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Is RE compulsory at gcse level?

(78 Posts)
fairyfuckwings Sun 16-Mar-14 01:59:23

The reason I ask is that my twins are just choosing their options for gsce now and I find it a bit disappointing really that they've had to drop subjects they love as they only have limited choices. At their school RE is compulsory. Every parent I've spoken to has felt that RE is a bit of a waste of of lesson. The choices my kids got were 2 of the following: art, geography, history, extra ict, drama, science (to make it triple) and business studies.

As an atheist I feel that the last 10 years the children have spent learning about the various fantasies people choose to participate in is enough. Personally, I think history is a far more relevant subject. Well anything other than Re really. My kids have no interest in this subject. I have no interest in it. And judging the lack of interest in the Re desk at the recent parents evening it would seem that none of the other parents give a toss either.

Is this a national thing? Or is it just my children's school?

LordPalmerston Sun 16-Mar-14 02:04:42

Yes. Ask the kids. It's changed. Many love it.

Tbh this thread is a perennial. Take a look
In archives

aroomofherown Sun 16-Mar-14 02:09:50

Yes it is.

Personally I believe it helps students understand opinions that are different to their own, and why there is tension in society/legislation. It's about society and the beliefs that make it tick. I do think it's fascinating - but I love "Big Questions" on a Sunday morning.

ravenAK Sun 16-Mar-14 02:15:56

As an atheist, I think it's massively important that young people spend a lesson a week engaging with what other people believe.

& it's usually only that, unless they choose it as a GCSE option - lots of schools do a short course which doesn't lead to a GCSE for those who haven't opted for it, although some just enter the whole cohort for the GCSE.

I'd check how much time is going to be spent on it before going in all guns blazing. In theory, you can withdraw your child from RE, but in practice, that's not going to mean they suddenly get to do another GCSE in the time saved.

fairyfuckwings Sun 16-Mar-14 04:04:57

Sorry had a quick look and I wasn't aware this question had been asked repeatedly.

If it's compulsory then I suppose that's it. End of. There was no question of me going into school "all guns blazing" so I'm not really sure where that comment came from?

Yes, I know it's important to teach children what other's believe, but as theyve already had 10 years of that, I think it's kinda covered. Well as far as the "main" religions are concerned.

I just think, personally, it's a "waste" of a gsce. I didn't have to study it to gsce level, and whilst I don't doubt that it's a very interesting subject, I just don't get how it's more important than history or geography. Or art for that matter.

Especially Art.

NurseyWursey Sun 16-Mar-14 04:24:55

It's mandatory now?!! Wow. As much as I want my children to have an understanding of other people's beliefs, I would want them having to have a GCSE in it when there are other things they're more interested in.

ravenAK Sun 16-Mar-14 04:28:31

Heh, apologies if 'all guns blazing' came across as a suggestion that you were going to storm in! grin

what I actually meant was - if the school's policy is they have to do it as a full GCSE, then I'd probably be challenging that too. Great GCSE if you're interested in it, but I'd agree that it shouldn't be prioritised over other subjects.

But what lots of schools do is teach it as a 'short course' which satisfies the statutory requirement, but doesn't a) take up the same curriculum time as a GCSE or b) lead to a GCSE, & at that point it turns into an interesting hour a week discussing ethics & current affairs.

That's certainly how my RE colleagues at the school at which I teach interpret it for those who haven't opted for the GCSE.

Hence my (unclear!) previous post suggesting you establish whether your dc's school requires it to be taken as a full GCSE course...

fairyfuckwings Sun 16-Mar-14 04:51:03

I'm just bitching - I know I am - because I'm sooo disappointed both of my children have had to "ditch" art. They were both talented in different ways and they both. were encouraged by their art teachers to chose it as an option.

My daughter chose extra ict and history. She has learning difficulties and she's really really good at these subjects.

My son chose extra ict and drama. He's being fast tracked in maths and science so is basically doing triple science in the same time as everyone else doing double and therefore didn't have to use up one of his choices for that. He's a massive geek and was bullied A LOT in the past. Drama has really been fab for him and really turned things round for him. His drama teacher singled him out and said, out of the entire class, she wanted him to chose drama. And I totally agree - he's a changed boy!

Which leaves no time for art! We're an artistic family. My cousin is a proper artist. An aunt is a designer. I bloody love art and would have loved to do it for a living but unfortunately I wasn't quite "there" . Both of my children showed talent and enjoyed the subject but unfortunately there just weren't enough options.

Hence, my look at the compulsory subjects:
Maths - yes obviously you need that
English x 2 - same
Science, ict and a language - yes all important
phsce - had a look and it does actually seem beneficial, despite my iinitial thoughts on it being a bit wanky.

Which only leaves pe and re. (Actually it might leave tech as well - not sure if that was a core subject or optional)

Hence my post. Really disappointed that my children can't do art.

fairyfuckwings Sun 16-Mar-14 04:58:33

Soz raven! Took your comment completely the wrong way! Yeah they're doing a gsce in it. I just think it's all rubbish compared to when I was at school. They're doing loads more gsces than I did but have less choice. How does that work? We only did 8 but had 5 options. I think my kids are doing 10? 11? And have 2 choices. 2.

fairyfuckwings Sun 16-Mar-14 05:27:01

Exactly nursery! I'm not sure how necessary RE is where we live anyway! My kids have friends from many different faiths (c of e, Catholicism, Islam, hindu, budism, jehovas witness) and they do discuss these things between them. I'm of Jewish descent so that's pretty much all major religions covered!

