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Religion, Philosophy & 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 Universal British values and a wider sense of community cohesion.  


Key Stage 3: Years 7, 8 and 9  

Year 7  

Year 7 students will follow an introductory unit on identity, including philosophical ideas about what it means to be human, including religious and non-religious views about the soul. They will discuss Sikhism, focussing on beliefs and practices and apply their knowledge to a group project about Sikhism in British society. The final term will be dedicated to an exploration of Humanism, as a comparison study to Sikhism. This will end with a topic on human rights and social justice.

Year 8 

Year 8 students will explore key Christian beliefs as a foundation to further study on the debate between scientific and religious beliefs about the origins of the universe and human life. The next unit of study will be an introduction to applied ethics, exploring a range of ethical response to issues such as animal rights, peace and conflict. They will have the opportunity to engage further in one area of ethical study as part of a group project. The final topic will enable students to engage philosophically with the question, are we free? 

Year 9 

Year 9 students will study Hindu beliefs and practices, with links to Hindu responses to ethical issues. The Problem of Evil will be their next unit of study, engaging in the philosophical challenges that the existence of evil brings to belief in an all loving God. Students will then follow a programme of study considering different academic ethical theory, evaluating each approach in light of a series of moral dilemmas. They will then apply their ethical knowledge, in greater depth, to the issue of crime and punishment, considering different approaches to punishment in accordance with culture and context. In their final term students will learn key beliefs and practices of Islam. Their final topic will explore different views on life after death, drawing on prior knowledge of key religions studied. 

Key Stage 4: Years 10 and 11  

At the end of Year 9, students can opt to do our full course GCSE. Our year 10 and 11 students are studying the AQA Religious Studies full course (linear). Year 10 based on Christianity and year 11 on Judaism. In both years we explore a variety of philosophical and moral such as evolution, death, terrorism, sex, justification of the existence of God.  

All Year 10 and 11 students, including those who take the GCSE course, also have one compulsory period every other week. The course is mainly based on discussion of specific topics such as contraception and sex, gender equality and diversity, environmental ethics and animal rights.