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Redland Green School

KS4 Philosophy & Religion

Philosophy and religion offers pupils a profound insight into the beliefs and practices of the world faiths and has a central role in promoting respect, appreciation and understanding of people's religious beliefs and values, which is at the heart of our syllabus.  Philosophy and religion also has a substantial contribution to make to the spiritual, moral, social and cultural development of young people whilst most importantly promoting a respectful and tolerant attitude towards the varying religions and cultures within society. 

Our GCSE curriculum has four core threads that run through the course building on the work done in KS3. 

  • Key concepts - Religion is underpinned by key concepts such as secular or pluralism. As students progress through the curriculum they will have a wider and deeper understanding of these concepts.
  • Religious beliefs and teachings - in order to understand the range of teachings and attitudes about human relationships in and between religions, it is important to understand the diverse nature of religious belief in twenty-first-century Britain.  Through studying this course, our students will become informed about common and divergent views within traditions in the way beliefs and teachings are understood and expressed
  • Religious practices - Understand that religious traditions in Great Britain are diverse and include religious and well as non-religious beliefs, such as atheism and humanism
  • Philosophy and Ethics - Will allow our students to understand more about the world, the religious challenges it faces and their place within it. Will deepen their understanding of religion and its effects on society and enable them to become religously informed, thoughtful and engaged citizens.


Exam board:


How is this course examined?

3 exams in total:

  • 1 x 2 hour (Religious, philosophical and ethical studies in the modern world)
  • 1 x 1 hour (Christianity)
  • 1 x 1 hour (Islam)


How is this course structured?

Year 10 Year 11

Focus: Component 1: Religious, Philosophical and Ethical Studies in the Modern World (50%)

Focus:  Component 2: Study of Christianity (25%) and Component 3: Study of a World Faith (25%)

Term 1:

Unit 1: Issues of relationships

Relationships and family life are the basic building blocks of society and this theme examines all aspects of relationships including contraception, marriage, adultery, divorce and gender equality.  Attitudes to these issues are examined from religious and non-religious viewpoints. 


Term 2:

Unit 2: Issues of life and death

This theme begins by exploring differing perspectives on the origin of the universe and life.  From both religious and non-religious view, we look at the complex issues of abortion and euthanasia, discussing when life begins, the right to life, the right to die, hospices and palliative care.  


Term 3 & 4:

Unit 3: Issues of good and evil

Students will explore the nature of good and evil and how both are related to suffering.  They will study the religious and non-religious teachings, beliefs and attitudes to suffering, crime, punishment and forgiveness.  They will consider the philosophical problem that the presence of evil and suffering in the world can present a challenge to belief in God.


Term 5 & 6:

Unit 4:  Issues of human rights

Within this theme issues of human rights and social justice are explored.  Students will explore moral issues and religious beliefs concerning practices to promote human rights, censorship, prejudice and discrimination and wealth and poverty.  Student will consider the role these issues play in twenty-first-century Britain.


Term 1 & 2: 

Study of a world faith - Islam

This unit begins by asking ‘What is Islam?’.  It looks at the the diversity of the ummah in the UK and across the world, exploring the similarities and differences between the two great branches of Sunni and Shi’a Muslims.  Important beliefs such as the nature of revelation and authority in Islam are explored as are the beliefs, teachings and practices within the religion.


Term 3 & 4:

Study of Christianity

This unit explores the different beliefs, teachings and practices within Christianity; within Great Britain the religious traditions are, in the main, Christian, but also diverse.  In this pluralist and more secular society, Christianity remains an important faith for millions of people in Britain; there are many denominations which make up the Christian family.


Why is the course sequenced this way? 

Year 10 is focused on religion in the modern world as this allows us to build on our ethics prior learning from Year 9. This also allows us to show how religion plays an active role in the society we live in today. Discussion is a key part of this work as we build our Year 10 students as experts in philosophy and religion.

Year 11 then focuses on the specifics of two religions - Islam and Christianity. We open with a look at Islam as the key concepts can be difficult and we find that students fresh after a summer break are ready for this challenge! We end the course with a unit on Christianity. Both of these Year 11 units build upon the foundations of KS3 prior learning.


How are students assessed?

  • Students are given regular opportunities to practice exam questions. These are marked using mark schemes and feedback is given both individually and whole class.
  • Regular knowledge checks are built into all of our lessons to give recall opportunities and for us to see if key concepts have been learned.


Recommended revision guide:

My Revision Notes WJEC Eduqas GCSE (9-1) Religious Studies Route A: Covering Christianity, Buddhism, Islam and Judaism