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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 at King’s provides an invaluable platform for students to explore some of the most important religious, philosophical and ethical issues that face humankind. At the heart of the department is the social, moral, spiritual and cultural development of students. The department prides itself on delivering a broad curriculum of study, which students enjoy, as it helps them to question and reflect upon their own worldview, whilst learning about a diverse range of religious, humanist and philosophical opinions. The department delivers high quality lessons that employ different teaching and learning styles, equipping students with the ability to learn about and from different belief systems. The RPE department tackles difficult and sensitive issues which Not only does the study of RE develop the higher level thinking skills of critical analysis and evaluation, it also develops important life skills, such as respect, empathy and understanding towards people of different beliefs, cultures and backgrounds. These skills help to develop students into responsible young citizens and prepare them for their future lives.

Members of the RPE Department also run the Make A Difference Group (MAD Group) which aims to benefit the school and wider community by encouraging student members to perform random acts of kindness and raise money for charity.

Our department has a daily 15 minute M &M’s (mindfulness and meditation) practice session to develop student and staff understanding of mindfulness, which is open to the beginner and the to more experienced.

The department successfully runs trips to various places of worship such as the local Buddhist temple, mosque, synagogue and cathedral as well as attending Holocaust Memorial Day. This allows student learning to be current and exciting.


In Year 7, all students learn about philosophy, spirituality and different beliefs about the existence of God. Students learn theistic, agnostic and atheist views. Year 7 is also dedicated to the study and exploration of eastern religions such as Hinduism, Sikhism and Buddhism.

In Year 8 students learn about monotheistic religions such as Christianity, Judaism and Islam, including their key beliefs, practices and relevance to society today.  Students also embark upon further in-depth study of philosophical, moral and ethical issues, prompting insightful debate and discussion, whilst equipping students with the knowledge and skills needed for GCSE.

KS 4

At the start of Year 9 students learn about the Holocaust and are helped with the expertise of the RPE department to sensitively understand this period in time as well as the impact of genocide in today’s world. Each class sympathetically explores the moral, religious and philosophical questions raised by this topic such as the problem of evil and suffering.


In Year 9 all students begin the Short Course component of GCSE Religious Studies Christianity and Islam.  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 learn about Christian, Muslim and non-religious views on moral issues associated with the topic of war and relationships.  Students are encouraged to debate and question, whilst learning how to explain key beliefs in depth and critically evaluate them with their own view. 

The Short Course qualification covers the following units:

  • Islamic Beliefs
  • Christian Beliefs
  • Relationships and Families
  • Religion, Peace and Conflict

Students taking the Short Course qualification sit a 1hr45 minute exam at the end of Year 10.

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

If students opt for Full Course 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. 

The Full Course qualification covers the following units which are broken down into Beliefs/Practices and Themes:

Beliefs and Practices (50 %):

  • Islam Beliefs
  • Islamic Practices
  • Christian Beliefs
  • Christian Practices

Themes (50%):

  • Relationships and Families
  • Religion Peace and Conflict
  • Religion and Life
  • Existence of God

The Full Course is examined with two 1hr 45 min exams at the end of Year 11

Higher Project

All students who opt for Full Course RE will also take Higher Project. 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, among 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. Research projects have also consisted of collages, illustrated short stories and introductions to novels.

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.


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

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. Among 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%)