Philosophy, Ethics and Religion


  Mr S Scott - Head of Philosophy, Ethics and Religion:

  Miss A Foster - Teacher of Philosophy, Ethics and Religion: 



Philosophy, Ethics and Religion is the study of belief, knowledge and practice around the world. An awareness of the many different truth claims accepted by people, both locally, nationally and internationally enables the development of respect, understanding and tolerance within young people. Philosophy, Ethics and Religion is focused on presenting a genuine reflection of the societies in which our pupils reside. It is more relevant than at almost any time in the past; it is challenging and it is hugely informative. Students of the subject develop their knowledge of cultures, beliefs, practices and motivations. Their understanding of the diversity of the world is enhanced, thereby helping them to become responsible global citizens who understand how people and societies interact. Students are able to form educated opinions about cultures and religions, without the unbalanced hysteria that can be encountered elsewhere. Equally, pupils are able to create their own views and beliefs based on a deep understanding of what belief and practice, whether religious or non-religious, looks like. As such, the subject is central to improving the cultural capital of the student population at Maghull High School.

A quick glance at any form of mainstream media demonstrates the significance of faith in the world today and the manifestations of belief. As such, the study of Philosophy, Ethics and Religion is the study of material that unquestionably affects the lives of people in our societies today. 

In order to maintain its relevance, the study of faith has be presented in a balanced manner – both the good and the bad. Formative assessment is used frequently in order to inform teaching practice and retrieval practice is used in all lessons in order to consolidate long term learning. Assessment is planned in line with the core skills needed to flourish at GCSE Religious Studies – knowledge (content) and evaluation. As such, schemes are deliberately planned to be knowledge rich and assessment focused at on knowledge before gradually introducing in years 9 and 10 the need to develop evaluative skills. The central focus of religious study is that pupils are not treated disrespectfully; the subject is a fair reflection of the society they know and experience. Doing so enables the subject to be challenging and answer some of the questions as to why people believe and act in the ways they do. Primarily, students learn what differing beliefs/religions believe and practice. It is recognised that Great Britain is majority Christian entity whilst it is equally recognised that Great Britain is a pluralistic landscape with a growing non-religious movement. Good religious study reflects this. Students are able to learn in detail about the many different beliefs through a range of learning styles and activities in order to appeal to all learners.


Philosophy, Ethics and Religion has three key focuses:

1.Enhancing the spiritual, moral, social, cultural and academic knowledge of our pupils

2.Being a fair reflection of the societies in which our pupils live

3.Challenging our pupils both personally and academically


What are the key concepts that have to be mastered for pupils to be successful in this subject?

1. Pupils need to develop their knowledge and understanding of the beliefs and practices of differing belief systems

2. Pupils need to develop their ability to recognise and evaluate key similarities and differences between beliefs

3. Pupils need to understand the manner in which faith can influence the approach and behaviours of peoples across the world

4. Pupils need to develop their abilities in forming judgements and opinions based on a balanced analysis of key beliefs and practices


Key Stage 3

The aim of Religious Studies at Key Stage 3 is to engage students in philosophical enquiry by questioning the world around them.  They will reflect on the meaning of Religious Studies and the part it plays in everyday life. Students will explore issues of cultural identity, investigate issues of belonging and question whether it is good to belong to a group.

To achieve these aims the students study a wide range of topics and current issues. For example, students cover the whole range of world faiths including Christianity, Islam, Judaism, Hinduism, Buddhism and Sikhism as well as pagan and non-religious truth claims. The Christian and Islam elements of the KS3 structure are central to later GCSE requirements. In addition, pupils are introduced to key philosophical ideas from figures such as Plato and Aristotle whilst they also consider whether religion is a force for good or evil within our world.

Students are assessed regularly and are given targets by their teacher to enable them to understand what they need to do to make progress.


Scheme of Work Overview:

Year 7        Autumn 1    Autumn 2    Spring 1    Spring 2    Summer 1    Summer 2

Year 8        Autumn 1    Autumn 2    Spring 1    Spring 2    Summer 1    Summer 2

Year 9        Autumn 1    Autumn 2    Spring 1    Spring 2    Summer 1    Summer 2


Key Stage 4

The new government changes to GCSE specification requires students to sit two examinations from the perspective of two different major world religions although one must be Christianity.  

At KS4 pupils will complete the following units of work from the Edexcel Religious B component:

GCSE (Pearson Edexcel) Religious Studies:  Religion, Philosophy and Social Justice (Christianity) 

•Philosophy of Religion 

•Living the Christian Life


GCSE (Pearson Edexcel) Religious Studies:  Peace and Conflict (Islam)  

•Muslim Beliefs

•Crime and Punishment

•Peace and Conflict

It is recognised that the majority of young people are not religious in the UK and the exam offers opportunities to express non-religious attitudes to the issues raised within each topic.  At the same time offering pupils to reflect on the big issues such as why poverty and war exist in our world. In addressing some of these issues we aim to educate pupils to disagree or agree respectfully with the ideas they encounter.  This supports government guidance which advises that `every school is responsible for educating children and young people who will live and work in a country which is diverse in terms of cultures, religions or beliefs’.  The government has set out its view of British values as including individual liberty, tolerance and mutual respect between those of different faiths and beliefs. 


