Whitehaven Academy. Philosophy and Politics: 29 April 2021
Stuart Walker Photography 2021

RPE is a subject designed to inspire, captivate and encourage young minds to think about some of the deepest questions in the world today.


Lessons develop academic rigour for students and enables them to debate and discuss issues confidently and effectively.

Whitehaven Academy. Philosophy and Politics: 29 April 2021
Stuart Walker Photography 2021

We take an issues based approach to teaching, which allows students to learn more about other religions and cultures, and themselves.

Why study Personal Development?

Personal development is taught alongside Religion, Philosophy and Ethics and as such has been designed to allow links to areas that are taught in RPE to continue recall and retention.

Personal development is broken down into three key sections: relationships and sex education, living in the wider world and health and well-being. The intent behind the curriculum is to ensure that students have clear knowledge about world issues, how to keep themselves safe, how to access help and support when they require it and on reaching the age of maturity.

The curriculum is designed to be age appropriate and deal with areas that they are currently dealing with or may deal with in the near future. The curriculum has clear sections that interlink as they progress through the year groups, which in places adds a layer of additional knowledge and understanding to what they had learned in the previous years, but was not required or age appropriate at that moment. This allows students to recognise how life changes and progresses as they mature and become young adults, and also allows the students to be prepared for what they will face in the future.  There is a key focus on students being able to recognise what is acceptable and safe in a relationship and the interactions that they have on their peers, students will be able to recognise what is a healthy and safe relationship with key foci on consent, sexting, attitudes in relationship, abuse of power and where/how to get support.

Alongside this, there is a key focus on the development of the students so they are prepared for what the future holds and how to be a well-rounded individual in terms of understanding of different cultures, but also the groups that face discrimination, who recognise the impacts that this has on individuals and how to recognise indicators of extremist behaviour and tackle these where possible. In addition to developing the personal, social and cultural development of the students, it also aims to provide students the life skills that they will need, but also develop the skills that they will develop elsewhere in the school. For example, analysis, evaluative, debating, research, public speaking and communication etc. In all areas students will consider different viewpoints, backgrounds, cultural differences etc. to ensure that they have a well-rounded understanding of the issue to ensure that students are well-informed individuals. The aim of the curriculum is to ensure that all of our students are ready for the future in all aspects of their lives.

Relationships, Sex and Health Education at The Whitehaven Academy

We taken our responsibility for relationship, sex and health education seriously and as such have carefully developed our curriculum to ensure we fulfil statutory requirements and ensure our students are comfortable in their learning.

Please find some further information in the links and videos below.  If you would still like to know more about our curriculum and it’s contents please contact the school via email schooloffice@whitehavenacademy.org.uk or via telephone on 01946 595400

Why study Religion, Philosophy and Ethics?

Religion, Philosophy and Ethics is for thinkers; students who question and want a better understanding of the world they live in. We will discuss, explore and share ideas on a variety of religious, philosophical and ethical issues, including topics such as ‘What is the evidence for a God?’ and ‘Is there a life after death?’ We also deal with modern issues such as euthanasia, abortion and fertility treatment. You will approach these from your viewpoint and that of Muslims, Christians and atheists too. We focus on bringing this subject to life by listening to speakers of different faiths and engaging in projects.

Recent global research suggests that more than 84% of the world’s population follow a religion. Christianity and Islam have the most followers worldwide. One in two people is Christian and one in five people is Muslim. Exploring religious and philosophical ideas and beliefs in our modern climate has become increasingly necessary. You won’t regret studying RPE.


GCSE Course structure

Key areas and skills

  • Develops learners’ knowledge and understanding of religions and non-religious beliefs, such as atheism and humanism.
  • Develops learners’ knowledge and understanding of religious beliefs, teachings, practices, and sources of wisdom and authority, including through their reading of key religious texts, other texts, and scriptures of the religions they are studying.
  • Develops learners’ ability to construct well-argued, well-informed, balanced and structured written arguments, demonstrating their depth and breadth of understanding of the subject.
  • Provides opportunities for learners to engage with questions of belief, value, meaning, purpose, truth, and their influence on human life.
  • Challenges learners to reflect on and develop their own values, beliefs and attitudes in the light of what they have learnt and contributes to their preparation for adult life in a pluralistic society and global community.

Main methods of assessment

Component 1: Religious, Philosophical and Ethical Studies in the Modern World.

Two-hour written examination based upon knowledge, understanding and evaluation of the four key themes (50%).

Issues of Relationships

Issues of Life and Death

Issues of Good and Evil

Issues of Human Rights

Component 2: Study of Christianity.

One-hour written examination based upon knowledge, understanding and evaluation of the beliefs, teaching and practices of the religion (25%).

Component 3: Study of a World Faith.

One-hour written examination based upon knowledge, understanding and evaluation of the beliefs, teaching and practices of the chosen religion (25%).

Possible career pathway

Any career that involves people. This will give you a much deeper understanding of human behaviour. You will be encouraged to debate, research, question, challenge and think critically. These skills are relevant to any kind of job. You will be able to think for yourself, have a broader understanding of the world around you and the beliefs that shape it. Some jobs that ask for these skills are civil service, police, Armed Forces, social work, journalism, law, teaching, medical profession, third sector and a never-ending list of possibilities.