Religious Studies in the curriculum

In a secular world, the study of religion is regarded as unfashionable.  In a world where nothing is accepted without question, Religious Studies, like any other subject within the modern school curriculum, must justify its place.  So, two challenges face this department at the Royal Hospital School:


-         why have Religious Studies in the curriculum?

-         why study religion at all?



The place of Religious Studies in the curriculum


From the start of a pupil’s life at the Royal Hospital School, the emphasis on critical thinking, understanding and learning together with personal and creative development is central.  Religious Studies is uniquely placed to foster and develop this process.  It offers pupils an opportunity to study the beliefs and practices of those who are both similar and different from them.  It gives pupils a chance to explore their own response to different approaches to life and different perspectives on some of the big questions which all human beings face.  It enables them to consider complex moral, philosophical and religious questions in a structured, justified and intelligent way and, at the same time, gives them an ability to understand alternative and equally valid points of view. 


Religious Studies is not just about thinking.  It is also about feeling.  It is about the development of an inner voice and a creative life.  The subject can foster the development of spirituality both in the classroom and in the wider school community.  In practical terms, this is about developing the spirit of community living and self-sacrifice.  In other ways, it is about heightening awareness of a reality which is greater than the purely tangible or material.  Ultimately, it is about the opening up of the human spirit to its own potential.


The study of religion


Despite the obvious secularity of modern life, the need for a more informed understanding of the great religious questions is as important as ever.  Religious Studies in its own small, but important, way aims to teach empathy, understanding and tolerance of religious traditions wherever they are found.  It aims to allow pupils to approach difficult moral and ethical problems, some of which they themselves may well face in the future.  Above all, the hope is that pupils leaving the Royal Hospital School will be empowered to face up to life’s many challenges and enable them to own the future direction of their lives.