Is RE a mandatory GCSE subject?

(73 Posts)
tougholdbird Wed 16-Oct-13 17:10:03

Just that really - am trying to find out if I should tackle school or government about this? Thanks.

Clobbered Wed 16-Oct-13 17:12:44

No of course it isn't mandatory but a lot of schools do get everyone to take it (often the 'half course' version).

Why are you so bothered about it? It's not indoctrinating them, just learning something about a range of different religions and ethics - what's wrong with that?

OddBoots Wed 16-Oct-13 17:15:26

As far as I understand it the school must teach RE at KS4 level to any student not withdrawn and must offer an exam for it at GCSE level but if the student/parents want to opt out then they can.

link

tougholdbird Wed 16-Oct-13 17:19:33

You sound defensive clobbered?

Surely I am allowed to object if I wish to? I would rather have my child concentrate on other subjects that i personally deem more useful to him in the future, that is all.

oddboots very useful info, thank you.

TheBuskersDog Wed 16-Oct-13 17:19:41

My son did not study RE after KS3.

Tommy Wed 16-Oct-13 17:22:24

can't imagine many schools insist on it for GCSE unless it's a faith school

tougholdbird Wed 16-Oct-13 17:25:11

tommy that's what's puzzling me, it isn't a faith school and yet apparently it does insist on it, which is why I want to be sure of the facts before I query it.

LIZS Wed 16-Oct-13 17:26:09

no but some schools insist on it. Think it is sometimes perceived as a soft one to get.

friday16 Wed 16-Oct-13 17:30:56

can't imagine many schools insist on it for GCSE unless it's a faith school

It's a legal obligation to teach it, and if it's taught, these days most schools put the kids through a half- or full-course GCSE on general principles. You can withdraw your child from it (although it's actually rather a good essay-based GCSE, so I think that there are soft skills to be gained) but the school is not obliged to provide any alternative teaching in the time that is timetabled.

UnicornsNotRiddenByGrownUps Wed 16-Oct-13 17:32:03

It's a mandatory subject so lots of RE teachers will try to offer a half course or some kind of qualification to ensure the kids get something for their time in class. Ask the school before you start 'tackling the government' hmm. Also try asking about course content, if you haven't done this you may be pleasantly surprised.

Clobbered Wed 16-Oct-13 17:34:58

Defensive, moi? No, but you seem to be looking for a fight....

tougholdbird Wed 16-Oct-13 17:41:50

I am not looking for a fight, but I do believe a partnership between schools and parents should allow me to express my opinions. Just in the same way that if I disagree with a government policy I would 'tackle it' by writing to my MP if I felt strongly enough. I have no objection to the content of RE whatsoever, I just don't personally see it as a good use of limited options, (although I do take friday' point about essay writing skills).

Thank you to those who have given me some useful info.

eggyweggies Wed 16-Oct-13 17:45:29

RE was a great GCSE. I don't remember learning about any actual religions beyond year 9, from then on it was all philosophy and ethics type stuff.

showmethemoneyhoney Wed 16-Oct-13 17:45:34

Tbh both my kids of experience of RE is very far removed from how I remember RE at school. Its not just about religion anymore - it covers that alongside ethics and philosophy and both my DC love some of the ethical and moral dilemmas that the subject allows them to discuss. They have covered subjects such as abortion, animal rights, discrimination and war which I believe are all valuable of learning. I believe that schools are obliged to teach it beyond KS3 but I think as a parent you can opt out. My DD loves it so much she's considering doing it at A-Level. We are not a religious family either btw.

showmethemoneyhoney Wed 16-Oct-13 17:46:59

Doh!! Should read valuable areas of learning. Been a long day!

SchrodingersFanny Wed 16-Oct-13 17:49:43

But they won't get any extra time to focus on other subjects, as they still have to do that time for RE anyway. If you withdraw them you have to provide something for them to do, they aren't allowed to use it as private study time.

tougholdbird Wed 16-Oct-13 17:50:07

That makes it sound more appealing, thank you. But I still maintain it should be an option, not mandatory. Then DS could weigh up its value compared with other subjects he wants to do.

LaFataMalvagia Wed 16-Oct-13 18:02:18

I know it's the lack of choice you're annoyed about OP but on a positive note if it's the full GCSE R.E. he's doing I don't think its regarded as a 'soft' option at all and it's good preparation if he fancies doing philosophy at A level.

IMO it's better than some of the other compulsary subjects some schools do like general studies a-level or a lot of school IT qualifications.

mummytime Wed 16-Oct-13 18:02:56

My DCs school obey the law and teach it to KS4, and as they have to teach it, they also enter all pupils for at least 1/2 a GCSE (1 paper). Most students choose to sit 2 papers, so may get a whole GCSE.

The RE they do involves studying moral issues, seeing what at least 2 religions say about it, and then in the exam answering questions on them. My DS got a dreadful grade because he somehow forgot it was an RE exam so he was supposed to mention God/Religious belief in the answers.
It doesn't take much time from other subjects and can be a nice extra. (It takes 1 lesson a week.)

meditrina Wed 16-Oct-13 18:05:09

It is school policy, if they are insisting on an exam.

That it must be taught is a requirement in all state schools.

LittleSiouxieSue Wed 16-Oct-13 18:07:08

It surprises me how many issues come up in school when you think you have all bases covered and your research indicates the school will really suit your DC. Believe me this is nowhere near as galling as a school offering a subject at GCSE and then not offering it at A level when continuation of the subject is vital to your DCs university applications. This is truly naughty as changing schools may be the only option. Half and R E GCSE not too much of a sacrifice but you should have known beforehand so you can make a informed decision if this is the school for you or not. They all have their quirks though .

meditrina Wed 16-Oct-13 18:07:31

Oh, forgot to mention, DS's school teaches it from year 9 onwards like an intro to philosophy course - it's definitely about different approaches to big questions.

tougholdbird Wed 16-Oct-13 18:24:38

Tbh siouxsie it never occurred to me to ask - I just made some assumptions when we chose the school which with hindsight I can see I should not have done. Fortunately, it's not a huge deal, unlike the situation you describe shock.

Anyway, reading all your replies has made me much more relaxed about it grin.

titchy Wed 16-Oct-13 18:32:52

Even if you opted him out of the actual GCSE he'd still have it on his timetable as others have said its compulsory, as are maths, English, science, citizenship and PE.

My dd is debating abortion and euthanasia as part of her RE lessons - don't knock it!

TheGervasuttiPillar Wed 16-Oct-13 18:36:48

As has been said above, the only three compulsory subjects at GCSE are English, maths and science.

Some schools make all kids do a GCSE in RE in addition to the above three. A school local to use does this, though it does not say so in their literature, which can cause some friction with those that did not know.

I think it helps their stats. It also has the obvious effect of taking away a GCSE option from those kids who don't really want to do RE.

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