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The landscape of Divinity and Religious Studies has undergone a transformative shift, both nationally and here at Tonbridge. Gone are the days when boys traced St. Paul’s missionary journeys in a worn biblical atlas and memorised gospel passages. Today, this subject cultivates critical thinking, delving into profound questions of meaning and value that philosophers and theologians have grappled with for centuries. It not only provides robust intellectual training but also prompts boys to reflect on themselves and the intricacies of the world around them.

Religious Studies is a core component of the Novi curriculum, covering two main areas: an exploration of philosophical and theological questions and an introduction to ethical thinking. Throughout the academic year, boys engage with inquiries like 'What defines a person?' and 'Can terrorism ever be justified?' Open-ended questions spark classroom debates and form the basis for written assignments, contributing significantly to their overall intellectual development.

At the IGCSE level, boys can choose Religious Studies as an option, following Edexcel's IGCSE in Religious Studies, which encompasses philosophy and ethics. This option has gained popularity, addressing issues from medical ethics to the age-old problem of evil. Notably, the majority of boys achieve top grades in recent years.

In the Sixth Form, many opt for the Edexcel A-level in Religious Studies: Theology and Philosophy. The course delves into significant questions in both disciplines, covering ethical theory, faith and reason, and a critical examination of the life of Jesus through the New Testament paper. Philosophy of Religion in the Upper Sixth involves spirited debates on topics ranging from religious language to the post-modern challenge to religion, scrutinizing the ideas of various philosophers and contemporary scholars.

A distinctive feature of the department is the creation of our own textbooks and workbooks for all years, underlining our commitment to providing a tailored and enriching educational experience. The evolution of Religious Studies at Tonbridge reflects a dynamic shift towards thoughtful inquiry and intellectual exploration, preparing students for a nuanced understanding of the world and their place in it.

Department Staff

Mr Julian Dobson

Head of Divinity
MA, Lambeth
BA, University of Exeter

Mr Bryn Bennet

Teacher of Divinity
BA, University of Durham

Mr Richard Burnett

Teacher of Divinity
MA, University of Cambridge

Mr Luke Masters

Teacher of Divinity, Teacher of Social Science
BA, University of Oxford

Revd David Peters

Senior Chaplain
MA, University of Oxford
BA, King's College, London

Mr Rahul Sheemar

Teacher of Divinity
BA, University of Durham

Mr Henry Swales

Teacher of Divinity
MPhil, University of Cambridge
MA, University of Oxford

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