Theology and Philosophy

Course ID
A Level (Philosophy of Religion and Ethics) and IGCSE (Religious Studies)

Introduction to the Theology and Philosophy department

The department of Theology and Philosophy at Wolverhampton Grammar School gives students the opportunity to consider the big questions that underpin life in the 21st Century. Students explore how the world has been shaped by a variety of different world views and beliefs and confidence grows as they begin to develop skills of analysis and evaluation, enabling them to express their own views clearly and confidently.

Kath Finn Head of Department and Beverley Young teach theology and philosophy to all students. A particular strength of the department is its ability to ensure all students have the opportunity to study the world’s major religions in a variety of ways appropriate to their age.

Students are also made familiar with reasoning skills and the kind of higher order thinking that is essential at all levels of academic study. For example, technical language regarding the nature of God is introduced in Year 7 and applied in practice to the beliefs on specific religions. This basic grounding is built on in Year 9 to examine the use of metaphors in religious language and some of the classic arguments for, and against, the existence of God.

We teach Religious Studies to give all students the opportunity to:

  • acquire and develop knowledge and understanding of religious beliefs and practices, with particular reference to Christianity and the other principal religions represented in Great Britain
  • develop an understanding of the influence of beliefs, values and traditions on individuals, societies and culture
  • develop an appreciation of the religious and cultural diversity of contemporary society and of how such diversity enriches national life
  • appreciate the immense influence of religion and the part that it has played, and continues to play in many people’s lives, both personally and nationally
  • develop the ability to make reasoned and informed judgements about religious and moral issues
  • develop the ability to consider sensitively, and respect the beliefs of others.
  • develop an informed, critical insight into their own beliefs
  • explore the spiritual dimension of religious experience and reflect upon their own inner feelings, questions, thoughts and experiences
  • develop a range of higher thinking skills that is applicable to a variety of academic disciplines and situations.

The department is committed to, and expects students to adopt, an academic and analytical approach to religious beliefs, philosophy and ethics from whatever religious or cultural standpoint they themselves come from. Religious Studies also gives students the opportunity to critically explore intellectually stimulating areas that mirror their own lives. The subject at all levels requires students to personally interact with the issues raised and as a result develop valuable philosophical and analytical skills that can be used in other areas of study and beyond.

Introduction to the Course

Religious studies focuses on some of the key questions about life and human experience and links them to the way people live their lives. Students have the chance to study big issues, learn what other people think and then come up with answers and opinions of their own. They will also have the opportunity to sharpen up critical thinking skills such as sifting and evaluating evidence, presenting ideas and arguments and decision making. Topics are examined from a non-religious perspective as well as a range of different religious viewpoints and this makes the course suitable for students of any faith background – or none. All that is necessary is an enquiring mind and an interest in the wider world… and often beyond. The course follows a linear structure.

What the student will learn

This course is divided into two sections:

  • Beliefs and Values – (Philosophy and Ethics).
  • The Religious Community – (Beliefs and Practices).

The first section covers a wide range of the big questions relating to philosophy of religion and ethics including:

  • Can you prove the existence of God?
  • Could there be life after death? What forms could it take?
  • Why is there suffering in the world? Where does evil come from?
  • How do people decide what is right and wrong?
  • Abortion and Euthanasia – do we have the right to decide who lives and dies?
  • Human Rights – should people have them and what should they be?

The second of the course examines how such key beliefs and ideas are an integral part in the lives and traditions of believers across a range of world faiths. Topics include:

  • Sacred texts.
  • Founders and leaders.
  • Rules for living.
  • Worship and celebration.

How the student will be assessed

Assessment

Written Exam

Time

2 hours and 30 minutes

 

About

  • Beliefs and Values (68%).
  • Religious Community (32%).

A Level Religious Studies is taught by the Department of Theology and Philosophy. Uniquely therefore, only Wolverhampton Grammar School combines the approaches used in Philosophy to complement the A Level Religious Studies syllabus. A Level Religious Studies gives you a set
of skills you can bring to just about any situation.

Studying Religious Studies develops critical thinking: the ability to analyse a point of view; to develop and reason through argument and the ability to reach a logical and justified conclusion. For this reason it is valued by universities and employers in journalism, government, the law and
medicine, amongst many others.

Religious Studies A Level would fit well with any arts based or humanities subjects but could equally be a suitable option for any student who is specialising in the sciences but wishes to retain a link to a more abstract discipline that still relates closely to their other studies.

Religious Studies is an inclusive subject, designed for people of any faith or none. The main prerequisite is a curiosity about the world and the way it works.

Assessment

Paper 1 Philosophy of Religion and Ethics

  • 3 hour written paper
  • 50% of total A Level

Paper 2 Study of Religion and Dialogues

3 hour written paper

50% of total A Level

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