Philosophy, Ethics and Religion

The Philosophy, Ethics and Religion (PER) department prides itself in providing a lively and exciting programme of study, intended to help students to understand more about Christianity, the major world religions and morality in the modern world. Our students come from a range of religious and moral backgrounds: our aim is not to turn them into religious believers but to instil a deepening understanding and appreciation of the beliefs of those with different cultural, spiritual and religious ways of life. As well as tackling the big questions, such as “Does God exist?” “What happens when we die?” and “Do we have a soul?” we consider how people make important moral decisions in their lives, the similarities and differences between religious beliefs and the effects religious belief has on individuals.

Key Stage 3: Years 7-9

The PER programme taught in Years 7, 8 and 9 is based on the Warwickshire agreed syllabus. The emphasis is on both learning about religion and from religion. Lessons take a thematic approach, whereby pupils begin to address the important philosophical and ethical questions in life as answered through the main world religions and particularly Christianity. The intention is for pupils to develop their empathy and understanding of different beliefs and cultures in today’s multicultural society. Pupils are encouraged to participate in lessons with a range of ethical and religious activities and thought provoking discussions.

Key Stage 4: GCSE

Students taking PER as an option cover the AQA Religious Studies specification A. The course consists of two components: Component 1 which focuses on the beliefs and practices of two religions; namely Christianity and Sikhism and Component 1 which is divided into four ethical ‘themes’. The themes students cover over the course of the two years are: Theme A: Relationships and families, Theme B: Religion and life, Theme E: Religion, crime and punishment and Theme E: Religion, human rights and social justice. These themes are studied from a Christianity perspective. This course enables students to consider a variety of ethical issues to develop their discussion and evaluation skills. The course is highly valued by both the world of work and universities because of its application and relevance to life situations. The skills learned and areas studied are of importance to those intending to follow careers in medicine, education, law, social work and business

Key Stage 5:  A Level

Students follow an exciting and stimulating course in OCR Philosophy, Ethics and Developments of Christian thought. It enables them to consider and appreciate the ideas of some of the world’s great thinkers including Aristotle, St Thomas Aquinas, Immanuel Kant and Anselm, as well as the developments of Christianity through the analysis of theologians and key individuals including St Augustine, Dietrich Bonhoeffer and Karl Marx.

AS Topics that are studied include; the arguments for the existence of God, the problem of evil, religious experience, applied ethics such as euthanasia and business ethics, Jesus Christ and how we gain knowledge of God. A level topics include the nature and attributes of God, religious language, the conscience, meta-ethics, gender and theology, and liberation theology.

The course offers students the opportunity to analyse and evaluate the topics studied, as well as offer their own opinion. It enables critical thinking and develops their synoptic abilities as they progress through the course. As with the GCSE course, this A level is a highly regarded academic subject to have. It can lead to a variety of careers including journalism, law and medicine, and prepare students for university level thinking due to its critical nature.

Extra-curricular Activities

Students will attend an A level revision session in London reviewing and investigating the key areas of their course.

Many students are members of the Amnesty International group which is run by the Head of PER. They are involved in campaigns promoting and defending human rights around the world. This offers girls leadership opportunities and raises their awareness of ethical issues.