Head of Department
E-mail: Mr B.P. HopcroftBA(Hons)
Mr Brett Hopcroft joined Cranleigh in September 2017 as Head of Religion and Philosophy. He is a tutor in North, and coaches rugby, hockey and cricket.
After seven years as a corporate lawyer in the City, Mr Hopcroft began his teaching career at Hurstpierpoint College, where he remained for three years before moving to Berkhamsted School. At Berkhamsted, he was a Deputy housemaster and Head of A-Level Philosophy. Mr Hopcroft graduated with a 2:1 (hons) BA in Theology from the University of Oxford in 2002, before later completing his GTP at the University of Sussex.
In today’s world it is vital that pupils have an opportunity to consider spiritual, philosophical and moral issues. They are encouraged to explore the fundamental questions of faith and life and to develop an understanding and appreciation of religious and cultural diversity.
In the Fourth Form, we study a range of religious and ethical beliefs. In the Michaelmas term we contrast western and eastern religions by exploring the key beliefs and practices of Islam and Buddhism. We then go onto introduce students to moral philosophy, studying different ethical theories. We ask questions such as ‘How do we make decisions?’, ‘How do we become better people?’ and ‘Why do people disagree about what is right and wrong?’ In the final term, we look at contemporary debates in religion and science, psychology and art.
Pupils can opt to study for Religious Studies GCSE in the Lower and Upper Fifth. In the GCSE pupils complete an in-depth study of Christianity and Islam and explore how these beliefs influence actions. Students will discuss and debate philosophical and ethical issues including medical ethics (abortion and euthanasia), crime and punishment, human rights, and war and peace. These issues will be studied from a Christian and Muslim perspective, alongside non-religious views. This is a great opportunity for pupils to further their study of religion and philosophy and engage with a range of contemporary ethical dilemmas. We will be following AQA’s Religious Studies A Specification. The GCSE is examined at the end of the Upper Fifth by 2 exams of 1 hour 45 minutes each.
Many people ask what taking Religion and Philosophy at A Level can lead to. Well, the reality is, just about anything. All the major universities consider the subject as a rigorous academic A Level that requires excellent analytical skills, ability to communicate ideas and an openness and willingness to discuss important issues.
A degree in Philosophy, Religious Studies or Theology will equip students for fast-track management training programmes with major companies as well as any number of employment opportunities including business, politics, accounting and finance, teaching and lecturing, social work, the armed forces, the police and medicine. The course suits anyone with an enquiring mind and openness about the world around them. There will be lots of opportunities to discuss and debate challenging issues.
Students will ideally have a GCSE in Religious Studies, either full or short course.
From September 2016 we will be studying for the OCR Religious Studies course.
There are 3 areas of study in the new A Level:
- Philosophy of Religion
- Key ancient philosophical ideas that have influenced our understanding of the world around us, including Plato and Aristotle.
- Arguments about the nature and existence of God.
- The nature of soul, body and mind.
- The problem of evil and suffering; if there is a God why is there so much evil and suffering?
- Religion and Ethics
- Key ethical theories that have influenced our understanding of right and wrong, including Natural Law, Situation Ethics, Kant and Utilitarianism.
- Highly relevant, contemporary ethical issues, including sex & sexuality, euthanasia and business.
- The nature of religious and ethical language: why do we use the language we do? Does it have any meaning?
- Religious Thought
- Key Christian beliefs, values and teachings and how these vary historically and in the contemporary world.
- Arguments about the nature and existence of life after death.
- Practices that shape and express religious identity and how these vary in different traditions.
- The relationship between religion and society, including issues such as feminism, liberation theology and extremism.
Each area will be assessed by a 2 hour exam at the end of the 2 year course.