Ethics, Philosophy and Religion (EPR) is the study of human beings: the way they think, act and what they choose to believe. At Westholme, EPR provides students with the opportunity to investigate what it means to be a human being in the contemporary world and engage with the ultimate questions that humans face and have been asking about our existence for thousands of years. Students also gain a broad understanding of the beliefs and practices of world faiths, and are able to reflect on and develop their own values, beliefs and attitudes in light of what they have learnt. Our aim is to develop students who have independent minds and can make sense of their place in the world. At all key stages we aim to foster respect, appreciation of diversity and a curiosity about other people and the way they choose to think and live in the modern world.
Years 7-9 (Key Stage 3)
Year 7 forms part of a transitional period from childhood to young personhood; Origins, Stories, Myths reflects this. Students investigate religion through its stories, in imaginative and creative ways. They explore the meaning of mythology and examine why, from ancient times, human societies have sought to answer their questions about life through the medium of storytelling. Students develop a key skill in interpretation as they read myths from Ancient Egypt, Greece and the Bible-searching for the deeper meanings within these stories that reflect the beliefs of the people who shared them. A particular focus is to question what it means to be human and how different cultures seek to explore what the mysterious existence of an afterlife may be like.
The Year 8 EPR course is entitled ‘Identity and a Sense of Belonging’. This course seeks to explore the complex nature of human identity and how humans seek to belong to a variety of social or religious groups. Students look at what it means to have a religious identity and how we can find both unity and diversity within, and across, the various world religions.
In Year 9 students embark on an Ethics based course of study which is part of the GCSE in Religious Studies. Students begin by studying issues about human rights abuse and questioning how humans decide to act towards each other. The injustice that humans create for others is investigated through various periods of history including segregation in 1960s USA, the rule of the British Empire and the Holocaust. Towards the end of the year, students explore the religion of Buddhism and the philosophical questions this raises about how to live a good life and whether we can overcome the suffering which affects the human condition.
Years 10-11 (GCSE)
Examination Board: EDUQAS
GCSE students learn about Buddhism and Christianity and consider ethical, philosophical and religious approaches to medical issues, debates surrounding the law, crime and punishment, marriage and relationships, identity, human rights, life after death and good and evil. They gain an excellent understanding of what is going on globally and in their own society. They have independent minds, are highly confident in discussion, can offer balanced and rational viewpoints and have sound academic ability. With these skills, the GCSE is an asset on any CV.
-Philosophical and Ethical Issues in the Modern World (50%)
-Study of Christianity (25%)
-Study of Buddhism (25%)
Sixth Form (A Level)
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Year 7 ‘Night at the Movies’-students put on fancy dress and attend a screening of a popular movie in the school theatre. The Year 10 JAC team host an interval with a difference where a range of delicious treats are on offer and all funds raised are donated to a local charity.
The Year 8 Sacred Places Day-we journey to a Hindu Temple, a Mosque and a Cathedral to meet faith practitioners and to explore their sacred places.
Year 10 JAC Team ‘Night at the Movies’- this Year 10 team organizes the ‘Night at the Movies’ charity event for Year 7 pupils. Students develop skills in organization, teamwork and take on new responsibilities when planning and hosting this exciting event.
Year 10 visit to a Buddhist Temple-a visit to the Buddhist centre in Ulverston gives students the chance to explore this sacred place and to engage with the Buddhist community in discussion groups. This deepens student understanding of this faith which is essential for the GCSE course.
The EPR Department runs an Amnesty International Human Rights Group which is led by staff and Sixth Form students. Girls and boys in all years have the opportunity to join in the campaigns which are run at lunchtimes. The group have the aim of promoting awareness about global human rights issues within school, whilst also seeking to make a change in the world, in a fight to stop human suffering and injustice.