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Religion, Philosophy & Ethics

Head of Department: Mr I Dover

Religion, Philosophy and Ethics (RPE) is an exciting subject in which Cambourne Village College pupils get to investigate and to explore some of the deepest questions ever asked! What is truth? Who am I? Does God exist? These are questions that frequently appear in RPE lessons and pupils will have the opportunity to explore them from a range of perspectives. 

In RPE, there are different disciplinary lenses which pupils will use to explore topics: 

  • Theology (‘Thinking through believing’ - This involved exploring questions and answers that arise from inside religions and worldviews.) 
  • Philosophy (‘Thinking through thinking’ - This involves exploring questions and answers raised through considering the nature of knowledge, existence, and morality.) 
  • Social Sciences (‘Thinking through living’ - This involves exploring questions and answers raised in relation to the impact of religion and worldviews on people and their lives.)  

Teachers of RPE tend to explore all of the topics covered in a variety of ways, so the content given below is for the purposes of guidance only. Whist all pupils will cover the same topics; teachers will use different investigative methods and approaches in their lessons. 

Lessons & Groupings  

Pupils are taught in their tutor group with work differentiated and personalised to meet their needs and abilities. Teaching Assistants are used effectively to support learners with SEN both during and after lessons. 

Lessons are shaped around the scheme of work enquiry questions. They involve a combination of learning activities, written assignments, interactive learning, discussion group work and classroom-based presentations. 

Homework Information 

Homework is set approximately once per fortnight. This work can take a variety of forms from additional research tasks such as interviewing a family member or a friend about a philosophical or ethical issue, to planning and creating presentations to deliver in class. Sometimes pupils will be asked to finish work they have not completed in lesson time. 

Extended Study Information  

We encourage pupils to discuss ideas that they have studied in lesson time at home; we would also encourage you to ask your son or daughter about what they have studied in RPE as this will enrich the discursive element of the subject. Additional reading lists may also be made available to pupils at the beginning of a scheme of work that include novels, online texts and suitable films to watch, to garner more knowledge of specific subjects. Additionally, all pupils should try to watch or access international, national and local news in some form at least once a week to help them develop an understanding of the issues facing many people in the wider communities.  

Equipment  

Pupils should come equipped to RPE lessons with pens, pencils, rubbers and a ruler. Scissors and glue-sticks are used integrally within RPE lessons, although these are provided in school. Highlighters, although

Year 7

Topic

Course Content

Assessment

1

Social Sciences

Can Britain be described as a ‘religious’ country?

This scheme introduces students to some of the diversity in the country, and how religions and worldviews can be understood, as well as the impact of faiths on the development of Britain today.

 

Students will provide a detailed examination of the different responses the question in an extended piece of writing.

2

Philosophy

Who am I?

During this scheme pupils will explore a sense of self from a range of perspectives. They will also use relevant case studies. They will develop their analytical skills and their ability to work with evidence.

 

Students will explore which viewpoints are the most convincing, setting out a supporting argument for a theory.

3

Theology and Philosophy

How do people respond to evil and suffering?

This topic introduces students to the philosophical problem of evil, and a range of theological proposals to solve this issue, weighing up the strength of each theodicy.

Pupils will produce a written piece, which explains their understanding of the topic.

 

4

Theology

 

Celebrations and community

Students will be introduced to a range of ways in which religious communities mark important moments in life, and how these represent key beliefs within a faith.

 

 

Students will show their understanding of how belief influences action through short answer questions

Year 8

Topic

Course Content

Assessment

1

Philosophy and Theology

How strong is the evidence for life after death?

This scheme aims to focus students’ abilities to analyse and to evaluate different religious and spiritual claims about life after death.

Students will provide a detailed examination of the different responses the question in an extended piece of writing.

2

Theology and Social Sciences

Is charity an effective response to poverty?

During this scheme pupils will explore how poverty can affect people in Britain today, and the role charities play in supporting them.  They will also consider how religious teachings towards poverty might influence the actions of believers.

