Philosophy and Theology

Philosophy and Theology


Philosophy and Theology at GCSE focusses on applied ethics, with disagreements about how to live and die put in the context of rival accounts of the value, meaning and origins of human beings and their world.

The major examination in the course concerns issues of criminal justice, killing in medical contexts, human equality, and the environment. We approach these controversies by applying philosophical reasoning and using perspectives from Christian and Islamic moral theology to provoke reflective analysis of our own attitudes.

The minor examinations involve a deeper study of Christian and Islamic theology, the two most influential traditions worldwide. Studying rival traditions in theology allows students to challenge their preconceptions about human nature and ultimate reality by considering perspectives held by just under half of humans right now.

The course develops skills in critical reasoning, written and oral argumentation and persuasion, and the analysis and interpretation of challenging primary texts. Students will also have a deeper opportunity to find good answers to the hardest questions they can ask and an opportunity to develop open-mindedness, patience in finding the truth, and awareness of our limits as knowers and thinkers. The specification is WJEC Eduqas GCSE Religious Studies.


Philosophy and Theology are very relevant for the world in which we live. Religion and beliefs inform our values and are reflected in what we say and how we behave. A study of religion provokes challenging questions about the ultimate meaning and purpose of life, beliefs about God, the self and the nature of reality, issues of right and wrong and what it means to be human.

Since Eltham College was founded as a school for the sons of missionaries, the Philosophy and Theology Department aims to embody something of that tradition; creating a thriving department where RS is taught as a rigorous academic discipline. The underlying philosophy of our approach is two-fold, firstly that every human being has a belief system of one kind or another, and secondly that we can draw on the resources and experiences of our students who come from a variety of faith communities and backgrounds.

Throughout the Senior School at Eltham College, Philosophy and Theology are taught in dedicated lessons by subject specialists. The principle of ‘spiral learning’ is in operation so that students are learning skills and being introduced to knowledge and concepts that will be developed throughout their studies at Eltham College.

The department aims:

  • To provide teaching of the highest quality to stimulate an enthusiasm for the study of religion.
  • Develop the religious literacy of students, which goes beyond merely factual understanding to include empathetic understanding of the multi-faceted phenomena that religion is.
  • Build upon the natural curiosity of students about ultimate questions and to help them be able to think constructively about such questions.

We do this by delivering lessons which are designed so that students learn in a variety of ways through group work, paired work or individual study as appropriate; building skills of reciprocity, resilience, resourcefulness and reflectiveness. We also encourage our students to ask questions and to reach their own informed conclusions.


Years 7 and 8

In Years 7 and 8, students have two lessons per week of Philosophy and Theology and one piece of homework will be set. Students will study a variety of topics including:

Year 7 Year 8
Religious Belief Philosophy
Religious Practice Ethics
Festivals and Celebrations Freedom and Conscience
Faith Influencing Lives

We provide students with a selection of digital resources and handouts.

Year 9

In Year 9, students have 2 lessons per week of Philosophy and Theology and 1 piece of homework will be set. Students will study a variety of topics including:

  • Good and Evil
  • Medical Ethics
  • Crime and Punishment
  • Human Rights

We provide students with a selection of digital resources and handouts.


Philosophy and Theology is an option subject at GCSE. Students follow the WJEC Eduqas GCSE ‘Route A’.

At GCSE, students have four lessons per week of Philosophy and Theology, and two pieces of homework will be set. Full details can be found in the specification, but topics include:

  • Christian Beliefs and Practices
  • Issues of Life and Death
  • Muslim Beliefs and Practices
  • Issues of Good and Evil
  • Issues of Relationships
  • Issues of Human Rights

The course is examined by three exams at the end of Year 11; (One 2-hour paper and two 1-hour papers).

Trips, Activities and Clubs

In addition to our teaching, there are a range of opportunities to support the development of Philosophy and Theology’s knowledge, including:

  • ECCE (Eltham College Christianity Explored)
  • Philosophy Society
  • Lunchtime drop-in exam surgeries
  • Miss E Haste BA (Head of Philosophy and Theology Studies)
  • Mr E Cavendish
  • Mr J Skipworth


School News

The latest leg of the Hans Woyda Mathematics Competition concluded on Wednesday with an impressive showcase of mathematical skills at St Dunstan’s College.
Last evening marked a significant milestone for the Eltham College Hans Woyda Team as they took the stage for their eagerly anticipated second league match of the academic year.
For our first ‘Meet The Teacher’ interview this academic year, we are diving into the world of mathematics to introduce André Astbury-Palmer, our new Maths Teacher at Eltham College.
Our Head of Junior School at Eltham College, Vikki Meier, shares her insights on the important decision of choosing the right school for your child.
On Sunday, our Chess team travelled to Eton to participate in the National Schools Rapid Play competition.