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Philosophy and Ethics

Head of Department/Faculty

Mrs Emma Ainslie-King
Head of RE


Religion and beliefs inform our values and are reflected in what we say and how we behave.  RE is an important subject in itself, developing knowledge and understanding of the religions and beliefs which form part of modern society.  Religious education provokes challenging questions about the ultimate meaning and purpose of life, beliefs about God, the self and the nature of reality, issues of right and wrong, and what it means to be human.  It can develop knowledge and understanding of Christianity, of other principle religions, other religious traditions and worldviews that offer answers to questions such as these.

RE also contributes to students’ personal development and well-being and to community cohesion by promoting mutual respect and tolerance in a diverse society.  RE offers opportunities for personal reflection and spiritual development, deepening the understanding of the significance of religion in the lives of others – individually, communally and cross-culturally.

Tops Tips to do well in Philosophy and Ethics

  1. Watch the news as often as possible

  2. Watch films and documentaries relevant to the subject.

  3. Practice developing your opinion.

    Talk about your thoughts on issues with friends and family. Listen to their opinions. Do you agree? Think about why/ why not.

The Curriculum

RE is delivered to year 7, 8 and 9 over 2 one hour lessons a fortnight. To study RE at GCSE students will need to choose it as one of their options.

Year 7
Mixed Ability

  • A-Z of Religion and Belief
  • What is worship?
  • What is stewardship? (ethics and the environment)
  • Miracles
  • What do Sikhs believe?
  • Judaism

Year 8
Mixed Ability

  • What do Buddhists believe?
  • Prejudice.
  • What do Muslims believe?
  • Malala
  • What is good?

Year 9

  • The existence of God
  • Sanctity of life
  • Immortality
  • Ethics


Students will follow the AQA GCSE Scheme of work. The students will be looking at 2 components.

  • Component 1: The study of religions, beliefs, teaching and practices
    Christianity and Hinduism.
  • Component 2: Thematic studies

This will then continue into year 10 and 11 for those students who opt to do GCSE RE.

Year 10 & 11 The GCSE course is split into two components

Students will study 2 components

  • Component 1: The study of religions, beliefs, teaching and practices
    Christianity and Hinduism.
  • Component 2: Thematic studies

Students will study a choice of four Religious, philosophical and ethical studies themes:

  • Theme A: Relationships and families
  • Theme B: Religion and Life
  • Theme C: The existence of God and revelation
  • Theme D: Religion, peace and conflict
  • Theme E: Religion, Crime and punishment
  • Theme F: Religion, human rights and social justice.

Religion, Philosophy & Ethics in the community.

The Religion, Philosophy & Ethics department work closely with the Global Learning faculty to provide content for the Global Learning curriculum in KS4 at Commonweal. The Religion, Philosophy & Ethics department are active in the local Swindon network of LTLRE working with RE colleagues across Swindon. We also have Commonweal representative on SACRE for Swindon and use the Swindon Agreed Syllabus to inform teaching and resources.

Independent learning

  • Knowledge tests. Most year groups will have to learn key events, significant people and key words for knowledge tests throughout the year.
  • Assessment: You may be asked to make or design something and to write about it.
  • Revision and improvements.
  • Research: You may be asked to find out about something.

All of these activities will help for your own learning and to gain a better understanding on the subject.