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Philosophy, Ethics & Religion: A-level

Qualification: A-level

Exam Board: OCR

Entry Requirements: Grade 5 or above in GCSE English or a 5 in Religious Studies at GCSE.

Change the way you think forever

Philosophy is a long standing, popular subject at Silverdale with proven, high quality results. We have developed a very strong relationship with the internationally recognised Philosophy department at the University of Sheffield and, through their Philosophy in the City programme, we co-run a weekly seminar programme, helping students to consolidate their knowledge of the complex issues as they evolve.

In 2017 70% of students achieved A*, A or B grades. Our results are consistently high, resulting in an Alps 2 score last year and Alps 3 score this year.

We are keen for students to become part of shaping their own learning and welcome lesson ideas and revision strategies. We believe there must be an element of fun in lessons. In previous years this has included developing philosophical ‘mocktails’, lessons outside, raps, video making, model building, whole class pictograms and much more outside of the general classroom experience.


The course

The AQA Philosophy A-level course is new for teaching in September 2017 and has two exams at the end of Year 13. This is split into four modules taught over the two years:

Epistemology: the study of knowledge, exploring questions such as: how do we know what we know? What can we use to prove what we know? Can we trust our senses?

Metaphysics of God: the nature and characteristics of God including the Cosmological, Teleological and Ontological arguments for the existence of God. It also looks in depth at the problem of evil, the relationship of God to time and at religious language.

Moral philosophy: the meaning of good, bad, right and wrong. These are looked at through three different ethical theories: utilitarianism, Kantian deontological ethics and Aristotle’s virtue ethics. These ethical codes are then tested against real ethical examples: simulated killing, stealing, eating animals and telling lies. Then we assess how moral language is used alongside our reason, emotions, and society.

Metaphysics of mind: this studies what we mean by the mind. Is it distinct from the body? Does it have substance in itself? What is the relationship between the brain and the mind? And what are the different functions of the mind?


Beyond the classroom

Past activities have included:  

  • A trip to Keele University for an intensive revision course. 
  • Regular visits to the University of Sheffield, working closely with their very successful Philosophy course. 
  • A debating society, run by students where they compete with their selfchosen topics.
  • In the future we are planning to run a philosophy trip to Athens, Greece where philosophy began.



Former students have had a broad range of destinations. This year 25% of the cohort have secured places at Oxford. Students often have successful careers in law, the civil service, the charity sector and academia. One former student has gone on to be a world renowned expert on Aristotelian Virtue Ethics. There really is no limit to what career you can choose and often world leaders have a grounding in the study of Philosophy.