Philosophy and RS
Through the rigorous study of Religion and Philosophy, the department seeks to give pupils the skills needed to engage with some of the most challenging intellectual concepts and to develop their ability to appreciate and evaluate the key claims of religions and philosophical traditions. Pupils at all levels are challenged to develop the confidence, resilience and cognitive ability to tackle texts, ideas and assumptions of religions and philosophers and develop the capacity to turn critical insights into coherent and purposeful evaluative writing.
We firmly believe that our subject has a unique part to play in the Marlburian education, offering pupils a space in which reflection on spiritual matters and development of a strong pupil voice are highly valued. Through the expertise and enthusiasm of eight subject-specialist beaks our pupils are inspired to strong academic achievement and many pursue our discipline beyond the College at top universities.
The Department is involved in teaching pupils in every year at the College.
Three beaks contribute to Marlborough’s unique Form course in the Shell, in which pupils engage with religion in the context of a broad study of the humanities.
The compulsory GCSE in Remove and Hundred is the mainstay of the department’s work in the Lower School. Classes are taught by a single beak who takes responsibility for preparing the class for examination in the AQA Religious Studies a course, with a specific focus on Beliefs and Practices in Christianity and Islam along with four key ethical topics. Each class has four hours per fortnight.
The highly popular and successful Cambridge Pre-U is taught in the Sixth Form and is the springboard from which many Marlburians choose undergraduate courses in Philosophy, Theology and related disciplines. Sixth Form teaching of the Pre-U is taught by two beaks per class, who divide the work according to the Philosophy and Ethics division in the course. The Pre-U was chosen for its rigour and the opportunity it gives to do philosophy rather than simply learning about the history of philosophers.
Pupils have a range of avenues open to them if they wish to pursue their philosophical interests beyond the classroom. There is a weekly pupil-driven discussion group, where pupils get the chance to test out their ideas and to test the ideas of others. There is also more formal programme of talks throughout the year, culminating in the Lent Term Lecture Series which attracts a range of high-profile speakers. This past year, the series culminated in a talk of religious and philosophical attitudes to the environment by the Bishop of Salisbury.
Pupils are also supported in EPQ projects, with recent examples on the Philosophy of Language and the Moral Significance of Animals. In addition, electives in the Lower Sixth have been offered in the Philosophy of Film and of the Graphic Novel genre.
D T Clark MTh (Head of Religious Studies)
Revd Dr J Blokland BA MA MSc PhD
Ms V R Brown MA
H E B Jones BA
G I Macmillan BA
Revd T W G Novis BA MDiv
G R Playfair MA
Ms B L Woods BA MSc