The aim of the department is to deepen the knowledge and understanding of a range of religions and worldviews, recognising their local, national and global context.
Lessons build on prior learning so that pupils appreciate religions and worldviews in systematic ways. Pupils should understand how beliefs influence the values that people hold, and their impact on wider current affairs. Pupils should be able to appraise the beliefs and practices they study with increasing discernment, interpretation and evaluation, developing their capacity to articulate well-reasoned positions.
From their very first lesson, Year 7 pupils are required to think for themselves. They learn creation stories, focussing on Christian and Muslim accounts, while considering religious and scientific responses. Pupils learn about famous leaders such as Jesus, Muhammad and Buddha, and their impact on faith and the world. In Year 8, moral dilemmas are explored, including whether war is ever just, or whether the death penalty should be allowed. This questioning approach continues as pupils study Buddhism and how these teachings can be applied in everyday life. Pupils finish Year 8 as detectives, building their own case on what happened to the body of Jesus. In Year 9, pupils explore animal rights, and consider ethical and environmental arguments on eating meat. They learn about the teachings of Islam such as the Five Pillars of Islam and the importance of Muhammad, through to different interpretations on religious clothing.
At GCSE, the course develops the skills of analysis and argument through a study of Christianity and Islam, as well as ethical issues such as peace and conflict, and crime and punishment. This is ideal preparation for the A level course that uses philosophical, ethical and theological approaches to explore some of the big questions of life, such as whether there is an objective morality or what we mean by having a human nature.
The transferable skills acquired during these courses help prepare each pupil for life beyond school. This department excels in developing students who can create rational arguments, can think for themselves, and are articulate and confident individuals.