Religious Studies - Philosophy, Religion & Ethics at Bournemouth School
The course is open to students of any religious persuasion or none. The specification treats the
subject as an academic discipline by developing knowledge and understanding appropriate to a
specialist study of religion.
The AS and A2 specifications require candidates to study one or two religions across one or two of
the following areas:
- Philosophy of Religion
- Religious Ethics
Students must also acquire knowledge and understanding of:
- The key concepts within the chosen area(s) of study, (e.g. religious beliefs, teachings, doctrines,
principles, ideas and theories) and how these are expressed in texts, writings and/or practices
- The contribution of significant people, traditions or movements to the area(s) studied
- Religious language and terminology
- Major issues and questions arising from the areas of study
Read what Peter Vardy, lecture in Philosophy of Religion at the University of London has to say about
"I wanna be rich’; ‘I wanna be on TV’; ‘I don’t wanna be unemployed like my Dad’; I wanna be a
doctor like my Mum"’. The issue of what we want to be underlies Religious Studies - although
hopefully it may be more concerned with what sort of a person we want to become rather than
what we want to do. In R.S. we have the freedom to explore issues of central contemporary
concern ranging over genetic engineering, our sexuality, business ethics, the reality (or
otherwise) of God, the problem of evil and suffering, what happens after death, whether there is
a point to life or whether we have to create meaning in what might otherwise be a meaningless
universe. Almost everyone is concerned with issues, yet they are rarely discussed - except,
perhaps, after a few drinks down the pub with friends.-
Some parents see R.S. as an irrelevant subject, which will not help get a good university place
or job - but this is a radical mistake. R.S. is widely respected by major universities and
prospective employers, whether these be lawyers, chartered accountants, the police, civil
service or teachers (to name but a few), because those taking the subject have been taught to
think and analyse complex issues for themselves.
The fastest growing aspects of R.S. are Ethics and Philosophy of Religion. These address the
central questions of life - how we shall live and die. One verse expresses the value of R.S. well:
There was a man who said damn
It is borne upon me that I am
A conveyance that moves
In pedestrian grooves
I’m not even a bus, I’m a tram.
Many of us are trams. Carefully educated into tram lines by our parents, kept there by our
friends and our desire for conformity and peer acceptance. R.S. allows us to be buses - to think
about where to travel and what to become, which may be much more important than what sort of
job we shall do in life.
Our Sixth Form entry requirement is based on the applicant’s best 8 GCSEs including
English and Mathematics with a minimum of 356 points, with an A*, A or B in the
subjects chosen or in a related discipline. The points used are the Department for Education
(DfE) points - 58 A*, 52 A, 46 B, 40 C, 34 D, 28 E. (Maximum = 8 A* = 464 Points).
Essentially this means that you should be confident of achieving at least 6 B grades and 2
C grades at GCSE (and at least C grades in English Language and Mathematics) before
considering applying for a sixth form place at Bournemouth School.2
There are also some subject specific entry requirements in addition to the requirements for
joining the Sixth Form. In most cases, you will be expected to have attained at least a grade
B in the subject that you intend to study at Advanced Level (A-Level). The main exception to
this is for Mathematics and Further Mathematics. To study Mathematics at A-Level we
expect you to have attained an A* or A grade at GCSE, and for Further Mathematics an A*.
These requirements are based upon our experience over a number of years, and how well
Mathematics students cope with the transition between GCSE and A-Level. We recognise
that very few students will have had the opportunity to study Economics, Government and
Politics, or Psychology at GCSE level. To study these subjects at A-Level, we expect you to
have attained at least B grades in closely related subjects. Some subjects do not have any
subject specific requirements (but, you must, of course, have met the requirements of joining
the Sixth Form).
How to apply
If you want to apply for this course, you will need to contact Bournemouth School directly.