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    Religious Studies

    “I think therefore I am” (“Cogito, ergo sum”)

    René Descartes

    Religious Studies is a key subject at DGGS because within the whole curriculum it integrates and informs all other knowledge.

    Staff

    Mr J. Walmsley (Subject Leader)

    Mrs R. Easley

    Mrs G. Bunn

    Students are taught in mixed ability groups in Years 7 and 8.  At Key Stage 3, our pupils are taught a curriculum based on the Kent Agreed Syllabus. However, all of the lessons have been created by the Department to maximise pupil engagement.

    In Year 7, students study six units, each taking a term to cover. These are Sikhism, sources of authority, Christianity, pilgrimage, animal rights, and Buddhism.

    In Year 8, students also study six units: Does God exist?, Islam, spirituality, interfaith dialogue, philosophy, and war.

    Religious Studies is a key subject at DGGS with every student completing either a short or full course GCSE during Years 9 and 10.  Those who follow the short course will have one lesson a week, whereas full course students will have two lessons every week.  Students will consider different beliefs and attitudes to religious and non-religious issues in contemporary British society.

    Students will study the religious teachings and practices of two religions: Christianity and Islam.  They will also study four religious, philosophical and ethical themes: religion and relationships, existence of God, peace and conflict and crime and punishment. Our students will be aware of contrasting perspectives in contemporary British society on all of these issues.

    Why study Philosophy and Ethics?

    One good reason is that it’s interesting and fun.  Another is that the kinds of questions philosophy ponder are unavoidable if one wants to live a thoughtful, responsible, and fruitful life.  While the courses are demanding and rigorous, many students find the rewards are priceless.  Philosophy also develops skills that are widely transferable to other areas of study and to the professional world outside university.

    Because of its unique emphasis on clarity, argumentation, and critical evaluation, even a single course in Philosophy and ethics will:

    •          Develop students’ powers of reasoning

    •          Improve their ability to critique the views of others

    •          Teach them to get to the heart of an issue, and to distinguish it from less important matters

    •          Clarify and improve communication, both written and spoken

    •          Help to organize thoughts rationally and present them in a clear, coherent manner.

    Colleges and universities place great value on this course because it helps develop thinking and analytical skills, the ability to develop and structure an argument, textual analysis and it fosters independent thinking.  This course complements a variety of other A level courses such as English, History, Sociology, Geography, Politics and Maths.  It also supports those who study the sciences, particularly those who wish to follow a career in medicine, law, or the social sciences. 

    Moreover, the nature of the subject tends to attract the more sensitive and socially aware student.  At the DGGS we follow the OCR A Level which consists of three papers: Philosophy of Religion, Ethics, and Developments in Christian Thought.

    At Key Stage 3 (Y7-Y8) students should be spending 30 minutes a week on homework. At Key Stage 4 (Y9-Y10) students need to spend 45 minutes to an hour a week on the various homework activities.  There are a range of resources on the pupil drive that can help and assist in completing homework activities in Religious Studies.

    In the Sixth Form students need to spend at least 3 hours a week which will include reading round the subject, preparing material for essays as well as answering set questions following each lesson.

    There are a range of activities that the Department provides for students across the year groups.  For example, the Department is involved in the annual DGGS Christmas service in a local church in which all years are involved and both staff, students, and parishioners think about the true meaning of Christmas.  The Year 7s go on pilgrimage to Canterbury Cathedral just before the Easter break and produce a creative project based on their trip.  The Sixth Form attend a Philosophy and Ethics conference to further develop and support their understanding and engagement of the topics they are studying.  Throughout the year there are experiential lessons that explore the major world religions in creative ways.

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