Head of Religion, Ethics & Philosophy
Gareth joined Hurst in 2017. He studied Theology at Exeter and undertook a PGCE in Religious Studies at Cambridge. Gareth runs Phil-Thy Soc (the school’s Philosophy & Theology society) and is involved with debating across the school. He teaches throughout the Senior School and delivers the Christian Theology section of the A-level course along with modules on Free-will & Determinism and Teological Ethics. His specialist subject interests include Religious Iconography, Applied Ethics and the history of theological thought.
Philosophy and Theology are subjects which encourage curiosity about the world and our place in it. They are subjects which encourage the development of critical thinking alongside personal reflection.
In the Philosophy and Theology department we try to expose pupils to some of the fundamental ideas which underpin our understanding of the world and our culture, as well as encouraging the analysis and evaluation of ideas and points of view which are more alien to us.
The department takes a non-confessional approach - all views and approaches are accepted - but the expectation is that opinions and views must be justified and reasoned. No person can be a neutral participant in debates about the existence of God, what is the right thing to do or the relationship between science and religion. Reflection and awareness of our own assumptions and the fundamental beliefs we hold is essential to academic development in this subject.
In the Sixth Form students can examine Philosophy of Religion and Religious Ethics with an emphasis on the Christian approach to these debates through A-level Religious Studies. This is a course for those with a curious, enquiring mind. It covers many big questions which have challenged humankind over thousands of years: Is there a God? What’s the right thing to do? How should we relate to people with different beliefs to ours? What should we do about poverty? Do we have free-will? What is goodness? How can we make sense of suffering? Why is there something rather than nothing? We follow the EDUQAS specification.
The department provides many books to encourage more advanced reading and independent learning and this is supported by the staff who meet with students in small groups to encourage and foster exploration of key religious and philosophical debates beyond the syllabus.
The department has supported many candidates’ successful applications to highly selective universities in recent years.