Religion and Philosophy
Head of Department: Mrs F Hawkes
Teachers: Mr B Southgate
Religion and Philosophy at TWGSB enables students to grapple with philosophical questions such as 'What is the meaning of life?' 'Is there a God?' and 'How do we know the right thing to do?' Students in KS3 follow the Kent Agreed Syllabus and study Religion and Philosophy for one hour a week. All students at TWGSB are given the opportunity to study Religion and Philosophy at GCSE level through the full course RE GCSE together with the Short Course Certificate in Philosophy. In order to gain these GCSEs they have five hours a fortnight, three for RE and two for Philosophy. Philosophy is also a popular A Level course which is growing in numbers. Many interesting educational visits are arranged for the students and feedback is very positive, with our 'In the Footsteps of Socrates' summer tour of Athens proving especially popular.
Our department motto is ‘Sapere aude – Dare to think!’ which was a term used by Immanuel Kant in his article answering ‘What is Enlightenment?’ Kant was one of the greatest and most influential philosophers from the Age of Enlightenment.
‘Enlightenment was man's emergence from his self-imposed nonage. Nonage is the inability to use one's own understanding without another's guidance. This nonage is self-imposed if its cause lies not in lack of understanding but in indecision and lack of courage to use one's own mind without another's guidance. Dare to think! (Sapere aude.) "Have the courage to use your own understanding," is therefore the motto of the enlightenment.'
[Immanuel Kant published in the December 1784 issue of the
Berlinische Monatsschrift (Berlin Monthly), edited by Friedrich Gedike and Johann Erich Biester.]
[updated November 2019]
Years 7, 8 and 9
All KS3 lessons follow the Kent Agreed Syllabus and students cover a wide range of topics relating to living in the modern world. The lessons encourage tolerance and understanding of different cultures and faiths. The course is explored through big questions and active learning. Each assessment set is based on GCSE skills in order to prepare them for KS4.
- Does religion help people to be good?
- Does living biblically mean obeying the whole Bible?
- Is death the end? Does it matter?
- Do we need to prove God’s existence?
- Why is there suffering? Are there any good solutions?
- Is religion a power for peace or a cause of conflict in the world today?
- Philosophical foundations
- Crime and punishment
- Philosophical debates
- Ethics issues surrounding human rights
- What difference does it make to believe in…?
- Personal Philosophy Project
Click for National Curriculum
GCSE: Years 10 and 11
Exam Board: AQA
Certificate in Philosophy – GCSE Short Course
- To be able to understand central ideas in philosophy and a brief overview of some influential philosophers
- To explore some debated questions in philosophy
- To engage in discussion and debate as a way of learning how to think philosophically
Short Course GCSE: The course is taught over two lessons a fortnight. It is assessed through 100% course work which builds on and consolidates the work completed in Year 9. This will be assessed at the end of Year 10.
RE GCSE Full Course
The GCSE course explores different philosophical and ethical concepts while reflecting on contemporary issues. This will inspire students to think deeply about relevant themes and encourage higher order thinking skills. They will have the opportunity to explore their own beliefs and questions of meaning and reflect on, consider, analyse, interpret and evaluate issues of truth, belief, faith and ethics and develop the ability to communicate these responses.
Full Course RE GCSE: The course is taught over two lessons a fortnight. It is assessed through 100% exam at the end of Year 11.
- Christian beliefs
- Hindu beliefs
- Christian practices
- Hindu practices
- Human rights
- Crime and punishment
- Life issues
Click for Year 10 course specification: http://filestore.aqa.org.uk/resources/rs/specifications/AQA-8062-SP-2016.PDF
Click for Year 11 course specification: http://filestore.aqa.org.uk/subjects/AQA-4055-W-SP-14.PDF
A Level: Years 12 and 13
Exam Board: AQA
Entry requirement: A grade 6 in GCSE English, Religious Education or Philosophy
Course content: A Level Philosophy is designed to give students a thorough grounding in the key concepts and methods of philosophy. Students will have the opportunity to engage with big questions in a purely secular context.
- Perception: What are the immediate objects of perception?
- The definition of knowledge: What is propositional knowledge?
- The origin of concepts and nature of knowledge: Where do ideas/concepts and knowledge come from?
- Ethical theories: How do we decide what is morally right to do?
- Kantian deontological ethics
- Aristotle virtue ethics
- Ethical language: What is the status of ethical language?
Metaphysics of God
- The concept of God
- Arguments relating to the existence of God
- Religious language
Metaphysics of mind
- The mind–body problem
- Logical/analytical behaviourism
- Mind–brain type identity theory
- Eliminative materialism
Paper 1 – Epistemology and moral philosophy (3-hour exam)
Paper 2: The metaphysics of God and the metaphysics of mind (3-hour exam)
Click for course specification
Years 7, 8 and 9
Through the Hindu Caste system we explore different careers in a work-related learning task where we ask the students ’Which modern jobs would match these Varnas today?’ We also consider the part played, if any, of destiny, freewill and Karmic forces and how these may affect future employment through the cycle of Samsara.
Through Rites of Passage students explore the concept of commitment and their life plan. Employment is often addressed and we consider what they are doing and/or need to do in order to achieve these goals. We also reflect on what would truly make them ‘happy’ and ‘successful’.
Years 10 and 11
We have an activity highlighting the transferable skills developed and encouraged through the study of RP and link these to the world of work and specific jobs such as being a footballer, journalist, lawyer etc.
- People skills
- Analytical skills
- Deep thinking skills
- Developing own opinions
- Constructing arguments
- Answer questions about life, the world
- Think about your values
- Feeling comfortable in different countries
- Respect for others
A Level students
- Philosophy is a non-vocational subject, so the skills it gives you are transferable to many different industries. Through studying Philosophy you will develop many employability skills such as self-motivation, time management and IT skills
- Additionally, through studying Philosophy you will acquire the ability to think very deeply about complex issues, weigh up and evaluate different ideas, and take in and analyse dense information quickly.
- Guidance is provided for students considering continuing the subject in further education – concerning the best university to go when considering certain courses – while taking in to account their interests and the jobs this may lead to.
What jobs can I get through studying Philosophy?
Like many humanities subjects, studying Philosophy can open you up to a variety of different careers. Many Philosophy graduates choose to go on to further study, meaning that in the future they work as researchers or become professors in their areas. Becoming an expert in your field in this way could pave the way for you to become a Philosophy lecturer at university level. Another popular industry for Philosophy graduates is teaching. You may decide to work in further or higher education, or in a secondary school.
What other jobs can I do?
Philosophy graduates are highly qualified for a number of fields that are not directly related to their degree subject. Such areas may include:
- Merchant banking
- The Civil Service
- Social services
Other possible fields include politics, social work, retail and business, although you may need to take further study to break into these sectors.