Religious Studies

Today we live in ‘the age of reason’, yet the eternal questions remain to challenge us: the search for the truth about who we really are has never been an easy one. Religious Studies examines the question of God’s existence and of how we can more fully understand ourselves.

Religious Studies at Alleyn’s has a proud tradition of offering engaging, intellectual and innovative discourse to challenge our students. The RS department prides itself on encouraging our students to think clearly, critically and honestly whilst developing understanding and tolerance of a variety of religious and secular beliefs and traditions. Students have a wealth of opportunities to engage in lively debates on some of the deeper ethical and religious questions that are presented in the news and concern young enquiring minds.

In Years 7-9, students have the exciting opportunity to explore those philosophical and theological questions that challenge them personally and intellectually. What, for instance, is truth? How did the universe get here? Are science and religion compatible? And what happens when we die? Our unique approach to RS encourages our students to think deeply and creatively so that they are challenged rigorously, intellectually, spiritually and emotionally.

Students will often have heated debates on matters of life and death and explore a wide range of topics that are authentic, controversial and nuanced, with no easy answers. Religion is about the imagination, emotions and relationships and many of our students are inspired to study RS further up the school, where they enjoy discussing issues such as whether euthanasia should be legalised, whether there can be love without justice and whether forgiveness is always right.

Our courses are driven through debates and seminar-style lessons where students feel safe to express their opinions, often with intoxicating excitement: the heated discussions frequently continue well after the lesson has finished because we give students the opportunity to express some of their most profound ideas through the ‘spirited arts’ and through sophisticated discursive composition.

Religious Studies is about life and so the department offers a wonderful range of trips to introduce our students to other world views and to a range of fascinating religious practices, opening their minds in an experiential way. In the past, we have explored Zen Buddhism in Japan, Tai Chi in China, heard the Pope’s address in Rome, encountered Dipavamsa Buddhism in Sri Lanka and Hinduism in India. The rigour and challenge of RS prepares our students for further study of religion and philosophy, but also of the humanities, law and the ethical side of medicine, as well as motivating our young people to question what it means to be human.

"How can we be certain that God is dead? We're not even sure about Elvis."

- Anon

Alleyn's girls and boys pictured on the 2017 China trip

Alleyn's pupils pictured on the 2017 RS trip to China