Theology, Philosophy & Ethics

Fourth form - Year 9

The Religious Studies course in the Fourth Form consists of five principal units of work.

Introducing Religious Studies

This includes an exploration of:

  • Prehistoric life and the origins of religion
  • Who built Stonehenge, and why
  • Death, burial customs and beliefs in an afterlife in Ancient Egypt and Assyria; China (including the Yellow Emperor); Christianity, Islam and Judaism; Hinduism
  • Native American 'Indians'; ecology and religion

Understanding Islam

Storytelling and religions; introducing religious writing, which includes a detailed examination of the oldest story in the world, The Epic of Gilgamesh.

Introducing Philosophy

Considers questions such as:
What is truth?

  • How do we prove things?
  • Can artists or religions tell us the truth?
  • IGCSE - Remove and Fifth Form (Years 10 - 11)
  • Religion, Philosophy and Ethics 

IGCSE - Remove and Fifth Form (Years 10 - 11)

Theology, Philosophy and Ethics

Edexcel RS IGCSE (4RS0/01)

In this course we investigate fundamental philosophical, ethical, and religious questions. In Part 1 of the course we ask, for example, how we should understand the meaning and purpose of our lives, what arguments are there for and against a God, why is there suffering and evil if there is a God, and whether we really do have free will, and, if not, whether that means we can be held morally responsible. In addressing these questions we explore non-religious responses as well as religious ones. In Part 2 we address the key aspects of Christianity asking what types of authority there are, the life of Jesus and the extent to which he should be a role model, how Christians should be expected to live their lives, and also aspects of worship. 

Emphasis is placed on the development of a variety of skills, including analysis, evaluation of evidence and objective presentation of different viewpoints, as well as a capacity for coherent and informed thought about these issues which do so much to mould contemporary society. 

Part 1 comprises 62% of the course and Part 2 38%.

CAMBRIDGE PRE-U - Specialists (Sixth Form)

Theology, Philosophy and Ethics – Full Course

Cambridge Pre-U (9774)


It is not necessary to have studied Religious Studies before at GCSE. This subject will appeal particularly to pupils who have an interest in conceptual thought, a capacity for analytical thinking, and like arguing a case. It will be of benefit to be able to write clearly and fluently.

Outline of the course 

The course is made up of three papers: an introduction to Philosophy and Theology, Ethics, and historical study of The Four Gospels. 

The introductory topic address a range of key areas in Philosophy including Plato’s theory of the forms and Aristotle’s rejection of this idea and the debates surrounding rationalism and empiricism. With regards to Ethics we ask whether we can actually have free will and the implications this has for moral responsibility.  We then consider how our conscience is formed, whether it is a product of our reason, arising out of our subconscious or from God.  Finally we look at the nature of belief learning about, for example, the contrast between strong rationalism and fideism.   

For the Ethics topic, the theories of some of the great philosophers, such as Plato, Aristotle, Kant, Mill and Aquinas are examined to address the question of how we should decide whether an action is morally right or wrong. In so doing, we pay particular attention to Mill’s Utilitarianism and Sartre’s Existentialism and Humanism.  Following this, a range of issues in Medical Ethics are discussed, including war and peace, euthanasia, abortion and genetic engineering. Should there be limits to what scientists, doctors and politicians are allowed to do, or can we do anything we like with our technology? Finally, we ask what our ethical responsibilities are in the environment and what ethical principles should hold in business.   

In the New Testament topic we seek to apply historical tools to the four gospels in order to explore the historicity of the material as well as the theological purpose of the different authors.  We are asking, Who was Jesus and how did the writers of the Gospels understand the story they tell about him differently?  In so doing, we address the question of what Jesus’ message was, looking at the idea of the kingdom of God in the parables as well as his apocalyptic teaching.  We enquire as to how we should interpret the accounts of Jesus’ miracles and why and how Jesus came into conflict with the secular and religious authorities.  Finally we look at the events leading up to his death asking what can we know about why Jesus was killed and how the Gospel writers understand the meaning of Jesus’ death and resurrection. 

Combinations with other subjects

Theology, Philosophy and Ethics has been successfully combined with almost all other subjects; scientists as well as artists have studied Theology, Philosophy and Ethics with pleasure and success. Many pupils take other essay-based subjects (such as History, Government and Politics or Languages) but Physicists and Mathematicians have also enjoyed the contrast that Theology, Philosophy and Ethics offers to their scientific work.

