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RE and Philosophy and Ethics


Religious Education is a thought provoking and challenging subject which is of value to all students at Burford School, now and in their future, as they encounter people from different cultural and religious backgrounds. It gives students an opportunity to think, inquire and reflect on different ideas, attitudes and beliefs.  Study of the subject helps students to more fully understand themselves, their own existence and the world in which we live.

Staff and facilities  

The Social Sciences Faculty is led by Mrs S Fulford.  She is supported by two further teachers.


Students in Year 9 are offered the chance to visit the Holocaust Exhibition at the Imperial War Museum in London. During this challenging, yet very beneficial day, students take part in a special classroom session run by members of the museum’s educational staff and a full guided tour of the exhibits.

The department runs a number of house competitions.  In Year 7, students take part in the ‘Happiness Collage’ competition; in Year 8 they design celebration cards for a rite of passage and in Year 9 they focus on designing and making memorials for either the holocaust or the genocide in Rwanda.

In Year 12, students attend a Philosophy and Ethics conference in Oxford to hear from renowned academics addressing such topics as sexual ethics, religious experience and the beginnings of the universe.

Key Stage 3

Religious Education is a compulsory subject at Key Stage 3 with one lesson a fortnight in Year 7 and one lesson per week in Years 8 & 9.  In Year 7, students are introduced to philosophical thinking and some of the main world faiths.

Students in Year 8 continue to learn the key beliefs of different religions.  They undertake a study of birth, baptism and marriage.  They also look at ethical topics such as whether religious rules are still relevant in the 21st century and the issues of environmental ethics and climate justice.

In Year 9 studies range philosophy through to the Holocaust through the experiences of Simon Wiesenthal and the Rwandan genocide of 1994. Students also study a topic on anti-racist RE.

Key Stage 4:

AQA GCSE (Short Course) Philosophy and Ethics

All students continue their studies in Religious Education through Years 10 & 11 and sit the AQA short course examination at the end of Year 11. The course covers a study of Christianity and Buddhism and also looks in detail at two different themes.  These are Religion, Peace and Conflict and Relationships and Families. As at KS3, students receive one lesson per week.

Key Stage 5:

OCR A-level Philosophy and Ethics

Philosophy and Ethics is an interesting, thought provoking and highly relevant A-level course.  Students study three units; Philosophy, Ethics and Developments in Christian Thought.  Through these units they examine and discuss topics such as the existence of God, the problem of evil and ideas on human nature.  Students are also taught different ethical theories and apply these to issues such as euthanasia and business.   Lessons are a mixture of debate, discussion, note taking and analysis.  Throughout the course students are encouraged to read widely and the department has a growing library of novels, text books and academic texts.

Students in Year 13 continue to study philosophy in relation to miracles, religious language and experience, the nature of God and life and death. In Ethics, they tackle Meta Ethics, Free Will and Determinism, Conscience and Virtue Ethics. Students also study the environment, business ethics and sexual ethics.


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