Ms S Straw (Head of Department)
Mrs R Stewart
The Philosophy, Religion and Ethics Department
At Presdales, the Department’s particular interest in Philosophy, Religion and Ethics is about a development of an open-ended, ‘thinking’ approach to spiritual, philosophical and ethical issues.
Studying Philosophy, Religion and Ethics at Presdales will provide students with a rich curriculum which will broaden their understanding of different faiths, cultures, mindset and philosophies which relate to the real world. This understanding will help students to reflect on and respond to issues beyond the classroom, that they may experience personally or may observe in wider society.
We nurture their natural curiosity about life by giving them the opportunity to ask Big Questions, and time to reflect on a range of responses from both religious and non-religious perspectives. We inspire them to be creative in their responses to these challenging and significant topics. Students will hone their critical thinking and evaluative skills, which will in turn raise their levels of achievement across the curriculum.
When students have reached the end of their Presdales Philosophy, Religion and Ethics journey, they will have a sense of wonder of this diverse and beautiful world, an appreciation of others, a sense of academic achievement, and the ability to consider a rich tapestry of worldviews.
- For students to have a broad understanding of worldviews (including the six major world faiths, and non-religious views such as atheism and humanism)
- To enable students to develop critical thinking skills in order to evaluate different arguments and viewpoints on philosophical and ethical issues
- To ensure that all students study a variety of religions and worldviews up to Key Stage 4, and that they have the opportunity to achieve their potential in this subject
- To enable students to reflect on and articulate their own views on the big philosophical questions, as well as consider those of others
- To nurture students so that they have a sense of awe and wonder, an appreciation of those seemingly different to them, and a sense of academic achievement
- To help students use discussion in order to learn and explain their ideas and viewpoints clearly
- To promote students to be empathetic, and socially aware and responsible citizens, in order to address prejudice and discrimination where they may encounter it
All students begin their PRE journey at Presdales by considering the Big Questions in life, and are thus introduced to the concept of Philosophy. We then consider three philosophical questions: Why are we here? What is God like? How do people express their beliefs in God? and discover how different worldviews answer these questions. Over the year students will learn about the responses of Christianity, Hinduism and Humanism, and consider how these beliefs impact their actions in the world.
We begin Year 8 by introducing the concept of ethics, and learning that all major worldviews have a system of ethics. Students learn about the foundations of Judaism, Buddhism and Christianity, and compare the key ethical teachings about how people should treat others. We then look at religions in modern Britain, evaluate arguments as to whether Britain can still be called a Christian country, and consider the challenges of being a member of a minority faith in the UK, from the Muslim and Sikh perspective. We complete the year by considering why people keep their faith in times of extreme adversity, such as when under oppressive regimes.
In Year 9, students learn about prejudice and discrimination in the context of the Civil Rights Movement in America, and focus on the life and faith of Martin Luther King Jr. and Malcolm X. We study the aspects of Christianity and Islam that inspired their activism, and we reflect on the question of whether violence in the pursuit of justice could ever be justified. Students then consider the arguments for and against the existence of God and reflect on their own response to this philosophical question. We then look at the teachings of the worldviews of Christianity, Hinduism and Humanism on the relationship between humans and animals, and how this may be reflected in their lives, and views on animal research.