Monday, 22 December 2014

Draft Subject Content for A-Level RS: A Response (Wendy Dossett) | TRS Chester

If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. This is the view of many teachers, examiners and text-book writers regarding the reform of the Religious Studies A-level curriculum. And they have a point. Neverhas A-level RS been more popular, having approximately doubled its take-up in the last decade. Although growth is now slowing, possibly as a consequence of government interventions at Key Stage 4 which have negatively affected the subject, more than23,000 young people gained the qualification in 2014.

This is to be both celebrated and protected. It has been argued, with some justification, that the emphasis in A-level Religious Studies on Philosophy of Religion and Ethics accounts for this popularity. Young people want to ask the ultimate questions, both metaphysical and ethical – ‘Is there a God?’ ‘What does it mean to live a good life?’ In fact, many A-level programmes, and even school departments previously called ‘RE’ or ‘RS’, have changed their name to ‘Philosophy and Ethics’ to reflect this. Religion is perceived as an unattractive object of study, and the competition for candidates for public examinations against other curriculum subjects is fierce. There seems to be little doubt that the re-branding of the subject enabled by Curriculum 2000 (the last time the A-level curriculum was seriously re-written) has wrought benefits.

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