Philosophy and Ethics

Core Religious Studies

In the Sixth Form, you will study Core RE courses in order to gain a Level 2 (Year 12) & Level 3 (Year 13) qualification accredited by the National Open College Network (NOCN). Each student that successfully passes the course will receive an NOCN Certificate. This is a nationally recognised qualification which demonstrates that students have successfully completed a course in Religious & Moral Education. To pass the course you need to attend regularly, participate in discussion and group work and complete the written elements of the course handbooks.

Why do we have Core RE? There are a huge number of benefits to the study of this course: It helps to further develop key skills; it provides opportunities for spiritual development. It provides the opportunity to enjoy learning without the stress of it leading to an exam; it also has the potential to add a distinctive element to your UCAS application. It will make your application stand out as a candidate offering more than the standard number of qualifications. Further to this, the study of RE is a legal expectation placed upon all schools. As a Catholic school, this is an expectation which we take seriously and one which students make a commitment to when choosing the Sixth Form at JFK.


A Level

A Level Religious Studies (which includes the study of Philosophy, Ethics & New Testament studies) is of interest to students wishing to build upon what they have learned in their GCSE Religious Studies. The course is of considerable value in its own right and there are many courses in Religious Studies, Philosophy and Theology in further education. Many of our students have moved on from JFK to study these courses at degree level. The A Level may complement and balance choices in subject areas, especially humanity subjects. The Edexcel Specification offers an academic approach to the study of Religious Studies and is accessible to candidates of any religious persuasion or none.

The course encourages students to:

  • Develop their interest in, and enthusiasm for, a rigorous study of religion and its relation to the wider world.
  • Treat the subject as an academic discipline by developing knowledge, understanding and skills appropriate to a specialist study of religious ideas.
  • Adopt an enquiring, critical and reflective approach to the study of religious concepts.
  • Reflect on and develop their own values, opinions and attitudes in the light of their learning.

Topics covered in the Religous Studies A Level course:

  • Paper 1: Philosophy of Religion (EDEXCEL *Paper code: 9RS0/01)
  • Written examination: 2 hours 33.33% of the qualification 80 marks
  • Paper 2: Religion and Ethics (*Paper code: 9RS0/02)
  • Written examination: 2 hours 33.33% of the qualification 80 marks
  • Paper 3: New Testament Studies (*Paper code: 9RS0/03)
  • Written examination: 2 hours 33.33% of the qualification 80 marks

Year 12

Philosophy of Religion

  • 1.1 Design Argument
  • 1.2 Cosmological Argument
  • 1.3 Ontological Argument
  • 2.1 The nature of religious experience
  • 2.2 Influence of religious experience as an argument for the existence of God
  • 3.1 Problem of evil and suffering
  • 3.2 Theodicies and solutions to the problem of suffering 


  • 1.1 Environmental issues
  • 1.2 Equality
  • 2.1 Unitarianism
  • 2.2 Situation Ethics
  • 2.3 Natural Moral Law
  • 3.1 War and peace
  • 3.2 Sexual Ethics

New Testament Studies:

  • 1.1 Prophecy regarding the Messiah
  • 1.2 The world of the first century and the significance of this context for the life and work of Jesus
  • 2.1 The Prologue in John
  • 2.2 Titles of Jesus in the synoptic gospels and selected 'I am' sayings in John
  • 2.3 Miracles and signs
  • 3.1 Interpreting the text
  • 3.2 The purpose and authorship of the Fourth Gospel

Year 13

Philosophy of Religion

  • 4.1 Analogy and Symbol
  • 4.2 Verification and falsification debates
  • 4.3 Language games
  • 5.1 Context to critiques of religious belief and points for discussion
  • 5.2 A comparison between a critic of religion, Bertrand Russell, and a religious believer, Frederick Copleston
  • 6.1 Views about life after death across a range of religious traditions
  • 6.2 Points for discussion about life after death
  • 6.3 Religion and science debates and their significance for philosophy of religion


  • 4.1 Meta-ethics
  • 4.2 The relationship between religion and morality
  • 5.1 A comparison of the work of Immanuel Kant and Aristotle with regard to Deontology and Virtue Ethics respectively
  • 6.1 Issues in medical ethics with a focus on beginning and end of life debates

New Testament Studies:

  • 4.1 Ways of interpreting Scripture
  • 5.1 Texts and interpretations - The Kingdom of God in Luke: parables of the kingdom and eschatology
  • 5.2 Why did Jesus have to die?
  • 5.3 The crucifixion and resurrection narratives in Luke's Gospel
  • 6.1 Scientific and historical-critical challenges - faith and history; the death and resurrection of Jesus in modern scholarship
  • 6.2 How should we live?