Religion, Philosophy and Ethics.
The Religion, Philosophy and Ethics (RPE) Department at Beaconsfield High School is a thriving and successful Department, with outstanding examination results at both GCSE and A Level. The subject is taught by experienced specialist teachers who aim to provide opportunities for young people to engage with relevant contemporary and challenging questions that impact on all of our lives; questions about faith, meaning and purpose, truth, existence, morality, equality and diversity. RPE helps young people to be more informed about the beliefs, practices and wider questions of theists and atheists in our society and in cultures across the globe; thus encouraging students to have a better understanding of their own and others’ beliefs, which helps to enhance their views on British values and a wider sense of community cohesion. We follow the Buckinghamshire Agreed Syllabus 2011-16 entitled 'Challenging RE'.
Key Stage 3: Years 7, 8 and 9
Students follow an introductory unit regarding Ultimate Questions with the focus being on questioning the existence of truth and God. Students then look at what it means to be a Sikh and what it means to be a Jew. These units incorporate wider questions on equality and service, and also explore wider philosophical and ethical questions. The final unit is an ethics based unit which looks at Social Justice through the Judeo-Christian tradition.
The students follow a unit that explores the perceived conflicts between Religion and Science, looking at different interpretations of accounts of our origins from Christianity, Science and ancient cultures. Y8 students then look at the questions of what it means to be a Christian and what it means to be a Buddhist. These units look at fundamental Christian beliefs such as Jesus as the Messiah, resurrection, atonement, discipleship and different denominations. The Buddhism unit introduces the Problem of Evil and Suffering as well as its key beliefs. The final unit looks at the question ‘Is it ever right to kill?’ This covers issues such as war and peace, and vegetarianism.
All students in Y9 follow the Core curriculum which introduces the three world views of theism, secularism and post-modernism. Through these lenses the issue of God’s existence is explored. The students then look at the key question of ‘Do You Need God to be Moral?’ Major atheist and theist ethical systems are introduced including Utilitarianism and use of Religious texts. Students then look at Judaism and the Problem of Evil which includes looking at different responses to the Holocaust.
Key Stage 4: Years 10 and 11
At the end of Year 9, students can opt to do our full course GCSE and it is usual to have two GCSE sets. Those who take the GCSE course currently study OCR Philosophy and Ethics full course. At present the GCSE Philosophy and Ethics Specification is changing for teaching September 2016. We are currently in the process of choosing our new Exam Boards for GCSE.
All Year 10 and 11 students, including those who take the GCSE course, also have one compulsory period every other week, timetabled against the PSHCE course. In Year 10 students are continuing to studying a Religion and Morality course, including issues of Crime and Punishment and Attitudes to the Wealth and Poverty in the UK, World Poverty and Matters of Life, such as genetic engineering and embryo research. In Year 11, we continue to explore a variety of moral issues which currently dominate the headlines, and other areas of religious and moral interest in our world, such as Attitudes to the Elderly, Death, and Euthanasia.