Churston Ferrers Grammar School

Tel: 01803 842289


Philosophy and Religious Studies (PRS)

Head of Department: Mrs S Moss

Other members of staff:

  • Mr M Beckett
  • Mrs S Brown

The subject of philosophy and religious studies is a fascinating journey into the origins, beliefs, teachings and practices of the religions of the world. Through a thoughtful and rigorous curriculum, students are invited to inquire, analyse and explore key religious beliefs and engage in debate on religious teachings about real-world issues. The PRS department is committed to providing outstanding and inclusive education for all. The goal of the department is to foster curiosity and enthusiasm for the subject area. We strive to help form our students into individuals that are critically minded, analytical and evaluative in their approach to the study of religions, worldviews, philosophy and ethics. We aim to provide ample opportunities for immersion in relevant cultural capital and equip students with the tools necessary to engage in their society and recognise the value of others. Overall, through taking this two-year course, students will leave as religiously literate, critical thinkers who can better understand the world around them. 

What we do:

Our Year Seven scheme of learning involves introducing our students to six of the main world religions, developing their religious literacy. In the first half of the year, we recognise the role that Christianity has played in British culture by teaching about the Abrahamic religions (a category to which Christianity belongs) in chronological order, from Judaism to Christianity to Islam. Students explore how these religions have their origins in Western Asia and how they have developed alongside one another. In the second half of the year, students study three religions that have their origins in Eastern Asia: Hinduism, Buddhism and Sikhism. We make sure to address any misconceptions that students may have about these religions and offer students the opportunity to compare and contrast the different religions they study. 

Lessons in Year 8 build on the religious literacy that students have worked hard to achieve in Year 7. Our lessons focus on developing skills of analysis, evaluation and critical thinking and progress through various themes based on politics, society and world events. We begin by studying two key themes in recent world history: conflict and human rights. Students are encouraged to make connections between these topics, previous learning in PRS and their geography and history lessons. Through these two topics in particular, students are given the opportunity to engage in issues of social justice by studying relevant thinkers in the civil rights movement and considering their own views on peace and conflict. In the second term, students explore various approaches to the ethics (rights and wrongs) surrounding personhood. We look at the value of human life and debate different ideas of personhood, free will, British Values and the meaning of life. Students also consider themes in social justice through a six-lesson segment on religious responses to key social issues of the wealth gap, gender equality and sustainability. 

Year 7

Year 8

Autumn 1

Introduction to Judaism

Peace and Conflict

Autumn 2

Introduction to Christianity 

Rights and Responsibilities

Spring 1

Introduction to Islam

Ethics and Personhood

Spring 2

Introduction to Hinduism

Religious Ethics

Summer 1

Introduction to Buddhism 

Philosophy Through Time

Summer 2

Introduction to Sikhism 

Sublime and Surreal Religion

What we achieve:  

The key skills developed in PRS (learning to analyse and evaluate key ideas, thinking critically and communicating our thoughts) help students to become thoughtful and well-informed individuals that will be valued in any workplace. Students find that they improve their written communication through the subject’s focus on composing written arguments that defend students’ own views on religion and current affairs. Class debates form a key part of learning and improve students’ confidence in verbalising their thoughts and in contributing to group discussions. Students who progress in the subject through to A Level often opt for further study at university, often taking courses such as sociology, history, medicine, politics and English literature. 

Learning in PRS is done in such a way as to provide an optimal environment for students’ spiritual, moral, social and cultural development. By studying religions in the context of the cultures they grew from, students are exposed to a variety of new perspectives and are introduced to a number of cultural practices. The PRS department is somewhat fortunate in being able to provide a wealth of opportunities for students to reflect on their own ideas of god/God, human nature, life and death. Students are given the freedom to share their thoughts with their peers in small group discussions and with larger whole-class debates, thus developing key social skills of listening to others and responding critically to religious ideas alongside other students’ opinions and beliefs.