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(41 Posts)
Jux Thu 17-Jan-13 20:04:36

We are choosing subjects for GCSE atm - well, dd is! They get 1 hr pw of RE, which the school has decided will lead to another GCSE (2x1.5 hr exams). This is a core subject choice.

Why do they have to do it? I know the Gov has deemed that state schools must teach 1hr of RE a week, OK. Why the mandatory GCSE at the end of it though? DD doesn't want to do it, doesn't think it will be helpful as it is focussed on Xianity (she isn't). If it covered religions of the world or ancient religions she'd be interested, particularly the latter (Aztecs, Egyptians, Romans etc).

My own view is that if she's doing the 2 years she may as well do the exam. I do still wonder why the school has made the exam mandatory.

cricketballs Thu 17-Jan-13 20:23:25

Many schools make the exam mandatory to ensure the students see a purpose to studying a subject that they would normally not bother with.

I teach a subject that is compulsory to all, those who haven't chosen it as an option don't see the worthiness of it which means behaviour can be difficult, motivation difficult to achieve etc.

Coconutty Thu 17-Jan-13 20:25:37

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Jux Thu 17-Jan-13 20:32:38

Thanks, that does make perfect sense, of course (I seem to be going through another duh-brain phase atm).

I think the philisophy and ethics aspects will be extremely interesting, and will probably give her cause for thought for a long time to come. Also, I hope, help her - all of them - make better thought out decisions all their lives. On the whole, I would see it as more beneficial than not. A bit disappointed that it is focussed on Xianity though.

cricketballs, that could be soul-destroying.

cricketballs Thu 17-Jan-13 20:35:24

Tell me about it! It is worse in yr 10, by yr 11 they have got used to the fact that constant moaning doesn't work wink

AKissIsNotAContract Thu 17-Jan-13 20:38:11

I'm an atheist but really enjoyed RE GCSE. It's an easy one to get too.

OrangeLily Thu 17-Jan-13 20:41:45

Sounds like the school are using the compulsory time they must teach and giving the kids an extra qualification out of it.

Can your daughter not cope with sitting an extra exam? If she can its a great thing for her.

In Scotland something similar happens where kids end up sitting a unit of an intermediate in the core time therefore giving them something extra qualification wise.

IslaValargeone Thu 17-Jan-13 20:46:31

I'm not religious but I did enjoy studying RE.
It was really interesting studying how Christianity related to modern issues, I found it far more interesting than I thought I would.

marriedinwhite Thu 17-Jan-13 20:54:08

I hope this complaint isn't about something that's happening at a cofe school.

DS did it; DD will do it. Lots of parents have complained. Interestingly when I was at school (an age ago - O'Levels 1978) many parents thought the girls should do RE because they had to study it compulsorily anyway. At a top grammar school the head then said no, they wouldn't, she didn't think it was sufficiently academically demanding but the course that was taught was a good foundation should any girls chose to do and be committed to Theology A'Level.

How times change.

glaurung Thu 17-Jan-13 20:55:36

RE GCSE is a nice GCSE to do in that it doesn't have any controlled assessments, so not too much work. There are a lot of different options on the course, DD's school did about the most Christian focused ones they could find (including one on St Mark's Gospel) and still enjoyed it even as an atheist as they spent most of the lessons debating the issues. For the exam questions as long as you argue your case clearly you can answer from any viewpoint. Given the cultural bias towards Christianity in this country I think it's a worthwhile qualification to have which helps you to see issues from other peoples perspectives. It also helps develop written skills too. Schools make the exam compulsory because children tend not to take the lessons very seriously if they're not examined.

scurryfunge Thu 17-Jan-13 21:05:11

Agree with Glaurung.
Any subject is worthy of study if it encourages questioning and develops debate.
I did RE in the early eighties at school and although it wasn't my cup of tea, I enjoyed the discussion and morality issues ( was forced to switch to RE after not doing very well in Computer Studies- remember when you had to learn to actually programme computers!).

Copthallresident Thu 17-Jan-13 21:30:58

DD2 did Religion and ethics GCSE (it wasn't compulsory) and found it fascinating and now is doing Philosophy A level. She has strong views on faith, as in holds it accountable for a multitude of sins, however she even found the St Marks Gospel fascinating and really enjoyed ethics. One beware, so called revision sites that look independent but are actually only presenting the Catholic point of view.

I wish DD1 had done it, she is a Scientist and ethics is taught as an important compulsory module on her degree course, it would have got her used to thinking through the issues.

I know a lot of faith schools have it as a compulsory GCSE and since you know that when you sign up, you can't really moan.

