Ercall Wood Academy

Empower | Respect | Aspire








Subject leader of Ethics

Mrs Mary Jennings


Click on the image left to watch a video explaining the RE, Philosophy & Ethics GCSE option.

Introduction to RE, Philosophy & Ethics

This is a new option for this year as the Ethics team have chosen a new specification that will give you a unique opportunity to study a wider range of religions, and the difficult to navigate ethical dilemmas that modern life poses.  Our students will be challenged with questions about belief, values, meaning, purpose, and truth, enabling them to develop their own attitudes towards religious issues,

The course offers a range of faith-specific options and a variety of relevant and contemporary themes, ensuring you have a diverse choice of intriguing subjects to explore and discuss.  We are excited to offer this exploration of your own beliefs and ideas, whilst sharing and learning about those of others.

Students will learn how philosophy, ethics and religion form the basis of our culture, and develop valuable skills that will prepare them for further study and a greater understanding of how to make valuable argument to explain the complexity of issues such as war, prejudice, abortion, euthanasia poverty, human rights and social justice.

As an open option students will have 5 lessons / fortnight of RE, Philosophy & Ethics.



The course studied is AQA GCSE Religious Studies A.  However, our teaching approach underpins the delivery through the moral and ethical views of the diverse religions.  The Ethics Department believes that this focus means the course can be viewed as the study of “Ethics”.

The course delivery is aligned with the assessment structure that comprises of two exam papers.

Paper 1 – Philosophical and ethical themes


Life Issues:

  • The Origins of The Universe.
  • The Value of the World
  • Use and Abuse of the Environment.
  • Pollution
  • Use and abuse of Animals
  • The Origins of Human Life
  • Abortion Euthanasia
  • Death and the Afterlife

The Existence of God and Revelation:

  • The Design Argument
  • The First Cause Argument
  • The argument from Miracles
  • Arguments Against the Existence of God.
  • Special Revelation and Enlightenment
  • Ideas about the Divine

Peace and Conflict:

  • Violent protest and Terrorism#
  • Reasons for War.
  • Nuclear War and Weapons of Mass Destruction
  • The Just War
  • Holy War and Religion as a Cause of Violence
  • Pacifism and Peace making
  • Victims of War

Human Rights and Social Justice:

  • Social justice and Human Rights
  • Prejudice and Discrimination
  • Religious Freedom
  • Disability and Race
  • Attitudes to Wealth
  • Poverty and its Causes
  • Exploitation and the Poor


Paper 2 - The Study of Religions


Beliefs and Teachings (Christianity):

  • The nature of God
  • Belief about the Trinity
  • The Life and Death of Jesus
  • The Afterlife and Judgement


  • Types of Worship
  • The Sacraments
  • Pilgrimage
  • Celebrating Festivals
  • Role of the Church in the Community-Food Banks/ Street Pastors
  • Mission and Evangelism
  • Growth and Persecution

Beliefs and Teachings (Islam):

  • The Nature of God
  • Angels
  • Life after Death
  • Prophethood
  • Holy Books


  • The Five Pillars, The Obligatory Acts
  • Salah and Prayers
  • Fasting during Ramadan
  • Zakah and Charity
  • Pilgrimage
  • The Meaning of Jihad
  • Festivals














There are two GCSE examination papers, each 1 hour and 45 minutes.


  • Paper 1 – Philosophical and ethical themes (96 marks, plus 6 marks for SPaG)
    • Each religion has a common structure of two five-part questions of 1, 2, 4, 5 and 12 marks.  Each religion is marked out of 48.


  • Paper 2 – a choice of study on two world religions (96 marks, plus 3 marks for SPaG)
    • Each theme has a common structure of one five-part question of 1, 2, 4, 5 and 12 marks (24 in total)







A qualification in Ethics / Religious Studies is useful in the following professions:



  • Media work – news, television etc
  • Law
  • Politics
  • Medicine
  • The Army
  • Social care


  • Voluntary work
  • Journalism
  • Education
  • The Police
  • The Ministry, of course.




So if you enjoy:


  • Finding out about issues that affect us all and discussing and giving your own idea
  • Learning about issues that are constantly in the news. And arguing from different points of view
  • Looking at topics that really make you think and writing evaluative answers about moral issues using opinions, examples and belief
  • Being able to say what you think.

This is the subject for you!


It teaches life skills such as undertaking research and investigation, problem solving, confidence building, awareness, ability to develop ideas, initiative, cultural and racial understanding, and many more!

Our Ethics Department has gained a local reputation for successful results, with students engaging in the subject to achieve grades beyond expectations. Visiting speakers have covered a wide range of topics and have included members of local voluntary groups, the armed forces, professionals in the care services and the charity section. Visits have also been wide ranging.



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