Religion, Philosophy and Ethics

Religion, Philosophy and Ethics


Religion, Philosophy and Ethics at Northwood College for Girls seeks to reflect the cultural, philosophical and religious backgrounds of the girls whom it addresses. 

This approach enables each student to come to a more developed understanding of his or her own identity, their particular cultural background and that of their local community.

The role of Religion, Philosophy and Ethics in the curriculum is one of the key methods in enabling the social, moral, spiritual and cultural development of the girls. Moreover, it is important in enabling an understanding of and dialogue with members of different faith communities and those who consider themselves secular humanists, atheists and agnostics.

The subject aims to address ultimate questions, (concerning the nature of God, the existence of the soul, and the problem of suffering), which form the basis of religious understanding. The girls also study particular religions and their associated philosophy and ethical perspective in further detail so they are able to develop an awareness of the wider context of a given religion and ideas which it encompasses. Finally, pupils look at how religious conviction, or lack thereof, might affect the individual, social and moral values of members of faith communities.

The girls explore the six major world faiths, namely Hinduism, Buddhism, Sikhism, Judaism Christianity and Islam, as well as those religions which are represented in the local community, such as Zoroastrianism. However, the integrity of members of other perspectives, including secular humanists, atheists and agnostics is similarly recognised. 

Thinking skills and creativity play an important role in the delivery of Religion, Philosophy and Ethics to ensure that girls can develop informed opinions about different life situations; to be able to empathise with opinions which differ from their own; and to develop skills in citizenship and thereby be equipped to contribute to the world in which they live.  Our Religion, Philosophy and Ethics teaching staff are highly experienced subject specialists and have accredited training in Philosophy for Children (P4C), which is integral to the delivery of the RPE curriculum.  Among the many benefits of P4C, the girls become confident in exploring and expressing their own understanding of religious, philosophical and ethical issues by engaging in philosophical enquiry with their peers and teacher. 


KS3 curriculum content includes:

Year 7Philosophy for Children, World Religions Project, Origins of Religion in the UK, Myth and Religious Leaders

Year 8Philosophy for Children, God/Gods, Sacred Space, Initiation, World Views and Wealth and Poverty

Year 9Philosophy for Children, Philosophy of Religion, Ethics, Holocaust, New Religious Movements, Religion and the Movies

KS4 curriculum:

Girls who choose to take the subject at GCSE in Year 10 and 11 follow the AQA Religious Studies A specification (8062).

Topics include:  The study of the beliefs, teachings and practices of Islam and Christianity; The existence of God and revelation; Religion and Life (origins and value of the universe); Relationships and Families; Religion, Crime and Punishment.

KS5 curriculum:

Girls who choose to take the subject at A Level in Year 12 and 13 follow the OCR Religious Studies – H573 specification, with a focus on Philosophy of Religion, Religious Ethics and Developments in Christian Thoughts.

Topics Include:  ancient philosophical influences; the nature of the soul, mind and body; arguments about the existence or non-existence of God; the nature and impact of religious experience; the challenge for religious belief of the problem of evil; ideas about the nature of God; issues in religious language; normative ethical theories; the application of ethical theory to two contemporary issues of importance; ethical language and thought; debates surrounding the significant idea of conscience; sexual ethics and the influence on ethical thought of developments in religious beliefs; religious beliefs, values and teachings, their interconnections and how they vary historically and in the contemporary world; sources of religious wisdom and authority; practices which shape and express religious; identity, and how these vary within a tradition; significant social and historical developments in theology and religious thought; key themes related to the relationship between religion and society.

Extracurricular Activities and Visits:

There are many extracurricular visits, including visits to York Minster and the Northwood Orthodox Synagogue Holocaust Memorial Day.  Girls are also given the opportunity to attend conferences relating to their GCSE and A Level examinations such as those organised by Dr Peter Vardy, Vice Principle of Heythrop College.

The department organises a weekly Philosophy club, as well as providing drop in surgeries for KS4 and KS5 students to help prepare them for their forthcoming examinations.

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