Religion, Philosophy and Ethics

The Religious Studies department at Blenheim High School prides itself on being an open, innovative and inspiring area in which all student’s opinions and beliefs are appreciated, respected and shared. The aim for the department is simple – to encourage students to develop opinions, to be able to work with and appreciate others whose opinions may differ and to respect the variety of faith and belief that our community offers.

All Religious Studies staff are passionate and well educated about their subject to encourage the best possible levels of success. A variety of different learning styles are encouraged to ensure that at the forefront of each lesson, all students have the opportunity to succeed. Students are given opportunities to visit places of worship, to speak with those of belief and to investigate relevant and timely issues within our own society.

    
School Trips

A number of school visits are arranged throughout the course of the year.  Details of trips which have taken place this year or are planned in the future can be viewed in the School Visits, Enrichment area of the website.

Facilities

  • Specialist teaching classrooms
  • A wide range of specialist religoius artifacts
  • DVDs and interactive materials to exemplify the topics being studied.
  • Computer Pod

Useful Links

KS3 Religious Studies

Years 7, 8, 9

In KS3, all students will study about the six main world religions in agreement with the Surrey SACRE. Students will have the opportunity to consolidate and develop knowledge already gained in KS2 on the following – Christianity, Islam, Judaism, Hinduism, Sikhism and Buddhism. Furthermore, students will also be introduced to key concepts in philosophy and ethics, the debate between religion and science and question whether or not religion is a positive thing for society.

Year 7

As students start their learning journey at Blenheim they will be introduced to their Religious Studies lessons via a module entitled the ‘Nature of Religion’ which looks to expand and develop their understanding of the significance and role of religion in society. Students will then study the first of the world religions - Hinduism and then look carefully at the life of Jesus both relating to his impact on Christianity and throughout the world. Students will then move on to study Jesus’ own religion by investigating Judaism and then finishing the year by questioning whether or not religion is a good thing.

Year 8

Students will investigate the religion of Islam and explore in great depth what it means to be a Muslim in today’s society. Students will also explore the concept of pilgrimage and the journey to Mecca for Hajj. Following on from this, students will learn about Sikhism before investigate characters in religion that could be considered ‘Hero’s’ such as Gandhi, Mother Teresa and the Dali Lama. We will then investigate a very controversial topic entitled ‘Is religion worth dying for?’ before finishing the year by looking at a variety of different systems of faith and belief that do not fall in to the ‘six main world religions’ category.

Year 9

Students have now investigated five of the six main world religions and will finalise this by lastly investigating Buddhism. In this module, students are given the opportunity to reflect on suffering in life and ways in which Buddhists lead their life based on the teaching of Siddhartha Gautama, the Buddha. There will also be an opportunity to practise meditation. Students will then tackle one of the most important questions in their Religious Studies course as they decide whether or not religion and science are actually in conflict? During this module, students will evaluate both secular and religious views on the creation of the world. Students will then investigate a module related to Community Cohesion with an emphasis on promoting British values in our multi-faith, multi-ethnic modern society. Students will have the opportunity to look at key figures throughout history & to debate the importance of values & customs in an ever changing society.

What skills students develop

Students will develop a host of key skills including knowledge, comprehension, application, analysis, synthesis and evaluation

How students are assessed

Students are assessed in a number of ways such as via formative assessment at the end of a module, through PLTS homework tasks (see Homework) or through peer assessment where students are responsible for not only identifying what went well with their work, but also what they could have done even better.

Homework

Within KS3, homework is set in the form of PLTS (Personal, Learning and Thinking Skills) which encourage students to develop one of the following attributes – being an independent enquirer, a reflective learner, an effective participant, a team worker, self-manager and creative thinker. Tasks are either levelled and/or based upon effort. Within each PLTS there is a prize (one per class) based upon the individual who a teacher feels has really gone ‘above and beyond’ – they will be the recipient of the special ‘Religious Studies Believe and Achieve’ badge- a very prestigious award!

How parents can help

Parents can help by actively engaging with their son/daughter regarding the world around them, keeping abreast about current and recent news stories and most importantly, being open and honest with them. Please encourage them to question and discuss relevant topics and take an active interest in the people and the world around them. Also, ensuring they have access to facilities and resources when necessary are essential in helping with homework set.

School Trips

The Religious Studies department offers a variety of trips – one of our most popular is the yearly trip to The Wintershall Estate to see the life of Christ acted out – a spectacle not to be missed. Also, various trips are arranged to suit the courses studied including trips to places of worship such as the Buddhapadipa temple in Wimbledon.

KS4 Religious Studies- Religion, Philosophy & Ethics (RPE)

NEW for 2016/17!

Taking the place of compulsory Religious Studies, we are launching a brand new GCSE, Religion, Philosophy & Ethics (RPE)

Board and Exam Details

WJEC Eduqas GCSE (9-1) in Religious Studies (Route A)

  • Component 1: Religious, Philosophical & Ethical studies in the Modern World
  • Component 2: Study of Christianity
  • Component 3: Study of Islam

Course Outline

Perhaps more important than ever in a turbulent society, this course seeks to look at both belief, interpretation and practice of Christianity & Islam.

