We need to find a way to have a mix of the current specification as well as the old. Having a larger emphasis on the religious texts is vital to adding more depth to the subject but doing it in a way which will not deter students from taking the subject further. For example, in GCSE in the exam there could more emphasis on religious texts and quotes to reach the top of the mark schemes and at A-Level progressing this further to have a specific percentage of the marks coming from textual knowledge e.g. 20% of the marks coming from the analysis of religious texts and relating it to the question. There would need to be more teaching time dedicated to textual studies during the course to allow students to get to grips with a text and then being able to apply it in exams. Doing this, will still allow students to broaden their minds in philosophy and Ethics, however, it will also allow students to show off their abilities to argue using contemporary examples and knowledge as well as recalling and applying textual and historical studies to their work. Measures such as these would result in a more religious specification which encourages religious knowledge which allows students to analyse religious works and scholars more effectively. Although less time is spent on text (compared to the proposal), the quality of the analysis is of a higher level as teachers can really hone in on specific areas of the syllabus and bring in religious text to a high degree where possible making the course have a larger focus on text compared to the current syllabus but the spec still contains the key elements that draw students in to learning and enjoying RE.
Emily Walker (A2 Student of Philosophy and Ethics, Finham Park School)