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Core Religious Studies

All students in the Sixth Form undertake Core Religious Studies to continue the development of the Catholicity with a focus on individual belief and spirituality. Core RS is an integral part of the vertical tutoring programme whilst also including a number of one-off sessions.

During each year of Sixth Form, students will have opportunities to reflect on their beliefs through talks, meditation and seminars with youth workers, university students and sessions with staff and the school chaplin. Students will also have the opportunity to put St Johns words in action: 'our love must not be words or mere talk, but something active and genuine' [1 John 3: 18] by leading their houses and the school through CAFOD's Live Simply campaign. In the past couple of years, students have also put on a tea party for local disability charities, organised and ran the annual OAP Christmas party and had retreat days led by TenTen Theatre and Damaris.

GCE A Level OCR Religious studies (Theology)

Religious Studies is an extremely popular A level course at Archbishop Ilsley. The course is split into two, with equal study of Religious Ethics and Philosophy of Religion at both AS and A2. Students are taught over ten hours per fortnight and have access to the department study area and library at all times to help them with their learning. Over the past few years, many students have gone on to study degrees in Theology at Heythrop College London. Sheffield, Nottingham and Leeds.

The AS Course

Philosophy of Religion:

  • Ancient Greek influences of religion: The thinking of Plato and Aristotle
  • Judeao-Christian influences on the philosophy of religion: The concept of God as Creator & The goodness of God
  • Traditional arguments for the existence of God: The Ontological argument; TheCosmological argument; The Teleological Argument and the Moral Argument.
  • The Challengeds to Theistic belief: The Problem of Evil and Science -v- Religion.

Religious Ethics:

  • The debate between relativism and absolutism
  • The main schools of though in Moral Philosophy: Kantian Ethics, Utilitarianism and Natural Law
  • Medical Ethics: Application of ethical theories to the topic of abortion, euthanasia and genetic engineering.
  • The Ethics of Warfare with application of ethical theories


The A2 Course

The A2 Course

Philosophy of Religion
• Religious Language
• Religious Experience
• Attributes of God
• Life after Death

Religious Ethics
• The debate and implications of freewill and determinism
• The role, nature and origin of our conscience
• Ethical language and Aristotle’s Virtue Ethics
• Ethical debates surrounding the environment, the moral responsibility of business, and the ethics of sex and relationships. 

GCE A LEVEL AQA Philosophy

The department also offers the study of philosophy at A level. This is a very demanding A level but a worthwhile one, regarded highly by employers and universities. Students are taught over 10 hours per fortnight and just like Theology students, they have access to the department study area and library at all times to help them with their learning. Over the past few years, many students have gone on to study degrees in Philosophy. 

The AS Course

An Introduction to Philosophy 1 (25% of A Level)
Students must study the compulsory module on
• Reason and Experience
And one other module from the options below
• Persons
• Why should I be Moral?
• The Idea of God

An Introduction to Philosophy 2 (25% of A Level)
Students must study two modules from the options below
• Knowledge of the External world
• God and the world
• The debate over Free Will and Determinism

The A2 Course

Key Themes in Philosophy (30% of A Level)
Students must study two themes from the options below
• Philosophy of the Mind
• Moral Philosophy
• Philosophy of Religion

Philosophical Problems (20% of A Level)
Students must study a philosophical text from the options below
• Plato: The Republic
• Descartes: Meditations.
• Nietzsche: Beyond Good and Evil

What do students say about A Level Theology & Philosophy?

“We are treated like adults”
“Teachers will go out of their way to help you.”
“Teachers are genuinely concerned about your education.”
“Theology is interesting.”
“Prepares us for university more than any other department.”
“It’s challenging...but satisfying.”
“Provides my child with a good education.” (March 2012 Parent Survey)
“Excellent teaching staff.” (March 2012 Parent Survey)
“My child learns something new each lesson.” (March 2012 parent survey)
“My child has only positive comments to make regarding the work covered and the teaching she experiences. Professional, informed and delivered with humour.” (Parent, March 2012 Survey)