Ethics and Philosophy
- To develop pupils’ awareness of the fundamental questions of life raised by human experience. These include questions about truth, beliefs about God, the self, and what it means to be human, issues of right and wrong, and justice.
- To help pupils to appreciate the role which both religion and non-religious systems play in addressing these challenging questions.
- To encourage pupils to reflect on, analyse, interpret and evaluate their own and others’ beliefs and responses.
- To enhance pupils’ awareness of the influence of religion on individuals, families, communities and cultures.
- To develop in pupils a positive attitude towards other people, respecting their right to hold different beliefs from their own and towards living in a society of diverse religions.
In the 1st and 2nd Year (Years 7 and 8), pupils follow a syllabus designed to engage their interest in some important ethical and philosophical questions. These include: God or no God, does it matter? Does suffering make it impossible to believe in God? What makes a person inspirational? What does Justice mean to religious believers? Religious beliefs and values form an integral part of this study.
In the Third Year (Year 9), all pupils begin a GCSE short course in Religious Studies which they complete at the end of the Fifth Year. The department follows the AQA Specification B Course, Ethics, Philosophy and Religion in Society. This course introduces the pupils to a broad range of new ethical issues, studied from a religious perspective and develops further their understanding of the debate about the existence and nature of God.
In Sixth Form, the AS and A2 OCR specification is followed (G571 and 572 at AS level, then G581 and G582 at A2 level). The department also contributes to the delivery of General Studies in the Sixth Form.
The department is committed to a wide variety of teaching and learning methods. Pupils are encouraged to develop their thinking through the forum of discussion and debate, sometimes using an approach known as P4C (philosophy for community). We also make use of different written tasks and the ICT facilities to provide pupils with the opportunity to develop a range of skills including: analysis, reflection, evaluation, empathy and interpretation.
We are keen for our pupils to meet religious believers outside the classroom and so organise trips to places of religious significance in the local area. These include Mosques, Churches, a Hindu Temple and a Buddhist Centre.
The department has also organised, with the Modern Languages Department, study trips to Berlin. Here pupils have visited sites of historical and cultural significance many of which provoke serious thinking and raise important questions about suffering.
The department’s two classrooms and office are based in the Queen’s Wing. Both classrooms are equipped with an LCD data projector, interactive white board and a wide range of the most recent text books. We also have a collection of religious artefacts. The department has a large collection of programmes on video and DVD and a collection of religious artefacts.