Philosophy Curriculum Intent - Key Stage 5
The Philosophy department at Aston intend to provide excellent pedagogical practice to heighten the engagement all students to reach their full potential. We are striving to develop passionate and independent learners who are well prepared for the next steps in their lives whether it be higher education or the working world. Students will have the opportunity to engage with a variety of philosophical questions, religious arguments and moral dilemmas. Our A level lessons will challenge students to think deeply and independently and allow students to question, evaluate and debate a range of intriguing topics which enable them to explore key philosophical concepts and methods. In addition to academic study, philosophy lessons will also allow our students to develop personally through providing them with opportunity to develop reasoned opinions on the issues explored.
We have chosen to offer AQA Philosophy to our students because the course offers a deep and interesting blend of subject matter comprised of four topic areas: Epistemology, Moral philosophy, the Metaphysics of God and the Metaphysics of mind. These topics allow for students to develop their knowledge and understanding across a wide range of areas of philosophical thought, thus allowing students to engage in a more broad and balanced curriculum. Philosophy is a highly respected discipline and a qualification sought after by many universities/ employers. Philosophy is an academically rigorous subject because it includes the skills of: critical analysis, problem solving, and the development of reasoned judgements. Philosophy leads to multiple options in both further study and employment, as it requires critical thinking and independent research skills.
The curriculum is planned to give students a thorough grounding in the key concepts and methods of philosophy. Students will learn to be clear and precise in their thinking and writing. They will engage with complex texts, analysing and evaluating the arguments of others and constructing and defending their own arguments. Throughout the course students will develop an ongoing knowledge of philosophical terminology. It is our intention that students will become confident in embedding and using this academic vocabulary in discussion and extended writing.
Assessment in Philosophy will be used to support pupil’s progress and will subsequently inform future teaching and learning. There will be many opportunities for students to engage in regular exam practice. Exam practice will happen both inside and outside of lesson. Students will be expected to use personal study time to practice exam skills. Student knowledge will also be checked within lesson using a range of strategies e.g. targeted questioning, knowledge tests and plenaries. Formal assessments and milestone tasks will be used to assess progress. Formal assessments will be designed as a summative assessment of the topics students have studied in class and match the same rigour of the external examinations. Following any formal assessment students will be provided with clear next steps of improvement from their class teacher and time will be embedded into lessons for students to reflect upon and improve their work. Students will also be provided with opportunities to peer and self assess.
Philosophy by nature involves a lot of reading and critical analysis of texts and thus supports students’ literacy. We aim for students to be challenged by texts and to develop the skills of reading for information. There will be a strong focus of students being able to read lenghthy, complex texts and make notes. Students will be encouraged to ‘read around the subject’ to help students understand the importance of reading deeper to develop more knowledge and understanding of a topic. Resources such as key term glossaries and guided study questions will be given to students to support this. Our vision is that over time students are to become more confident in self-study which will in turn equip them with the skills for their future. In addition to reading and writing we value the use of oracy in the classroom. Discussions in the classroom will be regularly embedded into lessons so that students can become more articulate in expressing their ideas .
In order to develop students’ ability to transfer learning from KS4 to A level a series of introductory lessons will be delivered. Students will need to be guided upon how the expectations differ from GCSE. Lessons will be planned in a structured way so that topics flow in order of the course, allowing students to be able to make links between prior and future learning. Knowledge retention of students throughout the two year course is essential. In order to achieve this a range of strategies including metacognitive and cognitive strategies will be used to allow students to continually revisit previous learning for example; mini exam questions, regular quizzes and plenaries to assess understanding.
We believe that in order for our students to achieve their best in Philosophy, schemes of work must be engaging, incorporating a range of teaching and learning styles. Lessons in Philosophy will be differentiated, allowing all, regardless of ability to access the curriculum, while stretching and challenging the most able. Teachers of Philosophy will have high expectations of all students and have the routine expectation that students will show resilience in each and every lesson. There will be clear learning objectives which will demonstrate progression both within lessons and across schemes of work. Students will be set regular ELT tasks that build upon learning. In Philosophy we will adopt a reflective approach to the continuing professional development of RPE teachers E.G. an open classroom policy, collaborative planning, and a teaching and learning focus to all faculty CPD.
Philosophy Learning Plans
Please click the links below to view our Philiosophy learning plans.
Key Stage 5
Philosophy Learning Expectations
Please click the links below to view our Philosophy learning expectations.
These documents show the progress we expect students to make by the end of each term.