RMPS

RMPS allows you to develop your thinking ability in order to engage, in a meaningful way, with the wider-world.  The world has become a complicated place to be; we face a variety of challenges every day and we should be equipped to engage with the issues.

In RMPS, pupils can question, think about and discuss their own beliefs about life and the world that we live in.  We are keen for pupils to develop skills in critical and analytical thinking, together with philosophical questioning.

We introduce pupils to the major world religions, non-religious thought and other world views in order for them to manifest informed opinions.  We also endeavour to cultivate a respect in our pupils for others, the world which we live in and themselves.

We hope that through studying RMPS, our pupils will be better equipped to live within our multicultural society.  In the RMPS department we also expect pupils to display our school values:  Participation, Respect, Inclusion, Determination and Excellence.

Pupils who study RMPS often go on to have careers in:

  • Law
  • Politics
  • Social Care/work
  • Youth work
  • Broadcasting
  • Police
  • Charity work
  • Teaching
  • Health care
  • Psychology
  • Counselling 

Broad General Education (BGE)

S1

Our courses in S1 have been developed to fulfil the experiences and outcomes for a Curriculum for Excellence by focusing on compassion, integrity, wisdom and justice.  These values will permeate all of the topics, which include:

  • What is RMPS?
  • World Religion: Christianity
  • Religion and the environment
  • Moral Philosophy – studying the behaviour of human beings

Pupils develop critical thinking and discussion skills, along with having the opportunity to be creative and develop their own informed opinions.

S2

In S2, all students study how religion and belief has an impact on society and how people turn their beliefs into actions.  Pupils will build on knowledge from S1 and study the lives of Mahatma Gandhi and Martin Luther King. Pupils also study their own rights and the rights of others.  This unit supports our whole school initiative as a ‘Rights Respecting’ secondary school.

Pupils continue to develop critical thinking and discussion skills, along with having the opportunity to be creative and develop their own informed opinions.  There is an additional focus on developing literacy skills, particularly extend, formal writing.

S3

In S3 core pupils take part in the Youth and Philanthropy Initiative Scotland programme.  The Youth and Philanthropy Initiative (YPI) is an active citizenship programme which empowers pupils to make a difference in their local communities while developing a host of skills. Our S3 pupils are then responsible for directing a £3000 YPI grant to a local charity through a unique programme of teamwork, research and competition.

Assessment information

Assessment is ongoing through each topic.  In S1, a variety of formative        assessment procedures take place.  These include; observation of participation in whole class discussions, peer and self-assessment using rubrics, storyboards, cooperative learning, mind maps, poster work and visible learning to ensure pupils are leading their own learning.  In S2, assessment takes a similar format.

At all times, we encourage pupils to be reflective on the work they produce and feedback given to pupils will clearly indicate “next steps” to follow. We also encourage pupils to demonstrate the PRIDE values of Penicuik High School in all aspects of their work.

In conjunction with their involvement in the YPI programme, S3 pupils work towards gaining an SQA Religion, Belief and Values Award at either Level 4 or Level 5.  This award helps pupils to deepen their knowledge and understanding of how religion and values can shape and contribute to the lives of individuals and communities.

This SQA award encourages pupils to explore and reflect on their personal faith or values, and to deepen their understanding of this through practical engagement in our local community. This qualification will be awarded to pupils alongside their other SQA qualification gained at the end of S4.

Senior Phase

S4 – National 4 and 5

Unit 1 World Religion: Islam

Pupils study Islam and its impact, relevance and significance through studying some key beliefs and practices found in this major world religion, and the contribution these make to the lives of Muslims.

Unit 2 Morality and Belief: Morality, Medicine and the Human Body

Candidates study moral issues and their background, implications and responses through studying one major moral issue and responses to it.

The Morality, Medicine and the Human Body Unit includes studying:

  • the value of life: right to life, right to die, sanctity of life, personal autonomy
  • use of embryos: reproductive, research, therapeutic
  • end-of-life care: palliative, hospice
  • euthanasia and assisted dying: voluntary euthanasia, non-voluntary euthanasia, assisted dying provided by individuals or organisations

Unit 3 Religious and Philosophical Questions: The Existence of God

Pupils study the issues raised by the existence of God debate.  Pupils will focus on the question “does God exist?” and analyse/evaluate the various religious, philosophical and non-religious responses to this question.

Added Value Unit/Assignment

The Assignment is 25% of the overall award at National 5. A version of this is also a requirement for National 4 (referred to as the Added Value Unit).

The student is required to identify an issue that is related to religion, morality, philosophy or a combination of these. There is a degree of personalisation and choice in this process.

The student must then undertake research into this issue with some guidance from departmental staff. The SQA set out the requirements as:

  • identifying an appropriate religious, moral or philosophical issue for study, about which there are alternative or different points of view
  • commenting on the significance or impact of the issue
  • using sources of information
  • drawing on knowledge and understanding to explain and analyse the issue and viewpoints, one of which must be religious, moral or philosophical
  • drawing and presenting a detailed and reasoned conclusion on the issue

For students sitting National 4 a project meeting the above requirements would need to be submitted. This could take a variety of different forms.

