“Judge a man by his questions rather than by his answers”. Voltaire
To think, in other words to direct thought actively, purposefully and creatively is perhaps the most fundamental, distinctive, and powerful dimension of the human condition. It is not without reason that Descartes concluded “I think, therefore I am”. To muse, to ponder, to reflect, to examine critically, to question – these things define what it is to be human; they characterise personhood. When we think we are engaging in the very thing that gives us being itself. The more we think, the more we are.
Nurturing and supporting thought is at the heart of what the Religion and Philosophy department of Queen Anne’s School seeks to do. The emphasis from the very first lesson is on enabling students to think carefully, logically and analytically. The starting point for this is the identification and posing of questions: the art of asking.
We have been asking religious and philosophical questions since the dawn of time. Every reflective thinker engages, whether knowingly or not, in debates which are as old as civilisation itself. The process of questioning begins long before formal schooling begins, and can continue long after it has finished. It is at school though that the process can be practised and honed.
Encouraging this process is a task shared in every aspect of School life; it cannot be confined to the work of a single department, nor to a set of academic goals. Nevertheless, the Department of Religion and Philosophy seeks to make a major and distinctive contribution to this process.
Religion and Philosophy is taught throughout the school from Year 7 through to the Sixth Form. Pupils are able to take GCSE Religious Studies (Philosophy and Applied Ethics through Christianity) and can also choose the subject at A level, when it becomes the study of Philosophy of Religion and Ethics.
From Year 7 to 9 pupils are given the opportunity to study six major world religions, and explore introductory courses on the Philosophy of Religion and Ethics. Pupils are enabled to acquire knowledge and understanding of major religions and faiths and reflect upon the impact of religious belief and practice on the lives of believers. From the outset, pupils are encouraged to explore the ethical, philosophical and spiritual questions raised by and through religion and develop skills of critical evaluation and reasoned analysis.
The department’s teaching is non-confessional and non-denominational. Teachers seek to ensure that what is said in classrooms does not presume nor seek to nurture any one faith position (including agnosticism or atheism). Teaching aims to stimulate serious engagement with fundamental questions and ensures a space in which both conviction and doubt can been explored. Most importantly apathy towards the subject matter is challenged. Within the classroom, the diversity of opinion about religious issues that exists within the school community is drawn out and celebrated.
Head of Religion and Philosophy: Mr Daniel Boyes
Religion and Philosophy: Mrs Stephanie Andrews
Religion and Philosophy: Ms Judith Katz
Religion and Philosophy: Mrs Rachel Rathbone
Religion and Philosophy: Dr Jonathan Beale
Extra Curricular Activities
Speakers from outside school visit to enhance the work of the curriculum.