Religion, Philosophy & Ethics

The Religion, Philosophy & Ethics Department encourages a genuine exploration of the world faiths to provide pupils with vital tools– an open mind and the habit of analysis. The aim is to explore the relevance of religion to everyday life and contemporary ethical issues.

As a Cathedral School, there is a commitment to the teaching of Christianity. Religious Studies is about our responses to profound experiences such as death, suffering, good and evil, as well as the search for meaning and purpose in life. It is hoped pupils will find “ransacking the treasures of the world religions illuminating, challenging and meaningful” as they figure out their own philosophy of life.

Years 7-9

In Years 7 and 8, Judaism, Christianity, Islam, Hinduism and Buddhism are investigated through text and story, film, artwork, authentic artefacts, as well as writing and discussion.  Pupils also have the opportunity to enter competitions such as the national ‘Spirited Arts’ and ‘Spirited Poetry’ competitions.

In Year 9, our ‘Introduction to Philosophy’ engages pupils with the insights of the great philosophers including Plato, Descartes and Aquinas, and consider what they have to teach us about truth, how we see the world, the meaning and purpose of life, and the existence of God. The ‘Introduction to Ethics’ explores different ways in which right and wrong may be known, for example utilitarianism, and applies these to issues ranging from animal rights to driverless cars.

GCSE course

All pupils study the AQA GCSE 'Religious Studies' Short Course which covers the study of religion and ethical issues.

The course entails the systematic study of:

  • The beliefs and teachings of Christianity and Islam are covered in depth.  
  • Pupils then study ‘Religion, relationships, and gender equality' focusing on Christian, Muslim, and secular attitudes to issues such as sexuality, cohabitation, marriage, family life, divorce, contraception, and gender equality.   
  • This is followed by 'Religion: peace and conflict' which explores the causes of conflict in the modern world and considers Christian, Muslim and secular responses to issues such as war, pacifism, terrorism, nuclear weapons, how best to achieve peace, and the work of individuals and organisations such as Christian Aid and the Quakers.
  • The course enables pupils to develop consistent views of their own on faith and lifestyles. In this subject, they are awarded marks for their own opinions so long as they supply rational, considered reasons.
A-Level course

See Sixth Form Curriculum here for full details of our A-Level Religion, Philosophy & Ethics course.