Philosophy & Ethics

Department Staffing & Roles

  • Mrs O Wyss (SLT link for Philosophy & Ethics)
  • Miss E O’Farrell (Teacher of Philosophy & Ethics)

Welcome to the Philosophy & Ethics Department

The intent of the Philosophy & Ethics department mirrors the intent of our entire school curriculum. In our subject, pupils experience a very broad and deep, knowledge rich learning environment encompassing different belief systems and how they impact on our lives today. We believe that knowing about other people’s belief systems is intrinsic to functioning in today’s society; our pupils will not only gain knowledge and understanding but become ambassadors of tolerance and acceptance.

The Philosophy and Ethics (KS3) and Religious Education (KS4) curriculum is designed to help build awareness, understanding, and appreciation of different, beliefs, faiths, practices, and religions. It aims to increase understanding of the diverse communities surrounding us, in the modern world in which we live, and to create a safe environment based on mutual respect and tolerance. By doing this, we enhance our communication skills and, therefore, foster necessary life skills.

All Key Stage 3 classes have an hour of Philosophy & Ethics a week.

At Key Stage 3, pupils begin the course by exploring the works of some of the founders/father of philosophy such as Socrates and Aristotle. We look at their lives and their works, their beliefs and how they influence our society today.  

In all year groups pupils explore aspects of the major 6 world religions and their beliefs and practices, including non-religious beliefs such as atheism and humanism. Each year group then studies ethical issues bespoke to them.

Year 7s study identity and family, animal rights including veganism and animal testing and the rights of the child.

Year 8s study other topics such as manmade and natural evil, health and risky taking behaviour and prejudice. This final module covers issues such as sexism, homophobia and the holocaust.

Year 9s will explore more challenging issues such a medical ethics and crime and punishment culminating in simulation theory and the philosophy of politics.

GCSE Religious Studies covers the study of the 6 major world religions, six contemporary ethical themes ensuring everyone has a diverse choice of intriguing subjects to explore.

You will be challenged with questions about belief, values, meaning, purpose and truth, enabling you to develop their own attitudes towards religious issues.

You will also gain an appreciation of how religion, philosophy and ethics form the basis of our culture whilst developing analytical and critical thinking skills, the ability to work with abstract ideas, leadership and research skills.

GCSE Religious Studies consist of two components:

Component 1: The study of religions: beliefs, teachings and practices

You will study any two of the following, as well as non-religious beliefs such as atheism and humanism:

  • Buddhism
  • Christianity
  • Catholic Christianity
  • Hinduism
  • Islam
  • Judaism
  • Sikhism

How is it assessed?

  • Written exam: 1 hour 45 minutes
  • 96 marks, plus 6 marks for spelling, punctuation and grammar (SPaG)
  • 50% of GCSE

Component 2: Thematic Studies

You will study should study religious, philosophical and ethical arguments, relating to the following issues and their impact and influence in the modern world. You should be aware of contrasting perspectives in contemporary British society on all of these issues.

  • Relationships and families
  • Religion and life
  • Religion, peace and conflict
  • Religion, crime and punishment

How is it assessed

  • Written exam: 1 hour 45 minutes
  • 96 marks, plus 3 marks for spelling, punctuation and grammar (SPaG)
  • 50% of GCSE