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Philosophy and Ethics A Level at Fairfax School

Course description

Comedian, Ricky Gervais, martial artist and actor, Bruce Lee and model, Christy Turlington all have one thing in common – they all studied philosophy and/or theology. In this new A level you will combine studies of ancient and modern Buddhism with philosophy and ethics providing you with the basis for an understanding of not only the ideas that have influenced countless millions of people over the centuries but also the ability to create and analyse sophisticated arguments – an invaluable skill for both university study and in a career. This A level is perfectly suited to those studying or wishing to pursue Philosophy, Psychology, Law, English, Sociology or History degrees and the transferable skills developed throughout the course make it a unique preparation for the higher-order thinking required at degree level or in almost every profession.

Course content

Modern psychologists are beginning to understand the power of mindfulness and you will investigate the ways in which this is used by Buddhists and also the teachings of the Buddha that underpin this. You will consider and evaluate the method which Buddhism, without the need to refer to an all-powerful God, uses to help its followers to achieve satisfaction, contentment and happiness. Alongside a systematic study of Buddhism, you will also evaluate the classical arguments for the existence of God, the problem of evil and suffering, the reliability of religious and mystical experiences, questions of life after death and the psychology of religion. Add to this, a detailed analysis of ethical theories such as Situation Ethics, Utilitarianism, Deontology and Natural Law and their application to the real life issues of sexual ethics and medical ethics and you have a course that prepares you not only for the critical thinking required at university but also in life and work.

Entry requirements

The step up to the sixth form from Key Stage 4 provides an exciting challenge. It requires a successful academic record and a genuine interest and motivation in learning. We are proud of our reputation for being an inclusive sixth form with outstanding results. We work very hard with our prospective students to ensure they are enrolled in courses that are entirely appropriate to their abilities and interests.

Applicants will need to have at least a Grade 4 in English and Mathematics and an additional 3 GCSE grades A*-C

- There are also subject specific requirements which can be found in the Sixth Form prospectus. 
- Internal applicants who meet the minimum academic entrance requirements will be offered a place automatically (subject to individual subject requirements and availability of courses). 
- All successful applicants will be required to sign a sixth form code of conduct in recognition of the Academy’s expectations of sixth form students in terms of their behaviour, punctuality and attendance.

Fairfax students unlikely to meet these requirements should seek advice from their Head of Year, the school careers adviser or the Director of Sixth Form about possible options available to them.


Assessment is by final examination in Year 13, consisting of three papers, each of two hours in length. Each paper requires that two essay questions, split into two parts, are answered on themes selected from the specification.

How to apply

If you want to apply for this course, you will need to contact Fairfax School directly.

Last updated date: 25 August 2017
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