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Ethics & Beliefs

Head of Department - Ms G Heron

(Taught in a carousel with PSHE)

Upper School

Exam Board: Not applicable as non-examined

Outline of Study Skills

It is a legal requirement that, even if you do not choose to take Religious Studies as a GCSE option, you must continue to study some RS.  At Thornden we fulfil that requirement by considering a number of issues alongside the PSHE modules. These Ethics and Belief modules are not only there because the law requires them, they also examine topics which are of interest or concern for society and the world we live in.

Course Content

Year Ethics Beliefs and Philosophy
10 & 11 Key concepts: • Conflict • Extremism • The Holocaust • Racism • Sexism • Poverty • Abortion • Euthanasia • Tradition (Forced Marriage and FGM) • New Religious Movements and Cults Key questions: • What is real? (Plato’s Cave and the Matrix) • Who are you? • What is our ultimate purpose? • What is AI became sentient? • What is freewill (Freewill vs Determinism) • What is the difference between humans and animals? Are we speciesist?

Skill development

The Ethics and Belief course is designed to further develop a range of necessary skills and experiences to prepare students for their role in the adult and wider world. These include communication (expressing ideas clearly in writing, confidently in speech and listening to the views of others), participation (using a range of social skills, working confidently with a group and building positive working relationships with others as a team player) and critical thinking (identifying, constructing and evaluating arguments).


Ethics and Belief is a non-examined course. We do however, have a Thornden School Award in the form of certification at bronze, silver and gold level. This award also contributes to the Thornden Baccalaureate Award. Each Ethics and Belief unit is teacher assessed based on the development of the skills indicated  above.

Additional Information

Ethics and Belief is taught by subject specialists. We teach using a range of teaching activities including, discussion, debating, group work and use of clips. As with all RS at Thornden, students are free to have and express their own points of view and are always expected to treat the views of others with respect.