The Religious Studies curriculum aims to introduce boys to the key ideas and values that permeate the religions of the world. Mindful of the school’s traditions and history and also of the wider cultural and religious history of Britain, Christianity is covered in most depth, but the other world religions and their traditions are also studied in depth, especially from Year 5 onwards. There is no expectation that boys should feel they must take on any form of belief we study as their own and we are lucky to have different faiths and traditions represented among our pupils and staff, which aids mutual understanding and tolerance.
In Years 1 and 2, the RS provision is given in weekly assemblies rather than a dedicated lesson, where boys are told famous Bible stories or learn about festivals from the major world religions. Years 3 and 4 boys are issued with a copy of the Lion Children’s Bible, from which selected stories in both the Old and New Testaments are read and studied – these are important as part of the boys’ cultural education, since so much art, literature and music draws inspiration from them. They can also read other stories from the book as a general reader, if they wish.
From Year 5 onwards all the handouts the boys use are written and produced by Arnold House. Year 5 and 6 is given over to an ambitious two year programme called the World of Religion. This begins with a study of saints and symbolism and then moves onto depth studies of six world religions: Judaism, Christianity, Islam, Hinduism, Sikhism and Buddhism. Boys make educational visits to a Greek Orthodox church, a mosque, a synagogue and a Hindu temple as part of this two year course. The aim of the course is to prepare boys for the Common Entrance syllabus, which is covered in Years 7 and 8. This syllabus has interconnected elements on Biblical and theological studies, world religions and an introduction to philosophy. Boys are encouraged to explore contemporary issues according to their own belief system and to think about why they have (or do not have) religious or spiritual beliefs.