Religious Studies

At Mayfield, we aim to educate and inform our pupils, to deepen their understanding of both their own faith and the faiths of others, and to provide each of them with an understanding of how religion has shaped, and continues to shape, the world in which we live.

Mayfield is an inclusive community, and as such we welcome students of any or no faith. While our approach is rooted in Catholic Christianity, our students learn about the other major world faiths. We aim to provide a supportive and stimulating teaching environment where girls feel comfortable debating openly and with an enquiring spirit, in order to develop their own ideas and stances on religious, philosophical and moral questions. We aim to instil in each of our pupils the ability to listen to other people’s points of view with respect and tolerance, even if they conflict with their own.

Religious Studies offers a fascinating insight into many of the fundamental problems of human existence, which people have pondered and discussed throughout history. ‘Why am I here?’ ‘Is there a God?’ ‘Why do people suffer?’ ‘How can I live a good life?’ Studying ways in which thinkers from the past have responded to these and other questions can help us to find meaning and purpose in our own lives.  Dealing with such questions is a life-long task, and there is a wealth of resources from philosophical and religious traditions to help us examine them.

At GCSE we study AQA Religious Studies B. This specification focuses on the Catholic faith, and features philosophical and ethical themes surrounding Catholicism. It ensures that students have a variety of contemporary themes to explore and discuss.

We study OCR H573 at A Level, which includes studies in philosophy of religion, religion and ethics, and developments in Christian thought. This course provides students with exciting opportunity to gain a deeper understanding of a world religion, explore philosophy of religion, and religion and ethics. We are striving to inspire students to engage in relevant topical issues, and acquire knowledge and a critical understanding of major issues that are relevant in the 21st century.

The RS Department is accommodated in large, recently refurbished classrooms, set in the heart of the main School building. Each room has an intelligent whiteboard, DVD player, artefacts, and a wide and varied selection of reference and resource books.

Many of our RS A Level students go on to study Philosophy, Theology and Religious Studies at Oxbridge and other Russell group universities. Some choose to carry on their studies into Masters and Doctorate degrees, whilst others have chosen a career in teaching, research or business.

The RS Department offer a Philosophy Club along with weekly revision/help clinics.  A Level students have attended the Candle RS Conferences in London for both Years 12 and 13, whilst all of Year 10 enjoy an annual outing to see ‘Les Miserables’ at the Queen’s Theatre, London and attend a drama workshop at the Prince Edward theatre.  We are currently planning visits to both Orthodox and Reform synagogues. Year 9 pupils attend a lecture on Jewish Practices.

Head of Department

Mrs Gaëlle McGovern

Gaëlle McGovern has a degree in Theology from Oriel College Oxford, a PGCE from King’s College University of London, and a Masters in Religious Studies from the University of Lancaster. She has taught RS at St Bede’s College Manchester, been a Housemistress and RS teacher at St Mary’s School Shaftesbury, and also at Ampleforth College. She has most recently examined for OCR and acted as Assistant Head Pastoral at Ampleforth College.