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Buxton Community School

Buxton Community School


Head of Department: Miss Joan Carr  (

In today’s world, the study of Ethics is more important than ever. In recent times, the media has been able to show us the detrimental effects of misinterpretation and a lack of tolerance towards others. It is crucial, therefore, that the next generation are introduced and given the opportunity to discuss contentious issues within a safe, respectful environment.


Ethics in Year 7 -9 introduces students to key skills needed throughout their time at BCS such as forming a well-balanced argument, becoming confident in debates and being empathetic, respectful and tolerant of others' views. They will study Ethics in one lesson a week that aims to enable students to learn about and from different beliefs, values, cultures and philosophies. Over time, students are expected to be able to combine their knowledge of the course with deeper analysis and evaluation, which should include a variety of opinions and justifications.

The course includes topics such as:

  1. Ancient Beliefs
  2. Prejudice and Discrimination
  3. Online Ethics
  4. Happiness and Mindfulness
  5. Evil and Suffering
  6. The Holocaust  


Philosophy and Ethics GCSE (Y10 – 11)

We follow the AQA syllabus Religious Studies A, through an interleaved approach. It includes modules on ‘Ethical Themes’ on such as euthanasia, abortion and capital punishment, exploring a variety of viewpoints, from all faiths and none.

In Philosophy and Ethics, students learn how philosophy, ethics, beliefs and values form the basis of our culture, and develop valuable skills that will help prepare them for further study across the whole-school curriculum. Students will also develop analytical and critical thinking skills, the ability to work with abstract ideas, leadership and research skills.

Students will be challenged with questions about belief, values, meaning, purpose and truth, enabling them to develop their own attitudes towards philosophical and ethical issues.

The course is assessed in two exams lasting 1 hour 45 minutes each.  These will be taken at the end of Year 11 and assessed externally by AQA. The first exam is focused on the beliefs and practices within mainstream religion. The second exam is focused on six Philosophical and Ethical ‘Themes’. Each exam counts for 50% of the pupil’s overall grade and there are no modular exams or coursework. There will be a single tier of assessment covering grades 9 – 1.

GCSE units studied:

  • Relationships and Families
  • Religion and Life Issues
  • Existence of God and Revelation
  • Peace and Conflict
  • Crime and Punishment
  • Human Rights and Social Justice


Philosophy and Ethics A Level (Y12 - 13)

The A Level further challenges students to critically assess beliefs, values and norms within society. Students study:

  1. Philosophy of Religion
  2. Religion and Ethics
  3. Developments in Christian Thought

Students will sit three 2-hour examinations in the Summer of their A2 year, one on each of the above topics. Each exam is worth 1/3 of their overall A Level grade.

Why is philosophy and ethics a desirable qualification?

The skills learned in Philosophy and Ethics are widely desired by universities and employees for courses and careers that are wide in variety, but considered high-flying, such as Medicine, Law and Business. In addition, philosophical and ethical debate can increase a person’s IQ and verbal reasoning skills through training the mind to distinguish between premise and conclusion, falsity and logic, truths and facts.