The Religion, Philosophy and Ethics Department (RPE)
RPE is a course designed to support students in their development. All students in KS3 have three lessons of RPE a fortnight; KS4 students have four lessons of RPE a fortnight. RPE contributes to an integrated approach to the Religious Education, PHSEE and Citizenship curriculum. (The PSHEE Pastoral Programme is delivered through Tutor Sessions, RPE and Enrichment Days and coordinated by the Deputy Headteacher [Pastoral], the Head of PSHEE, and Heads of Year).
The RPE programme of study aims to offer our students opportunities to extend their knowledge, understanding and skills necessary to play an effective role in society at local, national and international levels.
During RPE topics students learn about aspects of religion, religious beliefs, practices, language and traditions and philosophical perspectives on communities, societies and cultures. This course encourages respect for national, religious and ethnic identities. Students will be asked to reflect upon contemporary issues, take part in discussions as well as consider and respond to a range of important questions related to their own spiritual development and values. By the end of their compulsory education, our students will have investigated a wide range of philosophical, political, moral, ethical, health and legal issues.
Key Stage 3
In Years 7 and 8, students study topics that relate to the Kent Agreed Syllabus for RE, the Citizenship curriculum and PSHEE. During their three RPE lessons a fortnight, the over-arching theme for Year 7 is ‘Ways of Seeing the World’, and for Year 8 is ‘Me and the Wider Community’. Students complete a range of assessments including unit tests and an end of year examination as well as personal reflection activities. All students utilise a range of resources including active learning techniques and Thinking Tools to deepen and widen their learning. Topics that are studied in KS3 provide a substantial foundation for their GCSE preparation in KS4 as well as contributing to their personal development.
Key Stage 4
All students start the RS GCSE course with a focus on religious studies, philosophy and ethics in Year 9, and this is delivered via four RPE lessons a fortnight. The examination board for their GCSE is Edexcel and the course prepares students to take up to two written examinations (including topics relating to the study of Christianity and Buddhism) taken at the end of Year 11 that lead to a full GCSE. The RPE course at KS4 continues to provide opportunities for Personal and Economic Wellbeing/Financial Capability, and these areas are supported by workshops and speakers on Enrichment Days throughout Years 9, 10 and 11.
Key Stage 5
In the Sixth Form the department offers Philosophy A Level (AQA):
A Level Philosophy extends and deepens learning from KS3 and KS4. Students take four units at the end of Year 13. The following units includes a range of in-depth investigations into aspects of human experience. The course is taught by specialist teachers, and speakers are invited into lessons and after school activities to extend learning beyond the textbook/course specification. A Level Philosophy students are encouraged to participate in the Philosophy Club, involving younger students in topics that analyse and question the ways in which we interpret the world around us.
The skills of identifying, analysing and evaluating arguments as well as exploring contemporary moral issues can provide basis for progression into further learning, and/or employment.
Students who have chosen Philosophy (and other related topics) for their EPQ have achieved excellent results. Students have gone on to universities across the country to study Philosophy at degree level.
The department uses the Student Portal to allow 24/7 access for students to extend their studies and in their preparation for examinations. Our students’ learning experiences are supported by the use of Interactive Whiteboards in classrooms, with a wide range of software actively used in lessons as well as available via the Student Learning Gateway. Students utilise textbooks, videos/DVDs, teacher-prepared resources, and computers as well as enjoy a range of speakers and visits. Learning resources and exemplar essays via Padlet are accessible to students at school and at home. Extension archives of Religious Studies and Philosophy journals are available for students to access both at school and at home. Students are encouraged to use iTunesU in addition to a range of other university level resources/lectures to enhance their learning.