Firstly, I would like to say a huge thank you to everybody who has signed and shared the petition already. The response from the community has been fantastic. In just 24 hours, we have collected over 200 signatures. If you haven’t signed already, then please click here to show your support.
The petition has inevitably sparked some discussion amongst teaching professionals and this post will serve to highlight my own views in the light of these discussions. If you disagree with any points raised here, please refer only to point 1, as this is the sole function of the petition - all other views are my own.
1. The petition's sole purpose is to echo the voices of those interested in GCSE Philosophy.
There are a number of projects trying to get philosophy into schools, but our campaign is unique in that we are appealing directly to AQA. We believe students and teachers nationally want to study/teach philosophy - we are essentially streamlining the process by sending all responses to the exam board. The petition serves the sole function of echoing the voices of those who would like to see AQA develop a GCSE Philosophy specification.
2. GCSE Philosophy should not be seen as a threat to RE/RS.
The argument that GCSE Philosophy should not be developed in order to protect RE/RS is misplaced.
(2.1) Those who support GCSE Philosophy and/or sign the petition do not advocate teaching Philosophy instead of RS/RE.
(2.2) Philosophy and RE/RS are separate disciplines and schools should have the option to teach them separately. RE/RS cannot oppose the development of other humanities for the sake of its own future - RE/RS must promote itself through its own virtues.
3. In the light of recent reforms to RE/RS, RE/RS is becoming less philosophical and more religious in its content. Teachers and students really enjoyed the philosophy aspect of RE/RS. In fact, many departments rebranded themselves as ‘Philosophy’ or ‘Philosophy and Religious Studies’. With the forthcoming changes, this rebranding won’t hold. It will be false advertising to sell RS/RE as ‘philosophy’. The time has come where we must teach them as separate disciplines.
4. GCSE Philosophy does not threaten RE teachers jobs, it will save and create them. Equally, the unemployment of philosophers should also be prevented.
(4.1) Curriculum time in RE/RS is being marginalised nationally. GCSE Philosophy will not threaten jobs in RE/RS, but save and create them. Currently, philosophy graduates are qualified to teach RE/RS, and the same should hold conversely.
(4.2) In the wake of the EBacc, RE/RS curriculum hours are being cut. Although a tentative speculation, there is no reason why an academically challenging GCSE in Philosophy could not be included in the EBacc. Currently, philosophy graduates are qualified to teach RE/RS, and the same should hold conversely. Thus, GCSE Philosophy will not threaten jobs in RE/RS, but save and create them.
The views expressed above are entirely my own and by signing the petition you do not subscribe to any of the above views. The sole purpose of the petition is to echo the voices of those who want to see GCSE Philosophy offered to UK schools.
If you want to see GCSE Philosophy offered to UK schools, please sign the petition.
Click here to sign the petition.
‘GCSE Philosophy… it’s time.’