 5

At Key Stage 5 students study A Level Philosophy and Ethics (OCR). This highly respected course is split into three units, Philosophy of Religion, Religious Ethics and Developments in Christian Thought. It is examined by three, essay based, exams at the end of Year 13. 

Students will study ancient philosophers such as Plato and Aristotle, as well as debating issues such as the problem of evil and the existence of God. In the Religious Ethics unit, students will apply ethical theories to situations in order to delve into human morality and motivations for making decisions in ethical dilemmas. The Developments in Christian Thought unit explores theological issues such as how we can know anything about a transcendent God and whether Jesus was the Son of God or merely a teacher of wisdom. 

The study of Philosophy and Ethics at A Level is engaging, academically rigorous and excellent preparation for a wide range of courses at degree level. The subject involves a study of philosophical, theological and ethical theories which underpin and structure our world today. An understanding of these ideas is essential to an informed and nuanced engagement with key themes in politics, law, medicine, education, human rights and religion. 

Students are set weekly homework and expected to complete regular essays in order to practice their ability to develop and criticise arguments. 

Assessment and Marking  

Students will be expected to maintain their own file of notes, essays and handouts which will be checked regularly. Essays will be marked according to examination board marking schemes. Other work will be marked according to the standard effort and attainment policy.  

The examinations are as follows: · 

  • Philosophy of religion – 2 hours  

  • Religion and ethics – 2 hours 

  • Developments in Christian Thought – 2 hours  

Students will be prepared fully for the examinations, both in terms of subject knowledge and essay-writing skills. Students will also learn how to note-take and debate. 

Potential Degree Courses and Career Choices 

An A Level in Philosophy of Religion and Ethics is highly regarded by universities and is excellent preparation for degrees in Philosophy, Theology and Religious Studies, PPE Sociology and Law. Graduates in these subjects may go on to careers in Law, Civil Service, Foreign Office and Teaching. The Ethical theories studied in this A Level are also highly relevant to degrees in Medicine, Science and Business. 

Social, Moral, Spiritual and Cultural Development

Religion, Philosophy and Ethics plays a significant role in the personal development of children and young people. At its heart is the intention to enable children and young people to become "religiously educated” in order to face the demands of the contemporary world. Given the opportunities for encountering people of different beliefs and lifestyles, RE also has a key role to play in fostering respect and social cohesion. As well as being "religiously educated”, RE helps students to become "skilled cultural navigators”, able to handle the differences of faith and belief around them, as well as establish their own sense of identity and belonging.  

Examples of Spiritual, Moral, Social and Cultural education in Religion, Philosophy and Ethics include:  

  • Students being given the opportunity to explore believes and values from a range of different religions and cultures; learning about shared and differing views and beliefs.  

  • Students exploring a range of perspectives on key moral and ethical issues such as euthanasia, capital punishment, life after death, science vs religion and human rights. 

  • Students explore and examine a range of different religions and cultures, giving them the opportunity to develop an understanding of multiculturalism, diversity and respect for others. 

  •  Students become aware of the positive impact that religion has in society by exploring the way in which religion affects daily life, moral decisions and social responses from its believers.  

  • Students are presented with opportunities to explore different artistic images and literature from religious and cultural perspectives. They also investigate aspects of religious architecture, paintings, symbols and their meanings.  

  • Within KS3 and KS4, students consider the fundamental British values of democracy, the rule of law, individual liberty, and mutual respect and tolerance of those with different faiths and beliefs. They are also taught that there can often be conflict between being a religious person and the law of the land.  

  • In Religion, Philosophy and Ethics students consider a range of different religious teachings and faiths from Y7 through to Y13. They are taught within the different topics and units that people may hold different viewpoints.  

Beyond the Classroom

At Great Baddow High School Religion, Philosophy and Ethics is not just about subject knowledge. The subject develops critical/evaluative thinking and allows for the personal spiritual development of students. The world our students live in is full of beauty but also full of confusion. Religion, Philosophy and Ethics can equip and empower children to make sense of it. We regularly encourage visiting speakers from organisations such as the Three Faiths Forum to visit the school to enable students to explore the challenging questions in life.