Philosophy and Ethics (previously RS)

Contact: Mrs N Green

All students study Philosophy and Ethics (previously RS) in Years 7 and 8.Philosophy and Ethics (previously RS) is a core subject at GCSE so, starting in Year 9, all students follow the AQA GCSE in Religious Studies syllabus, and sit the exams at the end of Year 11.

Key Stage 3 (Years 7 and 8)

Throughout Key Stage 3 students study elements of the principle religions of the UK. The focus is on learning about these religions and what it means to be a member of a faith community. Philosophy and Ethics also involves considering religious teachings and attitudes and evaluating the importance of these teachings with regard to spiritual, social, philosophical and moral issues. Philosophy and Ethics requires the skills of analysis, evaluation, empathy, reflection and understanding. Students are encouraged to use a range of sources and texts to produce balanced, carefully researched arguments reflecting their understanding of religion and society. The KS3 course is designed to promote tolerance and respect for all backgrounds and to be accessible to all students regardless of their background or beliefs.

Year 7

In Year 7, RS looks at the foundations of the six world main religions; Christianity, Islam, Buddhism, Hinduism, Sikhism and Judaism. Students study the background to these religions, key features, inspirational leaders, festivals and stories. This provides an excellent foundation for Year 8, where these beliefs are applied to moral issues. Learning the basic beliefs of Christianity and Islam will begin to prepare students for Religious Studies GCSE.

Year 8

In Year 8 pupils look at moral issues and key questions in life. Students begin by analysing how religion can be a force for good/bad looking at key questions including women’s rights and racism. Students will study different views about how the world was created, looking at scientific views on the origins of the world, the Christian creation story and creation stories from around the world. Other topics studied include wealth and poverty, animal rights and ideas of good versus evil. This will help students prepare for the ethical and philosophical aspects to the GCSE Religious Students curriculum.

KS3 – Useful resources



World Religions: Judaism, Christianity and Islam (KS3 Knowing Religion) by Andy Lewis & Robert Orme

2. World Religions: Hinduism, Buddhism and Sikhism (KS3 Knowing Religion)by Tristan Elby and Neil McKain


3. -BBCs world religions information pages 4. -A website that covers all main world religions 5. - BBC Bitesize for KS3

Key Stage 4 (Years 9, 10 and 11)


The main aim of this RS / Citizenship course is to develop a greater understanding of the issues that are facing the modern world. This is explored through religious and non-religious viewpoints. Students are encouraged to examine different responses to moral and ethical issues. This course does not require you to be religious and is designed to be accessible to persons of any religious tradition or none. Students will also gain an appreciation of how religion, philosophy and ethics form the basis of our culture. They will develop analytical and critical thinking skills, the ability to work with abstract ideas, leadership and research skills. All these skills will help prepare them for further study.

Course Outline and Assessment

Students will commence the new AQA Religious Studies specification in Year 9 and sit two exams at the end of Year 11, leading to a full GCSE in Religious Studies. The GCSE has two components and will be assessed under the new grading system of 1-9.

Component 1: Beliefs, teachings and practices of two religions:

This unit will develop students understanding of specific religious belief. It is assessed through one 1.45hr exam paper at the end of Year 11. In this unit students will study key beliefs and teachings in Christianity and Islam.

Component 2: Thematic studies

This unit will consider religious, philosophical and ethical studies from both religious and non-religious viewpoints. It is assessed through a 1.45hr exam at the end of Year 11 and will be worth 50% of the total GCSE marks. It contains 4 themes:

Theme A: Relationships and families

Marriage, parenting, contraception, sexual relationships before marriage, homosexual relationships, families and gender equality

Theme B: Religion and life -

Abortion, euthanasia, animal experimentation, the origins and value of the universe, the origins and value of human life and environmental issues

Theme D: Religion, peace and conflict

Justice, forgiveness, violence, weapons of mass destruction, pacifism, causes and victims of war, terrorism and peacekeeping.

Theme E: Religion, crime and punishment -

Corporal punishment, the death penalty, forgiveness, the causes of crime, the aims of punishment, treatment of criminals, prison and community service

Careers using RS/Citizenship include:

A GCSE in Religious Studies is a stepping stone to a wide range of future opportunities. The skills you develop, such as critical thinking, literacy and forming an argument, will support you in further studies and employment. Furthermore as you enter the world of work, you will be expected to work alongside people with different beliefs than your own. Religious Studies will teach the skills and understanding needed to work with people of all faiths and cultures. These skills are vitally important in all careers especially professions such as Social Work, Charity Work, Welfare Rights, Youth Work, Teaching, Human Resources, Police Force & Nursing. In fact any profession that brings you into contact with other people.



AQA GCSE (9-1) Religious Studies Specification A (Hodder) ISBN: 978-1471866852

My Revision Notes AQA GCSE (9-1) Religious Studies Specification A (Hodder) ISBN: 978-1510404793

AQA GCSE Religious Studies A: Christianity and Islam Revision Guide (OUP) ISBN: 978-0198422839







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