Veneto Thu 17-Jan-13 21:46:34

DD did RS GCSE and really enjoyed it. Is now in Lower Sixth and has chosen it as one of her a-level subjects and is talking about doing philosophy or theology at uni. We aren't a religious family, but she just finds it really interesting.

Jux Thu 17-Jan-13 22:17:13

It's not a CofE school. If it had been a faith school then I certainly would have expected it - even if I'd had my worst ever duh-brain on grin

Scurryfunge, we didn't learn how to programme computers at school! Mainly because at that time, computers were massive great thing kept in special rooms full of anti-static mats, using tape or punched cards, and no one except science fiction writers believed that anyone other than serious specialists would need to know how to do it.

In fact, I did train as a programmer a few years after I left school; but even then they were machines kept in separate rooms with anti-static mats etc. we had a floppy drive which you loaded from the top having climbed up 3 steps to get high enough, the floppy itself was about 18 inches in diameter and 6 inches thick! I had to carry it in two hands as it was far too heavy to pick up with one! we had compiter programmers, computer operators and data entry (girls), and everything was batch processing. grin Those were the days!

gobbin Thu 17-Jan-13 23:27:02

My boy has the most fantastic RE teacher. They all do the GCSE during the compulsory lessons.

I'm sure two yrs ago he wouldn't have considered taking it further but the philosophy and ethics aspect has really flicked his switch, to the extent that he's chosen it for A level (with Chem, Phys, Geog).

With good teaching it can be the most fascinating subject and really develops thinking skills.

Copthallresident Fri 18-Jan-13 08:27:05

Jux Sorry that looked personal but it was a general rather than a specific you blush Actually when looking at schools I thought that was a negative to the faith school, when actually in the end DD did it voluntarily....

secretscwirrels Fri 18-Jan-13 13:06:26

DS1 did RE GCSE. He hates religion and is strictly a born again atheist but loved RE. The philosophy and ethics was a real stimulant to class discussion and debate.
However the full GCSE is normally 4 exams. If they do 2 exams it's probably the short course which counts as half a GCSE.
One hour a week isn't really enough time to do the full course and DS, along with 2 or 3 others chose to do the full course in after school lessons.

glaurung Fri 18-Jan-13 13:09:00

secret, several boards do short course RE as one exam and long course as two.

secretscwirrels Fri 18-Jan-13 14:03:32

glaurung sorry I should have thought about different boards. It was the one hour a week that made me think that it was the same as DS.
I know RE teachers often feel they get a raw deal on lesson time, I know that at DS's school lots of pupils got pulled out of RE to do booster classes in English or Maths close to GCSE time.

glaurung Fri 18-Jan-13 14:09:22

No apology needed secret - it was a good point to check if it was long or short course, just not quite as simple as looking at the number of exams.

MoreBeta Fri 18-Jan-13 14:16:24

I got a GCSE in RE some 35 years ago and it was a lot like English Literature combined with Ancient History. Jolly interesting and quite an academic subject. Glad I did it and still remember much of the discussion about Synoptic Gospels.

I used to go to church 8 times a week in those days though. Funnily enough I just started accidentally going to church 4 times a week after a very long break.

gazzalw Fri 18-Jan-13 14:41:19

I think RE is just the type of subject that should be core to their GCSE choices.It is about philosophy and morality and getting the children to think a bit more creatively and outside the box about issues that affect as individuals and in the wider society too....

DS has started secondary school with an anti-RE stance but from what they've studied so far I can say that I approve and I'm an out-and-out atheist....

fairylightsandtinsel Fri 18-Jan-13 21:56:37

As an atheist RS teacher this is a very encouraging and positive thread. In my current (private) school RS is an option but in my previous (state) school, we did exactly what the OP is saying, meet the gov requirement and make it worthwhile. Before that, it was compulsory but the kids just couldn't see the point and classes were nightmare. Generally, they do all enjoy it and learn useful debating and essay skills.

chloe74 Fri 18-Jan-13 22:48:55

morality, ethics, debates, essay's etc are all good, so why not have a philosophy class?

Its the religion that is the problem. How much is taught about Mormonism, Scientology, Humanisim, Wicca, Buddhism, Shinto, Pastafarianism, Jedi, creationism etc? when you force them to do a Judo-Christian curriculum its all about state indoctrination for some schools and grade inflation in others.

Religion shouldn't be allowed within a mile of state schools, at best its a waste of time and at worst its abuse.

sashh Sat 19-Jan-13 08:18:17

Scurryfunge, we didn't learn how to programme computers at school!

Some of us did. 1 Commodore Pet to a class of 16 with a day trip to the local college to program with punched cards.

In the second year of the O Level we got a second machine with a floppy drive, you had to use one floppy to boot the system and then a second one for your programming.

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