Scheme of Work Overview:

Year 10        Autumn 1    Autumn 2    Spring 1    Spring 2    Summer 1    Summer 2

Year 11        Autumn 1    Autumn 2    Spring 1    Spring 2    Summer 1    Summer 2



A-Level Religious Studies

Students will be following OCR Advanced GCE in Religious Studies which encompasses three units of work:

• Philosophy of Religion which enquires into the nature and influence of religious experience, problems of evil and suffering and philosophical language.

• Religion and Ethics which focuses on issues and debates in religion and ethics by a study of three ethical theories including.  Students will reflect on the beginning and end of life issues.

• Developments in Christian thought will investigate religious beliefs, values, teachings, sources of wisdom and authority.  This will include analysing the practices that shape and express religious identity, social and historical developments along with religion and society.


Scheme of Work Overview:

Year 12        Autumn 1    Autumn 2    Spring 1    Spring 2    Summer 1    Summer 2

Year 13        Autumn 1    Autumn 2    Spring 1    Spring 2    Summer 1    Summer 2


Philosophy Scheme of work

Christian Thought Scheme of work

Ethics Scheme of work


Cultural Capital

Philosophy, Ethics and Religion is well placed to develop the cultural capacity of pupils at Maghull High School. The demographics of society, both locally, nationally and internationally are more diverse than at any stage in history. Religion is a complex thing, flourishing in some contexts but not in others. It can be controversial in its teachings and extreme in its expression. The negative manifestations of religious belief, for example extremism and terrorism and their motives are studied in a balanced and mature manner. At the same time, pupils are shown how all faiths teach and encourage peace and contain key themes such as love, forgiveness and compassion. Religion has been credited with inspiring people such as Mother Teresa, Martin Luther King, Mahatma Gandhi and William Wilberforce to demand hugely positive changes in society and history and these are all themes which pupils explore. By developing the cultural capital of our pupils, we are able to help them make sense of this complexity, thereby creating the opportunities for them to form their own educated, informed and personal worldviews. Pupils are presented across all key stages with a vast array of differing beliefs and truth claims – each adding to the development of a pupil’s cultural capital. For example, across Key Stage 3 pupils will encounter each of the world’s main faiths, including Hinduism, Sikhism and Judaism. Christianity and Islam are studied in detail whilst pupils are also given the opportunity to be introduced to Humanism and non-religious belief, pre-Christian belief with paganism, as well as Philosophy and a detailed investigation of whether religion is a force for good or bad in the world. Students are provided with the opportunity to visit local churches, mosques and other religious buildings whilst in the Sixth Form, the department is in the process of pursuing a possible trip to Rome to visit the centre of the Catholic faith. Learning at Key Stage 3 is designed to maximise the development of religious knowledge, promote an interest in its study and form a strong base knowledge for moving into Key Stage 4 where students focus on the Edexcel GCSE Religious Studies Specification B on Christianity (Religion, Philosophy and Social Justice) and Islam (Peace and Conflict). The department also provides Mindfulness sessions, aimed specifically at year 11 pupils, to aid them in a stressful period of their lives and help them succeed in their GCSE examinations. Inevitably the study of such material means students engage with different cities, peoples, beliefs, languages, buildings etc and as a result, their cultural awareness is developed.


The British Values of tolerance, respect, democracy and law are all explored to differing extents within Philosophy, Ethics and Religion. The study of religion allows for a balanced approach, within the study of each belief, enabling pupils to understand how religion has contributed to the development of international law, human rights, treating each other with respect and democratic principles in the main. Students are given the opportunity to recognise the enormous influence that religious belief, especially Christian belief, has had on the modern society around us, thereby allowing pupils to begin to appreciate the positives that religion has offered as well as an awareness and understanding of the bad. Equally, Philosophy, Ethics and Religion enables pupils to develop their spiritual, moral, social and cultural (SMSC) in terms of forming their own views, making their own choices, understanding the nature of societies and belief within them and how religion has, and continues to have, a profound impact on human culture.


An Equitable Curriculum - Removing Barriers to Learning

The curriculum is designed to reflect the society in which pupils live. It is pitched appropriately with stretching work planned and produced to take pupils out of their comfort zone. Equally, planning both in long term, medium term and individual lessons are done so with differentiation as a main focus. Learning objectives are differentiated in a manner which is challenging for all but equally appropriate for different level learners, based around developing pupil knowledge, understanding and application. As such, the curriculum is designed to be equitable for all. 

The material taught throughout Key Stage 3 has been discussed and amended in order to motivate and engage students of all differing gender identities, abilities and needs. 

Differing pedagogies are used on a consistent basis, allowing for visual, aural and kinaesthetic learners to be able to engage in the material. A whole array of activities are adopted for pupils, including use of video, images, comprehension and exam technique. The department has access to the most up to date technologies and these are adopted routinely. Computers are used for research activities to enable all learners to produce their own pieces of work. Within the classroom, appropriate positive seating plans, one to one instruction and teaching supports are provided for pupils with any specific learning barriers. 


For further information regarding the Philosophy, Ethics and Religion curriculum please contact Mr S Scott (Head of Philosophy, Ethics and Religion)

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