The course focuses on the teaching of core Christian and Muslim values, how each faith’s beliefs affect day to day life and how these traditional ideas fit in with a modern interpretation of our society.

More emphasis will be placed on philosophical questions of God’s existence, role and indeed, place in our lives. The ethics of such controversial topics such as abortion, euthanasia, terrorism & sexual identity will be investigated fully with an opportunity for students to not only learn from specialist staff, but to experience perspectives from guest speakers, visitors and trips outside the classroom.

You will follow the WJEC Eduqas Route ‘A’ syllabus which corresponds with the Government’s desire to have more ‘rigour’ within traditional GCSEs.

Lessons will be divided as followed over a two year period – three lessons a fortnight on Philosophy/Ethics, one lesson on Christianity & one lesson on Islam.

Year 10

  • Theme 1 – Issues of Relationships (communities, sexual relationships, equality…)
  • Theme 2 – Issues of Life & Death (the world, value of human life, abortion, euthanasia…)
  • Christianity – The nature of God, The Trinity, Jesus, the afterlife…
  • Islam – The nature of Allah, angels, worship…

Year 11

  • Theme 3 – Issues of Good & Evil (crime & punishment, forgiveness, evil & suffering…)
  • Theme 4 – Issues of Human Rights (social justice, prejudice, discrimination, wealth & poverty…)
  • Christianity – Sacraments, the Eucharist, pilgrimage, the worldwide Church…
  • Islam - The Five Pillars, Jihad, Mecca…

What skills students develop

  • Reasoning
  • Explanation
  • Evaluation
  • Analytical skills
  • Communication skills
  • Technological skills
  • Interpersonal skills through debate and discussion
  • Literacy and numeracy
  • Problem solving skills
  • Independent learning

How students are assessed

Students are assessed through external linear assessment.

The examinations are in the summer term of Year 11.

  • Religion, Philosophy & Ethics:  2 hours (50%)
  • Christianity:  1 hour (25%)
  • Islam:  1 hour (25%)

Homework

Students will receive homework once a week and are expected to spend around an hour completing it. This can take the form of further research, completing classwork notes, or GCSE exam practise questions which are marked according to exam board marking criteria.

How parents can help

Ask questions about what your child has learnt in RPE; what topics they are studying; interesting facts they have learnt; and how the world is affected by people.  Look out for religious and ethical documentaries on TV.  Encourage your child to watch the news and to read a broadsheet newspaper; this will further develop their understanding of global issues relating to both religion and ethics.

Extra-curricular Activities

RPE revision sessions & regular ‘drop-in’ sessions, proposed guest speakers and visits to places of worship.

Religious Studies GCSE Graded A*-G

Board and Exam Details

Students will complete a Full Course Edexcel Religious Studies GCSE (Religion and Life/Religion and Society) starting during Year 9 and ending in Year 11. The examination is based upon a study of Christianity and Islam, but with a clear emphasis on students developing their own opinions on relevant subject matters.

Course Outline

Students complete the following modules over this time

Religion and Life

  • Believing in God (Religious upbringing/Religious experience/Design & Causation arguments/Problem of evil and suffering)
  • Matters of life and death (non-religious belief about life after death/abortion/euthanasia)
  • Marriage and the family (sex outside of marriage/divorce/family life/homosexuality/contraception)
  • Religion and community cohesion (gender roles/equal rights for women/promoting racial harmony and/UK as a multi-faith society)

Religion and Society

  • Rights and responsibilities (The Bible/conscience/situation ethics/Human Rights/Moral duties/Democracy)  
  • Environmental and medical issues (Global Warming/Pollution/Stewardship/Infertility/Transplant surgery)
  • Peace and conflict (The United Nations/Just War Theory/attitudes to war/conflict/bullying/forgiveness and reconciliation)
  • Crime and punishment (Theories of punishment/capital punishment/drugs and alcohol)

 What skills students develop

Students will gain important skills linked to the Edexcel mark scheme – Knowledge, Opinion, Explanation and Evaluation. Furthermore, there will be clear emphasis on SPaG (Spelling, Punctuation and Grammar)

How students are assessed

Students are assessed solely on two one hour and a half exams at the end of Year 11 – each exam is worth 50% of their overall grade

Homework

Homework is set regularly in-line with the Humanities faculty. Homework is often set as a means to consolidate and further knowledge from the classroom so it is an essential tool in completing the full course GCSE. Homework can also take the guise of practice exam questions/techniques which help to strengthen students' awareness of the examination process.

How parents can help

Much like KS3, parents can assist by encouraging their son/daughter to take an active interest in the world around them and to enter into discussion with them regarding relevant issues/dilemmas. The use of modern technology should be encouraged to explore these issues further.

Extra-curricular Activities

A very concise student-tailored revision programme will be put in place at relevant times of the year which will focus both on content and exploring exam criteria.

Furthermore, there will be opportunities for students interested in taking Philosophy and Ethics at KS5 to attend twilight sessions in order for them to gain insight into key philosophical and ethical theories/debates