Grammar School


RELIGIOUS STUDIES: Philosophy & Ethics

Examination Board: OCR

Course Tutors:          Mr P Montague, Miss N Le Goupillot, Mrs G Miller and Miss M Ellert

In an age of increasing spiritual diversity and a lack of moral leadership, this course gives students the opportunity to address the most profound philosophical questions about human existence.  The course is academically rigorous and requires good levels of literacy and communication skills.

AS Level

Course outline:  We have chosen two popular options: Philosophy of Religion and Ethics.  In the Philosophy section we examine the major religious questions about the existence of “God”, the problem of believing in God in the face of suffering.  In Ethics we examine how and why humans make decisions about what is right or good behaviour, and we look at specific ethical issues.

Teaching and Learning Styles:  A level Philosophy & Ethics classes in the Sixth Form are generally energetic affairs.  There is a mixture of teacher-led learning, individual study, and student-led sessions.  The common denominator is that students are always challenged to think and respond to the issues tackled.  Students must enjoy thinking rationally and challenging their own preconceptions about life.

Units: 1 Philosophy of Religion – An introduction to the fathers of western philosophy,

Plato and Aristotle. A study of the philosophical arguments for and against the existence of God. The challenges to religious belief; the problem of evil/suffering and the relationship between religion and science.

2 Ethics - A study of various ethical theories including Utilitarianism and Kantianism, the relationship between religion and morality, and certain areas of applied ethics – abortion, euthanasia, genetic engineering, and war and peace.

Assessment: Unit 1 1 ½ hour exam 50% - June

Unit 2 1 ½ hour exam 50% - June

A2 Level

Course outline:  Philosophy and Ethics as above, building on the AS content and dealing with more problematic philosophical and ethical issues.

Teaching and Learning Styles:  As the AS course but with more student-led sessions and a greater emphasis on independent research.

Units: 1 Philosophy of Religion – Philosophical and theological difficulties concerning

religious experiences and miracles, beliefs about life after death and the use of religious language.

2 Ethics – The philosophical problems with freewill and determinism, and the problem of conscience. The practical moral problems of environmental and sexual ethics.

Assessment: Unit 1 1 ½ hour exam 50%

Unit 2 1 ½ hour exam 50%



International Baccalaureate Group 3: Individuals and Societies

Philosophy HL /SL

What is Philosophy?

Philosophy deals with issues that are profound, complex, challenging and important for humanity. The IB Philosophy course allows students to explore fundamental questions that people have asked throughout human history, such as “What does it mean to be a human?” and “How do I know what is the right thing to do?”

The emphasis is very much on doing philosophy rather than just studying the history of it. The course requires a willingness to attempt an understanding of alternative views by applying intellectual rigour and cultivating an open and critical mind.

What does the IB Philosophy course include?

  1. Philosophical Themes

  • 'What is a 'human' being?' – Could animals or machines be persons? Do we really have freewill? What is the relationship between mind and body?

  • Philosophy of Religion

  • Theories and Problems of Ethics

  1. Philosophical Texts

You will be studying a text from one of the following philosophers:

Plato, Rene Descartes, John Stuart Mill, Friedrich Nietzsche, Bertrand Russell

  1. Internal assessment

You will produce a piece of written philosophical analysis of non-philosophical material of your own choosing.

  1. HL only: Unseen Text

You will respond to a piece of philosophical writing under examination conditions.


External Standard Level 70% from 2 examinations papers

Higher Level 80% from 2 examination papers


Internal Standard Level 30% from the personal study

Higher Level 20% from the personal study



For any queries on dates, please contact the school on 256571. A weekly calendar is sent to parents for both the lower school and Sixth Form Centre. 

The school term dates can be accessed from the Education Departments website.

Request for Leave of Absence
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Book tree

Please click on the book tree to be directed to the School's Library website.

To open the Sixth Form International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme and A Level Prospectus please click here.

To open the Sixth Form Information Booklet, please click here.

Years 7 to 11 Information For Parents Booklet can be opened here.