Philosophy and ethics


The Philosophy and Ethics aim is to create critical thinkers engaging in the big questions that society faces.

The Philosophy and Ethics curriculum is delivered by a dedicated and passionate team, it brings together the subjects previously taught separately as RE, Citizenship and PSHEE. There is now one coherent programme of study, with more time allocated to enable breadth and depth of topics. There will be an unbiased approach to cover a range of different topics; at no point will students be told this is the best or worst political party, the right or wrong religious view, the right or wrong thing to do.

Year 7

Students start with the question Who are we? Where they explore why it important to have an identity and how people preserve their identity; the basic teachings and beliefs of the world’s major faiths and beliefs systems; they also consider how we can understand and respect differences and diversity in school, locally and nationally; Finally, in the Autumn Term students will learn about identity theft, cybercrime and anti-bullying.  In the Spring Term Year 7s will investigate the question Do I ever feel a sense of awe and wonder? In this unit they will study what is meant by awe and wonder; spirituality and where this sense of spirituality comes from; learn about different religious denominations; visit local places of worship and think about how we help others, referring to such issues like globalisation, environmental problems and solutions. In the Summer Term students in year 7 will have impartial and independent advice and guidance on careers; analyse religious and non-religious views regarding health and poverty, concluding with a series of lessons related to Sex and Relationship Education which will included body image, puberty, managing our feelings/emotions and staying healthy.

Year 8

In the Autumn Term, Year 8 students investigate the key question how do we live together? Exploring our idea of community; rights and responsibilities and how the criminal justice works in England and Wales, with the impact of religion and religious laws on society today. In the Spring and Summer Terms our students will consider the different authorities in society; with the role of the church and other religious organisations, the role of government in society at a local and national level; the role of the media, charities and science also being studied. In the Spring Term Year 8s will have series of sessions on sex and relationship education, based around the key question of how do I change, looking at: the journey of life for humans from birth to death; relationships, consequences of sexual activity and the social pressures on young people. Students will also look at issues related to raising the awareness of drugs and their effects on individuals, communities and society.

Year 9

The Autumn Term sees Year 9 students learning about the purpose of money and the causes and consequences of poverty on individuals, communities and society. They also have to show knowledge and understanding of prejudice and discrimination. They do this by studying different forms of prejudice and discrimination in society, the effects on individuals, communities and society of prejudice and discrimination and demonstrate the different responses to these issues. Finally, students have to complete an enquiry based project based on the question Why is there conflict in the Middle East? This will allow students to investigate and produce a piece of work independently to explain and analyse the role of religion, individuals and the world community on the conflict in the Middle East; the reasons and consequences of this conflict for all concerned.  In the Spring Term a series of lessons are given impartial advice and guidance on careers and option choices at 14+ to fit in with the option process at Stalham High School. The second part of the Spring Term and first part of the Summer Term asks students to provide evidence of knowledge and understanding of recognising and managing the risks associated with sexual health and drugs, including the issues related to contraception, STI’s, developing and changing relationships and drugs, Interpret the opinions, beliefs and teachings of others on the issues of sexual health, contraception, relationships and use of drugs. In the final part of Year 9 knowledge and understanding of the rights and responsibilities that each human are entitled to will be identified; They will be able to explain the concepts of forgiveness, justice, good and evil from different perspectives, religious and non-religious opinions are explored, described and explained, demonstrating the different responses to the injustices that have been identified.

Year  10 & 11

In year 10 all students follow the new OCR full course specification GCSE Religious Studies, course code J625. Students will study the beliefs, teachings and practices in 2 religions over the course, these being Christianity and Islam and complete a one-hour exam, each worth 25% of the final grade, each religion at the end of Year 11. The second part of the course will cover the religion, philosophy and ethics in the modern world from the perspective of one region, Christianity. There are four themes of study: Relationships and Families; The existence of God; Religion, peace and conflict and dialogue within and between religions and non-religious beliefs. Students will sit a 2-hour exam worth 50% of their final grade.


