Aims

 

Religious Studies teaches about the main beliefs and practices of the different world religions. At Townley Grammar, by studying Religious Studies, individuals develop the ability to see another point of view and to understand what it means to be a member of a faith community. Students learn how a religious belief works and are able to identify the moral values which guide the lives of religious people. Religious Studies can help individuals to sort out their own ideas, values and commitments.

Religious Studies is taught according to the agreed syllabus of Bexley London Borough. Girls in years 7 and 8 have one and a half lessons a week. In Year 9, students follow the agreed syllabus of Bexley Borough and have one lesson a week. In years 10 and 11 Religious Education is part of the ‘core’ and all pupils take full course Religious Studies GCSE and follow the WJEC spec B syllabus. Religious Studies is one of the many options for Advanced Level Studies in the sixth form.

Daily Collective Worship is a statutory requirement and takes place in the context of an assembly. Each week there is a whole school ‘theme’ which is addressed in the assembly.

Students may withdraw from both Religious Studies and collective worship at their parent’s request. They are asked to put this request in writing to the Head teacher. Further details about Religious Studies and Collective worship can be obtained from the Head Teacher. 

Staff and Resources

 

The Head of Religious Studies leads a team of four Religious Studies staff. The department has four classrooms and a large number of religious artefacts to support learning. 

Key Stage 3 - Years 7-9 RS

 

In years 7 and 8 students have one and a half lessons a week. 

Year 7:

Autum Term

Bridging unit - A 7-week scheme of learning which introduces students to Religious Studies at Townley Grammar.  Students take a brief look at the key beliefs within the 6 main world religions that students will study in further depth later in Key Stage 3.

Sikhism unit – Students learn about the key beliefs, teachings and practices within Sikhism.

Spring Term

Christianity unit –A detailed scheme of learning which focuses on the key beliefs, teachings and practices within Christianity. Students sit their End of Year Examination based on the Christianity unit.

Summer term

Hinduism unit - Students learn about the key beliefs, teachings and practices within Hinduism. Students also complete an independent learning project on the Mandir temple.

 

Year 8:

Autumn term

Judaism unit - A detailed scheme of learning which focuses on the key beliefs, teachings and practices within Judaism. Students sit part of their End of Year Examination based on the Judaism unit.

Spring Term

Islam Unit- A detailed scheme of learning which focuses on the key beliefs, teachings and practices within Islam. Students sit part of their End of Year Examination based on the Islam unit.

Summer Term

Philosophy of Religion unit – A scheme of learning which introduces students to key arguments within Philosophy of Religion. Students focus on the Design Argument, The Cosmological Argument and The Problem of Evil and Suffering.

 

 

Year 9:

 

In year 9 students have one lesson a week. 

Autumn term

Buddhism unit - A detailed scheme of learning which focuses on the key beliefs, teachings and practices within Buddhism. Students sit part of their End of Year Examination based on the Buddhism unit.

Spring Term

Students begin their GCSE studies in this term.

Philosophical Thinking - An Introduction to Philosophical Thinking which asks students to consider ‘what is real’. Scheme of learning based on elements of the film ‘ Horton Hears a Who’

Summer term

Students continue their GCSE studies.

The Holocaust - Students study in detail the events of the Holocaust, a cross curricular unit with History & Art. Students also have an off timetable day whereby they consider the theme of prejudice and discrimination.

Key Stage 4 - GCSE RS

 

Religious Studies is the academic field of the study of religious beliefs, behaviours, and institutions. It describes, compares, interprets, and explains religion.  Religious Studies tries to study religious behaviour and belief from outside any particular religious viewpoint.

Religious Studies is one of the core subjects at Townley Grammar and all pupils take the full course GCSE. We follow the Welsh board (WJEC) specification B syllabus.  

Assessment Structure:

 

1.   Religious, Philosophical and Ethical Studies in the Modern world      50%

Key topics are relationships, Life and death, good and evil and human rights

2.   Christianity    25%           This includes beliefs, teachings and practices

3.   A world faith 25%           This includes beliefs, teachings and practices

Typical questions include;

Do we have a responsibility to help those in need?       Can killing someone ever be the right thing to do?

Does religion cause more problems than it solves?         Is IVF treatment ethical?

In each topic the ideas and moral issues will be studied through; class discussions, role-plays, videos, debates and group work.

 

Advantages of Studying Religious Studies

  1. Religious Studies encourages philosophical thinking, collaboration and independent working skills, decision making skills, and the search for compromise and conflict resolutions.

  2. It creates opportunities for young people to develop their skills of interpretation and analysis, evaluation and dialogue.  These are vital skills in a modern workforce where communication and collaboration are core skills.

  3. Religious Studies involves the study of texts, philosophical thinking, social understanding, ethics and develops the skills of analysis, evaluation and reasoning. All of these skills help to develop literacy.

  4. Religious Studies makes a key contribution to understanding British values. It provides an opportunity for young people to study contemporary contentious issues, develop social, cultural, political, philosophical and spiritual awareness.

  5. In Religious Studies pupils learn to respect themselves and understand their own identity. Students also learn to respect others, and to understand their own and others’ rights and responsibilities. This is becoming more important as communities are becoming more diverse, therefore there is a greater need for a more religiously tolerant society. Religious Studies plays a key role in creating social cohesion and generating understanding between communities. 

