Teaching Staff – Rev John McHale
A level Religious Studies is totally different to what pupils may have experienced at GCSE, exploring the views of philosophers and scholars on questions ranging from the fundamental such as ‘What is the nature of reality?” to the more practical such as “Can religion survive secularisation?” and “Is cloning morally acceptable?” Pupils will have time to explore complex philosophical, ethical sociological and theological arguments and will be expected to question concepts and to think precisely and critically.
The Philosophy component includes topics such as arguments for and challenges to traditional theistic belief, the mind-body dilemma and religious language. Ethics explores major ethical theories put forward by philosophers and religious traditions as well as their practical application to issues such as genetic engineering and abortion. Finally, in the systematic study of a world religion component, pupils will approach Buddhism from an academic perspective, studying not only the major beliefs, practices and daily life of Buddhists themselves, but the interaction between religion and the modern world including science, contemporary secular polity and challenges from changing attitudes to gender and identity.
Whilst there are not many degrees directly requiring Religious Studies, the skills and knowledge that pupils gain from this A Level are incredibly transferable, with past pupils going onto study Politics, Liberal Arts, Mathematics with Philosophy, Psychology, Medicine and Biology. As an academically rigorous subject with a keen focus on writing clear, precise and critical extended prose, it is an A level option that is highly regarded by universities for virtually any course, particularly those with an emphasis on academic writing.