The Religious Education Department promotes an open, critical and sympathetic study of religion. Students explore the nature of human experience and are encouraged to mature in relation to their own patterns of belief and behaviour. In RE lessons at Helsby, pupils are encouraged to explore religious beliefs, practices and values. The purpose of this is to assist their development spiritually, morally, socially and culturally. We encourage an academic awareness of modern Britain and empathy towards diversity.
We believe this helps them to:
- Formulate their own sense of purpose in life
- Recognise the ways in which religions have given their adherents a sense of purpose and community
- Understand the religious beliefs of others
- Develop their own beliefs, values and ideals in light of their learning
- Relate their beliefs, values and ideals to their actions and their relationships with others
- Appreciate what is involved in both individual and corporate responsibility
- Develop respect for other people, their beliefs and lifestyles
Key Stage 3
At Key Stage 3 pupils will study all six of the main world religions and will begin to explore some key moral issues and religious concepts:
- What is religion?
- Christianity: The life of Jesus
- War, wealth and poverty
- Christianity: Denominations and worship
- Rites of Passage
- Morality and Ethics
- Prejudice and Discrimination
- Introduction to Philosophy
- Introduction to Humanism
- Religion and Conflict (GCSE Short Course)
Key Stage 4
This course looks at a whole variety of ‘real life’ issues. All the issues will be considered from the perspective of Christianity and one other World Religion. The course is studied in 6 lessons per fortnight over two years and leads to a GCSE in Religious Studies.
The ‘Religion and Life’ module looks at the following five topics:
- Issues of Life and Death: what happens when you die?
- Should people be allowed abortions or euthanasia?
- Marriage and Family Life
- Social Harmony: the problems of sexism and racism
- Believing in God
- Wealth and Poverty
The ‘Religion and Society’ looks at the following five topics:
- Religion and Social Responsibility: Ethics and how moral decisions are made
- Religion and the Environment
- Religion: Peace and Conflict
- Religion: Crime and Punishment
- Religion and Medical Issues: Genetic Engineering and transplants
We use videos, discussion, group work, debates, thinking skills tasks, images, music and I look at items from the news. There is a lot of thinking and talking involved. Most students enjoy the fact that the issues raised don’t have easy answers. Students develop a number of higher order skills through the course, including the ability to evaluate, analyse, interpret and communicate.
Key Stage 5
The A Level course is challenging, stimulating and thought-provoking and of interest to anyone who wonders about the nature and meaning of life. A range of topics are studied including aspects of Christianity, Philosophy and Ethics, and Religion and Contemporary Society. The course gives insight into how Philosophers, Scholars and Religions have responded to ultimate questions about life and death, values and relationships, right and wrong, and examines how these have influenced the culture, thought and values of western society.
Religious Studies “Philosophy and Ethics” is an inclusive subject, designed for students of any faith or no faith. It is not necessary to have taken Religious Studies GCSE, although the AS/A2 Level builds on this knowledge, understanding and skills. What is more important is a desire to examine and evaluate fundamental questions of human existence.
- Unit 1 Ethics – Utilitarianism; Situation Ethics; Abortion and Euthanasia
- Unit 2 Philosophy of Religion – The Cosmological Argument for God; Religious Experience; Retreat of Religion and Rise of Atheism; Postmodernism
The units studied at A2 are:
- Unit 3 Philosophy of Religion – Faith and Reason and the Ontological Argument for God; Attitudes to Life After Death; Near Death Experiences; The Problem of Evil.
- Unit 4 Moral Decision Making – Examines contemporary Medical Ethics involving scientific, religious and moral responses.
Other opportunities include participation in a nationally recognised Philosophy and Ethics revision Conference; Two students become ambassadors for Holocaust Education following a visit to Auschwitz Concentration Camp in Poland.
Philosophy and Ethics at A Level is relevant to the study of virtually any subject. Universities and Colleges recognise the rigour of the AQA course which encourages clarity of thought and argument. The skills and attitudes it promotes are useful for many professions such as the Media and Politics; Social and Personnel work; Medicine; Teaching and the Law. It is also of value in itself as students examine stimulating topics relevant to modern life. Students are encouraged to express their ideas, engage in lively debate and present well-reasoned arguments.
“Lessons are really fun and we get to look at really interesting and different topics”
Year 9 Student
“The teachers really know there stuff and are always willing to help.”
Year 13 Student
- GCSE – Edexcel - http://www.edexcel.com/quals/gcse/gcse09/rs/Pages/default.aspx
- GCSE (Short Course) – WJEC - http://www.wjec.co.uk/index.php?subject=99
- A-Level Philosophy and Ethics – AQA - http://web.aqa.org.uk/qual/gce/humanities/religious_studies_noticeboard.php
Head of Department:
- Mr C Wheeler
- Miss S Roberts
- Miss R Evans
- Mrs P Joyce
- Mrs J Penney