"Whenever I come out of RE my head is exploding with questions and my whole body aches – this is not because I don't understand – it is because I'm buzzing with new thoughts," one 12-year-old girl told the National Association of Teachers of Religious Education (NATRE) in answer to a website survey.
Religious Education provides our students with an understanding of the world of faith.
We cover the world’s major religions with the aim of expanding knowledge and respect for people of all faiths and none. It is our hope that by the end of the course all students will have a better understanding of people, both in their local community and in the wider world and be ‘buzzing with questions’ they want to explore answers to.
We follow the Kent Agreed Syllabus (KAS) and study Christianity, Sikhism, Islam and Buddhism in the Lower School. The students explore key religious questions about beliefs, spirituality and expression of faith in a social and cultural context, as well as ethical responses to some of the key moral issues of our day. While studying the religious responses we also acknowledge and allow students to explore Humanist and non-religious responses and we believe that it is very important to allow the students to make up their own mind on these issues so that they feel equally comfortable reflecting on their own religious view or just on their opinion about an issue. Where possible we also consider Jewish and Hindu views.
In the Upper School, Year 9 continue to follow the Kent Agreed Syllabus for part of the Year and will do a Short Course GCSE in Philosophy for the other part of the year. Then in Year 10 and 11 we offer a full course GCSE. This GCSE is a study of the beliefs and practices of two world religions and an investigation into Philosophical and Ethical issues with reference to the two faiths, Christianity and Buddhism, we also continue to explore atheistic and Humanist views when appropriate to debate and studies. This course is aimed at pushing the student’s understanding of the world around them and the different views that people hold on key issues that affect all our lives.
In the Sixth Form we offer an A level in Philosophy, Ethics and Biblical Studies which are part of an integrated programme of studies which encourages students to have an understanding of the complexity and diversity of the subject.
We also run a short course GCSE in Religious Education for those students not opting to do the full course GCSE. This is a study of Christian and Sikh beliefs and we consider Relationships and Crime and Punishment as our two ethical issues. In the Sixth Form we offer a series of conferences that explore different religious and ethical issues. This is in line with legal requirements both at local and national levels.