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Religious Studies

Religious Studies

The Religious Studies Department at FHS encourages pupils to adopt an enquiring approach to life through reflection upon theological, philosophical and ethical questions.

We want our students to develop an interest and enthusiasm for the study of religion. We hope that in doing so they will develop an attitude of respect and understanding for the beliefs and practices of all religions. FHS has an Anglican Foundation, and so great weight is placed on the Christian principles of inclusion and the expression of concern and care for all human beings.

Staff

StaffRole
Miss J FarthingHead of Department
Mrs S BexonRS teacher and Head of Lower Fourth

Curriculum

Third to Upper Fourth Forms

Students are introduced to the phenomenon of religion and religious belief and consider the reasons for religious belief. They have the opportunity to reflect upon their own responses to issues such as the existence of suffering and evil, the relationship between religion and science and the ethics of peace and justice; and consider the responses of major world religions to these issues. They make a systematic study of Christianity and are introduced to the basic tenets of Judaism, Islam and Buddhism. At the end of Upper Fourth students may opt to do GCSE Religious Studies.

GCSE

New GCSE from 2016 (Lower Fifth): The Department follows the AQA specification for Religious Studies, Philosophy and Ethics 

A systematic study of the beliefs and practices of Christianity and Islam take place throughout the course, examining concepts such as the nature of God, beliefs about the afterlife and the authority of religious figures and holy books. This provides the groundwork for the study of philosophy and ethics, where issues such as crime and punishment, abortion and euthanasia and the value of humans and the world are studied. It is an exciting course which allows big questions to be considered, and the importance of religion in the world to be valued. 

Legacy GCSE in the Upper Fifth: The Department follows the OCR specification in Philosophy and Applied Ethics.

Philosophy is studied from a Christian perspective and examines such questions as the nature of God and belief, good and evil, the relationship between religion and science, and death and the afterlife. Ethics examines such issues as human relationships, peace and justice, medical ethics, materialism, and equality and is considered from an Islamic perspective. In 2011-2012 100% of girls achieved an A or A* grade.

A level

New A-Level from 2016 (Lower Sixth): The Department follows the OCR specification for Religious Studies (Philosophy, Ethics and Developments in Religious Development)

Students are taught for three separate papers; Philosophy, Ethics and Developments in Religious Thought. The papers are all linked, and information, knowledge and skills are able to be transferred between them. This course offers an exciting variety of themes; examining ethical theories and their application to current issues in euthanasia and business ethics; arguments and challenges to support belief in God; and developments in theology such as feminist issues and religious pluralism. The course offers an insight into global issues in religion, and allows challenging questions to be examined. 

Legacy A-Level in the Upper Sixth: The Department follows the OCR Legacy specification in Philosophy and Ethics.

Students are introduced to ancient Greek and Judaeo-Christian influences on philosophy. Traditional arguments for the existence of God are examined, as well as challenges to religious belief. AS Ethics examines secular ethical theories such as Kantian Ethics and Utilitarianism, as well as religious perspectives on moral behaviour. Ethical

dilemmas posed by modern medical and technological advances as well as different approaches to war and peace are considered. The A2 course looks at the place of religious experience, the use of religious language, different views on life after death and the distinction between body and soul. Students learn about Virtue Ethics and the nature and role of conscience as well as environmental, business and sexual ethics. In 2011-2012 75% of girls achieved A grades and 100% achieved A-B grades.

Beyond the Classroom

The Amnesty Group and Philosophy Club are run by sixth form students and supervised by the department. Currently Help Fund is also run by a member of department, assisted by the Help Fund Committee.

Sixth Form students attend conferences at London venues at which renowned philosophers or ethicists speak.

Trips

  • November 2011, Freddie Knoller gave an emotional yet invigorating talk to a packed hall about surviving the infamous Auschwitz concentration camp in World War II. 
  • March 2012, the Lower Fourth went to the British Museum to see the Hajj: journey to the heart of Islamexhibition. This was an exciting opportunity for the girls to investigate this personal and monumental journey so integral to the Muslim faith and complement their study of Islam. 
  • October 2012, Sixth Form students attended a lecture delivered by the then Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr. Rowan Williams. The lecture focused on the theme ‘The person and the individual: human dignity, human relationships and human limits’. The girls were excited to be able to meet him after the lecture. 
  • November 2012, Lower Fifth and Sixth Form RS students attended a debate at Westminster Abbey as part of the Theos annual lecture series. They heard Professor Angie Hobbs and Professor John Milbank debate the concept of ‘Faith & Secularism: The Moral Resourcing of the Nation’.
  • November 2012, Upper Sixth Philosophy students attended a Philosophy conference held by Peter Vardy and Candle Conferences, and were able to listen to lectures and debates relevant to their A2 studies.
  • December 2012, Lower Sixth Ethics students attended a talk at our sister school in Sloane Square given by SPUC, on the various arguments concerning abortion. This was informative and complemented their study of medical ethics.
  • February 2013, Lower Sixth students attended a conference held by Peter and Charlotte Vardy, where lectures were given focused on their AS studies, and they were able to debate ethical issues with students from other schools.

The unexamined life is not worth living

Socrates

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