Ethics & Philosophy at Paulet
What do students learn in Ethics & Philosophy in Key Stage 3?
Ethics & philosophy provides young people with chance to focus on asking important questions about values and beliefs, making links between their own and others’ responses, recognising the implications and consequences of making moral choices. Consideration is given to asking questions about why people choose to either practice religion or not and the impact this has on individuals and communities.
Throughout the course we focus on sharing ideas and opinions and consider how these also reflect throughout our diverse society. We emphasise how vital and valuable they are in our pluralistic society and the positive contributions they can make.
To support this endeavour, we begin in year seven by exploring the significance of having rules in our homes, school, and our wider society. This leads us to comparing the origins of humanity, which supports the setting our rules. The different beliefs about the origins of the universe, religious teachings, and the impact they have on the individual and our society today. The relationship between science and religion is considered. Places and forms of worship, the relationships between them are explored, with focus on the individual believer. The year finishes with a look at Buddhism with focus on meditation, how and why people choose to surrender their materialistic / worlds goods and not let their desires overtake them.
The focus continuous in year eight with asking important questions. However, pupils are challenged to think through the exploration of Jesus’ life and the many challenges he faced. The question, ‘should people stand up for they believe in even if it is at a great personal cost’, is linked to Jesus life experiences. What can we learn today from Jesus’ life; his courage? Pupils then compare and contrast the different religious festivals and analyse their significance for the believers and their communities. The year finishes with consideration of the current wealth inequality that exists in our world and within the UK. We consider if we are all responsible for helping one another or should this depend solely on the government?
Then focus moves in year nine to understanding how we express ourselves; materialistically, what we say and how and through art etc. The importance of personal, including religious expression, is considered within both the legal and social constructs. The impact of controversial art is also considered in a sensitive manner, whilst also strongly emphasising and considering the balance between freedom of expression and the responsibilities that come with such freedom(s). This focus is continued, as we explore the unit, ‘crime and punishment’. Here we consider in depth the reasoning to why a justice system is vital to our society and our role to uphold to its values. This unit is part of the GCSE course AQA Religious studies. For information on these units please see KS4 ethics and philosophy. We end the year with considering the different types of discriminations with reflections on relevant religious views to the matters discussed. Key historical figures such as, Martin Luther King, Rosa Parks, Gandhi will be reflected upon, including their religious beliefs, and an attempt would be made to relate these to the ideas of equality, freedom of religion and belief including freedom of religious expression. Religious teachings would be explored to inspire tolerance and harmony within our diverse communities of people in the UK today.
Throughout the Key Stage 3 course we develop the ethical skills required for study at GCSE level.
How do students learn in KS3?
Students are increasingly encouraged to learn through paired and whole class discussion to draw on the knowledge and understanding of their peers. Presenting work to the whole class is also encouraged and developed to help students develop their confidence. Students will engage in decision making exercises where they must make justified decisions on a variety of ethical issues, and then learn to either defend them or adapt them as they develop their knowledge. Students will learn to draw on evidence, including from sacred texts where required, to enhance their viewpoints. The skills developed in Year 7 are further developed in Year 8 and Year 9 is focused on preparing students for GCSE ethics and philosophy. All assessments in key stage 3 are designed to reflect the style of questioning used in GCSE ethics and philosophy so that students will be thoroughly prepared for such future assessment.
What topics are covered and when in each year group? What is the sequence of teaching?
Our topics of learning are listed below. The sequence of learning is designed to develop students understanding of our values and principles.
|Year 7||Year 8||Year 9|
|Autumn 1||The Island – Rules||Jesus||Religious expression|
|Autumn 2||The Island / Planet Earth and creation||Jesus / Festivals||Religious expression|
|Spring 1||Planet Earth and creation||Festivals||Crime and punishment|
|Spring 2||Places of worship||Festivals / Rich & poor||Crime and punishment|
|Summer 1||Places of worship||Rich & poor||Prejudice & discrimination|
|Summer 2||Buddhism – mental wellbeing||Rich & poor project||Prejudice & discrimination|
How are students assessed in KS3 Ethics?
Students are assessed once each half term through a combination of mid topic and end of topic test. Assessments are largely written but presentation tasks are also included at times.
Home learning (homework)
The homework set are integral to the learning taking place in the classroom and as such is increasingly referred to as home learning. Students are set one piece of home learning every four weeks, as Ethics and philosophy is taught every fortnight. Students will usually return their homework tasks in a hard copy but can also return digitally. Tasks will be set via the Go4 Schools app, but are also explained in class.
Year 7 – Places of worship trail – Derby
Respect of our personal values and principles is naturally reflected by offering the same to others. Our society is becoming more connected and diverse opinions are more readily accessible. The bond of ‘humanity’ is woven throughout our ethics and philosophy curriculum at key stage 3 to help navigate through sometimes this challenging terrain. The value of independent home learning is emphasised to instil in the students a sense of ownership and responsibility for their learning. Appreciation of the world’s diversity of peoples and their principles, which are often derived from their religious or philosophical beliefs, are evaluated throughout the learning journey that is presented in the study of ethics and philosophy.
Students develop analytical and evaluation skills during key stage 3, which transfer to a wide range of career paths – some are shown below. Ethics and philosophy grounds young people in the skills of analysis and evaluation, as well as the ability to understand others. Increasingly the world is becoming more connected. This subject enables students to navigate themselves in a harmonious manner to be successful and prosper in whichever field they select.