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The King's School

The King's School Founded 1545

Achievement for All

Religion Philosophy and Ethics

Mrs K Snook
Head of RPE


The Religion Philosophy and Ethics department aim to equip students with the cultural capital that they need to live in a local, national and global context that is shaped by many diverse worldviews. We aim to provide students with an opportunity to develop and explore their own worldview whilst being able to learn about and question a diverse range of religious and non-religious beliefs in an environment that is underpinned by British Values.

We aim to deliver a curriculum that is broad, creates curiosity and a love of learning, which builds on prior knowledge but also prepares them for GCSE and adult life. The RPE teaching staff are all RPE subject specialists and, combined, have a wealth of experience. The RPE department offers at GCSE: AQA Specification A Full Course Religious Studies; AQA Specification A Short Course Religious Studies; AQA Foundation and Higher Project and at A-level: Sociology; Philosophy, Ethics and Buddhism. The RE department ensures that they are connected with the national and local RE teaching community and takes part in local RE Hub forums to share knowledge and good practice with other teachers.

Each year as a department we mark Interaith Week, Holocaust Memorial Day amongst other important national RE events. We also enter the Spirited Arts Competition and apply for Year 12 students to take part in the Lessons from Auschwitz Programme led by the Holocaust Educational Trust. Outside of the classroom, members of the department run a Philosophy Café Club which invites students to discuss life's ultimate questions and invites students to lead on their topics of interest. Furthermore, staff in the department run a Mindfulness and Meditation Club and have trained up a group of student Mindfulness Ambassadors to lead mindfulness sessions enhancing student wellbeing. Staff also run a German Language Club demonstrating the interests of the department beyond the scope of RPE.


The KS2-KS3 RPE curriculum is determined locally. As an Acadmey, we are guided by the Devon Agreed Syllabus 2019-2024 and have used this as a springboard to devise our own curriculum.

The requirements are that a syllabus must ‘reflect the fact that the religious traditions in Great Britain are, in the main, Christian while taking account of the teaching and practices of the other principal religions represented in Great Britain’, which our curriculum ensures.  At KS2, the Devon Agreed Syllabus advises that the religious traditions of Christians, Jews and Muslims are covered.  At KS3 we cover these Abrahamic worldviews in further detail as well as other worldviews.



At KS3 we cover a variety of worldviews and approaches, allowing students to look at the world through different lenses. In Year 7 we study an introduction to worldviews, looking at a philosopher, Atheist, Theist, Agnostic, Humanist and Sociologists worldview. We then go on to study the Dharmic Worldviews of Hinduism, Sikhi and Buddhism. In Year 8, we study different worldviews again but looking at a diversity of views including LGBTQ+ Theology, Black Theology and Feminist Theology. We then go on to study the Abrahamic worldviews, Ethics and Morality, Philosophy and the Holocaust as as an example of a moral and philosophical topic. A focus on Ethics, Philosphy and the Abrhamic faiths also begins to lay the foundation for the knowledge needed at GCSE. In KS3, 4 summative assessments a year assess their knowledge,  recall of key terms and concepts, ability to explain key theories and beliefs in an extended essay question. The essay also assesses a student's ability to explain with examples, compare and contrast views and evaluate different worldviews leading to a justified conclusion.

Year 7 & 8 Curriculum Map

Year 9 Curriculum Map

KS 4

Year 9 and Year 10 Short Course Religious Studies

In Year 9, all students begin the Short Course component of AQA GCSE Religious Studies Christianity and Islam. In Year 9, students make a choice as to whether to continue on the Short Course pathway at the start of Year 10 or opt for the Full Course pathway. The learning for the Short Course qualification continues into Year 10 and Short Course students sit their exam at the end of Year 10. This course offers students a fascinating journey into the two largest world faiths. Students learn about key beliefs and the diversity within both faiths but also the stance of these faiths on a variety of current ethical issues. Students are encouraged to debate and question, whilst learning how to explain key beliefs in depth and critically evaluate them with their own view. 

AQA Short Course RE

Short Course Curriculum Map

Full Course Religious Studies – starting at the beginning of Year 10

If students opt for Full Course RE in Year 9 instead of the Short Course path, students will have the exciting opportunity to learn more deeply about Christianity and Islam including their key beliefs, festivals, practices and context today at the start of Year 10. They will have fantastic opportunities to debate and think about philosophical issues such as the existence of God and hard-hitting, modern-day ethical issues such as abortion, euthanasia and animal rights. They will be examined in the Summer Term of Year 11.

AQA Full Course RE

Full Course Curriculum Map Year 10

Full Course Curriculum Map Year 11

Top-Up Curriculum Map

Foundation and Higher Project

All students who opt for Full Course RE will also complete a Level 1 (Foundation) or Level 2 (Higher) Project following the AQA Specification. What makes this course so appealing for students is that it provides them with an opportunity to research a topic of their own choice. The outcome usually takes the form of a research project of around 2000 words. Past projects have explored, amongst other things, the history of protest music, the battle strategies of the Romans, the development of fashion and dance, the social construction of sexuality, and the media’s representation of women. Pupils learn how to research independently in the library and online. They also learn how to construct questionnaires and quantify data. They learn how to plan and present their projects.

Higher Project


A Level Religious Studies

This enthralling subject is ideal for anyone who is curious and wants to grapple with deep thinking questions and issues that have puzzled humanity since the dawn of time.  Students immerse themselves in the study of Philosophy, Ethics and Buddhism.  As part of philosophy, students study   philosophical issues such as the existence of God, religious experience and the problem of evil.  Contemporary as well as Ancient Greek scholars (Socrates, Plato and Aristotle) are part of this programme of study.  They also study ethical and moral theories alongside captivating ethical issues, which include the conscience, sexual ethics, euthanasia and business ethics. Within the Buddhism unit, students study the roots of Buddhist philosophy in the East, its development and impact in the West and in popular culture. Issues such as gender equality in Buddhist thought are also addressed.

This A Level is made of three units which are:

  • Philosophy of Religion (33.3%)
  • Ethics (33.3 %)
  • Developments in Buddhist thought (33.3%)

Each of the three units has a 2hr exam at the end of Year 13

Year 12 Curriculum Map

Year 13 Curriculum Map

A Level Sociology

This is a course which enables students to look past superficial common sense explanations of the social world and to form a deeper and informed understanding of society and the relationships within it. Amongst the issues we explore are: how does the media create crime and distort our perceptions of it? Why do girls outperform boys at every level of education and yet generally end up with lower-paid and lower-status jobs? Why do teachers negatively label certain students and what effect does this have on them? Are children treated better now in Western Society than ever before or have the demands of education and the rapid rise of social media made it a toxic period in our lives. Are we educated or indoctrinated? Is religion a way of bringing understanding, spirituality and hope into our lives, or is it merely a way of controlling us? Sociology can truly change your life.

A Level sociology comprises of 3 two hour papers on the following topics:

  • Education with theory and methods (33.3%)
  • Family and Households and Beliefs in Society (33%)
  • Crime and Deviance with theory and methods (33%)

Year 12 Curriculum Map

Year 13 Curriculum Map


A successful student in the RPE department is one who has an understanding of a variety of worldviews and is able to sensitively debate whilst establishing their own views and beliefs. A successful student in RPE is also one who works hard and produces fantastic work that they are proud of as well as getting involved in the various extra-curricular activities that the department offers. 

Recent results