Philosophy and Religious Studies

Course Aims:

  1. To develop students’ ability to think Philosophically, that is, analytically, evaluatively, and sensitively.
  2. To develop students’ ability to discuss, and argue about, ethical, political, religious and ‘spiritual’ questions in an inquisitive and sensitive manner.
  3. To train students to recognise the similarities and differences between belief-systems.
  4. To train students to recognise the historical and social factors which influence religious ideologies.

Year 7

Philosophy of Learning: Metacognition
What is Religion?
Ancient Egyptian Religion/Mythology

The Abrahamic Religions:

Judaism
Christianity
Islam

Year 8

Philosophy: Ethics
Philosophy of Religion
Ancient Greek Religion/Mythology

Religions of the Subcontinent:

Hinduism
Buddhism
Sikhism

Trips and visits:

We offer occasional trips to the National Gallery, and Philosophy Conference trips to Universities for extension purposes, though this is more common at A-level and GCSE.

Co-curricular activities:

  • ‘Young Philosophers’ Club’ for extension and enrichment of the more able.
  • ‘Symposium Debate Club’ to foster students’ public-speaking and argument skills.

Key Stage 4 & 5 / Career Progression:

AQA GCSE in R.S. & Philosophy (R.S. with a good measure of Philosophy to stretch and engage)
A Level Philosophy is offered at Bentley Wood.

Philosophy Graduates go into many fields, such as Politics, International Relations, Law, Journalism, Media, IT, Business, Medicine, Social Work, Science, Literature, Music, Film, and any field where the ability to think well, logically, and ‘outside the box’ is key. Some examples are below:

  • Politics and Law: Ed Milliband, David Cameron, Bill Clinton, Martin Luther King, Aung San Suu Kyi.
  • Journalism: Jonathan Dimbleby, Henry MacDonald, Mehdi Hasan.
  • Medicine & Social Work Sir Nigel Crisp.
  • Writers: Hanif Kureishi, Iris Murdoch, David Foster Wallace, Jean Paul Sartre, T.S.Eliot.
  • Business/Advertising: George Soros, Charles Handy, Tim Mason, Peter Thiel (co-founder Paypal).
  • Film & Music: Ricky Gervais, Ethan Coen, Harrison Ford, Rick Rubin, Beverley Knight, Bruce Lee, Terence Malick, Lana Del Rey, Susan Sarandon, Richard Gere, Duncan Jones
  • Other: Noam Chomsky, Larry Sanger (co-founder of Wikipedia), Sam Harris, Pope John Paul II, Philip Glass, Stephen Colbert, Stewart Butterfield (co-founder of Flickr).

Recommended Reading:

‘Sophie’s World’ by Jostein Gaardner, ‘The Complete Philosophy Files’ by Stephen Law, ‘Think’ by Simon Blackburn, ‘Existentialism is a Humanism’ by Jean Paul Sartre.