Philosophy & Ethics

This subject aims to deliver a truly relevant, modern and demanding Religious Education programme, using a variety of teaching styles and thought-provoking resources.

The focus is upon contemporary moral issues and philosophical questions. Students are encouraged to develop opinions based upon thought and reason. They will also consider the validity of responses to these issues by examining the major world faiths. This will encourage the understanding of other faiths and to provide the tools for students to reflect upon personal and societal values.

Key Stage 3
RE at Harlington School is a story of success, with lessons being delivered to pupils once a week. The focus is upon a multi-faith approach, which involves studying the six major religions: Christianity, Islam, Judaism, Buddhism, Sikhism and Hinduism. This enables students to achieve throughout its various levels in the school, from year 7 to year 9. Students will be assessed in their learning at the end of each topic and every tenth week of the year and the programmes of study are based around the requirements of the National Curriculum and the Hillingdon SACRE programme.

Students will learn through discussion within a variety of contexts such as in pairs, small groups or as a class; through reading and research (in books and using ICT); and by both student and teacher led presentations. This is a great introduction for students before they start their GCSE in Philosophy & Ethics at Key Stage 4.

Key Stage 4
GCSE Edexcel Religious Education (Incorporating Philosophy and Ethics)

This course will be a major step forward for those who demand answers to life’s questions. The course is based around Christian teaching and compared with beliefs and teachings from Islam, Hinduism and other religions. They will learn about the sources of wisdom and authority and be able to refer to the Bible, Qur’an or Sunnah using specific quotes or examples. The students will look at how the teachings of these faiths influence believers, communities and the wider society and how they are also influenced by contemporary beliefs and ideas.

They will also explore interfaith as well as intra-faith common and divergent views and the way that different belief may be understood in different traditions.

It enables students to grow in academic competence, to develop powers of both written and spoken expression and be a major stimulus to thought and reflection. The final examination for the GCSE consists of 2 written papers that take place in the Year 11 summer exam term. Students will be assessed in their learning at the middle and ends of every unit to ascertain progress.

Students will be able to:

  • Enquire into the important issues in life and learn skills which will help them to answer the big questions. For example, why are we born, why do we suffer, why will we die?
  • Describe and explain their own belief system using a range of religious language and terminology
  • Analyse different challenges religions and religious people face in the UK
  • Reflect upon religious and non-religious responses to moral issues e.g. war, child-abuse, human sexuality, medical ethics, crime, drug-culture plus many more.
  • Students will have the benefit of studying issues that relate to social harmony. They will consider basic moral concepts such as ’Why should we “love one another”, not steal and not murder?’
  • Are these issues helpful to our own peace of mind or necessary for our relationships with other humans?
  • Is there an after-life or is there just us, here and now?
  • How do we find answers, and once found, are they acceptable in our time?
  • Medical Ethics, War and Peace, Religion and the Media and Poverty.

Note: Students are not expected to believe in, or accept, the teachings of any religion, creed or ideology. Indeed this is a study of our overall human condition and they will need to have a general interest in basic psychology and be prepared to investigate and consider real solutions to problems that affect our future and our happiness.

Key Stage 5
A Level Philosophy and Ethics

“Philosophy is to be studied, not for the sake of any definite answers, since no definite answers can, as a rule be known to be true, but rather for the sake of the questions themselves.”
Bertrand Russell.

Philosophy is one of the fastest growing options at A Level countrywide. This fascinating course is an opportunity to develop their interest in, and enthusiasm for, a rigorous study of religion and its relation to the wider world. A critical, enquiring, unbiased mind and a willingness to consider all perspectives on issues are essential.

Philosophy and Ethics teaches a student to think critically and develop analytical and logical arguments on competing world views. As a result it is highly regarded at university. The course is academic and content based, but has the added bonus of engaging pupils throughout as it impacts on their own ideas and life decisions.

This course does not require a religious mind-set as such, but the impact and legacy of religious ideas are assessed and pupils need to have an interest in the subject matter.

Exam Board: AQA

A Level (7062): Philosophy and Ethics

Course Content includes:

  • Arguments for the existence of God
  • Evil and suffering
  • Religious experience
  • Ethical theories
  • Issues of human life and death
  • Issues of animal life and death
  • Sources of wisdom and authority.
  • God/gods/ultimate reality.
  • Life after death
  • Key moral principles.
  • Religious identity

Entry Requirements: Candidates are expected to achieve grade B in both English and Religious education at GCSEs.

Form of Assessment:

Written exams 100% at both AS and A levels.

Higher Education Application: Any degree including PPE, Law, Philosophy, Anthropology, History, Education, Medicine.

Future Careers Information:
The skills you develop in Philosophy are useful in a wide variety of situations. Many people who study Philosophy go on to apply their philosophical skills in jobs as diverse as the law, computer programming, management consultancy, film making, journalism, medicine, and all areas in which clarity of thought and expression are essential.
Current students are finding that when they go for university interviews, Philosophy has been a major talking point. It is certainly highly regarded as a valid entrance qualification by universities.

How can parents support their children at home: Show interest in your child’s work and achievements, revision timetable to be drawn up now, 15-30 minute guided consolidation activities based on what has been learnt in lessons and ensure children prepare for mock or any exam effectively.

Revision tips
Here are some useful tips to help you revise for the unit tests and exams during the year:

  • Revise in 30 to 40 minute sessions, allowing a 10 minute break to give your brain a rest.
  • Reduce your lesson notes to key points that are easier to revise.
  • Make your revision timetable early! Organisation is a major part of successful revision.
  • Practice, practice, practice exam questions! You need to be able to link the theory you have learnt to what the question is asking.
  • Keep on top of deadlines – know when work is due in and schedule time to complete it.
  • Ensure you are aware of what is expected for each topic and how marks are awarded.
  • Invest in a wall-planner (or devise one of your own)
  • Create a work space where you will be comfortable and not interrupted

Extra Curricular Activities
In Key Stage 3, trips are run to the Victoria & Albert Museum, where students have the chance to explore the examples of artefacts and treasures from different continents and how religion is incorporated. The Religious Studies Department will also be running a trip for Year 9 in conjunction with the History Department to the Imperial War Museum where they will explore the different exhibits on War and the Holocaust and to places of worship like, St. Paul’s Cathedral and the Swami Narayan Temple in Neasden.