Through this course student should be able to:

  • demonstrate knowledge and understanding of the area of study and its importance for their chosen religions’ belief, teaching and practice
  • analyse, evaluate and discuss the issues raised by the area of study and their importance for individuals, communities and societies in your chosen religions • include any relevant sources of wisdom and authority, including scripture and/or sacred texts where appropriate consider significant common and divergent views within your chosen religions.
  • demonstrate knowledge and understanding of your chosen religions’ practices and their importance for individuals, communities and societies
  • analyse, evaluate and discuss the issues surrounding your chosen religions’ practices
  • reference any relevant sources of wisdom and authority, including scripture and/or sacred texts where appropriate
  • consider significant common and divergent views about your chosen religions’ practice.

During the Autumn Term students will learn about the teachings, beliefs and practices in Islam, focusing on the core beliefs of Muslims; the nature if Allah; Risalah, how Allah communicates with Muslims; the holy books within the Islamic tradition; the role and importance of angels in Islam; eschatological beliefs and teachings; life after death in Islam; the importance of practices, such as the 5 Pillars for Muslims; public and private acts of worship; in depth study of the Hajj, Zakah and Sawm; important days and festivals and finally the concept of Jihad.

During the Spring Term students will learn about the teachings, beliefs and practices in Christianity, focusing on the core beliefs of Christians, including the nature of God for Christians; the concept of God as a Trinity of persons; biblical accounts of creation;  the problem of evil and suffering and a loving and righteous God; Jesus Christ; Incarnation, Crucifixion, Resurrection and Ascension; the concept of salvation; Eschatological beliefs and teachings; worship; sacraments; prayer; the role and importance of pilgrimage and celebrations to Christians; the role  of the church in the local community and living practices; mission and the role of the church in the wider world.

In the Summer Term students will start to consider the first of the ethical units, with a focus on Christian teachings, beliefs and practices about these issues. There are 4 areas of study which are: relationships and families; The existence of God; Religion, peace and conflict and the dialogue within and between religions and non-religious beliefs and attitudes. We will cover these 4 ethical units from the summer term of Year 10 through to the Spring Term of Year 11. From Easter of Year 11, students will be revising actively for their GCSE exams in the Summer Term of Year 11.

Our current Year 11 students follow the OCR Religious Studies Philosophy and applied Ethics full course. This course looks at topics that we know will engage all including war and peace, equality, abortion, euthanasia, religion and science, wealth and poverty, the end of life and the concepts of the Deity.

Students across all year groups will use a wide range of resources including videos, textbooks, newspaper articles, research articles, outside agencies and practical exploration of the world around them. There will be lots of different activities throughout the course, which have been designed to be thought provoking, create discussion, and build upon and enhance functional skills. Supporting many of these lessons will be guests and agencies from the local and wider community.

Alongside material being taught, students in Years 7-9 will be required to complete a homework projects. These projects can be completed using a variety of methods of the students choosing, including PowerPoints, Video and the use of other technological techniques, essays, poetry and handed in at an arranged time with their Philosophy and Ethics teacher. They will be marked and assessed and prizes will be given to those students who have contributed fully to their project. 

The schemes of work take on an AFL (assessment for learning) approach. For example students will often assess their own and each other’s work and use this active discussion to improve their own abilities.

Throughout the schemes of work there are formative assessment opportunities. These are often small pieces of work or reflection but help the teacher and learner to build up a picture of their own ability. It often involves the learners deciding upon the criteria for success.

In essence all work is designed to enable learners and their teachers to decide where the learners are in their learning, where they need to go and how best to get there. This will be a constant dialogue with teachers and learners.

There are also summative assessments where teachers will assess pieces of work and use this data. The aim is that these assessments are reliable and valid – each assessment will be discussed by learners and staff.

The department plays a prominent role in collapsed timetable days; where students are able to engage in topics and issues that we may not be able to cover in the curriculum programme or to enhance and develop work that students are completing in class.

Over the 5 year course students will get to explore a range of different spiritual, moral, social and cultural experiences. They will investigate, explain, describe, analyse and evaluate traditions, ethical and philosophical issues that are affecting our society in the 21st Century. They will be able express their own views in a safe environment, whilst considering what others believe in a balanced and reflective approach. The skills that will grow will be ones of independent working; understanding own and others opinions, cultures, traditions; teamwork when working on project based activities; constructing balanced and respectful arguments and answers; debating and discussion capabilities. Skills that they will need in other subjects in school, skills post 16 whether at college, university or in the work place.