University courses and careers

This subject is a particularly relevant preparation for studying Philosophy, Theology and Religious Studies at University, but the wide range of skills and concepts involved in this flexible subject make it an effective preparation for all humanities and many of the social sciences. Past pupils have studied a wide range of courses at university and pursued a variety of careers such as the Law, Management Consultancy, Business and Research.

Full details of the curriculum are available in the Under School (Years 9-11) Curriculum and Sixth Form Curriculum sections.


Mr Mark Begbie, MA - Head of Department 

Mr Begbie came to Charterhouse from King’s College, Cambridge where he gained a degree in Theology whilst also being a choral scholar in the world famous choir. During his degree, he focussed particularly on church history, patristics and early Christian theology. His dissertation work included a theological study of the sermons of the Elizabethan Archbishop of York, Edwin Sandys and a separate enquiry into the theological controversies of early church councils in Nicaea and Constantinople. In the department at Charterhouse, Mr Begbie has led trips to Israel and Palestine (2012), as well as Turkey (2013) and Jordan and Jerusalem (2017). Aside from this, he is a keen runner in the cross country squad, as well as a conductor of the Burczyk Singers and he also maintains a semi-professional singing career with solo engagements in concerts across the UK and with choirs around the world. Alongside his departmental commitments, Mr Begbie is also Director of Creative Arts, a role which has involved conceiving and organising Artifex, Charterhouse’s arts festival. 

Mr Edward Hadley, BA 

Mr Hadley read Theology at Mansfield College Oxford and, prior to becoming a schoolmaster, worked for an economics analysis firm. He came originally for a term at Charterhouse, then had a brief stint at Stowe School, before finding the opportunity to return to Charterhouse too much to resist.  His interests centre on meta-ethics and, more generally, Islamic culture.  He also heads the cross-country squad and believes there is a strong correlation between the best pupils in the school and those who run. He also enjoys cycling participating in the amateur version of Paris-Roubaix as well as riding the Raid Pyrenéen.

The Revd Clive Case, BA MTh

The Revd Case went to the University of St Andrews where he read Theology and won the Samuel Rutherford Prize for honours Theology. He then took a PGCE at the University of Durham before embarking on his first job as teacher of Religious Studies at Lytham St Annes High School. After four years he moved to Truro School to lead the Religious Studies Department during which time he embarked upon ordination training. In moving to Epsom College, The Revd Case took on the position of Head of Theology and Philosophy and Assistant Chaplain; in his time there he was ordained priest. After five years at Epsom, he moved to St John’s School, Leatherhead to take up the post of Head of Divinity and School Chaplain and, in 2014 moved to Charterhouse as Senior Chaplain and teacher of Theology, Philosophy and Ethics. He runs the service aspect of the Specialists’ Creativity, Action and Service (CAS) programme and helps with cross-country running and athletics in the School. 

The Revd Adam Watkinson, MA

The Revd Watkinson is a Lancastrian who graduated in Theology from Keble College, Oxford and worked in both the independent and maintained sectors as a Religious Studies teacher before becoming ordained and subsequently Chaplain of Liverpool College and then of Repton School. A priest in the catholic tradition, his interest is in Ethics and the Philosophy of Religion. When not practising 'the trade' he can be found walking the Cumbrian hills or getting his teeth into a political biography or spy thriller. Arriving at Charterhouse in September he confesses to still having to pinch himself to believe his luck at becoming a member of Brooke Hall.

Mr Paul Martin, BSc, MA

Mr Martin joined Charterhouse in 2019 after two and a half years at Latymer Upper School where he taught Philosophy & Religion as well as running their Wellbeing programme. Prior to that, Mr Martin worked at Uppingham School where he became Head of Philosophy & Religious Studies having also been a Deputy Housemaster, Head of Tennis and the Higher Education Officer. He was educated at Prior Park College before spending a year in the Army with the Royal Logistics Corps on a Gap Year Commission and then gained a BSc in International Transport from Cardiff University. He subsequently worked as a recruitment consultant in London and Tokyo for several years before studying for an MA in Theology and Religious Studies (Bangor). Mr Martin is an avid rugby enthusiast, a broken hockey player and a devoted skier. As well as teaching TPE, he is also Housemaster of Pageites.

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