The Religious Studies and Philosophy Department has a specialist staff of four, and teaches throughout the school. Pupils begin by investigating the nature of religion and faith, and their importance for individuals and society; then they investigate the history, beliefs and practices of the main faiths represented in the school. There is a constant emphasis on asking and thinking about open-ended questions, which leads naturally on to an emphasis on the philosophy of religion, starting in year 9.
Religious Studies is offered as an optional subject at GCSE, where the course focuses on the Gospel of Mark and on Christian ethics; it is, however taken, like all our courses, by pupils of all faiths and of none. In the International Baccalaureate Diploma the Department offers the Philosophy course in Group 3. This course features an emphasis on critical and analytical thinking skills, and on 'doing' philosophy rather than just learning about it. Students take modules on what it is to be human, on Ethics and the Philosophy of Religion, and on Plato's 'Republic'. Both the numbers opting and the record of excellent results indicate that the Department is regarded by students as offering work that is both academically challenging and enjoyable.