Religious Studies

The aim of the Religious Studies department is to provide an academic and rigorous way of understanding the beliefs, values and traditions of the principal world faiths and major philosophical world views.

Curriculum
Inside the classroom
Extension and Support
Beyond the classroom

The First and Second Years study the six main faiths represented in the United Kingdom, with an academic and objective focus on faith within our local communities. We study the Abrahamic religions of Judaism, Christianity and Islam in the First Year, during which we will visit Winchester Cathedral where the exploration of Christianity is combined with some ice skating and a visit to the Christmas market. The Second Year examines the Indian religions of Hinduism, Buddhism and Sikhism and our trip to the BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir is usually timed to fit in with Diwali celebrations. In the Third Year, the pupils develop the skills of reflection, critical thinking, analysis and evaluation through written and oral communication as they grapple with ethical debates concerning crime and punishment, genetic engineering and the relationship between religion and science. The department fosters a pupil-centred approach to learning that enhances religious literacy, moral integrity, social awareness and cultural development.

GCSE and A Level Religious Studies are both popular choices at St George’s. The GCSE course focuses on Christianity and Buddhism with the girls working hard to relate religious teachings to ethical thematic studies. For instance, we examine ethical debates surrounding medical ethics, war and social justice. During the course the girls have the opportunity to consider the ultimate questions in life, and develop the necessary language and literacy for dealing with religious enquiry and experience.

Pupil debates and discussions bring our A Level classrooms to life as we study the philosophy of religion, ethics and developments in Christian thought specifications. At A Level, the girls continue to develop skills of reflection, critical thinking, analysis and evaluation through written and oral communication.

Here in the Religious Studies department, our main priority is to build strong relationships with our pupils and thus put ourselves in the best position to support their learning. We are responsive to the specific learning needs of the pupils. Our teaching methods are often creative with activities ranging from playing Hindu god top trumps to evaluating Boethius' Consolation of Philosophy. Our pupils' learning is also enhanced \as we discuss contemporary issues giving the girls' education both context and a real world application.

We hold a Religious Studies clinic after school and teachers are always on hand to offer additional support where necessary. We are delighted that a number of pupils have been successful in securing places to take the subject forward at Oxbridge and Russell Group universities. Pupils are also encouraged to engage with the subject beyond the classroom and a number have entered competitions, such as the St Andrew's University LOGOS essay writing competition, with great success.

Our departmental trips include visits to Winchester Cathedral, the Neasden Shri Swaminaryan Hindu Mandir, and a Buddhist centre in Reading and A Level conferences in London. We also run a Philosophy and an Amnesty International club to encourage the pupils to take their thinking about the subject outside of the classroom.