Our Religious Studies department encourages girls to reflect on human feelings, beliefs, and values, and provide the opportunity to consider ultimate life questions and the issues raised by such questions.
By pursuing a multi-faith academic approach in our syllabus, we are able to take account of the various faith backgrounds and beliefs of our students and encourage the community atmosphere which is such an important part of our school life.
Religious Studies allows girls the opportunity to discuss their ideas about some of the most challenging and exciting issues of our time, such as whether there is a satisfactory explanation for existence of evil and whether there is the possibility of life after death.
In Year 7, girls are introduced to Religious Studies through an exploration of the unique nature of our lives, symbolism, Christmas, Judaism, and Islam.
Year 8 pupils further develop their understanding of religion through studying beliefs and ideas about the nature of God, the life and teachings of Jesus, and Hinduism.
In Year 9, girls consider topics such as the Buddhist way of life and human rights. This year pupils are also introduced to the philosophy of religion through a critical discussion of the arguments for the existence of God and the nature of suffering.
At GCSE, girls follow the AQA Syllabus A in Religious Studies, building on the ideas, skills and understanding developed throughout the Lower School.
The course is open to students of all faiths or none, since the curriculum covers many issues and ultimate questions relevant to everybody. By engaging with these ideas, girls are able to mature in their own views and learn to respect the views of others.
It also teaches excellent study skills and encourages opportunity to think through these everyday issues which frequently confront us in 21st Century life.
In Year 10, girls study the beliefs and practices of Christianity and Islam. Year 11 students study four ethical themes from a religious perspective. In addition, all students in Year 10 and 11 undertake a general Religious Studies course on moral and philosophical issues.
At A-Level, the department follows the OCR syllabus in Religious Studies. The specification is an intellectually demanding and academic course and compliments both Science and Arts based Advanced subject choices.
The course accommodates the needs of students who have not completed a GCSE in Religious Studies, whilst allowing others the opportunity to build upon the knowledge, understanding and skills already gained in the GCSE Religious Studies course.
It comprises three papers which are studied in both the Lower and Upper Sixth.
Each examination paper is two hours and requires pupils to answer three essay questions from a choice of four. Each essay question is marked out of 40.
- Paper 1: Philosophy of Religion – topics include arguments about the existence or non-existence of God, the nature and impact of religious experience and the challenge for religious belief of the problem of evil.
- Paper 2: Religion and ethics – topics include normative ethical theories, the application of ethical theory to euthanasia and business ethics and the influence of ethical and religious thought on sexual ethics.
- Paper 3: Developments in Religious thought – topics include beliefs about death and the after-life, Christian moral principles and action, gender and society and the challenge of secularism.
A range of extension and enrichment activities are offered to help students develop their analytical skills, while the department has an extensive library of books and articles for wider reading. There is also the opportunity to attend various philosophical and ethical conferences relating to the specification.