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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 at Hitchin Girls’ School is dedicated to being a modern, relevant and rigorous subject for every student. We aim 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.

Teaching Styles

We are a subject where students’ own opinions and beliefs are of central importance. Lessons therefore typically contain plenty of opportunities for students to share their own views and discuss and debate them with each other. We use a range of different stimuli for these discussions to introduce students to new world views and positions, and place an emphasis on engaging with them in a critical and respectful manner.


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 five hours of study a week on top of their allocated lesson time.


Grouping within Philosophy and Ethics is decided on a year by year, cohort by cohort basis depending on the needs of the particular group. Currently we adopt mixed ability teaching, and GCSE is also usually taught as a mixed ability group. 

Key Stage 3 

The aims and rationale of the curriculum in Years 7- 9 in Philosophy and Ethics are:

To to ensure that the curriculum allows students to become religiously literate, in order to allow them to engage with religion in Britain and globally in the 21st century. One of the key aims is to build philosophical reasoning skills in order to allow students to understand key philosophical debates. This includes exploring ethical questions to build person moral understanding and beliefs. The curriculum seeks to develop both tier 2 and tier 3 language acquisition in order to ensure that students are able to engage with discussions and understand key words within the subject. Students will have opportunities to work with key religious texts and to have a balance between the beliefs held within religions and the practices that these beliefs then encourage in those who are religious. The value of these to people in the 21st century and then influence of core philosophical questions on those who are not religious is also explored.

Click here for a detailed curriculum map for Key Stage 3 Philosophy and Ethics

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 KS4 Options booklet.

In KS4 we follow: AQA 8062
KS4  AQA 8062

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.

In KS5 we follow : AQA 7062

Meet the team 

Ben Adams, teaching all Key Stages including GCSE and A Level classes.

Emily Plunkett, teaching KS3 & KS4, including GCSE classes. Also, KS3 History.

Laura Cole, HGS SENCO, teaching all Key Stages.

Sharon Corish, teaching KS3 and KS4. Also teaches in the Science department.

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