Philosophy, Beliefs & Ethics
Philosophy, Beliefs and Ethics is a challenging and thought provoking subject aimed at encouraging pupils to adopt an enquiring, critical and reflective approach to the study of religions. In the department we are committed to providing opportunities for students to be able to develop their own values, opinions and attitudes in the light of their learning in the subject, with the aim of fuelling their interest in, and enthusiasm for, a rigorous study of religion and its relation to the wider world.
The KS3 curriculum is focused on engaging students in developing a broader understanding of beliefs and the impact of religion on people’s lives and on society. In addition to this, students are encouraged to provide their own philosophical and spiritual responses to issues raised.
In year 7 students study the following topics:
– Is there a God: what and why do people believe?
– Where did the universe come from?
– Was Jesus God on earth?
– Beliefs and Global issues: what are we doing to the environment?
– The teachings of the Ten Gurus: what meaning and relevance do they have today?
– How does scripture inspire and guide?
In year 8 students study the following topics:
– Gotama Buddha – Do his experiences have relevance for today?
– Teachings of Jesus: do they stand the test of time?
– How did religious beliefs motivate the actions of Desmond Tutu, Martin Luther King, Aung San Suu Kyi?
– Is it ever right to fight?
– How do humans express their spirituality?
– Death: is it the end?
In year 9 students study the following topics:
– Philosophical questioning
– Whose body is it anyway?
– Good and bad; right and wrong – how do I decide?
– Living together: faiths in Britain today.
– Why is there suffering?
– Why is there poverty?
As a department we strive to make lessons interesting and engaging through the employment of active learning strategies to ensure that students are encouraged to become independent learners, able to direct their own learning processes. Lessons are taught so that students have an opportunity to develop their skills of resilience, reciprocity, reflectiveness and resourcefulness.
GCSE Philosophy, Beliefs & Ethics
Students have the option to study Philosophy, Beliefs & Ethics at GCSE level. The department follows the OCR Philosophy and Ethics course which comprises of the following topics:
Beliefs about Deity – students will study beliefs about the nature of God, reasons people give in support of their belief in God, the concept of miracles, Gods intervention in the world through miracles, Jesus and the Holy Spirit.
Religious and Spiritual Experience – students will study and reflect on the concept of worship, how and why people worship, the significance of symbols in worship, the use of art to express belief, the purpose of prayer, how people use food and fasting to worship God.
Good and Evil – students will study different concepts of good and evil including beliefs about God and the Devil, concepts of natural and moral evil, approaches to why there is evil in the world and responses to evil.
Religion and Science – students will study scientific and religious ideas about the origins of the world, the place of humans in creation and their relationship with animals, environmental issues, and responses to environmental issues.
Religion and human relationships – students will study the roles of men and women in a Christian family, marriage ceremonies, the ethics of divorce, sexual relationships and contraception.
Religion and medical ethics – students will study different attitudes towards abortion, attitudes towards fertility treatment, attitudes to euthanasia and suicide, attitudes towards the use of animals in medical research.
Religion, peace and justice – students will study different attitudes towards war, violence and pacifism. Crime and punishment including attitudes towards capital punishment, beliefs about the treatment of criminals and responses to these beliefs. The concept of social justice.
Religion and Equality – the principle of equality, different views about prejudice and equality in relation to gender. Attitudes towards other religions. Forgiveness and reconciliation.
The course required and encourages student’s independent learning and thinking and is excellent preparation for AS and A2 level and the work place.
Extra – curricular and gifted and talented opportunities
The Philosophy, Beliefs & Ethics department aims to offer a variety of extra curricular activities with the aim of enabling students to not only direct, but also stretch their interest and learning in the subject. Students have the opportunity to participate in lunchtime clubs such as Human Rights group, where topical issues surrounding human rights violations in the world today are discussed and Ethics Film Club. Pupils also play an active role in organizing and leading Holocaust Memorial Day and Fairtrade fortnight activities. Students also have the opportunity to attend Philosophy Club, where they are able to explore questions of meaning and purpose in depth. The department is currently in the process of organizing visits and visitors for year 7 students, where they will be able to gain a deeper knowledge of religion in the local area. The department also makes full use of the school virtual learning environment (Fronter) through which students can access learning resources, revision material and extension tasks.