Key Stage 5 - AS & A level Philosophy and Ethics

 

Philosophy and Ethics is an academic subject that is well respected by universities and an excellent grounding for any Arts or Social Science based degree course. It will enable you to develop the kind of skills which will enhance your study of other subjects. The ability to articulate idea and evaluate their strengths and weaknesses is one that is transferable and highly applicable to any career which involves communication, including Law, Public Relations, Education, Advertising and Marketing.

Studying Philosophy and Ethics helps students to develop analytical and evaluative skills. It particularly complements Humanities subjects, English and students intending to study medicine, as students learn about the ethics of medical issues.

Skills:

 

Students will develop their analytical skills and be able to research different topics to provide reasoned explanations and the ability to expand on different points of view.  Writing skills will be improved by the practice of the different teaching and learning activities.

  

AS:

 

AS students study two modules. These are:

UNIT 1: Foundations: Philosophy of Religion and Religious Ethics

 

In this module you must be prepared to ‘think for yourself’ and be willing to consider and evaluate logically the arguments of philosophers.

A number of topics are studied, such as:

  • The ‘proof’ arguments for God’s existence
  • Evil and Suffering
  • A study of the relationship between religion and morality
  • A study of ethical theories such as Utilitarianism and Situation Ethics
  • A study of applied ethics; War & Peace

 

UNIT 2: Investigations: Medical Ethics

 

This unit involves independent research into an area of medical ethics; abortion. The investigation is an enquiry into the ethical issues involved in abortion. Teaching staff will support and guide you in this independent study which challenges and extends knowledge, understanding and evaluative skills and will be assessed via examination which will comprise a 1 hour 15 minute paper.  This comprises 50% of the final grade.

Students that study AS level Philosophy and Ethics have the opportunity to attend a trip to New York City which is focussed around topics studied within the AS level curriculum.

 

A2 LEVEL

 

UNIT 3: Developments

 

 In this module you must be prepared to consider and evaluate logically the arguments of philosophers.

A number of topics are studied, such as:

  • The Ontological Argument
  • Atheism
  • Religious Experience
  • Religious Language
  • A study of applied ethics; Justice, Law and Punishment
  • A study of the relationship between religion and morality
  • A study of ethical theories such as Deontology, Natural Law and Virtue Ethics
  • Ethical Language

 UNIT 4: Implications

 

 This paper focuses on the Philosophy of religion only. To prepare for it, you must be familiar with an anthology of three texts. These texts are as follows:

 

  1. A.J. Ayer on religious language.
  2. P. Donovan on religious experience.
  3. M. Westphal on developments in the philosophy of religion.

 Related Courses and Careers:

 

The A Level course provides a very good introduction regarding preparing students moving onto any social sciences or arts degree based course.  The ability to provide a reasoned well written argument is a valuable skill to have when moving onto University courses.

You might be thinking... what can you do with a Philosophy and Ethics qualification?  There are many industries whereby a Philosophy and Ethics qualification will be seen as a valuable qualification such as:

 

* therapy,

*journalism,

*retailing,

*social work,

*nursing

* radio and TV,

*acting

*teaching

*religious leadership

Enrichment

 

Clubs:

 

Amnesty – The amnesty group is a small group of activists who meet to discuss human rights issues and actively to support prisoners of conscience by signing petitions, writing to prisoners and raising awareness. The Christmas card campaign sends cards to prisoners and their families to show them they are not alone. Issues covered in recent campaigns have included women’s rights from schooling issues to being able to watch basketball, the death penalty, treatment of LGBT groups, and the stop to torture campaign

 

Christian Union – Christian union is run by sixth form students and the union is made up of a mixture of KS3, KS4 and KS5 students. Christian Union’s aim is for every student to have an opportunity to hear the Good News of Jesus Christ. Christian union meet once a week to join together in prayer, worship and discussion of big questions, as students explore their faith.

 

Philosophy club - Philosophy club is offered to KS3 (Wednesdays) and KS4 (Thursdays) Philosophy club strives to create an informal environment where students can gather together to discuss life’s big philosophical questions. From 1-1.130pm, once a week, we strive to create a place of open discussion. Although we will may not solve the greatest problems of the world, ranging from contemporary moral issues to more abstract questions, we work to engage one another and learn a little bit more about these topics.

 

 Trips:

 

New York - At AS level students study the morality of war and conflict with a particular focus on 9/11. Students also consider moral evil and the events of 9/11 in the unit Evil and Suffering

  • Students evaluate the position of pacifism and whether non – violent protest is ever successful. Students study the Civil Rights movement and focus on Martin Luther King.
  • In October we visit  New York  and  visit the Harlem Civil Rights Walking tour, Ground Zero 9/11 Memorial, 9/11 Tribute Centre and St Paul’s Church as part of a cross curricular trip.

Revision Classes

 

Revision classes are offered to all Key stage 4 and 5 students in the spring and summer term.

Year 9 - Holocaust Memorial Day

 

 In Year 9 students study in detail the events of the Holocaust as part of a cross curricular unit with History & Art. Students have an off timetable day whereby they consider the theme of prejudice and discrimination.

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