A Leys Education is one which is built firmly on three main foundations; Academic, Pastoral and Wider Curriculum.More information
The Divinity department prides itself in treating religion as an academic subject. Young people find the topics we study naturally interesting and enjoy exploring and discussing their ideas. Whilst the core of our teaching is focused on Christianity, as befits a Christian foundation, pupils are introduced to some of the great world religions.
We see our task as making pupils theologically literate as well as providing an environment where they can feel secure about exploring beliefs (or lack of them) and their implications for today’s world. We believe it is not possible to understand the modern world without a grasp of the religious traditions and practices which have shaped it in the past and continue to do so today.
The level of pastoral care provided by the department has been described as outstanding by ISI. We also enjoy at least six Theologians’ Seminars each year given by members of the Faculty of Divinity at Cambridge University, where we maintain strong links.
Year 7 pupils study major themes in the Old Testament, before moving on in Year 8 to an introduction to the philosophy of religion from a variety of religious perspectives, especially Hinduism.
GCSE Divinity is one of the optional subjects at GCSE level. We teach Religious Ethics, Christianity and Islam, and Peace and Conflict.
We study three papers – Philosophy of Religion, Religion and Ethics, and New Testament Studies – which offer a comprehensive theological course, covering ideas from the Fourth Century B.C. to the present day. The combination of papers is designed to introduce our pupils to a wide range of the areas and skills covered by modern Religious Studies syllabuses. There will be regular opportunities to test knowledge and understanding.
Philosophy of Religion
This paper encourages critical thinking on philosophical issues such as the existence or otherwise of God, the problem of evil and suffering. It also explores philosophical language and the relationship between religion and science. Pupils can expect to engage with most major Western philosophers from Socrates and Plato through to modern times.
Religion and Ethics
This has been a popular part of the A Level for many years. It covers areas such as what morality is and where it comes from, as well as the ways in which philosophers have attempted to define the best way of determining what makes actions right or wrong. We explore the relationship between religion and morality including Plato’s Euthyphro Dilemma. The main ethical theories covered are Utilitarianism, Situation Ethics, Virtue Ethics, Natural Law and Kantian Ethics (all in their original and more modern forms). These will be applied to a variety of ethical issues such as in the area of Sexual Ethics, issues of Justice and of crime and punishment (e.g. the death penalty). We also look at some of the questions arising out of the debates over the meanings and purposes of ethical language (including Emotivism, Intuitionism, and Prescriptivism).
New Testament Studies
This paper provides the literary “meat” of the course and compliments the other papers well. Pupils can expect to become skilled in techniques of literary and historical analysis as they explore the context of the New Testament, the person of Jesus and how he is presented in the different texts of the New Testament. Pupils will also be encouraged to think about the relevance of these ideas in the modern world as they look at key teachings of Jesus and how these relate to modern ethical and scientific debates. This paper is not currently offered in many other schools and the school is recognised by the exam board for its biblical teaching.