Philosophy & Religious Studies

St Peter's School

Philosophy & Religious Studies

Teaching Values, Religion and Ethics is not just about imparting a received body of knowledge. It is about developing awareness, skills and an attitude which will equip people to respond to culture, to other people, ethical challenges, big questions and difficult human experiences effectively.
- Dr Peter Vardy 2012


This curriculum aims to encourage students to be inspired, moved and changed by following a broad, satisfying and worthwhile study of religion and ethics. It is a critical approach that will challenge and equip them to lead constructive lives in the wider modern world.

Religious Studies helps pupils to reflect on and develop their own values, opinions and attitudes in light of their learning and enhance their spiritual and moral development, as well as contribute to their health and wellbeing.

It is very much an academic subject and develops important skills.  These analytic and evaluation skills can be transferred to many other subjects and areas of personal enquiry. By its nature the subject explores what it means to be human and what it means to be happy.


Why study Religious Studies (Philosophy of Religion and Ethics) at A-Level?  One reason is because it deals with some of the most important questions in life: Does God exist? Why is there suffering in the world? How do we know what is right or wrong?

Through studying and discussing these issues pupils will improve their thinking skills and ability to develop an argument. They will learn to think philosophically about issues, understand how key ideas have developed through the work of philosophers in the past and recognise their influence on ideas in society today and in the future. They will also have the opportunity to reflect upon their own points of view in relation to these ideas.

Pupils will study Philosophy and Ethics in separate lessons. In Philosophy, it begins with the discovery of Ancient Greek influences on philosophy of religion. Then, the results of Judaeo-Christian influences on philosophy of religion. They will delve into the traditional arguments for the existence of God whilst weighing up the various challenges to religious belief.  Later they will be able to exercise their skills in some exciting topics including the philosophical problems with religious language and the possibility of there being life after death. We will also explore the nature of miracles and the nature of God.

Ethical studies will encompass a range of ethical theories and their application to Abortion, Euthanasia, Genetics, War and Peace. Pupils will ask the question as to what we mean by ‘goodness’, (Meta-Ethics) and will ponder whether we have free will or live a pre-determined existence. Lessons comprise discussion, debate and careful evaluation of classical and modern philosophies.


From September 2016 there will be new specifications for Lower Sixth study:

Pre-U Philosophy and Theology

Lessons comprise of discussion, debate and careful evaluation of classical and modern philosophies.

  • You will learn how to write well-structured and coherent essays. 
  • You will also be encouraged to think independently and transfer the skills learnt in this subject to other areas of the curriculum. 
  • You will be encouraged to read some of the most influential writers that will introduce learners to some of the key ideas and texts which have played a large role in shaping our intellectual heritage

The course allows learners to think rigorously about fundamental questions of truth and human understanding and introduces learners to the academic study of both philosophy and theology.

It enables learners to draw on the views of different religions as well as those philosophers that have written about the concept of God from a purely philosophical standpoint

It also offers authentic stretch and challenge opportunities with the introduction of a synoptic approach. As they progress through the course pupils are required to develop a deeper critical awareness and understanding and engage in more conceptually sophisticated discussions