Religious studies top of the class at St Margaret’s Church of England Academy

The Church of England school in Aigburth, Liverpool, is endorsing the wider benefits of Religious Studies.

Religious studies has proved a firm choice at St Margaret’s Academy (SMA), with more pupils than ever embarking upon further study of the subject.

Sixth formers at SMA are encouraged to act on their Christian values and are given the opportunity to practice compassion, wisdom and friendship as they take part in the school’s citizenship programme, where they carry out 70 hours of community service to achieve gold.  The school believes that teaching Religious Studies not only encourages key values, but also prepares pupils for further study as they gain essential transferable skills.

Former student, Daniel Pinder, benefitted from the transferable skills associated with Religious Studies, going on to read French and Business at the University of Liverpool and is now studying for LLB Law.  He says: “Primarily I found the content really interesting and thought provoking. Second to this I was encouraged to think critically about how the taught content was relevant to current affairs and my own experiences.  This meant that I was able to learn how to construct a written argument and how to judge different concepts individually, collectively and comparatively against different central topics. These skills helped me bridge the gap between A level and undergraduate study”.

Study at SMA has also proven to be a gateway into faith careers. Daniel Howard, who left the school in 2008, went on to train as a Priest at St Stephen’s House in Oxford and now serves as curate at St Columba’s in Anfield.

Daniel Howard says: “My interest in Religious Studies was sparked at the beginning of my time at St Margaret’s. As a Sixth Former I was lucky enough to be schooled in the basic principles of philosophical reasoning, a nuanced approach to biblical texts and an appreciation of Christian tradition.  Today, I look back with fondness on my Sixth Form days and am thankful that they enriched my life in such a way that I now serve as a Priest in the Church”.

Head teacher, Stephen Brierley, says: “As a Church of England school we are committed to promoting a strong Christian ethos within all of our pupils, as we strive to create a caring and supportive community.  Teaching Religious Studies not only instils these core values within our pupils, but also helps them to be considerate of the viewpoints of other faiths and encourages them to debate topical issues with an open mind. This pushes students to think critically and really engage with the topic at hand and this is a skill which is invaluable in all areas of study”.