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Religion, Philosophy & Ethics

What will students be studying in RPE this year?

In Year 10 students will continue work on the GCSE AQA Religious Studies A syllabus. They will cover three units over the academic year: ‘Islam: Practices’, ‘The existence of God and revelation’ and ‘Relationships and families’. The unit ‘Islam: Practices’ will be on the ‘Religions: Beliefs, teachings and practices’ paper, whilst, the ‘The existence of God and revelation’ and ‘Relationships and families’ topics will feature on ‘Thematic Studies’ paper.

In their work on ‘Islam: Practices’, pupils explore common and divergent practices within Islam such as the ‘five pillars of Islam’. They consider questions such as the importance of these practices to Muslims and varying practices between Sunni and Shi’a Muslims.

In ‘The existence of God and revelation’, we explore philosophical arguments for and against God’s existence, as well as the nature of the divine and revelation. This will be studied with reference to Christianity and non-religious beliefs such as atheism and humanism.

Finally, the unit on ‘Relationships and families’ addresses Christian and Islamic teachings about sex, marriage, families and gender equality.  Pupils will debate questions such as ‘is marriage an outdated concept?’ and ‘is divorce sometimes necessary?’

In Year 11 students will continue studying towards the GCSE qualification and complete the final three topics: ‘Christian Practices’, ‘Religion and Life’ and ‘Religion, human rights and social justice’.

In their work on ‘Christian Practices’, pupils explore the meaning and importance of a range of practices. In ‘Religion and Life’, we explore issues ranging from abortion to animal rights. Finally, the unit on ‘Religion, human rights and social justice’, students will consider issues including equality and prejudice.

What are the major assessments this year?

In addition to marked homework, pupils will have an end of unit assessment for each topic. This will take place during lesson time and will be completed under timed conditions. They will have 25 minutes to complete the assessment, which reflects the amount of time that they will have to answer on each section in the final exam. They will also have an internal exam during the summer term of Year 10, where they will answer on two of the units for GCSE studied so far. There are no controlled assessments for this course. The assessments that take place during Year 10 do not count towards their final grade; they are for internal assessment purposes only.

In Year 11 students  complete a 2 hour mock examination in the Autumn term. There is no coursework component to this course so the final grade is awarded on the outcome of 2 x two hour examinations.

What will the current performance grade be based on, and what do the grades mean?

The current performance grade is based on all of the assessments and homework that they have completed to date. The grade provided reflects the GCSE grade that your daughter is currently working at.

What should my daughter do if she feels she is struggling in the subject?

In the first instance, she should speak to her subject teacher. She should try to identify specific areas of the subject which she is finding a challenge so that we can offer targeted support. We can then offer targeted support which may take the form of a mentor or lunchtime or after school support sessions.

How can I support my daughter?

The best way to support students is to talk to them about their studies, what they are particularly enjoying and whether they would like further help. Do try to engage them in discussion by asking them their views on topical issues and whether they would agree or disagree with the views of others. Discussing any ethical issues (for example sexual discrimination) or philosophical issues (such as “how could a loving God allow suffering?”) would be beneficial. Newspapers, television and radio are a great source of topical issues and there are often documentaries covering ethical or religious issues which are very accessible. The website RE:Quest is a great starting point for homework research and revision. BBC Bitesize is also a useful resource.

What kind of independent work should my daughter be completing?

Students are given regular independent homework to complete. When students’ homework and assessments are marked, they receive a number of targets and corrections and students should be proactive in working on these. Students should also keep abreast of contemporary issues in the news and discuss these topics with their friends and family outside of lessons. Please do look at our Learning to Fly document for further suggestions.

Who can I contact for further advice and information?

Please feel free to contact the Head of RPE, Mrs Jackson, on  with your question or concern. If you wish to withdraw your daughter from all or some RPE lessons, please contact your daughter's Head of Year.

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