Philosophy is one of the most successful A level subjects at George Spencer, in summer 2016 100% of students achieved grace A-C.  This A level is for academically able, inquisitive students who enjoy robust discussions. The course includes the study of ancient philosophers, medieval theologians and modern day scholars.  This A level is similar to a university course in terms of its broad content and the skills that are taught during the course including evaluation, discussion, independence and, perhaps most importantly, academic essay writing.

 

The course is divided into three papers:

 

Paper

Topics

Philosophy of Religion

2 hours

Answer three questions from four

33.3% of overall mark

Classical philosophy (Plato and Aristotle)

The soul

Argument for God based on observation

Arguments for God based on reason

Religious Experience

Problem of Evil

Nature of God

Religious Language

Twentieth century philosophers

Religion and Ethics

2 hours

Answer three questions from four

33.3% of overall mark

Natural Law

Situation Ethics

Kantian Ethics

Utilitarianism

Euthanasia

Business Ethics

Meta-ethics

Conscience

Sexual ethics

Development in Christian Thought

2 hours

Answer three questions from four

33.3% of overall mark

Augustine's view of human nature

Death and the afterlife

Knowledge of God's existence

Person of Jesus

Christian Moral Principles

Dietrich Bonhoeffer

Religious Pluralism

Religion, Society and Gender

Liberation theology and Marxism

 

The GCSE course involves the study of controversial modern topics such as abortion, euthanasia and nuclear weapons; as well as grappling with timeless questions about death, suffering and the afterlife. In the new GCSE, students will study Christianity and Buddhism. These two religions represent Western and Eastern approaches to morality and spirituality.


Christianity is the dominate religion in the world with 2 billion followers, it has shaped UK law, inspired activists such as Martin Luther King and features in films, TV and news stories. In contrast, Buddhism only has 400 million followers and many Buddhists describe it as a religion-less philosophy. In recent decades Buddhism has grown in popularity and its belief in karma, rebirth and non-belief in God offers contrasting views compared to Christianity.


The GCSE qualification consists of two papers:

 

Paper 1 – Thematic Studies

Paper 2 – Beliefs, teachings and practices

Religion and Families

Topics include sexual relationships, marriage, divorce and gender roles

Buddhist beliefs and teachings

Topics include story of the Buddha, karma, Four Noble Truths and human purpose

Religion and Life

Topics include euthanasia, abortion, creation and science vs religion

Buddhist practices

Topics include places of worship, chanting, Japanese and Tibetan ceremonies and festivals

Religion, Peace and Conflict

Topics include nuclear weapons, pacifism, The Just War Theory and victims of war

Christian beliefs and teachings

Topics include Jesus, the crucifixion, resurrection and original sin

Religion, Crime and Punishment

Topics include causes of crime, death penalty, community service and rehabilitation

Christian practices

Topics include different types of prayer, pilgrimage, roles of the Church and festivals

In Key Stage 3 students will study a multitude of engaging and stimulating subjects. Year 7 and 8 students will learn about major world religions including Islam, Judaism and Sikhism. As students progress through Key Stage 3 they will tackle more challenging and thought provoking topics such as euthanasia, medical ethics and evil and suffering. These more challenging topics are designed to prepare students for GCSE Philosophy as well as allowing them to discuss and reflect on current issues in the news.