News & Events
Neasden Mandir and St Paul’s Cathedral
On Friday 22nd November Year 11 GCSE RS students visited two very impressive places of worship in London. We spent the morning visiting the Shri Swaminarayan Mandir in Neasden. Braving the chilly winds we admired the intricate carving and arrchitecture outside before enjoying the calm, warm interior where we watched an arti ceremony, visited the informative exhibition on Hinduism and had a question and answer session. We would like to thank our hosts at the mandir for making us so welcome.
In the afternoon we went into central London for the magnificent St Paul’s Cathedral. We enjoyed spotting the memorials to famous people in the crypt before being wowed by the stunning interior of the cathedral and enjoying the Whispering Gallery. A small orchestra were practising Baroque music which added to the wonderful experience as we considered the role of the Church in our nation.
Art, English and RS at the Pitt Rivers museum
The Art, English and Religious Studies departments took all of Year 8 on a connected curriculum trip to the Pitt Rivers Museum on October 8th. It was a wonderful opportunity to make the most of this fantastic museum – just a short walk away through the University Parks. We were lucky enough to have a special talk on the Haida collection by museum staff and later a ‘hands-on’ session with the beautiful Javanese shadow puppets. There was plenty of time for the girls to draw and write about things that inspired them in the museum for projects relating to each of the subjects. We would like to thank everyone at the Pitt Rivers Museum for making us so welcome and helping us to learn from, and be inspired by, their collection.
Year 9 at Coventry Cathedral
On Wednesday 11 September the whole of Year 9 visited Coventry Cathedral for a cross-curricular trip with the Art and Religious Studies departments. We were warmly welcomed by the staff there who kindly guided us around the cathedral in small groups. We studied the fantastic artwork in the cathedral, thinking about the religious symbolism and a range of themes such as ‘peace and reconciliation’ and ‘structure and architecture’. This wonderful experience will lead to creative and reflective work in both Art and RS, and we would like to thank everyone at the cathedral for helping to make the day so successful.
RS Trips to Dorchester Abbey 2013
The first was with Year 7 who also visited St Andrew’s Church in North Oxford on the same day. It was a wonderful opportunity to look at different styles of church building and to appreciate their special atmosphere.
We returned to Dorchester Abbey later in the summer term with a Year 10 group of GCSE students and were very lucky to be able to talk to staff there about ethical issues. In the morning we had visited the Oxford Buddhist Vihara.
Both Year 10 visits contributed directly to the GCSE course and we would like to thank everyone involved in both visits for their welcome and help in making the trips so enjoyable and useful.
RS Trips Summer 2012
The Religious Studies department has managed to avoid the worst of the weather on our two trips this term; Year 10 GCSE Religious Studies went to places of worship in Leicester on Thursday 14th June, and Year 7 went to Dorchester Abbey on Friday 29th July.
The GCSE trip began at the Shree Sanatan Mandir where we were warmly welcomed and allowed to visit the temple and have a question and answer session. We then had lunch at Leicester Cathedral where we were lucky enough to have time with the Reverend Canon David Monteith Canon Chancellor and Acting Archdeacon of Leicester, who agreed to be grilled on Christian reponses to ethical issues. We also enjoyed hearing about the recent Jubilee visit by the Queen and had a detailed visit to the cathedral itself.
The Year 7 trip was great fun as we learnt about St Birinus and the contemporary activity of Dorchester Abbey. With the roses in full bloom and the sun streaming through the stained glass it was a beautiful place to consider the role of sign and symbolism in Christianity, explore the idea of pilgrimage and have a go at brass rubbing. We were grateful for the time and efforts of Margaret Craig, the education officer, and for the time of the Rector, Revd Sue Booys and the Bishop of Dorchester himself, the Right Reverend Colin Fletcher OBE, who held a question and answer session with us before lunch.
Both our trips helped to bring alive the ideas and concepts we have covered in class, and we appreciate the welcome given us from the communities who worship in these wonderful places.
Members of the Department
- Robert Packard, BA Hons (Lancaster), MA (Leicester)
- Rachael Pallas-Brown, BA Hons, MSt, MLitt (Oxon)
- Frances Townend, MA Hons (Oxon)
- Stephanie Lea, BA (Hons) Reading
- Ginnie Redston, BA (Hons) London, MA (Birmingham)
Mr Packard was appointed Head of Department in September 1998. He was previously Head of Department at the Robert Smyth School. He sat on the QCA ‘National Subject Panel for A Level RS’ (1996-1998) and on the SCAA ‘Post-16 Guidance: RE Working Party’ (1995). He reviews publications for RE Today. He has been an EDEXCEL A level examiner and an EDEXCEL in-service trainer. He is also Head of Sixth Form General Studies.
Miss Pallas-Brown was appointed in September 2006. She was previously Director of Studies at Cherwell College and had also been a Head of Department. She is Head of Sixth Form at Oxford High School.
Mrs Townend was appointed in September 2007. She read Theology at Oxford and took her PGCE at Cambridge. She taught at St Mary’s School in Calne and has also worked in publishing at the Education Department of the Oxford University Press.
Ms Lea graduated from Reading University with a 2:1 hons in Geography. She had a career in food marketing prior to taking her PGCE at Oxford University. Ms Lea teaches Geography, RS and General Studies/ Young Enterprise at Oxford High.
Religious Studies is the world’s oldest academic subject. It promotes awareness of other people, encourages empathy, and develops the ability to think rationally. These skills are prized, both by universities and by employers. They provide students with a firm foundation from which to continue their exploration of life.
Key Stage 3
The programme of study is based on the Qualifications and Curriculum Authority’s scheme of work.
- Where do we look for God?
- What does justice mean to Christians?
- Ancient religions
- Beliefs and practice
- A visit to a place of worship
- What are we doing to the environment?
- Chinese religions
- Contemporary non-literate religions
- Why do we suffer?
- Religion and art
- Current affairs in religion
- Religion and science
GCSE students study Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism and Ethics (OCR Specification A).
- Medical Ethics
Other students follow a general course examining a range of ethical and philosophical issues.
AS and A-Level
Paper One: Foundations – Philosophy and Fourth Gospel
|Cosmological Argument||The role of women|
|The problem of evil||I Am Sayings|
Paper Two: Investigations – Girls choose their own topic to study.
Paper Three: Developments – Philosophy and Fourth Gospel
|Life After Death||Prologue|
|Jesus and the political and religious authorities|
|Crucifixion and resurrection|
Paper Four: Implications – Text study of modern philosophical papers.