Head of Department: Mrs A E D Locke
The School Chaplain: Revd P A Row
"Understanding and tolerance are two fellow travellers"
RELIGIOUS STUDIES @ KS3
'Learning about and learning from religion'.
The aim is to build a framework of knowledge, moral concepts and language to heighton awareness and to enable discussion to take place. We look at how religious and non-religious people address issues such as crime and punishment. Further studies on Jewish writings and recent Jewish history illustrate the study of persecution and prejudice. In the final term, environmental ethics are studied in the course on God, human beings and the natural world. This can lead into research into the ideas of Charles Darwin. We explore Christian ideas about creation and responsibility for the natural world. The aim is to recognise the relevance of religion to the urgent issues of our time and to provide access to religious writings as a source of inspiration.
Religious studies at HCS means investigating four major world faiths - Buddhism, Judaism, Christianity and Islam, using texts, visits, film, CDs, artwork and authentic artefacts as well as writing and discussion. If you are lucky, you may even try out the food typical of certain festivals! We explore ceremonies and customs as well as the lives and beliefs of the great figures and people in each religion. There is opportunity for discussion and individual inquiry. What you think and make of the information is a vital part of these studies, alongside learning about the facts and understanding the ideas. Elements of philosophy and ethics are introduced by Year 9.
In the first year, expect the following:
- A visit to the Mappa Mundi and the Chained Library.
- Hunting for symbols in Hereford Cathedral, an amazing resource right on our doorstep.
- Key skills in RS - interpreting symbols and 'concept-crunching' (understanding the big ideas in a religion).
- Buddhism and the life of the Buddha - his ideas on facing suffering and the cycle of life, death and rebirth.
- Islam and the life of Muhammad - concentrating on faith, prayer and pilgrimage to Makkah.
- How to read sacred stories - thinking about the meaning and message and how to find your way around the Bible.
Click buddhist_wheel_of_life.doc for images of Buddhist Wheel of Life
In the second year, the courses on the Jewish faith and Christianity include:
- Being a Jew and turning thirteen.
- Jewish writings: scribes, scholars and poets.
- Great festivals in the Jewish calendar.
- Special food laws: keeping kosher kitchens
- The background to the gospels and the life of Jesus.
- The accounts of Jesus' death and resurrection.
In the third year, your are introduced to some philosophy and discussion of contemporary ethical questions in preparation for GCSE, for example:
- Is it ever right to fight a war? Should religious people always be pacifists?
- How can you get rid of prejudice and stop persecution?
- Martin Luther King and his fight for civil rights in the USA.
- Research into the Holocaust and the Jewish experience in the ghettos of Eastern Europe.
- What is punishment and prison for?
- Environmental ethics and our responsibility to protect life on earth.
THE GCSE YEARS
The Religious Studies Short Course GCSE for all pupils entails study of five contemporary ethical issues from the perspective of two world faith, Christianity and Islam. It involves much discussion and dialogue about the real world and the ethical concerns facing society today: for example, the future of the family, marriage and divorce, homosexuality, medical ethics, discrimination because of religion or gender or race. It enables you to develop consistent views of your own on faith and lifestyles. In this subject, you are awarded marks for your own opinion so long as you give rational, considered reasons.
Each issue is investigated in the light of current UK Law and the religious beliefs of Islam and Christianity. Non-religious ideas are also introduced as well as the relevant legal debates, medical practice and the religious teachings and texts. There is one examination at the end of Year 11 of 1 ½ hours. There is no longer a coursework option.
There is lots of scope for research and reflection. Pupils investigate world poverty as well as a global charity such as Islamic Aid or Christian Aid. Pupils also study how religion is presented in the media, on TV and in film. The course provides a very good foundation for the A Level in Philosophy and Ethics and any further studies in law, medicine, theology, philosophy or politics. For an understanding of the world today, this course provides vital perspectives on Islam and Christianity.
Into the Sixth Form
RELIGIOUS STUDIES AS (Philosophy of Religion and Ethics)
Available from September 2008 for Lower Six AS
A PPT on this course is available from
Examination Board: WJEC
Availability: AS and A2
Entrance Requirement: There is no specific entrance requirement though it helps to have studied at
least Short Course GCSE RS.
Aims of the Course:
- Develop a deep interest in and enthusiasm for the study of religion
- Acquire an informed knowledge and understanding of the texts and ideas
- Use an inquiring and critical approach to form and frame your own opinions
- Appreciate contemporary debates in philosophy and ethics
- Prepare you for future studies at university level and for independent research
Introduction to Religion and Ethics
- Aquinas and Natural Law tradition.
- Utilitarian ethics: Bentham, Mill and Singer
- Christian Situation Ethics
- Sexual ethics: debates about sex, marriage and homosexuality
- Medical and environmental ethics
Introduction to Philosophy of Religion
- The Design Argument and debate about Intelligent Design
- Origins of the Universe and Genesis
- The problem of evil and suffering in a world of God’s design
- Mysticism as a kind of religious experience: for example, Dame Julian of Norwich and Thomas Traherne of Hereford
Studies in Religion and Ethics
- Aristotle and Virtue Ethics
- Immanuel Kant and the idea of duty
- Ethics of warfare: Just War tradition and pacifism
- Medical ethics and debates about genetic engineering
Synoptic Paper: Studies in Religion and Human Experience
- Essay written under controlled conditions
- Religious Experience research or
- Life and Life after Death research
The debates and ideas about religion, philosophy and ethics are stimulating. You will be able to express yourself clearly and articulately on paper and in discussions on contemporary issues with the benefit of ideas from great thinkers of the past and present. If you enjoy discovering new ideas, reading texts and analysing arguments, then you will enjoy philosophy and ethics at A level. It will help you figure out your own philosophy of life as well as appreciate a great range of philosophical issues.