At DGS, we believe that the study of religion and beliefs should be interesting, enjoyable and thought-provoking. We aim to increase awareness of the spiritual dimension of existence, and to encourage students of all ages to explore their own thoughts and develop a mature response to the views of others.
Our emphasis is on tolerance and sensitivity. We encourage students to develop skills of analysis, expression, thinking, empathy, communication, listening, co-operation, understanding and evaluation. All of our courses are accessible to believers and non-believers alike and we use a variety of teaching and learning activities, including: discussion; group work; case studies; questionnaires; research; art work; reflection; and the development of thinking and listening skills.
RE is delivered in accordance with the aims and attitudes outlined in the Oxfordshire Agreed Syllabus for RE, with opportunities to Learn About and Learn From Religion provided for all students, and commitment to the development of self-awareness, respect for all, open-mindedness, and appreciation and wonder. During their RE lessons students are encouraged:
- To acquire knowledge and understanding of the beliefs and practices of Christianity and other World Religions.
- To be aware of and respond to life experiences and the questions they raise.
- To evaluate the significance of religious concepts, beliefs and practices through an ability to express personal opinions based on the use of appropriate evidence and argument.
- To develop tolerance and sensitivity towards the beliefs of other people; and
- To appreciate the diversity of and the opportunities afforded by living within Britain's multicultural society.
Our Key Stage 3 course is designed to give students insight into the nature of religion and the ways in which it motivates people both individually and as part of a community. To this end, students study the following modules:
- Why do we study RE?
- What do people believe about God?
- What would a Church for all Christians be like? (key religion: Christianity)
- Why is worship important to believers? (key religions: Islam and Sikhism)
- Is it right to eat animals?
- Why is Gotama Buddha so special for Buddhists? (key religion: Buddhism)
- How should we treat the environment?
- Is there an afterlife?
(Note: please assume that all religions will feature in a topic at some point unless a key religion is identified.)
We offer GCSE Religious Studies at KS4. Students follow the OCR Religious Studies B Philosophy and Applied Ethics (full) course, with opportunities to study more than one religion. The focus is upon ethical and philosophical questions, and the exploration of a range of religious and secular responses to these issues. Eight areas are covered, including Belief about Deity, Good and Evil, Religion and Medical Ethics, and Religion and Equality.
Core (non-GCSE) RE is taught via Super Learning Days, when the usual timetable is suspended and students are given opportunities to challenge prejudice, stereotypes and assumptions in an immediate way that is not always possible inside the classroom. Each of these days affords students the opportunity to learn about and from religion via engagement with the local, wider and world community. For example, World Religions Day takes students out into the local community to visit Buddhist, Christian, Hindu, Muslim, Jewish and Sikh places of worship, to engage with adherents of these World Religions and to grapple with fundamental questions about belief and its practice in the modern world.
A Level is available as an option at KS5. AS and A2 GCE RS students follow the OCR syllabus and study two main areas:
- 'Philosophy of Religion' (units covered include: Ancient Greek and Biblical Influences upon the Philosophy of Religion; Classic Arguments about the Existence of God; Religion and Science; Miracles; and Life After Death).
- 'Islam' (units studied include: Beliefs; Practices; Differences within the Muslim Community; the Concept of Jihad; and Women in Islam).