Religious Studies

It is impossible to understand the present age without an appreciation of what faith means. Religion and philosophy help us to understand ourselves and provide meaning.

Head of Department: Mr Matthew Hall

Religion is all too often misunderstood, and divisions can ensue. In the Religious Studies Department, we equip girls with a thorough and sound understanding of religion, philosophy, ethics and theology, and provide the philosophical tools to enable them to comprehend their world and this age.

Lower School curriculum

From Remove (Year 7) to Upper Fourth (Year 9), we provide a foundation for later study, and examine five of the main religions, Judaism, Hinduism, Christianity, Islam and Buddhism. In Remove, we take a broad approach to these religions, examining their key beliefs through the stories of those religions. In the Lower Fourth and Upper Fourth, the girls are given a thorough and profound education in these five religions. There are trips each year to a Synagogue, a Mandir and a Church.

Upper School curriculum

In the Lower Fifth (Year 10) and Upper Fifth (Year 11), the girls have a choice, to take either the General Religious Studies course, or the GCSE in Religious Studies. Both pathways place an emphasis on philosophical and ethical themes, with the GCSE examining these through Christianity and Buddhism. Examples of key themes here are topics such as God’s existence, Life after Death, Genetic Engineering, Euthanasia and Revelation, amongst many others. The girls find the courses stimulating, and fertile ground for further intellectual inquiry.

Sixth Form curriculum

For A Level, we offer the OCR Religious Studies syllabus which is intended to allow candidates to think rigorously about the fundamental questions of truth and human understanding. The syllabus offers an exciting and wide-ranging study of topics, from Ancient Greek Philosophy to Life after Death. Philosophy, Ethics and Theology also bring in many interesting contemporary debates.

Religious Studies is excellent preparation for university study, not only for those girls who go on to study related subjects at university, but indeed any course they pursue. A significant number pursue Philosophy and Theology courses at University, some at Oxford and Cambridge.

Full details of the curriculum are available in the GCSE subject booklet and Sixth Form options booklet. Further information about the teaching and learning of Religious Studies may be obtained by contacting the Head of Department, Mr Matthew Hall; Email: hallm@downehouse.net

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