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Religion Ethics and Philosophy

We aim to provide our students with a good knowledge and understanding of world religions, beliefs, practices and values.

These are related to students’ immediate environment; the media, culture, society, family and morality.
We aim to help our students develop the skills and attitudes which will allow them to be sympathetic and open minded to people and ideas available in the world community both on an intellectual level and on a spiritual level.
The RE Department also seeks to prepare students for a future in which they will make personal choices about meaning, value and religious direction society. Students will be challenged to examine their own beliefs and values in the light of the knowledge and understanding they have developed about religious traditions.


Christianity, Islam, Hinduism and Buddhism. They will learn about the beliefs, communities, traditions, values, scriptures and rituals of these religions in some detail. Students will learn to make comparisons between the different religions and identify similarities and differences. In the process they will be able to reflect on their own beliefs and values

Year 7

Students begin the year by being shipwrecked on a desert island. This leads to work looking at community, rules and leadership. Students also consider the book of Genesis and ideas about creation and our treatment of the environment.

Year 8

Students focus on ideas about people we admire. We look at their heroes. We then consider the lives of Muhammad, Jesus and the Buddha.

Year 9

Students consider a range of ethical issues and the responses of believers to them. Topics we look at include war and peace and human rights.



GCSE Religious Studies is a popular option for students. The GCSE is divided into two papers; The Study of Religion and Themes. Each paper is examined with one exam at the end of Year 11. Each exam lasts 1hour 45minutes. There is no coursework in Religious Studies.


Unit 1 - The Study of Religions, beliefs, teachings and practices.

In this paper students look at the beliefs, teachings and practices in two religions; Christianity and Buddhism.

Unit 2 - Thematic Studies - Religious, philosophical and ethical theme.

Students will study four out of the six units.

  1. Attitudes to marriage, sex and the family
  2. Religion and life issues – the environment, abortion and euthanasia.
  3. The Existence of God and Revelation
  4. Religion, peace and conflict
  5. Religion Crime and Punishment
  6. Religion, human rights and social Justice

Details of the course can be found here.



Do you exist? Does anything? Can we trust our senses? How can we know anything? What is knowledge? What is a mind? How should I act? What is the purpose of life?

If you have ever thought about any of these questions, then you have already started doing philosophy. Philosophy considers the biggest questions ever asked, questions that other academic subjects cannot answer. Many of these questions have been asked by humans for thousands of years. In the Philosophy A Level, we study the answers to these questions provided by the world’s greatest philosophers, and attempt to answer them ourselves.

Progress in answering these questions requires clear and rigorous thinking, sensitivity to conceptual distinctions, imagination, understanding, often a sense of humour, always a sense of wonder, a delight in discussions and listening and, crucially, the ability to think for oneself. We study the structure of arguments, and use logic and reason to criticise the thoughts of philosophers, and to construct our own philosophical theories. Philosophy is an academic discipline, and to be successful you need to be a keen and perceptive reader, and have the ability to express yourself clearly through your written work. Above all, you will need an open and inquisitive mind, and a desire to untangle some complicated and important problems.


The course is split into four sections, and is assessed by two three-hour exams. The topics covered are:

Epistemology – What is knowledge? What can we know? Can we prove the existence of the world? Do I exist? Can we be certain of anything?

Philosophy of Religion – What is God? Can we prove God’s existence? Can we disprove God’s existence? Can we know anything about God?

Ethics – Do right and wrong exist? How can we judge between right and wrong? Is morality objective or subjective? Are ‘good’ and ‘bad’ just words?

Philosophy of Mind – What is the mind? Can I prove the existence of my mind? Am I the only mind? What is consciousness? What is experience?

Results are consistently very good, and many students go on to study Philosophy at a higher level. Philosophy is well regarded by Russell Group universities, and provides a range of transferable skills. As such, it complements the study of all other A level subjects. Philosophy is often described by students as their favourite subject, and what you learn in philosophy will stay with you forever. If you exist....

For specific details of the course studied at A level click here.

What skills will I learn?

Lessons involve discussions and debate. They will help you gain a number of new skills:

How to think for yourself and question the norm.

How to examine information in a critical way

How to form judgements based on clear evaluation of information.

How to put your points across clearly.

What can Philosophy lead to?

Philosophy is a popular subject to study at university. It is often combined with politics and ethics. Philosophy will fine tune your reasoning so that your enhanced intellectual skills can be used in a range of careers; Law, politics, civil service, journalism, advertising, education – to name a few.

What subjects go well with Philosophy?

The simple answer is any. Philosophy has links to Religious Studies, History, English Literature and Art. However, it makes and ideal match with science and Mathematics as it involves thinking about ideas.

Trips and Visits

We lead a wide range of trips and visits to extend our students’ learning. These have included trips to London to meet religious groups and leaders as well as studying Religion and Art during our visits to galleries. The highlight of our programme was our biennial India trip where we visit Delhi, Amritsar and trek in the Himalayas. The trekking route followed a Hindu pilgrimage route over a pass in the Pir Pinjal range. This JCG expedition first started in 2004. On our last visit in 2011, the group were able to stay in a local village for Divali celebrations after they had completed their trek. In Amritsar we visited the Golden Temple and in Delhi we visited historic Jain Temples and historic mosques. The Religion, Ethics and Philosophy department will be leading a visit to Rome in March 2017. Further details of the extra curricular visits are available here.

Key Stage 5 and Oxbridge Reading list

Philosophy: The Classics by Nigel Warburton

A Little History of Philosophy by Nigel Warburton

Think: A Compelling Introduction to Philosophy by Simon Blackburn

Being Good: A Short Introduction to Ethics by Simon Blackburn

What Do We Really Know?: The Big Questions in Philosophy by Simon Blackburn

Political Philosophy by Adam Swift

What Money Can’t Buy: The Moral Limits of Markets by Michael Sandel

Justice: What’s the Right Thing to Do? by Michael Sandel