Welcome to the RE Department
We have two main aims in Religious Education. Our first aim is to learn about religions and beliefs, and our second aim is to learn from religions and beliefs.
Firstly, we encourage students to study a range of beliefs from a wide variety of cultures. This includes aspects of Christianity, Islam, Buddhism, Hinduism, Sikhism and various non-religious views. We then apply our knowledge of these beliefs to various ethical and philosophical problems, such as ‘should we treat others as we wish to be treated?’, ‘is non-violent protest the most effective way of resolving conflict?’ and ‘should we be able to design babies to be as we wish them to be?’. In doing this, we learn about what other people say about the big questions in life.
Secondly, and more importantly, we evaluate these beliefs. We consider the strengths and weaknesses of their arguments, and once we have applied the beliefs to the questions, we use them to discover what we ourselves think. We then learn how to justify and articulate our own views both verbally and in a written format. The key to being a good RE student is a willingness to take on board other people’s views and to examine them thoroughly before coming to one’s own conclusions.
Philosophy as a discrete subject is only taught at A Level. Students who take this subject have the opportunity to study life’s big questions from a variety of philosophical viewpoints.
Among the topics covered are Epistemology, which includes questions such as ‘what is knowledge?’ and ‘how do we know what we know?’ and Ethics, which includes questions such as ‘what is good?’ and ‘how should I behave?’. In addition, students are expected to be familiar with a selection of core texts from key philosophers such as ‘Beyond Good and Evil’ by Friedrich Nietzsche and ‘The Problems of Philosophy’ by Bertrand Russell. Other philosophers studied include Plato, Aristotle, Descartes, Kant and Hume.
Students are expected to examine a range of viewpoints in relation to a selection of questions, and then must evaluate the validity of their claims. They have to be able to write persuasively and clearly, and evidence of logical and systematic thinking is a key requirement. Debating and discussing is also a crucial part of this course, and students learn how to articulate their views with confidence and clarity.