For National 5 students a formal essay based on their research needs to be completed under exam conditions. Students are permitted to have 200 words of prepared notes with them aid them in this task.

Some students chose issues related to the other units in the course at Penicuik High School, such as the right to die, the use of human embryos or the existence of God. Others have chosen to do other topics that interest them. Among the variety of issues from recent years have been war, capital punishment, same-sex marriage, abortion.

National 5 Exam

One question paper assessing the 3 units above, across 3 sections, for a total of 80 marks.  Each section will have 4-7 questions, each question ranging from 4-8 marks in total.  Pupils will have 2 hours and 20 minutes to complete all 3 sections.

Recommended entry and Progression

Entry to this course is at the discretion of Miss Lyon (Principal Teacher).

Pupils should have achieved the fourth curriculum level or the National 4 Religious, Moral and Philosophical Studies course or equivalent qualifications prior to starting the National 5 course.

Once a pupil has completed the National 5 course they can progress onto Higher Religious, Moral and Philosophical Studies.

S5/6 – National 5 and Higher

Unit 1 World Religion: Islam

Pupils study Islam and its impact, relevance and significance through studying some key beliefs and practices found in this major world religion, and the contribution these make to the lives of Muslims.

Unit 2 Morality and Belief: Morality and Relationships

Candidates study moral issues and their background, implications and responses through studying one major moral issue and responses to it.

The Morality and Relationships Unit includes the study of:

  • Relationships: sexual relationships and the purpose of sex
  • Marriage: arranged marriage, forced marriage, same-sex marriage and divorce
  • Gender inequality and exploitation: in the media, in society and in religion

Unit 3 Religious and Philosophical Questions: The Existence of God

Pupils study the issues raised by the existence of God debate.  Pupils will focus on the question “does God exist?” and analyse/evaluate the various religious, philosophical and non-religious responses to this question.

Higher Assignment

The Assignment is made up of 30 of the 110 marks for Higher RMPS (27%). The end product of the Assignment process is an essay written under exam conditions in 1 ½ hours. As part of the Assignment students are permitted to have prepared notes not exceeding 250 words.

In the essay the student is required to fulfil the following requirements.

Knowledge and understanding:

  • identifying an appropriate religious, moral or philosophical issue for study, about which there is a range of viewpoints
  • drawing on in-depth knowledge and understanding of the issue

Analysis:

  • analysing the issue
  • researching the issue, using a range of sources of information
  • synthesising information in a structured manner

Evaluation:

  • evaluating different viewpoints on the issue, which must be religious, moral or philosophical
  • judging or measuring the significance or impact of the issue
  • presenting a reasoned and well-structured conclusion on the issue
  • explaining both supporting information and potential challenges/counter-arguments

For Higher students a formal essay based on their research needs to be completed under exam conditions. Students are permitted to have 250 words of prepared notes with them aid them in this task.

Some students chose issues related to the other units in the course at Penicuik High School, such as the right to die, the use of human embryos or the existence of God. Others have chosen to do other topics that interest them. Among the variety of issues from recent years have been war, capital punishment, same-sex marriage, abortion.

Higher Exam

The Higher exam consists of two question papers.  Question paper 1 assesses the world religion and morality and belief units.  This paper has two 10 mark and two 20 mark essays questions for pupils to respond to.  Paper 1 is 2 hours and 15 minutes.  Question paper 2 assesses the religious and philosophical questions unit.  This paper has one 20 mark essay question for pupils to respond to.  Paper 2 is 45 minutes.

Recommended entry Progression

Entry to this course is at the discretion of Miss Lyon (Principal Teacher)

Pupils who would like to study National 5 RMPS in S5/6 should have achieved the fourth curriculum level or the National 4 Religious, Moral and Philosophical Studies course or equivalent qualifications prior to starting the National 5 course.

Once a pupil has completed the National 5 course they can progress onto Higher Religious, Moral and Philosophical Studies.

Pupils who would like to study Higher RMPS in S5/6 should have achieved an A-C pass for the National 5 Religious, Moral and Philosophical Studies course or equivalent qualifications prior to starting the Higher course.

Core RME in the Senior Phase

Pupils engage with core RME lessons throughout their senior phase at Penicuik High School.  We aim to cover a variety of units with pupils.  In recent years these units has consisted of:

  • Multiculturalism in Scotland – an insight into our diverse society
  • Moral Philosophy – studying the behaviour of human beings
  • Skin Deep – discussing issues that surround appearance and mental health
  • Peace Project – a Rotary International programme equipping pupils with the ability to deal with personal conflict

Extracurricular opportunities 

Miss Graham leads our school’s LGBT+Allies Group.  Last session this group continued to hold a strong presence within the school community with attendance numbers increasing.  Feedback from pupils who attend this group is positive; many commenting on the group making them feel safe and included.  There have also been a number of pupils now ‘coming out’ with regards to sexuality and gender – they feel there is a secure, inclusive environment for this to happen.

The group also hosted an extracurricular film showing for all staff and pupils.  We received a positive responses to this event.  The group also ran a Twilight CLPL Session for teaching and support staff. Pupils also attended Edinburgh PRIDE in June.

Members of the RMPS Department

Hollie Lyon Principal Teacher
Laura Graham