Through the seven year Religion, Philosophy and Ethics curriculum at CCHSG it is intended that all students will develop the skills to critically engage with problems and form justified personal viewpoints, for which they can construct strong arguments through both written and verbal debate. In the “Religion” strand it is intended that students will encounter all six of the largest world religions and Humanism, gaining an idea of their various beliefs and practices on a selection of key issues such as beliefs about life after death. The “Philosophy” aspect of the course enables students to encounter key ‘Big Questions’ such as ‘Is there a God?’ and ‘Why does evil exist in the world?’. This provides students with a chance to explore some of the questions which all humans have asked themselves throughout history, as well as supporting them to develop skills of questioning, critical analysis and creative thinking. Finally, through the “Ethics” strand of the subject it is intended that students will have the chance to discuss and critically examine their own and others’ ethical viewpoints on key ethical issues in modern society such as ‘Is it ever right to kill?’ and ‘Where do my ethics come from?’ This will inform the students’ own personal set of ethics, as well as learning to listen to the reasoning behind the ethical views of others and developing respect for different opinions.
- Years 7 and 8 - students will take a broad approach to understanding the key world religions through topical issues, as well as studying some of the key philosophical and ethical ‘Big Questions’ in order to gain a broad range of skills and knowledge from the different areas within the subject.
- Year 8 and 9 - there is a blended curriculum, where students begin their in depth study of Islam in preparation for their GCSE examination, which all students sit as a core part of the curriculum.
- Year 9 to 10 - students move to an in-depth study of Christianity, while building on the analytical, evaluative and argument writing skills introduced from Year 7 to apply them to GCSE style questions and extended answers. In Year 10 students continue to develop these skills while studying in greater depth key philosophical and ethical topics, some of which link back to their Year 7 and 8 study, such as the problem of evil and medical ethics.
- Throughout Year 11, the subject is taught through PSHCE lessons, covering issues such as the value of diversity and sexual ethics, to ensure students continue to consider the impact and importance of religious, philosophical and ethical issues in their own lives and in wider global events.
- Year 12 and 13 - students have the opportunity of A Level study. Here they will again meet some of the key issues which they have looked at previously, now with the skills and depth of knowledge to consider and evaluate the ideas of different influential scholars, philosophers and theologians and form their own arguments and judgements on these topics. New theological topics are introduced such as ‘Was Jesus best understood as a political revolutionary?’ and ‘How can we solve the apparent conflicts between God’s attributes?’.
Co-curriculum and Extracurricular Activities
The department offers students the opportunity to take part in the World Religions and Cultures Club, Philosophy Book Club, Christian Union and Amnesty International Society. Year 10 GCSE students also have a day of lectures and debates with world renowned philosopher Peter Vardy, who features on the GCSE and A Level courses.
The department operates from two dedicated, newly built classrooms which contain a variety of resources, relevant artefacts and support materials.
Opportunities for Further Study and Destinations
The Religion, Philosophy and Ethics A Level course is increasingly popular with students who value its ability to foster strong argument building and discussion skills. The course also provides a strong academic grounding through the opportunity to study influential scholars from a range of cultures and historical time periods, from Aristotle to Descartes to David Hume. In recent years students have gone on to study at Oxbridge and Russell Group universities following courses directly related to the subject such as Theology and Philosophy, but also other subjects with which Religion, Philosophy and Ethics has key cross-curricular links such as Law, Medicine, History, Politics and English Literature.