 

Pupils will produce a written piece, which explains their understanding of the topic.

3

Theology

Is the Buddha a good role model?

This scheme of work explores the various teachings of Buddhism, including the Eightfold Path and the Five Precepts. Students then have an opportunity to relate these teachings to the modern business world and to explore the concept of ‘Right Livelihood’.

Students will produce an independent research project, involving a summary of their findings from their    sequence of lessons.

 

4

Philosophy

What is truth?

Students will be tackling the question of how we understand truth, and truth claims, exploring a range of philosophical arguments about how we can gain such knowledge.

 

 

Students will explore which viewpoints are the most convincing, setting out a supporting argument for a theory

Year 9

 Topic

Course Content

Assessment

1

Philosophy

How do people make their ethical decisions?

During their first term in Year 9, students will study a variety of ethical theories proposed by philosophers ranging from Aristotle to Jeremy Bentham, exploring the key question, “what is the right thing to do?” Students also consider the impact of the media on how people decide what is right and wrong.

 

Pupils will produce a written piece responding to a stimulus statement, which explains their understanding of the topic.

2

Philosophy and Social Sciences

How should crimes be punished?

In this scheme of work students explore a case study looking at the issues around the nature, function and multiple purposes of punishment (currently exploring the punishment of the killers of James Bulger).

 

Students will explore which viewpoints are the most convincing, setting out a supporting argument for a theory.

3

Theology

How should we remember the Holocaust?

Instead of just focusing on the numbers of people involved in the Holocaust, in this scheme of work students will engage with the personal testimonies of those who were involved and how they have responded in different ways to make sense of this tragic event.

Students carry out an extended reading of Night by Elie Wiesel and consider how different authors, artists and poets construct artwork to reflect the impact of the Holocaust.

Students will carry out a research project that examines how different people have responded to the Holocaust. They will also design a memorial which suitably reflects the themes they will have encountered in this unit.

 

4

Theology

 

Climate Justice

Students will be explore how different faiths engage with the development of climate issues, from teachings around care for the environment, to how believers are acting to respond to the challenges faced around the world with climate justice.

 

 

Students will show their understanding of how belief influences action through short answer questions

 

Years 10 & 11

Course Content

There are three modules within the course, which look at a wide range of fascinating concepts in Philosophy, Ethics and Religion. The largest module (50%) explores core philosophical and ethical issues that are being debated in the news today. Two smaller modules (25% each) will explore philosophical beliefs and practices in Christianity and Islam, both of which have variously shaped the modern world and are being debated in current affairs.

 Ethics & Philosophy in the Modern World

Families, Marriage, Relationships, Sex, Civil Partnerships, Gender, Equality and the ethics of divorce, annulment and remarriage.

The nature of reality and the question of God.

Violence and conflict; war and terrorism; peace and peace-making; forgiveness and reconciliation

Dialogue with and challenges to religion: society, secularisation, education, law, science and medical ethics; the ethics of euthanasia, the right to die, abortion, the creation of life and genetic manipulation.

Written Paper

(J625/07)

50% of GCSE

 Philosophical Beliefs & Religious Practices in Christianity

Philosophical claims & beliefs.

Understanding Christian practices for individuals, communities and society.

Written Paper

(J625/01)

25% of GCSE

 Philosophical Beliefs & Religious Practices in Islam

Philosophical claims & beliefs.

Understanding Muslim practices for individuals, communities and society.

Written Paper

(J625/03)

25% of GCSE

Homework

Homework is set on a regular basis and represents an important opportunity for pupils to consolidate their knowledge and understanding, as well as to hone their philosophical skills of judgement and evaluation. A range of activities could be set, including reading, research, preparation of presentations and revision. However, the key focus is practice questions ahead of the examinations. It is important for pupils to establish good homework habits from the start of the course.

Equipment

A pencil, ruler and writing pens are essential in every Philosophy & Ethics lesson.  Pupils should also have the following items: pens, pencils, sharpener, eraser, colouring pencils, highlighter, glue stick, scissors.