Religious Studies and Philosophy
“The unexamined life is not worth living.”
We have put together an exciting programme of study that we believe gives girls a more nuanced understanding of the beliefs and ideas across the world, as well as the ability to evaluate critically these ideas for themselves. From Plato’s Cave to the Pillars of Islam, from the Buddhist Noble Eightfold path to Social Contract Theory, from Hindu views of reincarnation to Descartes’ dualism, girls will be given the opportunity to encounter some of the most important ideas that have influenced the way we think and live.
All LC1s have one lesson per week dedicated to Philosophical Enquiry. These sessions are designed to introduce students to new and alternative methods of approaching learning. The lessons will be enquiry-based, meaning they are centred around a question or questions students consider themselves about a particular area of stimulus. This will aid students in their development of skills such as questioning, listening, analysing and evaluating. It will also give students the chance to improve their confidence and ability in public speaking. Philosophical Enquiry, therefore, aims to have an impact across the whole syllabus as it enables students to think more carefully about how they tackle the learning of new ideas and information.
All girls in UC4 take a course entitled Ethics, Philosophy and Culture which is a skills-based course providing them with invaluable insight into key current affairs and issues such as crime and punishment and the role of women in Islam. The department's eight members of staff are subject specialists who make sure that girls have the opportunity to look in depth at what is happening in the news at the time.
Co-curricular activities include the Philosophy Café, Philosophy Society, and Essay competitions. We also host a range of trips and events. Girls visit mosques, churches, synagogues, cathedrals, a Buddhist hermitage and museums. Expert speakers frequently visit College to ensure girls benefit from an even wider range of influences.
In LC1 and LC2 girls engage in a linear study of the comparisons between Christianity, Islam and Judaism. The girls investigate the history, beliefs, practices and contemporary issues surrounding these three faiths. In LC3, the girls look at a comparison of the philosophical aspects of Christianity and Hinduism.
Girls can elect to study the AQA GCSE Religion, Philosophy and Ethics, which encompasses a study of Christianity and Buddhism, alongside a study of ethics, drawing together religious and non-religious ideas about issues such as Human Rights, war and peace, gender and homosexuality, abortion, euthanasia, and wealth and poverty.
In UC4, all girls complete a non-examined course known as Ethics, Philosophy and Culture, which looks at contemporary news stories and issues, such as crime, punishment, terrorism and technology.
Girls can opt to study IB Philosophy or OCR A Level Religion, Philosophy and Ethics. The IB includes study of the question ‘What is a Human Being?’; Plato’s ‘Republic’; moral philosophy and religious philosophy. The A Level includes a study of historical and contemporary Christianity, philosophy of religion and ethics.
Head of Religious Studies and Philosophy: Mrs Jessica Roberts MA MA PGDip
Mr Ben Forward-Davies BA
Mrs Vicky Hobbs BA
Mrs Victoria Porter MA
Ms Anna Saunders BA
Dr Victoria Sherwood MA