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Religious Studies & Theology, Philosophy & Ethics (TPE)

The Department

Religious Studies and Theology, Philosophy & Ethics (TPE) are taught by Esther Youlten (Head of Department), Rev Hutchinson (who is also the school Chaplain), Jonty Leggett and Scott Addyman.  As a department we seek to equip pupils with the skills needed to face the modern world, whilst at the same time allowing them space to develop their own faith position.

Through our lessons and extra curricular activities we prepare them to take their place in the world as confident individuals, clear of their own views, respectful of the views of others, and able to form healthy and enriching relationships with a wide variety of people in a range of different contexts.

Career paths that lead naturally on from studying Religious Studies or TPE include law, diplomacy, business, medicine, teaching - almost anything that requires you to think clearly, analyse arguments and ideas, be consistent and intentional in the way you make decisions and to engage with a range of moral and spiritual issues.

Year 9 - Theology, Philosophy & Ethics

The aim that underlies all that we do in the Department is to teach pupils how to think, not what to think.  This begins in Year 9 where pupils are introduced to a range of philosophical and ethical questions and invited to approach them from different perspectives. Pupils are also introduced to some of the key teachings of Christianity and given an opportunity to look closely at the evidence. We want all of our pupils to realise that they each have a worldview so that they can hold it consciously and be open to examine it as they go through life making new discoveries all the time.

Throughout the Year 9 course we help our pupils to begin to ask big questions, listen to one another’s answers, be able to change their minds and in this way we prepare the ground for the exploration of the specific religious, philosophical and ethical questions that form the basis of both the GCSE and A Level courses.

GCSE - Years 10 and 11 - Theology, Philosophy & Ethics (OCR)

In the first year of study, pupils investigate the beliefs, teachings and practices of both Christianity and Islam. Pupils explore the differences within each religion and are encouraged to seek reasons for, and to evaluate, these inter-faith differences.  

The second part of the GCSE syllabus is called Religion, Philosophy & Ethics in the modern world (from a Christian perspective).  We tackle a broad range of contemporary moral issues, including investigating what we mean by ‘ethical modes of relationships’, gender issues and Christian understandings of equality. Pupils have the opportunity to study some key questions within Christian philosophy, investigating arguments for and against the existence of God and the nature of reality. This paves the way for study of the ethical issues of war and peace in both an historic and modern context.  Pupils also explore a number of challenges for religion, including secularism as a mode of thought and being.

Year 10 - Religious Studies General Course

All pupils in year 10 have the opportunity to spend one lesson per week engaging with questions of faith and religion. Pupils follow a varied and interactive programme of debates, discussions, presentations and research projects on the way that different religions and worldviews approach ethical and philosophical questions. The aim of this year is to encourage pupils to consider the role that faith plays in both public and private life and to reflect on their own faith position as it develops.

A level - Years 12 and 13 - Theology, Philosophy & Ethics (Edexcel)

In the A Level TPE course we aim to further develop the skills of creative and analytical thinking, research, constructing an argument and justifying a conclusion. These skills are applied to a wide range of philosophical and ethical issues.

In Philosophy students consider the foundations of modern philosophy, classical proofs for the existence of God, religious experience as a basis for belief, the problem of evil, the works of key scholars and whether or not it is possible to speak meaningfully about God.

In the Ethics course students explore some of the most influential approaches to morality and apply them to a range of contemporary topics such as the environment, war and peace, sexual and medical ethics.

In the New Testament paper, students consider the social, historical and religious context of the New Testament, the person of Jesus and ways of interpreting texts and scripture. This course gives students a wide range of critical skills that will stand them in good stead as they consider further education.

In all of these areas of study students are encouraged to engage creatively with the work of the thinkers on the syllabus and, as well as mastering the detail,  to think independently in the light of it. To this end classroom debate is a regular feature of our teaching and learning, with students expected to carry out research outside the classroom in preparation for debate and discussion.

The approach to TPE adopted at Monkton provides the ideal preparation for the style of learning that students will meet at university. In addition to this, it plays its part in enabling our students to become confident young men and women, able to respect the views of others, to disagree well, to be open to amend their own views and to stand up for their beliefs without the need for conformity.

Throughout the year all students have the opportunity to take part in Philosothon competitions (collaborative, creative thinking debates), trips, discussion events and to attend lectures from visiting speakers.

Next Steps…

To arrange a visit, or for any other enquiries regarding admissions at the Senior School, please contact our Head of Admissions, Mrs Carole Heritage on 01225 721 133

To arrange a visit, or any other enquiries at the Pre-Prep and Prep please contact our Deputy Heads of Admissions Nicky Davis or Katie Hiscott on 01225 831 238.

Give us a call:

Tel: +44 (0)1225 721 133

Or send us an email: for Senior School enquiries for Pre-Prep and Prep enquiries

Alternatively, to request a prospectus, please use our online form:

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