I was speaking to a teacher friend tonight and her view was that it was good to study re from a political following on from that, surely it would be better to expand on that and turn re into a politics gsce? As it stands I think no one gives a shit about re and it's seen pretty much as a pointless gsce.

At the last parents evening my daughter made me an apappointment to see her re teacher. He joked about me being his first customer! All the teachers were in the. main hall. The most popular teachers were (in order ) maths, english, science, ict, every other subject; re

honestly, we were there at least an hour and I didn't see another parent with him the whole time. I was s bit pissed off myself that my daughter made an appointment with him in the first place, given the fact that they were only allowed to make 6 appointments.

ravenAK Sun 16-Mar-14 06:20:02

No worries, I wasn't terribly clear in my first post. I think we're actually in agreement!

I've always thought that RE in schools should be called Ethics, or Philosophy, & have a considerably wider scope than just the comparison of a limited selection of imaginary friends.

I'd agree that RE shouldn't be a compulsary GCSE because of the sheer time demands that creates, time that could, as you say, be better used for some students. I'm also surprised that they can't cover PSHCE in the same slot & free up another option.

ApplySomePressure Sun 16-Mar-14 06:22:14

Where I teach, pupils do not take it at GCSE- they study RE within their compulsory timetabled hour of PSHE.
Hope this helps.

SuffolkNWhat Sun 16-Mar-14 06:24:50

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

atthestrokeoftwelve Sun 16-Mar-14 06:39:16

I don't know what you mean by RE- is that religious instruction?

We don't have that subject in Scotland. My son studies RMPS at GCSE level- Religious, Moral and Philisophical Studies, which encompasses a wide range of subjects, religious comparisons, in depth analysis of slavery, the death penalty, ancient and modern philosophy. It is a worthwhile subject and teaches critical thinking and analysis.

atthestrokeoftwelve Sun 16-Mar-14 06:40:33

Just to add that RE is not compulsary in Scotland- is it in England- or school dependant?

ravenAK Sun 16-Mar-14 07:07:24

It's compulsory to study RE, in some shape or form, at KS4 - so until 16.

Students don't have to take a GCSE in it but it has to be available as an option. If they don't take it as an option they still have to be seen to be studying it; what this means in practice varies from school to school.

One way of satisfying the requirement, of course, is just to enter the whole cohort for GCSE RE, which seems to be what OP's dc's school has decided to do.

I wouldn't be terribly happy, either.

PotteringAlong Sun 16-Mar-14 07:13:53

List of well respected subjects. Is RE on it? Yes. Is Art on it? No.

Just think about the skills if RE; the debates, the structuring arguments, the considering other points if view other than your own about moral issues that influence everyone's lives and consider it's value then.

gardenfeature Sun 16-Mar-14 07:15:50

My DS is doing OCR RE B: Philosophy & Applied Ethics. Topics are:

1. Belief about Deity/Religious Experiences; The End of Life.
2. Good and Evil; Religion and Science.
3. Religion and Human Relationships; Religion and Medical Ethics.
4. Religion and Equality; Religion and the Media.

"The course and examination format provides an opportunity for students to explore how beliefs motivate human behaviour and to explicitly and distinctly address skills of enquiry, analysis, reflection and critical thinking. A significant part of the examination requires students to debate in detail controversial statements. This will also allow them to express their personal views and evaluate the strenghs and weaknesses of arguments made by both religious and atheist viewpoints."

All good stuff! My DS's current RE teacher is a Philosophy graduate and he loves her - he is an atheist and loves a good debate.

LordPalmerston Sun 16-Mar-14 07:20:16

Agree. As always on these threads the op needs to actually know what they are talking about before discussing school curricula.

JugglingFromHereToThere Sun 16-Mar-14 07:22:57

Could your DC pursue their art in a class outside of school OP?
Thinking this could be more possible with art than some other subjects?

I agree about RS/RE. My children are at a church school (secondary) and all do RS for GCSE, also all do triple science. To my mind, with the compulsory RS too, this puts a real squeeze on the humanities (Geography and History), as well as the arts (Art, Music), and the techs, (eg. product design, food tech)

Mine end up with 3 real choices; dd is doing History, Geography and Art.
ds considering Art, Music, and either Drama or History.

Iwantacampervan Sun 16-Mar-14 07:23:06

My DD does not have to study it at GCSE level - she has to make one choice of Philosophy and Ethics (RE), Citizenship or IT. I don't know what they do for RE if it's not one of their options.

Inthebeginning Sun 16-Mar-14 07:48:26

legally all students need to study it. Our school look at it that if they're spending a year learning it (short course) then they might as well get a gcse in it.
ours is called citizenship. They learn about matters of life (euthanasia, abortion, etc) multiculturalism, crime and punishment, human rights. All necessary to give them a good grounding in life. yes religion is part of it , but it's not all of it.

atthestrokeoftwelve Sun 16-Mar-14 07:50:26

inthebeginning - is that just in England? My kids have these subjects as an option.

creamteas Sun 16-Mar-14 10:52:21

You can legally withdraw your child from RE.

But in my DCs school if you do, you just get to sit in the students support area with pupils sent out of lessons for punishment.

titchy Sun 16-Mar-14 11:17:38

If they're already doing ICT why can't they choose art instead of extra ICT? And yy to RE - it's more ethics and debate than 'what Hindus believe'.

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