Religion, Philosophy and Ethics

Religion and worldviews help to shape not only student’s history and culture but also it guides their own development. Today’s society needs people who are confident in their beliefs and values, who show respect to religious and cultural differences and who will go on to contribute towards a caring society. This is what we aim to do in Religion, Philosophy and Ethics lessons at the Chase. Religion, Philosophy and Ethics lessons aim to provide time to reflect, debate and discuss religious, moral and ethical issues which apply to the local, national and international make up of societies.

At The Chase, Religion, Philosophy & Ethics provides a broad understanding of different faiths and belief systems, as well as promoting religious literacy and the contemplation of ultimate questions. Students reflect on their own beliefs, values and attitudes whilst also developing an awareness of a variety of faiths and modern-world issues.

In Key Stage 3, students at The Chase explore a variety of worldviews, including Christianity, Islam, Judaism, Sikhi and Buddhism. Students study the beliefs and practices of these different faiths and how they impact on people’s lives. Humanism and non-religious beliefs are also studied to enable students to develop an appreciation of different beliefs and cultures. Students also investigate philosophical and ethical issues, studying the impact and significance these have on people in the modern world.

In Year 7, students start to look at different Worldviews by exploring philosophical questions. They then go on to look at the foundations of the Abrahamic religions before looking at humanity’s role in looking after the environment. Students also look at the Buddhist religion before exploring the religious makeup of the UK.

In year 8, students continue to build upon the knowledge learnt in year 7 by exploring the life of Jesus and Christianity in the modern world. The benefits and challenges of being a Muslim are examined before looking at the practice of equality and serving others in the Sikh religion. Students in year 8 also have the opportunity to use their creative skills in working towards the national Spirited Arts competition.

In year 9, students explore philosophy and ethics in more detail. Students examine the idea of life after death before embarking on a variety of philosophical and ethical questioning, such as is there a God? Why do we behave morally? Can abortion ever be justified? Students explore these ideas further by analysing the problem of evil before finishing off KS3 by looking at inspirational people; both in the past and in the modern world.

The aims of the Religion, Philosophy & Ethics (RPE) curriculum are to ensure that:

• Students gain an appreciation of how religion, philosophy and ethics form the basis of our culture.

• Students will demonstrate knowledge and understanding of different worldviews including beliefs, practices and sources of authority and the influence on individuals, communities and societies.

• Students recognise the similarities and differences within and/or between religions and beliefs.

• Students analyse and evaluate aspects of religion and belief, including their significance and influence. Students develop analytical and critical thinking skills to help prepare for further study or work.

Religious Studies is a lively and stimulating GCSE subject that provides a great opportunity for students to engage with current issues, developing social, cultural, political and historical awareness.

Students will be challenged with questions about belief, values, meaning, purpose and truth, enabling them to develop their own attitudes towards religious issues.

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 to prepare students for further study.


Students study the AQA Exam board specification (8062).

Paper 1: The study of religions: beliefs, teachings & practices.
1 hr 45 examination (50%)
Consisting of short answer and mini-essay style questions based on the study of religions paper.
Each religion has a common structure of 2 sets of questions worth 1,2,4,5 & 12 marks.

Paper 2: Thematic studies
1 hr 45 examination (50%)
Consisting of short answer and mini-essay style questions based on the Thematic Studies paper.
Each Theme has a common structure of 5 questions worth 1,2,4,5 & 12 marks. Students answer questions on 4 themes.

Theme A: Relationships & families.
Theme B: Religion & life.
Theme C: The existence of God & revelation
Theme D: Religion, crime & punishment
Theme E: Religion, human rights & social justice.

Studying Religious Studies enables you to develop analytical, evaluative and persuasive writing skills. Religious Studies students go on to pursue careers in law, journalism, teaching, politics, health care, social work, criminology, and many more.

Religious Studies

Philosphy, Ethics & Religion

Entry Requirements

Successful A Level candidates will:
• Have at least a grade 5 in Religious Studies (or English) at GCSE level (Grade 6 or higher is desirable).
• Be interested in questioning and discussing philosophical and ethical ways of thinking.
• Be committed and enthusiastic to undertaking independent study. It is not essential to have studied Religious Studies at GCSE as skills and subject knowledge are developed during the course.

Course Content

Students study the OCR exam board specification (H573).

The A Level is divided in to three sections: Philosophy of Religion, Religious Ethics and Developments in Religious Thought. Throughout the two years, you will study 6 topics from Philosophy of Religion, six topics from Religious Ethics and six topics from Developments in Religious Thought. Examples of the philosophical topics include Arguments for the existence of God, Plato & Aristotle’s world view, Religious Experience & the challenges to it from medicine & psychology and the problem of evil & suffering. Ethical topics studied include Natural Law & Situation Ethics, Euthanasia, Business Ethics & Sexual Ethics and Conscience-what is it and why should we follow it? Topics studied in Religious Thought include Can faith survive scientific advances? How can religion respond to changing gender roles? Should the Church engage with  Marxism? Who was Jesus?

At the end of the A Level, there are three two-hour exams where you are required to answer three essay-style questions in each exam.

“As for me, all I know is that I know nothing.” Socrates (470-399 BCE)

What can this course lead to?

The subject enables you to develop analytical, evaluative and persuasive writing skills. Religious Studies students go on to pursue careers in law, journalism, teaching,  politics, health care, social work, criminology, and many more. Religious Studies is a popular subject to study at A Level and at University. Well known people who have taken related courses at university include both Jake and Maggie Gylenhaal, Mayim Bialik of “The Big Bang Theory”, the comedian Katy Brand (who studied Theology at Oxford University) and Jack Gleeson - the actor behind Joffrey Lannister of ‘Game of Thrones’ fame - studied Theology after retiring from acting. That is not to mention world leaders such as Martin Luther King Jr!