Religion, Philosophy and Ethics

Curriculum Intent

Religion, Philosophy and Ethics (RPE) at Blenheim gives our students across the Key Stages a unique opportunity to reflect on and learn from the faiths and beliefs of those around them. World and local events reported through the media engage the curiosity of our students, and cause them to question how such events can happen: our school community is diverse, and our curriculum aims to support students with understanding the many complex and varied reasons for the diversity not just in the school and local community, but also nationally. Our curriculum has much to offer students as they prepare for life in a rapidly changing world, where critical thinking and discernment are ever more important and valuable.

We want RPE to enable students to:

  • Demonstrate an appreciation of the nature of religion and belief, and the contribution this makes for an individual’s search for meaning in life, whilst also acknowledging and valuing that spiritual insights and values may come from a non-religious perspective.
  • Develop knowledge and understanding of Christianity, and of the other five major world religions represented in Great Britain, both through their history and contemporary expressions and practices.
  • Develop an interest in and passion for the study of religion and beliefs, and to enhance their own spiritual, moral, social and cultural development.
  • Develop the ability to make reasoned, informed and creative responses to religious, philosophical and moral issues.
  • Recognise the influence of beliefs, values, ideas and traditions on communities throughout the world.

At KS5, RPE is offered as an option at A level, with students following the OCR Religious Studies specification, focusing on three units; Philosophy of religion; Religion and ethics; Developments in religious thought. The choice of this specification enables students to further progress and deepen their knowledge and understanding of Christianity, western philosophy and ethical theory, analysing a variety of views on spiritual, moral and ethical issues whilst also furthering their understanding of the influence of religion. It also enhances their academic and personal development, as it is a rigorous and challenging specification which provides students with many cross-curricular and multi-disciplinary skills that will well prepare them for the demands of higher education, in addition to spiritual, moral, social and cultural questions supporting their personal development.

Facilities

  • Specialist teaching classrooms
  • A range of specialist religious artefacts
  • DVDs and interactive materials to exemplify the topics being studied.
  • An extensive subject-specific library of resources

A level Religion, Philosophy & Ethics

 

To study Religion, Philosophy & Ethics is to study our history, our life, our morals, our decisions, key figures, the universe and all the questions in life that just don’t seem to be able to be answered. Many of the questions students will study have confused some of the world’s greatest ever thinkers: Why am I here? Is there a God? How should we interpret the Bible? What is the relationship between the mind and the body? Why do we suffer? What is good? This course will enable students to reflect on these questions, and to investigate how they have been approached by various influential philosophers. The study of Religion, Philosophy and Ethics will develop essential skills such as essay writing, independent learning, textual interpretation, critical thinking, analysis, debate, problem solving and evaluation. If students have ever felt that there is more to understand and explore than simply what is seen in front of them, then this is the course for them.

The course is split into three components:

1) Philosophy of religion

2) Religion and ethics

3) Development in religious thought

Link to course specification

Assessment

Exam (2 hrs)

Philosophy of religion

33.3% of the

qualification

Exam (2 hrs)

Religion and Ethics

33.3% of the

qualification

Exam (2 hrs)

Development in religious thought

33.3% of the

qualification

Enrichment Opportunities

Opportunities to attend lectures from key speakers and examiners and the Philosophy & Film Society are popular and Past opportunities have included trips to Rome, and joint trips with the Social Sciences faculty to Krakow and New York. The department seeks to continue building on these exciting opportunities and to offer similar trips in the future. 

Student Quotes

I have thoroughly enjoyed the subject & it has been very thought provoking. It has increased my awareness of other beliefs whilst also allowing me to develop my own thoughts about personal identity, creation, faith, morality etc. I’ve enjoyed the ‘university’ approach to the course which has offered a balance of lecture-like teaching, more formal structured lessons and independent research.’

I have found the course really enjoyable & useful – it has actually helped me in my personal life and assisted with my EPQ where I have delved deeper into other Philosophical traditions. The skills I have learnt have been essential in preparing me for life after Blenheim and I feel I am able to reflect much better on all my subject areas. It has been a challenge, but an enjoyable one!’ 

Progression

Religion, Philosophy and Ethics is an extremely well-respected discipline in both the academic and employment world. A good qualification in this subject will show that students have the ability to think around important issues and develop problem-solving skills. All careers are governed by ethical principles and an ability to understand these would certainly be deemed an advantage by employers. The ancient Greeks originally established universities as a forum for Philosophical/Ethical debate – universities today respect the subject greatly. Students have gone on to study RPE related courses at prestigious universities such as Oxford, Nottingham, Exeter, King’s College London and Southampton over the past couple of years

Useful Links

Bronze School Mental Health Award