Religious Studies and Philosophy

    With religious issues frequently in the news agenda, Religious Studies is a relevant, engaging and challenging subject.  RS gives students valuable insights into the diverse beliefs, ethics and opinions of Britain today.  It can help with the personal development of students, supporting engagement with the spiritual, moral, social and ultimate questions that can surface in their lives and communities. In tackling difficult questions, it provides students with insight that can work to challenge stereotypes, promote cohesion and tackle extremism. RS does important work encouraging young people to value themselves and become responsible citizens as it meets many of the requirements for Personal and Social, Health and Economic Education and for Citizenship

    Year 9

    The Religious Studies course aims to encourage students to learn from different religions, beliefs, values and traditions while exploring their own beliefs and thinking about questions of meaning. It helps encourage students to develop their sense of identity and belonging and has an important role in preparing students for adult life. The course enables students to develop respect and sensitivity to others, particularly those whose faiths and beliefs are different from their own.


    Students in Year 9 study topics that are based on the Local Authority’s Agreed Syllabus for Religious Studies. The course helps develop critical thinking skills and will prepare students for the philosophical, ethical and religious aspects of the GCSE.


    Students will study the ‘Barriers’ topic which examines issues of prejudice and discrimination using case studies such as the Holocaust and the Rwandan genocide.


    Students will study the life of the Buddha, Siddhartha Gautama and will look at his different teachings. They will also look at the Buddhist concept of karma and examine how following Buddhist teachings would impact the life of a Buddhist.


    Regular homework will be set and students will complete assessments in the style of the GCSE paper. These assessments will be graded by a 1 – 9 system in line with GCSE style grading. The aim of the assessments will be to further develop analytical and evaluation skills in addition to testing knowledge. 

    Year 10 and 11


    GCSE RS Philosophy and Applied Ethics

    Exam Board/Syllabus

    AQA 8062

    Grade Equivalences

    9 to 1

    Assessment Route

    Examination 100% 

    Two exams ( 1hr 45m each)

    RS provides an excellent background for A-Level Philosophy and Ethics, and for careers requiring good communication skills and the ability to work with others, in addition to helping develop analytical and evaluative skills.


    RS aims to equip students with the skills to play an effective role in public life. It encourages them to take an interest in topical and controversial issues and to engage in discussion and debate.  Lessons will encourage them to develop their critical thinking skills and explore different ideas and opinions. Ultimately this should help contribute to giving students the confidence to become active, informed and critical citizens so that they can take action to try to make a difference in their communities and the wider world. This would fulfil the school’s aim for students to ‘know thyself’.


    The topics are highly relevant for students and some examples of themes covered include:

    • Investigations into why people may or may not believe in God’s existence.
    • Religious and non-religious views on war and peace.
    • Issues of discrimination in society.
    • How medical ethics is controversial (examining issues related to euthanasia, abortion and IVF).

    The modules are:

    • A study of two religions:  this topic covers beliefs and practices.
    • Relationships and families:  this topic covers sexuality, reproduction, marriage, divorce and gender equality. 
    • Religion and life:  this topic covers the debate between scientific truth and religious truth, environmental issues, animal rights, the value of human life, abortion, euthanasia and beliefs about the afterlife.
    • The existence of God and revelation:  this topic covers arguments for and against God’s existence and the importance of miracles and special revelation.
    • Religion, crime and punishment:  this topic covers rules, different types of crime, causes of crime, the concept of good and evil, the aims of punishment, the treatment of criminals and a focus on the prison system. 
    Year 12 and 13


    GCE A Level Philosophy

    Exam Board/Syllabus




    Course Entry Requirements

    In Addition To The School Sixth Form Entry Requirements

    A GCSE grade 4 in English  

    Assessment Route

    Each component is assessed via externally-assessed written examination comprising three sections. Students answer a choice of questions in Section A and Section B.

    Section A - One question answered from a choice of two (20 marks)

    Section B - One question answered from a choice of three (30 marks)



    This course gives you an understanding of different world views, cultures and religions. Students will adopt an enquiring, critical and reflective approach. They will also reflect on and develop their own values, opinions and attitudes in the light of their study.

    The course allows consideration of modern ethical dilemmas and issues such as, whether a war can ever be justified, whether abortions should be allowed, or whether society does enough to treat everybody fairly. A number of key ethical theories are studied so that students develop an awareness of how these theories can influence moral dilemmas. The course also explores the idea of ultimate questions, for instance, looking at whether God exists, whether atheists are correct, what happens when people die, and whether religious or mystical experiences take place, amongst other equally thought-provoking topics.

    Students on this course will gain a valuable understanding of a variety of philosophical, ethical and religious ideas and will be able to relate these to traditions and cultures, enabling them to interpret the religious, social and cultural practices of our world.  If you have an enquiring mind, are receptive to new ideas and enjoy discussing and asking fundamental questions about important issues, then this is the right subject for you.

    The subject complements a wide range of subject combinations in the arts, sciences and social sciences. All universities accept and welcome students with a qualification in this area onto a variety of courses as it is a highly regarded qualification.

    Component 1: A Study of Religion

    Religious figures and sacred texts

    Religious concepts and religious life

    Significant social and historical developments in religious thought

    Religious practices and religious identity

    Component 2: Philosophy of Religion

    Arguments for the existence of God

    Challenges to religious belief

    Religious experience

    Religious language

    Component 3: Religion and Ethics

    Ethical thought

    Deontological ethics

    Teleological ethics

    Determinism and free will

    Learning strategies:

    A full range of learning strategies is employed. Lessons will involve examining and discussing the ideas of philosophers. Students will also be encouraged to express their own views about issues, in addition to listening and respecting the views of others.

    Students will be expected to prepare for the lessons through research and reading and an interest in contemporary issues would be helpful on the course.

    Students need to show a high level of motivation to take on a demanding, challenging but inspiring course. This course will help develop skills in researching, communicating ideas orally and through written work, analysing and evaluating information and critiquing complex ideas. It will also help develop problem solving skills, particularly with regard to solutions when looking at real life issues.