Philosophy Key Stage 5
In Philosophy we are building students’ ability to think logically, analytically and systematically about complex questions. We want our students to grow in confidence and resilience in expressing their views and arguments and in opening these to critical scrutiny. Students should be able to produce a balanced evaluative discussion of a question which is precise in its use of language and argues persuasively and with sustained intent for their chosen conclusion.
Our aim is for students to develop their knowledge and understanding of the history and methodology of philosophy so that they can engage deeply with the questions the subject raises and form their own rationally supported views.
As they study the views of others, they learn to understand how different cultures and periods in time view and understood the world and to evaluate the views of others empathically. As they form their own views, they learn to weigh and evaluate arguments using the tools of critical analysis. In doing this, they refine their view of the world, personal response to its deepest questions and framework of values.
Sequencing, Setting and Support
At the beginning of the course, time is given by both course teachers to introduce key concepts and ideas around Philosophy to build a strong foundation for the main course content. One teacher will cover the Epistemology and Metaphysics of Mind aspects of the course and the other teacher will cover Moral Philosophy and Metaphysics of God.
The classes in Philosophy are mixed ability. As a result, we will provide support for students working at all levels within the curriculum. We provide subject support plans for those who might find the step-up to A Level challenging, but we will also be able to provide extension resources for students aiming for the top grades at A Level and with aspirations of studying Philosophy at degree level. The course has a very high success rate of progression to study this subject at top Universities.
Alive Themes in Philosophy
In Philosophy, students develop the ALIVE values of questioning, research, communication, resilience and the valuing of truth, alongside developing their values of justice and respect for the views and experience of others and their appreciation of some of the core values of our society, such as democracy, freedom and the rule of law.
Assessment in Philosophy
Homework and how Parents/Carers Support Learning
All homework is set on Edulink which is an app and website available to students and parents/carers. Further information and a video about how to find homework on Edulink is available on our Homework page.
These are the principles which underpin our homework.
Homeworks are set via Edulink on a regular basis, ensuring students review and reflect on work done in class, revise key ideas and become able to retrieve these when needed, to read widely and deeply into the subject in order to deepen their grasp of philosophical thinking, and to practice exam-style questions,
In Philosophy, students are encouraged to make use of the Hour for Hour approach to revisit the concepts covered in lessons and to bring their questions to the following lessons. On occasions, students will be given links to websites or news stories that fit in with the specification to read for consolidation and extension. There are a wide range of activities on Moodle that may be set as homework tasks to embed lessons from previous lessons or read for discovery. Homeworks may also be used for practice exam questions to effectively apply in class learning and maximise preparation for exams.
Parents can ask to see the Philosophy Handbook, which contains syllabus details and the full range of questions which can be asked. They can use the checklists we provide to test students on their recall of key-words. They can encourage the young people in their care to explain what they have been doing in class and argue about these over the dinner table! They can look at the Philosophy reading list, offer to buy suitable books, and tune in to the wide range of YouTube videos and podcasts etc, which will deepen students' passion for the subject.
Useful Philosophy Resources
There are many great films that explore philosophical themes – see the suggestions in our recruitment flyer and in the Philosophy classroom.
There are some excellent web resources that will introduce you to philosophy:
Two excellent podcasts are:
The Panpsycast - home to a wide range of podcasts relevant to different aspects of the course)
Philosophy Bites - a fantastic site with short 15-minute interviews with top philosophers on things that matter that you can download
Some really good introductory books:
Mark Rowlands - The Philosopher at the End of the Universe (philosophical problems through science fiction films)
Michael Sandel - Justice (a great introduction to ethics – also watch the online lectures)
Lisa Whitling and Rebecca Buxton - The Philosopher Queens: The Lives and Legacies of Philosophy's Unsung Women
Buckingham / King - The Philosophy Book: Big Ideas Simply Explained
Nigel Warburton - Philosophy: The basics
R.Osbourne - Philosophy for Beginners
Jostein Gaarder - Sophie’s World (a bit of a marmite book – written to introduce young people through a cunningly constructed narrative – the best-selling philosophy book of the last forty years)