Head of Philosophy, Ethics and Religion – Miss A Foster
Teacher of Philosophy, Ethics and Religion – Mr S Scott
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:
- Enhancing the spiritual, moral, social, cultural and academic knowledge of our pupils
- Being a fair reflection of the societies in which our pupils live
- 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?
Pupils need to develop their knowledge and understanding of the beliefs and practices of differing belief systems
Pupils need to develop their ability to recognise and evaluate key similarities and differences between beliefs
Pupils need to understand the manner in which faith can influence the approach and behaviours of peoples across the world
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
Key Stage 4 GCSE Religious Studies
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.
GCSE Scheme of Work Overview
KS4 Core Religious Education and Personal Development
Religious Education and Personal Development at Maghull High School enables students to learn about the world in which we live.
Our intention is to allow students to embrace the challenges of creating a happy and successful adult life, acquiring knowledge that will enable them to make informed decisions about their wellbeing, health and relationships and to build their self-efficacy. Students can also put this knowledge into practice as they develop the capacity to make sound decisions when facing risks, challenges and complex contexts. Everyone faces difficult situations in their lives. Relationships and sex education can support young people to develop resilience, to know how and when to ask for help, and to know where to access support.
RE is not a subject designed to make people religious, but rather to allow pupils to think for themselves about religious, moral, social, philosophical and ethical issues.
RE develops students’ understanding of the beliefs, teachings, practices and forms of expression in Christianity and of other world religions such as Judaism, Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism and Sikhism. RE also provides students with opportunities for their own spiritual, moral, social, and cultural development. RE at Maghull High School promotes respect and tolerance for different people’s faiths/non-faiths, feelings and values.
Students in KS4, not on the GCSE pathway, study issues such as secularism in society, religious diversity and tolerance and ‘Crime and punishment’- an in-depth look at justice, religion and the aim of punishment.
KS4 Core RE and PD Scheme of Work Overview
Key Stage 5
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.
Students will be following AQA Advanced GCE in Psychology which encompasses three units of work:
Introductory topics in Psychology enquires into four key topics areas for the subject, including attachment, memory, social influence, and psychopathology.
Psychology in context allows students to engage with main topics and debates within the subject such as nature and nurture, alongside applied psychology with research methods and biopsychology.
The final area of study to be assessed is based upon issues and options within psychology, including the subject matter referenced earlier alongside three optional modules, which at Maghull Sixth Form are relationships, schizophrenia, and forensic psychology.
The course is a linear study, lasting the duration of years 12 and 13 and assessed in three examinations, each lasting for 2 hours and each worth one third of the final grade.
Key Stage 5 Schemes of Work Overview
Year 12 Philosophy and ethics
Year 12 Psychology
Year 13 Philosophy and ethics