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.
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 Epistemology, Philosophy of Religion, Ethics and Philosophy of Mind.
From Year 7 to 9 students are given the opportunity to study six major world religions, and explore introductory courses on the Philosophy of Religion and Ethics. Students 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, students are encouraged to explore the ethical, philosophical and spiritual questions raised by and through religion and develop skills of critical evaluation and reasoned analysis.
We run trips to local places of worship and to Rome and Pompeii, in conjunction with other departments. In keeping with the Christian ethos at Queen Anne’s, the work of the Religion and Philosophy department is enlivened by regular Chapel services. Attention to readings, both secular and scriptural, access to a wide array of beliefs and values through different voices of the community, and learning about different perspectives on what is morally and spiritually significant, provide an excellent foundation for learning in the classroom.
Students have a plethora of opportunities throughout the academic year to take part in internal and external Model United Nations (MUN) events, and debating and public speaking opportunities.
Lower School Curriculum
To teach students how to think philosophically and theologically
To teach students how to engage in critical discussion fluently
To teach students how to engage better in ethical decision-making
To develop students’ knowledge of the history, traditions, practices and scripture of four major world religions: Christianity, Judaism, Islam and Buddhism
The L4 Religion and Philosophy curriculum introduces students to several important areas of religious studies.
The syllabus includes:
The foundations of religion and the concept of the Judeo-Christian God
Jesus' life, teachings and divine actions ascribed to him, such as miracles
A study of Christian worship and practices, including festivals such as Christmas and Easter
A study of Judaism, its history, Passover and celebrations
The Religion and Philosophy curriculum for the 4s explores world religions and secularism, studying areas of religious studies such as:
Islam: its history, culture and festivals
Buddhism: its history and philosophy
The nature of belief through studying people of faith, including Martin Luther King, Oscar Romero, Nelson Mandela and Mother Teresa
Over the final two weeks of the Lent Term in 4s, students complete independent project-based learning via projects they complete by choosing from a set of questions assigned by the department. This develops their skills in research, independent learning and critical evaluation.
The U4 Religion and Philosophy curriculum aims to introduce students to a deeper understanding of philosophy and theology to embed the skills needed for GCSE and A level study.
The course covers:
The ontological, teleological and cosmological arguments for God’s existence
The debate between science and religion, including Darwinism and the theory of evolution
The problem of evil
Issues in medical ethics, including abortion and euthanasia
An introduction to Judaic Theology in preparation for GCSE studies
Middle School Curriculum
AQA GCSE 8062NA
GCSE Religious Studies enables students to gain knowledge and understanding of theological and philosophical ideas using philosophical analysis. It focuses on two religions, Christianity and Judaism as well as ethical themes in the wider world, approaching such themes both from the standpoint of each religion and from a non-religious viewpoint.
The GCSE enables students to consider historical, traditional and contemporary viewpoints on various ethical issues and provides a good foundation for A Level religious studies. Students taking A Level religious studies will normally have taken the GCSE but in some exceptional cases we will consider students for the A Level course who have not taken the GCSE.
Digital learning is used extensively throughout the course, particularly through the use of OneNote. Students experience teaching methods including work emphasising dialogical learning, debating, collaborative group work, presentations, discussion and argumentation, and exercises designed to hone students’ critical thinking skills.
The GCSE specifications in Religious Studies requires students to demonstrate knowledge of two religions and philosophical and ethical concepts in the modern world and to be able to demonstrate understanding of key sources of wisdom and authority which support contemporary religious faith and its influence on individuals, communities and societies.
The course has two components:
Component 1: Christianity Beliefs
Nature of God
The problem of evil and suffering
The life of Jesus
Christian practice and action
The nature of God
Sanctity of life
Judaic practice and ritual
Component 2: Philosophy and Ethical Themes
Religion and life
Religion, crime and punishment
The existence of God and revelation
Sixth Form Curriculum
A Level Religious and Philosophy is designed to enable learners to develop their interest in, and enthusiasm for, a study of religion and its place in the wider world. The WJEC Eduqas A Level specification contains three components which include a wide range of topics for consideration. In addition to an in-depth and broad study of Christianity, the course also includes a study of areas of philosophy, such as the philosophy of religion and ethics. Within the philosophical sides of the course, the A Level aims to provide students with a grounding in the activity of philosophising: the activity, that is, of seeking a reflective understanding of ourselves and of the world we inhabit.
Religious and Philosophy offers a fascinating and intellectually challenging A level. The course is critically engaging and academically rigorous, involving a study of theological and philosophical theories and perspectives which underpin and structure our world today.
The WJEC Eduqas A Level encourages learners to:
develop their interest in a rigorous study of religion and belief and relate it to the wider world;
develop an understanding and appreciation of religious thought and its contribution to individuals, communities and societies;
adopt an enquiring, critical and reflective approach to the study of religion;
reflect on and develop their own values, opinions and attitudes in the light of their study.
The WJEC Eduqas A Level specification contains three components including an in-depth and broad study of one of the six major world religions, which for this course is Christianity. The course involves a rigorous study of areas of the philosophy of religion and ethics.
Component 1: A Study of Christianity
Written examination: 2 hours (33⅓% - 100 marks)
Students undertake an in-depth and broad study of Chritianity, covering themes ranging from religious figures and sacred texts to practices that shape religious identity.
Component 2: Philosophy of Religion
Written examination: 2 hours (33⅓% - 100 marks)
Students undertake an in-depth and broad study of fundamental philosophical themes, ranging from arguments for the existence of God to the use of religious language.
Component 3: Religion and Ethics
Written examination: 2 hours (33⅓% - 100 marks)
Students undertake an in-depth study of fundamental philosophical themes, ranging from arguments for the existence of God to the use of religious language.
Other Subject Combinations
Due to the methodological skills learnt in this course and the wide reach of the concepts explored, this A Level complements a wide range of other subjects. It is particularly compatible with psychology, politics, classics, history and English. The development of reasoning skills through the philosophical components of the course also complement the study of physics, mathematics and economics’.
Potential Degree Courses and Career Choices
Studying Religious and Philosophy is excellent preparation for a wide range of degrees and careers. According to the Association of Graduate Careers Advisory Service, graduates of religious studies go into many different careers and their degrees are highly valued by employers.
Employers feel that it particularly prepares students for the following careers: law, politics, the civil service, public relations, journalism, counselling, marketing, research & innovation, academia & education, and diplomacy.