Religious Studies and Philosophy
Dartford Grammar School has adopted the Kent Agreed Syllabus for Religious Studies and has implemented the syllabus through KS3 Humanities lessons and in Key Stage 4 through the PSE programme of study. We also address RS through the areas of interaction of the MYP with a special focus on community & service and human ingenuity. As part of this we adopt a criterion based approach to assessment. The themes outlined for Years 12 and 13 are addressed as part of the Theory of Knowledge element of the IB.
Pupils are required to gain knowledge and understanding about religion, to make informed and balanced judgements about religious belief and moral issues, and to apply religious insights to the pupils’ own lives. These have significant overlap with the demands of both the MYP and the IB. The teaching methods used in the department are designed to be as enriching as possible to reflect the diversity and value of living in a multi-cultural society. In addition we take advantage of the many opportunities for linking Religious Studies to other areas of the curriculum. Aspects of the Religious Studies curriculum are regularly taught in History, Science and English.
In Year 7 and 8 pupils study RS as part of an integrated approach within Humanities focussing on the Semitic religions and the religion of Sikhism. Each unit focuses on an AoI, with approaches to learning being evident throughout. This includes the origins and contemporary practice of Judaism. They also investigate Christianity as a World Religion by exploring the theology as well as the practice of the faith. Pupils in year 8 examine the religions of Hinduism and Buddhism. There is also an in depth study of the Holocaust. In Year 9 pupils study AQA syllabus B including units on contemporary moral issues from a religious and philosophical perspective.
In KS3 the equivalent of one period each week is Religious Studies. Cross-curricular work involving R.S., History and Geography, opportunities for independent learning and use of ICT are an essential part of this course. In Key Stage 4, as an integral part of the PSE Programme pupils, study issues relating to morality and the value of human life. Students who opt to take the Full course GCSE RS qualification will have RS lessons until the end of year 11. Students who opt to study History and Geography in years 10 and 11 will take a short-course RS exam in the summer term of year 9.
At Key Stage 5 IB Philosophy is offered at Higher Level. In year 12, all students studying IB philosophy complete a ‘Core’ unit, which involves a study of the nature of humanity and the self. Students also complete a unit on the Philosophy of Religion. In year 13, all students also complete an Internal Assessment, in the form of one 1600-2000 word essay about a philosophical analysis of a non-philosophical source. All students also conduct a critical analysis of Plato’s ‘The Republic’. Higher Level students complete a unit on Ethics in year 12 and in Year 13 prepare for an unseen text based on the nature of philosophy.
What skills will you gain?
By the end of the course, students should be able to: analyse problems, think creatively and independently, be able to evaluate opposing perspectives, identify weaknesses in arguments, and critically assess debates and arguments.
Why do this subject?
This is an excellent subject for any student wishing to go to University. It prepares pupils through the critical thinking, abstract ideas and textual study that they will have to be engaged in. Philosophy is held in high esteem by universities and will be a formidable addition to anyone’s qualifications.
Where will it lead?
Employers value the transferable skills that philosophy teaches. Philosophy is ideal for any student wishing to take up careers in law, journalism, education, business, management, publishing and politics.