Religion & Philosophy

God/no/where
God/now/here

Where do YOU draw the line? Many people say this generation of students is the most ethically alert and aware body of thinkers. The room comes alive when we have class discussions about abortion, war, euthanasia, cloning and many other contentious issues.

Imagine a subject which could take you to faraway cultures, to times past and to other worlds: that is what we do! Welcome to the most exciting subject in the world - this one at least!

Religious Education is the academic study of some of the most powerful, inspirational and emotive ideas in human history. A major component of what it means to be human is to 'believe'. In RE, we discuss these ideas, where they come from and how they influence and structure believers’ lives. Thinking about these issues makes our pupils more focused, analytical and skilful in both debate and research.

We want our pupils to be articulate about what they believe; we want their opinions to be backed up by solid academic knowledge. We have, at the same time, a completely unique, intellectual identity - teaching and reinforcing the intellectual skills that make many of our students successful applicants to law, journalism and a host of competitive and demanding careers.

Pause for Thought

“One of the highlights of our whole School Assembly is an inspirational weekly address. This address which is both varied and topical leaves us all with much to ponder upon. I am keen these thought-provoking missives are shared with as wide an audience as possible and give us all food for thought during the coming week. From rock star Jon Bon Jovi’s New Jersey ‘Soul Kitchen’ restaurant, to Why do we wear a poppy? and the challenges of a new term, there is much to contemplate.”

Ian Davies, Headmaster

 

Pause for Thought - Whole School assembly readings

Mr Clements' ‘Pause for Thought’ articles have been viewed more than 25,000 times on TES. See his latest reading below. 

Windrush

Assembly date: Monday 12th November 2018

Last month, an exhibition closed at the British Library and it was a small but startling reminder of our troubled history. It was called ‘Windrush’, after a ship – the ‘Empress Windrush’, which docked in Tilbury in June 1948 with over 1000 people from the Caribbean, here to start a new life. Passage on this ship was £28, which is a small sum today, but to the poor people of Jamaica and Trinidad and other small islands at that time - a fortune.  They were encouraged by the 1948 British Nationality Act that granted citizenship and right of abode in the UK to all members of the British Empire; and between the early 1940s and the 1960s, many thousands came over.

At that time, Britain was still broken by the hardships of the recent world war. Fear and resentment greeted the immigrants as much as anything else. The lack of social equality and opportunity condemned these new citizens to life in the underclass and when you read in the exhibition of some of the shocking racism levelled against them, you see the exact same hatred that fuelled Hitler’s rise in the 1930s  and Charlottesville only last year. Clearly, there were two sets of laws, two sets of standards and two kinds of life – one for the powerful and one for the powerless. The power of this exhibition was in how uncomfortable it made you feel, that we as a society - now struggling to be the best version of ourselves could have been so shabby and treacherous to those who deserved our respect and our compassion. Tragically, that treachery continues and if you read about the 2014 Immigration Act; and how it affects the children of Windrush, you see how double standards are still the norm in British life.  Nothing is as ugly or as lonely as that moment when you truly realise your flaws.

Now we have a choice to repeat history or to learn from it and the Windrush exhibition showed us the way not to go. Good examples would be nice as teachers, but horrible warnings can do as well. We need to step away from hatred and contempt, and above all, we need to stop legitimising double standards and the victimisation the meek. Now, here is the tough part. You might not identify with the values of hatred and bigotry in the Windrush story, but all hatred and contempt begins in the smallest of our actions. It is in the day-to-day interaction in the classroom, the corridor and the playground that we can practice the best virtues and train ourselves to practice the best and noblest of actions. 

We would be grateful for your views.

Mr B Clements
Teacher of EAL

 

  • All 'Pause for Thought' articles from the last four years are available to read here