Religious Studies makes an important contribution to our schools’ duty to promote community cohesion. It is a key subject in developing the boys’ understanding and appreciation of diversity, in promoting shared values and challenging racism and discrimination. The Religious Studies curriculum at Durston House reflects the cultural and religious diversity of our school. We aspire to create the environment for boys to explore their own religious beliefs, while at the same time developing respect and appreciation for someone with different religious views.
During the younger years (Years 1-4), the emphasis is on the extension of knowledge about the different religions. In Middle and Upper Schools (Years 5-8), the emphasis moves to a more enquiring nature. Christianity, in particular, is used to explore the literal and figurative meaning of religious texts and demonstrate the relevance of religion in modern society.
Boys in Pre-Prep start to build their knowledge about the different religions. They may explore a theme and discover how it is represented in the main faiths, such as the different places of worship, rites of passage or festivals. A range of stories pertinent to the faiths are told, such as those from the Old Testament or that of the Guru Nanak.
Where possible, parents of different faiths are invited into the classes to enlighten further the boys about the different religious traditions. Boys also visit our local parish church, St Peter’s, as an example of a place of worship.
In Junior School, in each year, boys explore two of the six major faiths: Christianity and Sikhism in Year 3, Judaism and Hinduism in Year 4. The focus is to enable them to understand their own and their society’s heritage. As part of a multi-cultural school, pupils are encouraged to draw and reflect upon their own experience of religion and contemporary issues, and to identify and respond to ethical problems of everyday life.
Visits to St Peter’s Church, Ealing Synagogue, Neasden Temple and Sri Guru Singh Sabha Gurdwara provide the boys with opportunities to experience the religion within the community and to reinforce the learning undertaken in the classroom.
Religious Studies in Year 5 introduces two major faiths, Buddhism and Islam. During Year 5 boys are introduced to these under the headings of Beliefs, Holy Books, Places of Worship, Passage of Life and Festivals. Further popular Bible stories are also introduced such as ‘Noah’, ‘The Tower of Babel’, ‘Daniel’, ‘Joseph’ and ‘Moses’. Boys are encouraged to reflect upon their own experience of religion and contemporary issues, and to identify and respond to ethical problems of everyday life.
During Year 6 the emphasis in Religious Studies gradually progresses away from purely factual content, to more analytical and reflective emphasis. Boys are being introduced to the philosophical and ethical nature of some of the topics that they study. The Year 6 Curriculum is divided into Old Testament, Judaism and Contemporary Issues.
The Middle School curriculum is enhanced by a visit to Acton Mosque and Chiswick Buddhist Vihara.
The Religious Studies course in Years 7-8 prepares the boys for success in Common Entrance and Senior Schools Entrance Examinations. We take a more detailed look at Hinduism and Sikhism, and the New Testament is analysed, including the teachings, parables and miracles of Jesus. The Old Testament biblical topics are linked to modern day ethical and moral dilemmas. Contemporary issues, such as Euthanasia and World Poverty, are addressed. Boys continue to refine their skills to make well-informed and sound moral judgements.