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Bourne Grammar School

What is EPR?

Religious Education is provided at Bourne Grammar School through three academic disciplines combined into a single subject called 'EPR' - this stands for Ethics, Philosophy, and Religion.


There are two areas of Ethics we deal with explicitly – Applied Ethics and Theoretical Ethics.  In Applied Ethics lessons, our students will consider the morality of specific human actions or types of behaviour.  In Theoretical Ethics lessons, our students will discuss whether the principles which guide us when faced with ethical dilemmas are fit for purpose.

The Philosophy of Religion

Philosophy is the critical analysis of our assumptions or beliefs in order to establish the truth.  There are a number of fields within Philosophy, and our students will study issues taken from the Philosophy of Religion.  The key foci of the Philosophy of Religion lessons are the following questions:

  • Why does religious belief and non-belief exist?
  • Are religious belief and non-belief justified?
  • Do religious belief and non-belief do us any good?

The Study of Religion

This strand of the subject involves an in-depth investigation of the beliefs and practices of Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism, and Islam.  However, in addition to the explicit study of atheism, the students will encounter other religious traditions other than those mentioned.  This will occur when we explore a selection of moral and philosophical questions.  The students will also spend some of their time studying topics relating to the role of religion within society.

What are we trying to achieve?

In EPR, our students are aiming develop the following skills…

  • To know and understand that the world in which we live is shaped by belief.
  • To listen to – then think deeply about – the beliefs of others and the reasons for them.
  • To respect the differences between us and to show concern for our shared humanity.​​​​​​​
  • To see the strengths and weaknesses in our thinking and the reasoning of others.​​​​​​​
  • To decide what they think and justify their opinions; but, to have the confidence to say: “I don’t know.”​​​​​​​
  • To debate, read, and write effectively.  

What do we teach? - Key Stage 3

Year 7 Topics

  • Who was Socrates?
  • Jesus: Man, Myth, Prophet, or God?
  • Was life created?
  • Does Christianity lead to Eudaimonia?

Year 8 Topics

  • What is “Hinduism”?
  • Is it acceptable to use violence?
  • Can fiction do philosophy?  (The Lion, The Witch, & The Wardrobe)

Year 9 Topics

  • Is it ever acceptable to “play God”?
  • How do Islam and Islamist extremism differ?
  • Who’s right: atheists or theists?

What do we teach? - Key Stage ​​​​​4

Thematic Studies Topics

  • Religion, Crime & Punishment
  • Religion, Human Rights & Social Justice
  • Religion, Peace & Conflict
  • The Existence of God & Revelation

The Study of Religions Topics

  • Christianity: Beliefs & Teachings
  • Christianity: Practices
  • Islam: Beliefs & Teachings
  • Islam: Practices

What do we teach? - Key Stage ​​​​​5

Buddhism Topics

  • The life of the Buddha: the Four Sights; the Enlightenment.
  • Key Buddhist Teachings: the Three Marks of Existence; Rebirth.
  • Key Buddhist Teachings: the Four Noble Truths; the Eightfold Path; the Ten Precepts.
  • Key Buddhist Practices: dana (giving) and punya (merit); meditation; refuge.
  • The Buddhist Scriptures: the Tipitaka; the Patimokkha; the Heart Sutra; the Lotus Sutra.
  • Theravada and Mahayana Buddhism: arhat; bodhisattva.
  • Historical developments in types of Buddhism: Zen; Pure Land; Nichiren; Tibetan; British.
  • The teachings of the Fourteenth Dalai Lama and Thich Nhat Hanh.
  • Buddhism and the Modern World: feminism and gender; pluralism; science; secularism.
  • Modern Buddhist Movements: the Mindfulness Movement; Socially-Engaged Buddhism.

Philosophy of Religion Topics

  • Cosmological Argument
  • Design Argument
  • Ontological Argument
  • The nature of religious experience
  • Religious experience as an argument for the existence of God
  • Atheism
  • The problem of evil & suffering
  • Theodicies & solutions to the problem of suffering
  • Psychological critiques of religious belief
  • Religious language

Religion & Ethics Topics

  • Divine Command Theory
  • Ethical Egoism
  • Natural Moral Law
  • Situation Ethics
  • Utilitarianism
  • Virtue Ethics
  • Emotivism
  • Intuitionism
  • Naturalism
  • Free will versus determinism