Religious Studies, Philosophy and Ethics

Religious Studies, Philosophy and Ethics offers a diverse topic range that covers a broad scope of key skills. Students will develop skills in analytical, critical and logical thinking; they will be given the scope to be creative, understanding, respectful and sensitive to different views whilst also having the opportunity to challenge them.

Students will develop questioning – questioning the meaning and purpose of life, questioning morals and what it means to be human, and students will also develop evaluating skills and link and compare to the relevance in today’s society, they will be encouraged to discuss and reason which will lead to a greater understanding of the different concepts. Studying a subject of this nature helps to promote equality, diversity, cultural understanding, citizenship, responsibility, British values, moral values, tolerance and community cohesion as well as allowing students to develop as an individual within their own identity.

Students explore worldwide views in local, national and global contexts. When looking at religion students cover all main world religions as well as being given the opportunity to research smaller based religions.

All students across all key stages are provided with these skills not only through subject lessons but cross curricular too, for example in English when studying Shakespeare students will need to understand the Christian influences which underpin Shakespearean text and in History when studying the crusades, a series of religious wars. Students also develop ideas through many other aspects of school life such as student voice, rights respecting school award, thought for the week, tutor activities, assemblies, promoting equality and diversity and charity and community cohesion work.

As a Rights Respecting School many of our thoughts for the week are aligned to the United Nations Children’s Charter.

Key Stage 3

The KS3 curriculum is delivered over 2 years; students receive taught content 2 hours per fortnight. Students are given the opportunity to develop the skills necessary for GCSE.

Year 7 Year 8
  • Identity & ultimate questions
  • Origins
  • Culture
  • Journeys
  • Afterlife
  • Spirited Arts
  • Ultimate questions 2
  • Morality
  • Identity & expression
  • Life & death
  • Suffering
  • Spirited Arts


Key Stage 4

Students who choose this pathway subject at KS4 follow OCR Religious Studies. Students explore 2 main world religions, Christianity and Islam. They will study key beliefs such as the nature of God, creation and afterlife. Students will also learn about key practises within these religions such as worship, celebrations and the role within the community. Students study a range of contemporary issues such as family dynamics, equality, reasons to or not to have faith, war and peace, secularisation and medical ethics. The course is 100% examination assessed and is examined in 3 papers:

  • Christianity beliefs, teachings and practises (1 hour examination)
  • Islam beliefs, teachings and practises (1 hour examination)
  • Religion, philosophy and ethics in the modern world from a Christian perspective (2 hour examination)

Key Stage 5

Students who opt to study this subject at KS5 follow OCR Religious Studies. Students study 3 key components which include Philosophy of Religion, Religion and Ethics and Developments in Christian Thought. Philosophy includes a study of ancient philosophers such as Aristotle and Plato, questions on the mind, body and soul, arguments about the existence or non-existence of God, religious experience, problem of evil, nature of God and religious language. Ethics includes ethical theories such as natural moral law, Kantian ethics and utilitarianism, the application of ethical theories to moral issues such as business ethics and euthanasia along with conscience, sexual ethics and ethical language. Developments in Christian thought include human nature, afterlife, God’s existence, Jesus, Christian principles and actions, pluralism within religion and society, gender, secularisation, liberation theory and Marxism. The course is 100% examination assessed and is examined in 3 papers:

  • Philosophy of religion (2 hour paper)
  • Religion and ethics (2 hour paper)
  • Developments in Christian thought (2 hour paper)

In summary, the King John School aims to build upon the personal skills of all of its students. We want our students to achieve their full potential academically but we also want them to become responsible members of society who contribute to the growth and understanding of diverse communities and cultures.