The attempts to found a morality apart from religion are like the attempts of children who, wishing to transplant a flower that pleases them, pluck it from the roots that seem to them unpleasing and superfluous, and stick it rootless into the ground. Without religion there can be no real, sincere morality, just as without roots there can be no real flower. Leo Tolstoy
Religious Education (RE) lies at the heart of the curriculum.
It is unique in combining a spirit of academic enquiry with personal spirituality and the quest for meaning and purpose. As such, RE provides students with a forum to search for answers to the central questions of human existence. They are encouraged to think critically, listen to others, develop informed opinions and substantiate them using reasoned arguments. Nonetheless, prayer and personal reflection are also at the heart of the subject. The Department is inspired by the charism of the Brothers of the Sacred Heart, which emphasises the formation of the whole person, while promoting solidarity with the poor, high expectations, and respect for self, others and creation.
Religion shapes civilisations, providing meaning and purpose to the lives of billions of people. The RE Department is keen to engender a curiosity, interest and enjoyment towards the study of religion in every student. This can be challenging in a world where religion comes under increasing attack in the media. The Department is committed to promoting the pursuit of truth, theological study and respect for faith. Boys enjoy RE lessons and their love of learning is evident in the quality of class discussion and the creativity of the independent project-work they undertake.
At Key Stage 3, the Department follows a course of study based on the RE Curriculum Directory, which investigates the key tenets of Christianity, including an examination of the Bible, the historical Jesus, the history of the Church, sacraments and worship, stewardship and social justice. One major world religion is explored in each year; Judaism in Form 1, Hinduism in Form 2 and Islam in Form 3.
From September 2016, at Key Stage 4, all boys will take the Eduqas GCSE specification. Component 1 will be Religious, Philosophical and Ethical Studies in the Modern World. This involves a consideration of relationships, life and death, good and evil and human rights. Component 2 is a study of the beliefs, teachings and practices of Christianity. Component 3 is a study of the beliefs, teachings and practices of Islam.
AS and A2 Religious Studies courses are extremely popular with boys and generate lively and fascinating lessons. Students follow the Religion and Ethics, Philosophy of Religion and Developments in Christian Thought options from the OCR specification.
The Department organises a variety of trips and extra-curricular activities. Form 1 visit the London Jewish Museum and a London synagogue; Form 2 enjoy a day at a local Hindu Temple. All boys have an opportunity to participate in the biennial Department trip (to Rome in October 2016). Sixth Form boys attend various lectures and outside learning experiences during their course. Philosophy Club is a popular activity for Forms 4 and 5, and Theology Club runs periodically for Forms 1 and 2. In addition, RE Club is available weekly to enable all boys to catch up or to seek further help and advice with their work.