Religious Studies and Philosophy

Welcome to Religion, Philosophy and Ethics!

Picture7Religion, Philosophy and Ethics is an integral subject in developing students’ knowledge and understanding within the multi-cultural and diverse world in which we live.

Our vision is to allow students to develop key skills for learning and life beyond education.  Students will gain a deeper understanding of religions and explore philosophy and ethics in the modern world.  Our subject develops students’ skills such as critical thinking and reasoning; it encourages them to participate through in-depth debates.

Studying Religion, Philosophy and Ethics helps us to understand other people’s beliefs, what their beliefs and values are and why they do the things they do. It helps us to think about our own beliefs as well as looking at alternative belief systems we might want to find out about in the future. Religion, Philosophy and Ethics helps us to think about big questions which people sometimes ask about life. We can look at some of the answers philosophers have come up with over the last five thousand years.

We have high expectations of our students and provide a variety of opportunities for them to engage with the subject through our teaching and learning methods. Students are able to enjoy and achieve in Religion, Philosophy and Ethics through activities such as group work, role play, research and debate. We also focus on developing the students to become independent learners by encouraging them to have a growth mind-set and foster a love of learning for the subject. 

Some of the most important figures in history, and in the modern-world, have studied Religious Studies and Philosophy and Ethics such as T.S.Elliot, Carol-Ann Duffy and Martin Luther King Jr. Our aim is to inspire our students to understand the importance of Religious Studies and Philosophy and Ethics in today’s world whilst ensuring they gain the best possible results at all key stages.

Our curriculum

Key Stage 3

In Year 7 & 8 students have 1 hour of Religious Studies per week. In Years 7 and 8 they study a variety of topics aimed to equip students with knowledge of the 6 major world religions and how they are practised.  In Year 9, students study Philosophy and Ethics to allow them to explore more abstract concepts as well as develop their skills in critical analysis within the LIFE curriculum. The LIFE curriculum in Cheam High is specifically developed Personal, Social, Health and Citizenship Programme. 

Key Stage 4

For their GCSE, students will study the brand new AQA Religious Studies A. They will sit two papers: Beliefs & Practices and Thematic Studies.

In Beliefs & Practices, students will explore the things that Christians and Buddhists believe and do, giving them a valuable insight into how the religions operate and why religious people are the way they are. They will also get to look at their role in today’s world.

The Thematic Studies paper focuses on Philosophy and Ethics. Students will tackle a wide range of contemporary issues that the world faces. Topics include:

  • Medical Ethics and Value of Life
  • Human Rights
  • Crime and Punishment
  • War, Peace and conflict

Key Stage 5

At A Level, students will study the new AQA Religious Studies specification. There are three main components:

  • Philosophy of Religion
  • Ethics
  • Study of Religion.

All three topics are related and provide students with an even greater understanding of the world around them. The Russell Group of universities has made it clear that a Religious Studies A Level provides ‘suitable preparation for University generally.’ In fact, a large number of Oxford University Students studying Maths had an A Level in Religious Studies. It’s easy to see why Religious Studies is one of the fastest growing A Level subjects.

Enrichment and Extra Curricular Activities

Picture 2The Religious studies and Philosophy and Ethics department ensures that students can access the subject outside of the classroom by running trips to places of worship as part of the school’s activity day programme.

We also provide intervention sessions at all Key Stages. Students who do not meet expected levels in Key Assessment Tasks would be expected to attend sessions that focus on areas of concern before students are asked to re-sit the assessment. There are also after school ‘Philosophy Phocus’ drop-in clinics that students can choose to attend should they need further support. We encourage our students to think how the subject can be valuable beyond the classroom. It develops people who have the ability to look for different approaches and take an open mind to issues.

Want to be a lawyer?

Religious studies and Philosophy and Ethics teaches critical thinking, analytical skills, and logical argumentation—key skills for the law.

Like Music?

Philosophy helps both your creative and practical skills as well as being inspiration for melody and lyrics

What about Medicine?

“Graduates of philosophy who come in to graduate-entry medicine, or to nursing courses, are very useful.”

Deborah Bowman, University of London

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Some useful website links:

All students:

http://www.theguardian.com/world/philosophy

http://kidsthinkaboutit.com/?page_id=20

http://www.bbc.co.uk/learning/subjects/religious_studies.shtml

A Level:

http://www.philosophersannual.org/

https://philosophynow.org/selection

http://www.iep.utm.edu/apriori/

Some famous philosophical quotes:

« Faced with what is right, to leave it undone shows a lack of courage. »
Confucius

« For a truly religious man nothing is tragic. »
Wittgenstein

« Words are more treacherous and powerful than we think. »
Sartre

« Take from the philosopher the pleasure of being heard and his desire for knowledge ceases. »
Rousseau

« Time flies never to be recalled. »
Virgil

« Love takes up where knowledge leaves off. »
Saint Thomas Aquinas

« It is much more secure to be feared than to be loved. »
Machiavelli

« The man never feels the want of what it never occurs to him to ask for. »
Schopenhauer

« Most nations,as well as people are impossible only in their youth;they become incorrigible as they grow older »
Rousseau

A link to the latest department review for Religious Studies and Philosophy can be found here.