Philosophy, Religion & Society

Religion and SocietyA spirit of enquiry is central to Philosophy, Religion & Society at Queen Elizabeth's School. We encourage pupils to ask questions about belief, faith, culture and the role of citizens in society. They are given the opportunity not only to study key thinkers, but to put Philosophy into practice as well, developing their critical faculties through evaluative and analytical philosophical work.

In both Key Stage 3 and Key Stage 4 (Years 7 – 11), citizenship themes are addressed alongside religious issues. For example, in the Summer Term of Year 7 boys work on the themes of democracy, justice and authority in the local area. In Year 9, boys begin to study for the GCSE examination taken by all pupils at the end of Year 10. In the Sixth Form, the School offers A-Levels in Philosophy and Sociology.

ICT is used throughout teaching. There are interactive whiteboards in all classrooms, and lessons are delivered through interactive PowerPoint presentations. The internet is employed for research and we use DVDs, videos and music in our teaching.

At Key Stage 3, the key concepts of Religion and Society are explored, including: beliefs and teachings; practices and ways of life; and learning to respect others with different beliefs to our own. In addition, key thinking skills and conceptual tools for the successful study of Philosophy are introduced.

At GCSE, we currently follow the AQA examination board's Specification B Short Course. The course combines in-depth study of a religion's key beliefs and practices with a focus on contemporary issues and religious views linked to these, such as the place of suffering in the world, abortion and prejudice. For Year 9 students in 2017 and onward, however, we will be moving to Edexcel’s Short Course Specification B. This provides students with the opportunity to study in depth the beliefs and practices of Christianity and Hinduism, with a particular focus on crime and punishment, and the family and marriage.

At A-Level, we expect students to go beyond the mere restatement of factual information: they are required to think independently and incisively on philosophical matters. This provides excellent preparation for university study, whether in Philosophy or other subjects. Numerous enrichment opportunities are provided, such as lectures by well-known philosophers on topics relevant to the A-level syllabus. Schemes of work are designed to include seminar-style lessons in a manner similar to universities. The Department provides students with a wide range of primary and secondary reading materials.

Academic support at both Key Stage 3 and GCSE is provided through our Religion and Society clinic, a weekly lunchtime club giving one-on-one guidance to students. In the Summer Term, a Philosophy Society for Key Stage 3 gives pupils further opportunities to develop their understanding. In Year 11, there is also a Philosophy Society; this is run both for those who wish to take the A-level in the Sixth Form or for those who simply have an interest in the subject. An essay-writing competition, focused on an accessible, contemporary aspect of philosophical enquiry, is open to Year 11. For A-level students, there are clinics which focus on assisting with content and essay-writing.

There are also lunchtime clubs run by pupils, including the Christian Union, Jumu'ah Salat and the Jewish Society. All emphasise a social learning atmosphere, with activities that include discussion, film, games and outside speakers.

Year 7 boys have a visit from the Iroko Theatre Company as a part of their Expressions of Spirituality topic. The Iroko Theatre Company are a renowned group who provide an exciting and educational experience for students which involves story-telling, drumming and theatre workshops which explore and inform students about West African culture. Additionally, QE has a strong record of success in the Barnet-wide annual competition run by the Baha'i community, which looks at topics relating to the interdependence of human beings, such as climate change.

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