Philosophy, Religion and Ethics

PRE Mission Statement

As a department, we feel it to be vital to develop students’ knowledge and understanding of the world around them.  We live in a culturally diverse society, and we see it as our duty to enlighten our students about the varying cultural and religious differences.  We also feel it to be imperative to allow our students to develop and form their own opinions of the world through critically engaging with the world around them and reflecting upon their own values and beliefs. 

Our curriculum

Philosophy, Religion & Ethics is taught through:

a)   PRE lessons at KS3 

b)  Optional GCSE and optional A Level.  Students at GCSE and A Level follow the OCR specification with a focus on Christianity and Islam at GCSE and Christianity at A Level.

c)   KS4 through a Core PRE programme.  Students at KS4 also take part in Holocaust Memorial Week.  In addition, the whole school curriculum includes assemblies on Christmas, Easter and Interfaith Week, regular special events such as remembrance services and the Holocaust Memorial Day assemblies and lecture.

Statutory Philosophy, Religion & Ethtics

Statutory PRE occurs through:

Year 7 & 8: Through weekly PRE lessons.

Year 9:

  1.  Optional GCSE PRE
  2. Lecture on Harry Bibring by Michael Bibring
  3. Form times: Spring 1 (human responsibilities & values), summer 2 (sources of wisdom)
  4. Creativity & culture curriculum: term 1 - one hour lecture featuring sources of wisdom and term 4 six hours ‘Responsibilities and Values, myself and others’.
  5. PRE drop down days: Spring 1 (The Holocaust), Summer 2 (Medical ethics)

Year 10:

  1.  Optional GCSE PRE
  2. Ethics & debate week
  3. Form times: Spring 1 (The Holocaust), Summer 2 (medical ethics)

Year 11:

  1. Optional GCSE PRE 

A Level:

  1.  Optional A Level PRE
  2. Sixth form lecture programme

Key Stage 4

In year 9, we study four topics  in the autumn and spring terms- a life for a life, sacred scriptures, the Holocaust and the minor world faiths. These topics give students the critical thinking skills that they will need to succeed at GCSE. We still want to develop the breadth of the curriculum at the start of year 9 so therefore we begin the full GCSE at the start of the summer term. We begin with Christian beliefs as it gives them the foundations they will need for paper 3 (Philosophy, Ethics & Religion)

In year 10,   they complete the Christianity paper, the Islam paper (paper 2) and in March they begin their Philosophy, Ethics & Christianity paper (paper 6).  We begin paper 6 half way through year 10 as the paper is not only more demanding in terms of higher order skills, but also students have to have a basic understanding of Christianity before they can delve into Philosophy & Ethics.

In year 11,   they will complete the last two units of the Philosophy Religion & Ethics paper (paper 6). They then begin their revision of all three exams from the middle of March.  This gives them the opportunity to review material from all three papers as well as to prepare for as many exam questions as possible.  By the end of year 11, students have a detailed grasp of Christianity, Islam and four philosophy & ethics topics which then give them the foundations for A Level (we also OCR at A Level)

Key Stage 5

Most (but not all) students who study A Level PRE have previously studied GCSE PRE with the same exam board.  The GCSE has given the students the foundations that they will then build on at A Level.

In year 12 students study for paper 1 (Philosophy) & paper 2 (Ethics).  Each paper is taught by a separate member of staff. By teaching Philosophy & Ethics in year 12, we engage the students early and their passion for the subject grows further.  This also ensures that we have just one paper (Developments in Christian Thought paper 3) to complete in year 13, therefore giving time for revision.   In addition, this allows them to understand the concepts which are developed by thinkers covered by the DCT paper.

By the end of year 12, students have a secure knowledge of Philosophy & Ethics, some of which they will use when completing paper 3 (Developments in Christian Thought). This exam is taught in year 13 as it involves the use of primary sources as well as higher order thinking skills. Students finish the delivery of the paper by mid March, which gives roughly eight weeks in lessons to revise material and plan for potential exam questions.

By the end of year 13, students have a secure knowledge of Philosophy, Ethics & Christianity, which many of them go on to use at the Undergraduate level. 

Exams & Assessment

Formal Assessment 

Outlined below is the department formal structure for monitoring students progress.  In addition to this, we employ a number of assessments for learning processes including retrieval and interleaving throughout the year.


Autumn 1

Autumn 2

Spring 1

Spring 2


Year 7

Behaviour and attitude marks only

End of term test.  


End of term test



Year 8

Behaviour and attitude marks only


End of unit test.  


End of unit test 

End of year exam 

Year 9

 Behaviour and attitude marks only

Sacred texts test


Minor world faiths project

End of year exam

Year 10 

Christian practices


Muslim beliefs


Muslim practices 


End of year exam 

Year 11 

Peace and justice


Peace and justice


Mock exam



Public exams 

Year 12 Philosophy




Mock exam

UCAS exams

Year 12 ethics

Normative ethics

Ethical theories


Mock exam

UCAS exams 

Year 13 

  • Insights· 
  • Foundations 
  •  Living  
  • Developments

Mock exams


Public exams 


Examination Board: OCR

A Level
Examination Board: OCR

Resources & Reading List

PRE Reading List 

A dedicated interfaith website gives information about our numerous faith societies at Watford Grammar School for Boys as well as how students an practice their own faith at school:

​Faith @ WBGS Website

Support for Year 12 Students

How should you be spending your free periods?


Enrichment & Extra-curricular

There are numerous religious and cultural societies in the school. These clubs include Jewish Society, Islamic Awareness Society, Sikh Society, Hindu Society and Christian Union. There is also a Philosophy Society run by sixth form students.

The department organises a number of annual trips as follows (from September 2022):

  • Year 7 visit to Watford Synagogue
  • Year 8 visit to Watford Gurdwara
  • Year 9 trip to the Imperial War Museum
  • Year 9 talk by Michael Bibring, son of Harry Bibring
  • Year 10 visit to Watford Mosque and St Mary’s Church
  • Year 10 in-class visits by local Imam and Vicar
  • Years 9 – 12 residential to Paris (bi annual)

PRE News