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Philosophy, Ethics & Religion

The philosophy of the school room in one generation will be the philosophy of government in the next

- Attributed by some to Abraham Lincoln

This subject is taught to all students from Years 3 to 13. The focus of lessons is on two areas. Firstly, to provide a background in the basics of the major World Religions, and secondly, to encourage students to reflect on the big Philosophical Questions of existence.

The subject offers students the opportunity to explore the reasons why people think and act in the way they do, and how we are motivated by our beliefs. Our aim is to enable students to question and think for themselves and so be assisted in growing towards intellectual, moral, social and spiritual maturity.

Students are encouraged to engage in a personal process of reflection and discovery of their own views and beliefs.

The Department also teaches GCSE and A Level Philosophy of Religion and Ethics, a subject that is extremely popular with our students with around 80 currently studying for external examinations, and very well regarded in higher education and the wider world of employment. Students examine the work of a vast range of influential thinkers such as Plato, Aristotle, Freud, Mill and Wittgenstein. Studying philosophy and ethics provides an excellent way for students to think clearly about a wide range of issues. By learning to analyse the arguments for and against any position, they develop skills which can be transferred to many other areas of life.

Learning beyond the classroom

We offer several opportunities to hear prominent speakers in this field such as Dr Peter Vardy and Dr John Frye and Upper 3 students have recently visited the Shri Swaminarayan Hindu Mandir. Regular meetings of Philosophy Society encourage debate with recent events led by staff and students having titles such as Medical Ethics and the Law, Henry David Thoreau and the American Wilderness, The Better Angels of our Nature, Steven Pinker on Why Violence Has Declined, Why Philosophy matters in Schools, Physics and Free Will, Human Rights, Structuralism, What is Tolerance? and Jean-Paul Sartre. 

The Head of Department is also a trained .b mindfulness teacher (https://mindfulnessinschools.org/) and currently all Lower 5 students take a six session mindfulness course during the year.  

Examination results are excellent. The Department GCSE results average for the last three years is 86% A*/A (or Level 7,8,9) and last summer all eleven Upper 6 students gained A* or A grades (5 A* and 6 A grades). Recent university destinations of students include Philosophy and Psychology (Oxford, Durham), PPE (Exeter – 2 students), Philosophy (Warwick, Birmingham, Nottingham – 3 students), Philosophy and English (Nottingham), Philosophy and Theology (Oxford) and Philosophy and Physics (Bristol).

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