- Block 3 (Year 9)
- Block 4 and 5 (Years 10 and 11)
- Sixth Form
In Block 3, students will embark on an exploration of the various elements incorporated within Philosophy, Religion & Ethics (PRE).
They will immerse themselves in the various elements of Philosophy, ranging from perception and reality through to identity and the nature of being. Through Ethics, they will consider the notion of ‘good’, whether morality is real and its relationship to the real world, enhanced by an applied investigation into conflict and the impact of belief on behaviour, through the lens of World War I. The study of religion in theological, political and social terms will allow students to explore the ongoing significance of faith, alongside changing understanding as we develop new technologies and views of the world.
The course will encourage collaborative and independent work, focusing on the core principles of the subject - development of an open mind, intellectual curiosity, enthusiasm to engage with alternative ideas and the willingness to incorporate those into our own world view. The course will aim to prepare students for the next step in their educational journey, whether that be the PRE Bedales Assessed Course (BAC) or not, by helping them to develop skills which serve them in academic, but more importantly in all of life.
Aristotle wrote: “It is the mark of an educated person to search for the same kind of clarity in each topic”. Our aim is for the PRE course to enable all students to do just that.
BAC Philosophy, Religion & Ethics
What is good? What is beautiful? What is truth? Is religion part of human nature? These questions lead those who ask them to the winding country roads, blind alleys and even roundabouts of philosophical thought. This BAC aims to introduce students to the problems of philosophy, religion and ethics and start them on the uncertain but engrossing search for truth. Amongst other things we study different concepts of reality, ideas of God, the relationship of religion to art, the foundations of ethics, eastern religion, key concepts in philosophy, and engage in the ambitious project of describing our individual concepts of utopia.
The assessment of the BAC includes a 'Thinking Journal', coursework, oral presentations, a written exam and opportunities to give a creative response to PRE-related subject-matter.
One of the first two BACs to be created, the BAC in PRE has gained a lot of interest from Religious Studies teachers in the UK and abroad.
A Level Religious Studies: Philosophy of Religion and Ethics
This stimulating course explores the fundamental questions addressed by philosophers and religious traditions about the nature and origins of human existence, questions of morality, destiny and God. Through discussion and careful analysis of the most influential secular and religious viewpoints in history, students will not only develop their powers of self-expression through debating issues of ultimate significance, but also develop the capacity for coherent and well balanced argument.
A course equally at home within a diet of Arts or Science A Levels, Philosophy of Religion, Ethics and Buddhism covers, over the two years, all the core questions: What is the mind? What, if anything happens when we die? Can ethical rules adequately prescribe what we should do in particular situations? Should we believe a miracle account if more people claim to have seen it? Should laws governing how we live and die be changed? Is our experience of the world separable from the ‘real world’? Is ‘good’ just a matter of social agreement? What can we know for certain? Does the idea of God make any sense? Does the beauty of the world point to God? Can you doubt that 2+2=4?
As part of the new linear A Level, we teach not only the Philosophy of the West, but also Buddhist Philosophy. Buddhism was chosen in part because of the expertise we have in the department already. Importantly, though, we also surveyed the students and found that Buddhism was an option they really got enthusiastic about.
Those more inclined to the Arts will naturally enjoy the discursive, seminar-style lessons and the chance to discuss the 'big' questions in an open-minded way. Scientists may choose this course in order to give a feeling of balance to their Sixth Form choices, and may see RS as an important essay subject to have. Many of those considering Biology, Veterinary Medicine, Medicine, Genetics, and other related courses find that Ethics in particular is directly related to their subject choices, and extremely useful.