Course Explorer | Highcliffe School

Course Explorer

Religion Philosophy and Ethics

Subject Mission Statement

The curriculum allows students to become critical thinkers and develop enquiring minds, gaining the skills of debate and interpretation. We believe that addressing questions of believe, value, meaning and truth while reflecting on the influences of modern life can help to foster personal views within a pluralistic society and the wider global community. We encourage students to explore and understand our diverse world, and the influence on values and actions.


At Key Stage 3 students undertake an Ethical and Personal Development programme which incorporates elements of Religious Studies, Citizenship and PSHE. The course is designed to develop personal awareness, values and opinions, whilst also developing a student’s analytical, written and communication skills. Throughout the Key Stage 3 curriculum, we enable students to learn the skills and techniques necessary for them to be successful at GCSE and beyond.


KS3 Intent Statement

At key stage 3, students are given the opportunity to study a broad and balanced curriculum, consisting of a range of topics. Our first unit on the life of Jesus takes into account the varying experiences students have had in their primary schools and ensures a good background to Christianity. Though this unit we begin to ask the big questions about belief and meaning, which leads on to an introduction to Philosophy, where students can draw upon their core knowledge and understanding and develop their skills of enquiry. Making connections and understanding key arguments prepares students for their future learning right through to A level. The final unit in year 7 builds again upon key philosophical questions with a focus on Hindu believes, values and traditions.
In year 8 we draw upon the skills developed in year 7 and focus on faith in action, starting with how believes and values can lead to political action, followed by action within a faith. This is undertaken through the study of Christianity, Islam and Buddhism, which allows for opportunities to develop cultural capital and understanding of the wider world.
In year 9, the focus builds core knowledge and understanding further, developing skills needed for undertaking a GCSE course in the future, but also the skills needed for future relationships and becoming informed and thoughtful members of society. Our Human relationships and equality unit s complement both the key stage 4 GCSE course and the PSHE courses throughout the Key stages. Though the main perspective is through a study of Christianity, we believe that it important that the curriculum is broad and balanced and is mindful of the diverse world in which we live. For this reason, students will also undertake a study of the values within Judaism and Humanism, both of which also complement the GCSE course.
The Key stage 3 curriculum is rigorous and challenging, allowing students to become independent thinkers. Students are provided with experiences outside of the classroom such as visits to the Sikh Gurdwara and The Mosque. They will also take part in a Hindu experience day during activities week, engaging in a variety of workshops with visiting speakers.

KS3 Learning Journey


Our Religious Studies course encourages students to develop their knowledge, understanding and skills to engage in debate and discussion about life in a modern pluralistic society. This includes a study of both religious and non-religious beliefs. The course also encourages students to develop and understand personal values and beliefs, with an emphasis on critical analysis and the ability to construct balanced and informed arguments within the context of religious, philosophical and ethical awareness.

KS4 Intent Statement

It is our aim to provide a curriculum that encourages a reflective approach to study and inspires students to engage intellectually and personally, enhancing their spiritual and moral development and well-being.
The Key stage 4 curriculum builds directly on the units studied at Key stage 3 and requires students to reflect on their own moral compass and readily apply it to modern ethical challenges.
The non-examined course focuses on Science and medical ethics, the different views and challenges raised by modern science, the religious influences of science and ethical issues.
The curriculum allows students to develop an understanding of how different schools of thought contradict or compliment each other. They are encouraged to formulate their own opinions consider the views of other individuals, groups and societies.
The Non-examined curriculum focuses on knowledge, understanding and skills that both compliment the GCSE option and the A level courses, ensuring they are fully prepared for future academic study, as well as difficult decisions in life.
Students who opt for the GCSE course follow the OCR 9-1 Religious Studies curriculum for a broad and diverse study. Student explore three components; Religious Philosophy and Ethics from a Christian perspective, Christianity (Beliefs, values and traditions) and Judaism (Beliefs values and traditions) The curriculum encourages students to develop knowledge, understanding and skills to engage in debate and discussion about life in a modern pluralistic society. This includes developing an understanding of non-religious beliefs.
Students are given the skills needed to develop their own personal values and beliefs, with an emphasis on critical analysis and the ability to construct balanced and informed arguments within the context of religious, philosophical and ethical awareness.
Extra-curricular opportunities include visiting the local Synagogue and engaging with speakers from the Christian and Humanist community.
The skills developed are beneficial to a continuation of academic study, both within Religious Studies and other curriculum areas. We aim provide a scaffold for students to find their own voice in the world.

Qualification Details

Exam Board: OCR
Qualification Title: Religious Studies
Qualification Specification Code: J625
Qualification Webpage: Click here to visit the OCR webpage for the specification.

Why should I study this course?

Religious Studies is a lively and stimulating GCSE, which provides great opportunity for students to engage with current issues. Developing social, cultural, political and historical awareness. It encourages philosophical thought and decision making skills, enabling the discussion and analysis. The course helps students to develop personal beliefs and values and a sense of identity. The skills learnt throughout this course are transferable to other subjects and levels of education.

What knowledge and/or skills will I need?

Good English skills are an advantage.

What will I study in this qualification?

How will I be assessed?

The course is assessed through 3 examination papers at the end of year 11. Component 1 = 2 X 1hour papers Component 2 = 1 X 2hour paper All papers are assessed on AO1 skills (Knowledge and understanding) and AO2 (Analysis and evaluation.)

Possible Career Paths

Medicine Social care Journalism Teaching/lecturing Law Police Politics Youth work Charity management The diplomatic service The media Counselling


Philosophy of Religion includes an exploration of key and ultimate questions. There is much room for discussion and personal opinions, whilst taking into account past and present philosophical thinkers and their works. The Ethics element of the course incorporates both the study of ethical theories and their application, looking at issues such as Conscience, Business Ethics, Sexual Ethics and Euthanasia among others. The study of Buddhism involves an exploration of Beliefs, Practices, Authority, History, Values and the impact of Religion on Society as a whole.

KS5 Intent Statement

The Key stage 5 curriculum links back to many of the units covered in both the Key stage 3 and 4 curriculum. Students who opt for the Religious Studies A level study the OCR specification, which allows continuity from the GCSE course. The curriculum has three components; Philosophy, Ethics and Buddhism.
The Key Stage five curriculum provides a coherent and thought provoking and rigorous programme which prepares students for progression to Higher Education. Students are encouraged to further develop a greater understanding and appreciation of religious beliefs and teachings, as well as the disciplines of ethics and philosophy of religion. We aim for students to hone their skills of critical analysis in order to construct balanced, informed arguments and responses to religious, philosophical and ethical ideas.
Extra-curricular opportunities include; attending lecture, such as the Candle conferences and visiting a Buddhist retreat.
It is hoped that students will develop a life-long love of learning and an openness to the diverse wold in which we live.

Qualification Details

Exam Board: OCR
Qualification Title: Religious Philosophy and Ethics
Qualification Specification Code: H573
Qualification Webpage: Click here to visit the OCR webpage for the specification.

Entry Requirements

Standard Sixth Form entry requirements

What will I study in this qualification?

Possible Career Paths

This course supports a range of careers such as Law, Medicine, Social Work, Journalism, Teaching and so on. Universities recognise this course as a valuable academic subject, which will enable students to develop the key skills needed for higher education.

Who should I speak to if I need further information?

Mrs Downie, Mr Goddard or Mr Yapp

    Owned by: MDS | Last Published: 20/09/2019 09:53:36 | Next Update: N/A