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GCSE Religious Education

Why study RE?

RE allows students to explore, reflect on and respond to human experience, drawing on their study of religious beliefs, teachings and practices they started in KS3. The subject allows them to analyse and reflect on the bigger questions which can affect our society and the world we live in and develop the ability to form reasoned and informed judgments and opinions on religious and ethical issues.  Students will be challenged with questions about belief, values, meaning, purpose and truth, enabling them to develop their own attitudes towards religious issues, building on the KS3 curriculum.

Students develop skills such as empathy, as they need to be able to understand responses to a variety of moral issues from different viewpoints other than their own.  To help with this, discussions and holding class debates are a key learning tool, which the students are very enthusiastic about.  These also help to build their confidence in their own opinions and in public speaking.  Students will also develop the skill of critical thinking and looking at the relative merits of different arguments.  Subject expertise is a strength within the department and that, combined with the many years’ experience in teaching the GCSE means that we are able to make the subject accessible to all students.  The RE GCSE students have been extremely successful in their written exams, averaging 82% of students achieving grades 9-4 and 49% of students achieving grades 9-7, compared to the national average of 72% and 30%, respectively.

Where can it take you?

This ability to be able to understand and evaluate many sides to an argument makes the RE GCSE ideal as a starting point for many careers, such as journalism, law, the medical profession and teaching.  RE GCSE is seen as a very important GCSE by all colleges, who consider it of equal value with all of the Humanities GCSEs.


Click the logo or link below if you would like to view the full course specification from the Exam Board website.

Exam Board Qualification Specification
AQA Exam Board - GCSE Religious Studies (4050) GCSE Religious Studies A 8062

The new syllabus offered at GCSE is more wide ranging than in previous years, offering a broader understanding of 2 religions, as well as studying a range of moral and philosophical issues. The aim of the RE GCSE is to build on the skills they have learnt in KS3, such as evaluating moral arguments and understanding issues from several points of view.  This ability to be able to understand many sides to an argument makes the RE GCSE ideal as a starting point for many careers, such as journalism, law, the medical profession and teaching.

The topics covered are divided into the following two categories:

1. A study of Christianity and Buddhism
This section looks in depth at the core beliefs of both Christianity and Buddhism.  The course looks at the key beliefs and teachings of these two religions, along with their worship and festivals.

2. Religious, philosophical and ethical studies
This topic covers 4 areas of study:
• Religion and life: this looks at the origins and value of the universe and human life.
• The existence of God and revelation: this looks at the philosophical arguments for and against the existence of God and the nature of the divine and revelation.
• Religion, peace and conflict:  this looks at religion, violence, terrorism and war, along with religion and belief in 21st century conflict.
• Religion, crime and punishment:  this looks at religion, crime and the causes of crime, along with religion and punishment.

There is a strong emphasis in both of these sections on evaluating issues, where students will need to be able to express their opinions, as well as understanding other points of view.  These are obviously invaluable skills which are needed in a wide range of fields.


Assessment in Religious Studies is not tiered, so all students take the same exam papers and are able to achieve the highest grade possible for them.

There is no coursework. 100% of the mark is based on two written examinations, with 50% of the marks allocated to each paper.  These will all be sat in the June of Year 11.

Other Information

The GCSE classes are taught in mixed ability groups.

For more information please speak to Ms K Stevenson