Religious studies & philosophy

Birmingham is a vibrant, multi-cultural, multi-faith city. It is of crucial importance that boys gain an understanding of, and respect for, the different faiths and beliefs held, and the way beliefs and believers affect the world in which we live.

At all levels of the school, we encourage boys to be mature, reflective and well-informed in their approach to religious and philosophical questions. In encountering differing viewpoints, boys learn to be intellectually rigorous and critical whilst remaining respectful and generous. Above all, boys are encouraged to be visionary in their approach to the world in which they live.

All boys study religious studies from Year 7 to Year 9, and begin with investigating the nature of religion and faith, and their importance for individuals and society; they then 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, which starts in Year 9.

Religious studies is offered as an optional subject at GCSE and is open to all boys, whether they belong to any religion or none. It examines the nature of religious belief and its effect upon the development of communities and cultures, and provides an opportunity to explore and reflect upon issues of ultimate importance to humanity. Half of the course consists of studying the origins, development, and current nature of religious belief and practice of both Christianity and Judaism. The other half of the course focuses on philosophical and ethical study with reference to insights from the two faiths studied and other faiths represented within the School community.

  • Sixth Form

    Philosophy deals with questions that are profound, intellectually challenging, complex, and important for humanity. Offered at both Higher and Standard Level as part of the IB Diploma, the emphasis of the course is very much on ‘doing’ philosophy and pupils will develop their critical and analytical thinking skills, and learn to reason and argue effectively.

    Pupils take modules on what it is to be human, ethics, and the philosophy of religion, and explore in detail Plato’s Republic. All pupils produce a piece of coursework that involves responding in a philosophical manner to a non-philosophical stimulus of their own choice. Higher Level candidates also take an additional paper, which requires them to reflect on the nature of philosophy itself.


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