Religious studies at Queen Mary’s provokes challenging questions about the ultimate meaning and purpose of life, beliefs about God, the self and the nature of reality, issues of right and wrong and what it means to be human. It develops pupils’ knowledge and understanding of Christianity, other principal religions, other religious traditions and other world views that offer answers to questions such as these.
The Religious Studies department encourages pupils to learn from different religions, beliefs, values and traditions while exploring their own beliefs and questions of meaning. We aim to challenge pupils to reflect on, consider, analyse, interpret and evaluate issues of truth, belief, faith and ethics and to communicate their responses.
Learning Outside the classroom
At key stage 3 all pupils have the opportunity to participate in an RS day. The theme for the day is Religion and Justice, which supports content, taught in the curriculum as well as the schools Fair Trade status. They also visit a Buddhist Peace Pagoda and listen to a lecture given by a lay Buddhist.
At Key stage 4 and 5 pupils are given the opportunity to take part in both an internal and external conference. Each year the external conference invites guest speakers. These range from politicians to experienced writers. The day itself includes discussion of ethical and philosophical themes and offers the experience to debate ethical and philosophical issues alongside fellow pupils or peers from across the country.
Sixth formers run the Fair trade and Eco committees. Key stage 3 and 4 pupils have the opportunity to join the fair trade and Eco committees and represent their form, taking and sharing their ideas at the regular meetings that are held throughout the year.
There is also a philosophy club lead by the sixth form and open presently to year 9 with the aim of extending the welcome to year 8. A number of relevant and topical debates are held which offer the opportunity to develop analytical and independent thinking skills.
Homework and Assessment
Homework is issued in line with the schools homework policy.
Mid-term assessments are completed at the end of each unit of work in key stage 3, 4 and 5 and are leveled in accordance with the locally agreed syllabus and the examination board assessment criteria.
There is specialist housing for this subject that contains state of the art ICT facilities. The subject also owns a good selection of religious artefacts that support learning inside and outside the classroom.
The subject is only taught by three specialists. All specialist teachers teach in all three key stages.
Religious Studies Teacher’s Perspective
‘It is better to be a human being dissatisfied than a pig satisfied; better to be Socrates dissatisfied than a fool satisfied.’John Stuart Mill
Religious Studies for me is a subject that allows our students to be thoroughly challenged. Offering the girls the opportunity to debate controversial issues and perhaps be a little ‘dissatisfied ‘ at the end of the lesson, makes them consider their views and allows them the space to reflect and consider alternative views.
I am very passionate about RS and really do want every child in this school to be inspired to question their ideas, to consider the beliefs of others and have happy memories of their RS lessons.
Being able to ‘learn from’ religion and consider the impact that religion can have on a person’s life is a very difficult but yet worthwhile experience.
Queen Mary’s is a great place to work and study. Our students are a pleasure to teach and I feel very lucky to have been given the opportunity to spend my working days in such a positive and enthusiastic environment.