Religious Studies and Philosophy

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Religious Studies and Philosophy (RSP) is an intellectually rigorous subject, enabling students to ask challenging questions about the ultimate meaning and purpose of life, beliefs about God, issues of right and wrong and what it means to be human. Such an approach provides opportunities for students to develop their reasoning and critical thinking skills, as well as promoting respect and understanding at all times.

The John Lyon School is a multi-faith school, where the major world faiths are represented. This diversity is viewed as an asset for the department, allowing boys from different backgrounds to share their beliefs and experiences. Religious Studies and Philosophy is taught with sensitivity and objectivity; encouraging students to reflect on their own beliefs and to evaluate the views of others.

Many extra-curricular activities are offered by the department, including: Amnesty International, Analytical Philosophy Society, Advanced Philosophy Club and the Theology Society.

Religious Studies and Philosophy is taught throughout the School. In years 7-9 RSP lessons are compulsory; here boys will study the six major world religions (Christianity, Hinduism, Judaism, Islam, Sikhism and Buddhism), philosophy of religion and religious ethics. These lessons encourage the boys to appreciate the nature and importance of religion. During years 7-9 there is an opportunity to interact with religious communities through visits to a cathedral, mosque and a gurdwara, as well as via a talk from a practising Buddhist.

In Year 10, boys may opt to take GCSE Religious Studies following the Edexcel Religious Studies full course. Over the two years boys will study philosophical and ethical issues from a Christian and Muslim perspective. During their GCSE, boys will be given the opportunity to visit a place of worship and to attend lectures on topics directly relevant to the course. Most recently the department welcomed Virginia Ironside (Independent) to the School to speak on the topic of euthanasia.   

In the Sixth Form, OCR Religious Studies is offered. This academically rigorous course provides boys with the opportunity to explore philosophical and ethical questions. As such, many philosophical and theological thinkers are studied: from Plato, Aristotle, Aquinas and Hume to great twentieth and twenty-first century thinkers such as Fletcher, Russell, Dawkins and Hick. Alongside this, theological components such as the existence of God and the problem of evil are considered. To supplement their study, boys will be given the opportunity to attend conferences and listen to talks in School by eminent philosophers such as professors, A. C. Grayling, Keith Ward and Stephen Law.

A-Level Religious Studies is a highly respected academic qualification and universities welcome students with Religious Studies onto their degree courses. Past students have gone on to read Philosophy, Theology, Religious Studies, PPE, Law, Medicine, Dentistry, Economics, English and many others at Oxbridge and Russell Group universities. According to the Association of Graduate Careers Advisory Service, Theology/Philosophy/Religious Studies graduates go into a wide range of careers. These include law, medicine, education, politics, business, financial services, management, the civil service, journalism, publishing, broadcast, film and media.