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Philosophy (Key Stage 3)

"Is it better to give up your space in a lifeboat to save a mother and infant twins,
or stay put and push out an elderly man instead? Why?"

In our experience, school students love to tackle challenging questions, be they about current affairs, social issues or what it is to be a human. We are often delighted by the maturity and clarity with which our girls respond to form time discussions about broad ranging topics such as intervention in the Middle East, ecological concerns, the existence of God and whether schools should assess students through interpretative dance rather than written examinations!? To capitalise on these qualities Philosophy is taught at BHS in Years 7, 8 and 9 to further instigate deeper questioning and enquiry, and provide an opportunity to formulate rational arguments about abstract and intellectually stimulating topics.

The method adopted in the Year 7 introductory course is that of Philosophy for Children (www.p4c.com), using interactive storytelling and set structures for ‘thinker’s games’ to encourage philosophical enquiry, divergent thought and reasoning skills in a fun, accessible way. In Years 8 and 9 a more formal philosophy is taught often through Socratic dialogues based upon overarching topics including ethics, the origins of the universe and epistemology. The course also introduces students to key philosophers and endeavours to apply their approaches to contemporary issues.

One Philosophy class is timetabled for alternate weeks and whilst the course is largely discussion based, there will occasionally be reading and research homework. Our Resources Centre is well stocked with age appropriate philosophy texts to enable students to further their individual interests.

The Matrix of Knowledge: A History of Civilisation in 27.5 chapters 

The Matrix of Knowledge is a non-examined history of ideas course specially designed for Year 11 students at Blackheath High to challengeMatrix of knowledge them intellectually, extend their knowledge beyond the existing curriculum and draw attention to the interconnectedness of otherwise seemingly disparate subject disciplines. The absence of rigid syllabus and objectives - ultimately leading towards external examination - facilitates spontaneity, risk taking, breadth and limitless intellectual scope to really stretch the academically gifted. In addition to stimulating general interest and intellectual enquiry through the study of core cultural, scientific, political and philosophical ideas, the course is an excellent preparation for 6th Form studies and further prepares the most able for entrance to Oxbridge and Russell Group universities thereafter.

‘It is the pathway to expand your perspective of the world and the origins of our civilisation.’ Matrix Student

Please click on the downloadable documents below to learn more about our unique Matrix of Knowledge course.

Theory of Knowledge (TOK)

In Years 12 and 13 we offer Theory of Knowledge to our Sixth-Form students. Based upon the core and most distinctive component of the IB Diploma, this course encourages and develops the ability of students to question ‘knowledge’ and ‘truth’ by:

  •  reflecting critically on diverse ways of knowing and the methodological underpinnings of different areas of knowledge (science, religion, the arts etc.)
  • considering the role and nature of knowledge in their own culture, in the cultures of others and in the wider world

Click here for more information about this course.





Filename Size  
Matrix of Knowledge content 258 KB Download
Matrix of Knowledge HIGHlife Article Download
Theory of Knowledge 274 KB Download