Philosophy, Religion and Ethics

Philosophy at Cokethorpe centres on fostering the values of truth, justice and honour. The subject nurtures self-respect and reverence for others whilst also being aware of the need to respect and care for the environment. Our aim is to educate pupils so that they are interested in and can understand the philosophical, values and traditions of others whilst also being willing to assess their own beliefs against conflicting opinion. As a result of this, philosophy allows our pupils to build their sense of identity and belonging and allows them to explore world issues in a secure background.

The Department aims to develop a passion for the subject that extends beyond the classroom and prepares pupils for success in their examinations. We also aim to encourage a sense of enquiry and debate within all pupils so that they question the world around them. Second to Third Form curriculum is designed to enable pupils develop their skills of evaluation, analysis and critical reasoning which will take them smoothly into GCSE and beyond.

Second Form to Third Form

Pupils in Second Form follow a programme called Philosophy for Children. Young people who have had the opportunity to experience philosophical enquiry over a period of time can work confidently with ambiguity and uncertainty. Philosophy for Children is underpinned by a desire to advance what can be understood as ‘good reasoning’. This is not just logical reasoning, but can also be exemplified by collaborative reasoning and shared thinking. It is not simply being able to reason, or to be rational; rather reasonableness, combined with sound thinking and clear conceptualisation, it forms people who are able to make strong ethical decisions and to live well.

Working with philosophical concepts is something that we do in religious education frequently. A Community of Enquiry is philosophical when the teacher/facilitator encourages students to take the enquiry deeper into the ideas raised. The teacher must be able to recognise a philosophical idea or concept when it comes up. Religious education teachers often have a good understanding here. Philosophical concepts relevant to religious education include justice, love, responsibility, freedom, friendship, hope, God and what it means to be human.

This sense of enquiry continues into Third Form where pupils take a more in depth look at current Philosophical and Ethical debates that affect our world. They are introduced to topics such as the death penalty and arguments for the existence of God.

Fourth Form to Fifth Form

At Cokethorpe, we teach Philosophy and Ethics at both GCSE. This is a successful and popular course that gives pupils the opportunity to examine big questions in life and to think about and reflect on the views of key thinkers, philosophers and theologians. There is much room for discussion, debate and investigation as we explore issues of right and wrong, life and death, medicine and God amongst many others topics.

Pupils are taught how to debate and discuss difficult topics as well as given the tools to critically analyse arguments. They are also given the platform to form their own views that will inform their exams and prepare them for future study.

Head of Philosophy: Mr M J Schofield

Trips, Activities and Extension 

Philosophy Café: these are either staff or student led discussion forums that happen every half term. Debate ranges from ‘What does it mean to be British?’ to ‘Are men and women equal?’