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Philosophy & Ethics

'An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth will leave everyone blind and toothless.' GANDHI

Philosophy and Ethics aims to explore the complexity and diversity of religious and non-religious teachings in order to formulate well-reasoned answers to ultimate philosophical and ethical questions.


Homework is set in line with the school policy, when it is appropriate to the work that is taking place in lessons. On occasions, students will work in groups to complete projects, but generally, homework is designed to support students’ further understanding of class topics. At A Level, students are expected to complete 5 hours of study a week on top of their allocated lesson time.

Extra Curricular

There is an active Christian Union for all age groups and we are looking to set up a debating/discussion group for older years. There is also an active debate club with works in conjunction with the English department to help students develop their skills of reasoning and argument. The club also participates in competitions locally to stretch the most able students.

Grouping within Philosophy and Ethics is decided on a year by year, cohort by cohort basis depending on the needs of the particular group. We often adopt mixed ability teaching, but use streaming where appropriate. GCSE is usually taught as a mixed ability group. 

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Key Stage 3 

Year 7 study the nature of belief and who inspires and influences our beliefs; explores different arguments about the existence of God, considers the story of Jesus and investigates his life. The students also explore basic philosophical questions and study key concepts from Islam. This is to help build confidence with both philosophical reasoning and religious language skills. 

Year 8 study the challenging question of what happens when we die, followed by an exploration of what are the causes of evil and suffering. They also explore how Buddhism responds to the problem of suffering and the year culminates with being marooned on a desert island and having to explore political philosophy and religious concepts as an island community.

Year 9 introduces students more fully to practical ethics by studying units in animal rights and planet earth. They then consider the story of the Jewish nation with a focus on their identity over time and then reflect on the reasons they maintained their faith during the holocaust by looking at events and stories from during the holocaust.

Key Stage 4 

Philosophy and Ethics is part of the core curriculum at KS4 and all students will participate in lessons across the key stage. Students also have the option to study full course GCSE where they study AQA Full Course Religious Studies A completing a study of beliefs and practices of Christianity and Buddhism along with four different thematic studies.

Further details of the course content, method of study and assessment structure can be found in the Key Stage 4 Options booklet.

Key Stage 5 

We currently offer A Level Religious Studies. Students are studying the AQA course which has three units covering the Philosophy, Ethics and Christianity. They look at arguments for the existence of god, evil and suffering, ethical theories, application of theories to life issues for humans and animals, free will, conscience and many other papers. The course is examined in two 3 hour exams at the end of A Level.  Full details of the courses offered by the Hitchin Schools Sixth Form Consortium are shown in the Consortium Prospectus.

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