Key Stage 3 (Years 7-9)
Students study the three monotheistic religions over two years. This includes consideration of how and why people believe in God and the ways in which God continues to reveal himself to people today. Mid-term assessments are carried out in the Michaelmas and Lent terms, with an examination towards the end of the Trinity term.
Key Stage 4 (GCSE) - OCR Philosophy and Applied Ethics B
Students study a range of ethical and philosophical issues at GCSE, including bio-ethics, marriage and human relationships, religion and the media and the philosophical arguments for the existence of God. Whilst the course is based on the Christian tradition, students are also encouraged to reflect upon Christian doctrine in light of their own perspectives as well as alternative academic and religious disciplines. Students sit their examinations at the end of Year 11.
Key Stage 5 (A Level) – AQA Religious Studies Philosophy and Religious Ethics
The Theology Department follows the AQA Religious Studies specification which focuses on Religious Ethics and Philosophy of Religion. The course aims to encourage students to develop the critical and evaluative skills which will enable them to go on to higher education to study a wide range of courses, including Religious Studies, Theology, Philosophy, Law, Sociology and the Social Sciences. The ethical theories put forward by prominent philosophers such as Thomas Aquinas, Immanuel Kant, Joseph Fletcher and Jeremy Bentham form the basis of the AS Religious Studies course.
At A2 Level, a range of key philosophical issues are studied in depth, including the ontological argument, the relationship between faith and reason, the meaning of religious language and the problem of evil. In addition, students will follow a synoptic paper entitled, Ways of Moral Decision Making, which studies the range of philosophical and theological sources used in moral reasoning and considers the ethical issues raised by medical research and developments.
Key Stage 5 - ‘Human and Spiritual Development’ General RE Programme
All Sixth Form students will explore a range of moral, philosophical and religious topics through a series of lectures, workshops and small group discussions throughout the year. The Theology Department, and various outside speakers, deliver this programme. The aim is to enable students to recognise that human flourishing extends beyond academic achievement and requires an engagement with the deeper questions of what it means to be human. The Theology Department, Chaplaincy, and various outside speakers, deliver the programme. This year we have had the pleasure of listening to a number of interesting guest speakers including Dr Austen Ivereigh, Pope Francis’ biographer and Dr Peter Vardy, a renowned lecturer in Theology, Philsophy and Ethics.
The Theology Department contributes positively to the co-curricular programme at New Hall by providing opportunities for reflection on a range of theological and ethical issues, running extra discussion seminars for Sixth Form students and a thorough revision programme for GCSE candidates. An example of a recent debate was whether assisted suicide should be legalised in the UK. The Theology department also assists with the sacramental preparation course and with organising retreat days for students.
The Theology Department leads a day of workshops and activities allowing students to explore the diverse beliefs and practices of Sikhism, Buddhism, Judaism, Hinduism and Islam. In our increasingly pluralistic, multi-faith society, respect and tolerance of other cultures and religions has never been more important.
The Theology and Politics Department runs a weekly Question Time discussion group which covers a range of moral and political issues in contemporary society; this club enables students to develop their knowledge of current affairs and an ability to articulate their own perspective in a public debate.
The Theology department has run a number of educational visits over recent years; most notably trips to India in 2012 and 2015. This year, 46 students in Years 10-13 embarked upon an 8-day trip and explored the famous Golden Triangle of Delhi, Agra and Jaipur as well as Varanasi, the ancient spiritual city on the banks of the River Ganges.
The Theology Department remains a very high performing department with students achieving academic excellence.
In 2015, 95% of students achieved A*-B grades at GCSE and 91% of students achieved A*-B grades at A Level. New Hall School was also awarded a Good Schools Guide Award for being the Highest Performing English Independent School for Boys taking 'Religious studies'.
The department was judged as outstanding in the recent Section 48 Diocesan Inspection.
Head of Department
Mr P Bray BA (Dunelm), MA (Dunelm), GTP