The Theology Department firmly believes that the study of religion is both a rigorous academic discipline in its own right, as well as a journey of faith and self-discovery. As Anselm asserted, Theology is ‘faith which seeks to understand’ and, at New Hall, students are encouraged to become religiously literate young people who have the knowledge, understanding and skills to think spiritually, ethically and theologically, and who are aware of the demands of religious commitment in everyday life. One of the main aims of the department is to ensure that students leave New Hall equipped with a sound knowledge, appreciation and critical awareness of religion in general and of the Catholic Christian faith in particular. The moral and spiritual formation of our students is a key priority of all Theology lessons; enabling students to make informed decisions regarding their own faith and values. The Theology Department, respecting the beliefs of non-Catholic students and the consciences of all, aims to communicate and share a lively, articulate and inclusive Christian faith. Theology teachers work collaboratively with other departments and areas of the school to ensure the Catholic ethos and gospel values of New Hall are prevalent throughout the curriculum.
Another important departmental aim is to promote academic excellence and this is reflected in the consistently excellent examination results of our students and the Theology Department was judged as outstanding by the most recent Section 48 diocesan inspection.
Key Stage 3 (Years 7-9)
Students study the three monotheistic religions during Key Stage 3; this includes consideration of how and why people believe in God and the ways in which God continues to reveal himself to people today. Mid-term assessments are carried out in the Michaelmas and Lent terms, with an examination towards the end of the Trinity term.
Key Stage 4 (GCSE) – AQA Religious Studies (Christianity and Judaism)
Students study the beliefs and practices of Christianity and Judaism at GCSE as well as a range of philosophical and ethical themes including marriage and human relationships, crime and punishment and the philosophical arguments for the existence of God. Whilst the course is based on the Christian tradition, students are also encouraged to reflect upon Christian doctrine in light of their own perspectives as well as alternative academic and religious disciplines. Students sit their examinations at the end of Year 11.
Key Stage 5 (A Level) – WJEC Eduqas Advanced GCE in Religious Studies
The Theology Department follows the Eduqas Religious Studies A-Level specification. The course aims to encourage students to develop the critical and evaluative skills which will enable them to go on to higher education to study a wide range of courses, including Religious Studies, Theology, Philosophy, Law, Sociology and the Social Sciences. There are three components to the A Level Religious Studies course, allowing students to study religion from three different academic perspectives.
- Christianity This component covers a range of key theological issues pertaining to Christian beliefs and practices; including the birth and resurrection of Jesus (consistency and credibility), the Bible as a source of wisdom and authority, the concepts of the Trinity and Atonement, challenges to Christianity from secularisation and science, Christian practices and festivals, and Liberation Theology.
- Philosophy of Religion This component explores a range of philosophical topics including the cosmological, teleological and ontological arguments for the existence of God, the problem of evil and suffering, psychological challenges to religion, religious experience and religious language.
- Religion and Ethics This component explores a range of ethical systems including Virtue Theory, Natural Law, Situation Ethics and Utilitarianism, as well as the application of these ethical theories to issues such as animal experimentation, the use of nuclear weapons, homosexual and polyamorous relationships, immigration, capital punishment, abortion and euthanasia.
Key Stage 5 – ‘Human and Spiritual Development’ General RE Programme
All Sixth Form students will explore a range of moral, philosophical and religious topics through a series of lectures, workshops and small group discussions throughout the year. The Chaplaincy and Theology Departments, and various outside speakers, deliver this programme. The aim is to enable students to recognise that human flourishing extends beyond academic achievement and requires an engagement with the deeper questions of what it means to be human. This year we have had the pleasure of listening to a number of interesting guest speakers including Dr Austen Ivereigh, Pope Francis’ biographer and Dr Peter Vardy, a renowned lecturer in Theology, Philosophy and Ethics.
Head of Theology: Miss M. Webb firstname.lastname@example.org