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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 a variety of answers to two ultimate questions – “does God exist?” and “is it ever right to lie?”; and explores how people put their beliefs into action.

Year 8 study the challenging question of what the meaning of life is, followed by an exploration of what makes a good life. They also explore the challenge of evil and suffering to faith and this culminates in an in depth study of the Holocaust.

Year 9 begins a three year GCSE experience for our students as the girls begin a Full Course GCSE in Philosophy and Ethics. In year 9, they will cover human rights and social justice, the work of the church in the community, the nature of God, Jesus and salvation and the origins of the universe. They will learn to apply their own opinions and religious teachings to these topics as well as focusing on Christian beliefs.

Key Stage 4 

Philosophy and Ethics is part of the core GCSE curriculum and all students will begin a Full Course GCSE in year 9. Students currently in year 10 and 11 study the AQA religious studies B course and study units in Religion and Morality and Religion and Life Issues. They will cover topics such as abortion, euthanasia, crime, animal rights, prejudice and discrimination. Year 9 have started the new AQA Full Course Religious Studies A where they will be studying 4 ethics units and also an in depth study of Christianity and Buddhism.

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 AS and A2 in 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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