Philosophy and Ethics

What is the course about?

The AQA GCSE Philosophy and Ethics course gives students an exciting opportunity to reflect on challenging ultimate questions such as ‘why are we here?’ and ‘how did it all begin?’, as well as examine thought-provoking ethical issues such as ‘when is a life a life?’ and ‘is anything forgivable?’.  Furthermore students explore divergent views about the Christian tradition and gain a critical insight into the Buddhist faith, ultimately becoming knowledgeable of differing beliefs, traditions and practices in our vast and ever changing world.

What qualification will I gain?

There are no tiers in this examination. The one level examination papers enable all students to achieve GCSE grades A* - G.

How will I be assessed?

Assessment in this course is through external examinations that take place at the end of Year 11, (1x 2hour exam and 2x 1 hour exam). Students will be assessed departmentally throughout Year 10 and Year 11 with exam style questions typical of the ones they can expect in their external exams.  There will also be reflective home-learning tasks set at different points throughout the course.

What will the lessons be like?

In each of the topics students will study a wide range of viewpoints.  This will include a variety of Christian perspectives as well as other religious beliefs. They will also consider atheist and secular points of view. Students will be required to reflect upon and explain their own personal viewpoints.  Discussion and debate is a key component of the course; there will also be a mixture of both independent and group work in lessons. 

Current affairs will also be a regular feature of lessons and students will be encouraged to apply their knowledge and understanding to contemporary and relevant material.  All topics are explored within cultural and historical contexts, as well as considering relevant political, social and psychological frameworks.  Art, music and literature will all be incorporated into the topics where relevant, and the department is dedicated to making learning an enriching experience. 

What will this course prepare me for?

Students develop numerous skills such as: the ability to describe, explain and analyse, as well as the ability to use evidence and reasoned argument to express and evaluate personal responses.  Students will also develop empathy, self-awareness and respect for others.  In a society which is increasingly diverse and multicultural, the subject is highly regarded both by universities and future employers.  It is seen as a challenging academic subject and encourages an enquiring mind, as well as a tolerant attitude.    

Amongst many others, some relevant jobs are in areas of law, police, medicine, social work, the armed forces, teaching, the list is endless!