We believe that the purpose of Religious Studies is to help students develop the skills required for life in a religiously and culturally diverse society and to provide them with the opportunity to reflect upon their own spiritual and philosophical beliefs, whilst remaining sensitive to the views and opinions of others.
In Key Stage 3, students are introduced to the origins and beliefs of the major religious traditions practised in the world today, with a focus on themes such as holy books, worship, festivals and identity. A study of the religious and ethical issues raised by the Holocaust gives Year 9 students the opportunity to consider challenging questions about human nature, the problem of suffering and the existence of God.
Many students choose to take GCSE Religious Studies as an option, following the Edexcel ‘Religion and Life’ and ‘Religion and Society’ specification. The course focuses on religious and moral issues such as divorce, abortion, genetic engineering and the role of women in religion. Topics are studied from the perspective of Christianity and either Buddhism, Hinduism, Islam or Judaism, according to the interests of individual students.
At A Level we offer Philosophy of Religion and Ethics as modules in the AQA Religious Studies specification. Philosophy of Religion considers the question of God’s existence, reasons why religion is in decline in the modern world and psychology of religion. Students also investigate the challenge of evil and suffering to belief in God and the age-old question of what, if anything, happens when we die. Ethics involves asking questions about right and wrong and how we ought to behave. Students learn about ethical decision making in the real world by focusing on abortion and euthanasia and they have the opportunity to research an ethical issue of their choice. At A2 students continue to study a range of ethical systems and they specialise in medical ethics.
The Religious Studies Department is keen to develop students’ learning outside the classroom. Our recent programme of visits has included a mandir, a church, a mosque, a synagogue, a gurdwara and a Buddhist Centre, along with residential visits to Rome, Amsterdam and Barcelona. The Department also offers RS Craft Club to pupils in Years 7 to 9, Middle School Philosophy Club, conveRSe, a religious and ethical current affairs discussion group for students in Year 10 and above and a series of RS Film Nights throughout the year.