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AQA - Religious Studies A (Draft 8062)

(18 Posts)
urbanfox1337 Tue 02-Feb-16 21:30:36

Y9 GCSE choices evening and can't decide on last option.

DS (very academic) loves philosophy, does it after school, in competitions, talks about it at home etc. Teachers have sold Religion and Philosophy as last option he should take. Problem is he loves philosophy, 'hates' religion.

Looked up AQA specification and its studying 2 religions (no humanism, atheism, paganism, wicca. greek, norse etc allowed). Plus 2 St Marks gospel units and 2 philosophy of religion units (eg The existence of God and revelation, and Religion, peace and conflict). I think he will hate it), he hates RE. The way I read it is 95% religion.

So other less preferable options are Drama (likes acting but not the attitude of the other pupils who see it as chance to do nothing). Product design, if it was graphics or resistant materials but not keen on the subjective nature of the assessment. And business studies as a wildcard but we don't know a lot about it and edexcel website seems less understandable than aqa.

Just looking for comments / opinions to help inform what I think is best to advise him.

balletgirlmum Tue 02-Feb-16 21:34:26

The kids who see drama as a chance to do nothing are going to have a heck of a shock with the new spec!

Dd is also very into philosophy etc & is considering whether to choose RS, Drama or IT (she can chose 2 of the 3)

urbanfox1337 Tue 02-Feb-16 21:55:27

I agree Drama will be harder, unfortunately the pupils will still be in the class destroying every lesson. sad

Leeds2 Tue 02-Feb-16 22:29:44

I have heard many parents complain that their DCs' drama grade was less than it should have been because of other less willing students in the group. No idea if this is true, or just sour grapes. But I have heard it a lot!

urbanfox1337 Tue 02-Feb-16 22:41:19

DS does drama privately, several small productions every year, one big one in front of 1000 parents at a local theater. Refuses to do ANY school productions because classes are just a joke to majority of other pupils.

Tigerblue Wed 03-Feb-16 07:41:15

I was surprised my DD chose to do religion and philosophy, as I didn't think she'd be interested in the religious side. However, she is thoroughly enjoying it and enjoys class discussion. She's been achieving A* marks for all her work and I think this is down to her grasp of the philosophy side and how to put things across. With regard to the two religions the school have chosen one and they had a class vote on the other religion!

Icouldbeknitting Wed 03-Feb-16 09:31:31

DS had to do RE, the school took the view that as they had to teach some of it they might as well go all the way to the exam. It most certainly would not have formed one of his choices but he's been ok with it. Ours doesn't look like the syllabus you quoted, his seems to be less religion and more big issues (war, discrimination, poverty). I have been pleasantly surprised by the content, we've had a few discussions about it.

Drama - as others have said, it very much depends on the attitude of the rest of the class. If he thinks it will be a bunch of clowns it probably will be a bunch of clowns.

Tigerblue Wed 03-Feb-16 10:01:20

I forgot to say, my DD understands from a friend they have to act a scene out and the marks given are not on individual performance, they're averaged out over the whole group. Therefore, you could have someone who deserves top marks, but a member of their group who isn't so good or forgets lines, will bring that element down. Having said that, if it's something he thinks might be useful in the future, then he should consider it.

It might be helpful for him to have a word with a couple of teachers for the subjects he's considering. My DCs school made it very clear they were happy to discuss further in the hope it helped them.

urbanfox1337 Wed 03-Feb-16 10:54:00

Last year school forced all children to do the RE exam, on basis of you have to study it anyway. This year they have made it one of the options and given it more curriculum time, which mean anyone not picking it won't have to do RE.

Icouldbeknitting - Would be interested to know which board your DS is doing, sounds like its the old RE syllabus. This is the new RS exam that starts in September, which recently had humanism banned from it (despite high court ruling). The specifications are still not approved, hence I used draft in title.

Tigerblue - Thanks for the heads up about averaging marks, will check it further with school. Has made Drama a less desirable option.

OldBeanbagz Wed 03-Feb-16 11:18:54

Sounds a bit like DD's options block. She also enjoys the Philosophy & Ethics side of RS but hates the Religion bit. We been assured that she could still do Philosophy A Level if she didn't do RS at GCSE.

In the end she chose Business Studies as she figured she had a head start with us running our own business. History was the other option but she felt it was too essay heavy!

Icouldbeknitting Wed 03-Feb-16 11:23:41

Urbanfox1337 It will be the old syllabus then, my DS is older and sits it this summer. I had to look at the syllabus recently as they've had one missing teacher after another this year. When it came to the mock exam they'd only covered one topic on the paper (or so he said) and I was trying to work out what they should be covering so I could fill in the gaps. As it's a pick and mix syllabus I was still clueless.

Don't they still have to do some form of RE even if they don't take the GCSE? That was the reason for our school making it compulsory, if they had to give it space on the timetable then it was going to count for something. They do only get one lesson (a single) a week on it which looks lightweight compared to the other subjects.

We get tied into the idea of making the best choices but when you get to the last one or two options there may be little to choose between them.
It is possible that the choice will be taken out of his hands in that the particular combination of subjects he wants won't be available.

catslife Wed 03-Feb-16 12:05:10

dd is taking AQA Product design at the moment and the syllabus won't be changing yet so please ask if you have any further questions. It is a mixture of Graphics and Resistant materials which incorporates the skills from both these areas. for example they have had to use 2d and 3d design software but most of the making skills are similar to resistant materials. There is both an exam and coursework where they make and design a product specified by the exam board.
She is also taking RS (old syllabus) using the Edexcel exam board which sounds similar to that described by icouldbeknitting where they look at different issues taking into account different cultures and religions.
It sounds as if the new syllabus is more religious though and am wondering if the teachers who recommended it for your ds have taken that on board.

urbanfox1337 Wed 03-Feb-16 12:17:59

OldBeanbagz - Yes was told that about A-Level philosophy as well. Also ruled out history because it is too easy heavy. Any opinions of the business studies course, hard, interesting, worthwhile?

Icouldbeknitting - I think there is supposed to be some sort of RE but just like PSHE and assemblies etc they sidelining them into tutor time where they can tick a box without actually wasting any valuable teaching time on them.

The pick and mix nature of 'religion and philosophy' means you can't tell beforehand whether you will get any decent philosophy units or if they will all be religious ones. Haven't been able to nail the teacher down on this aspect.

The choices are all set in stone, this is just the last column where our possible options are Business Studies, Drama, Product Design or Religion and Philosophy + others that aren't relevant.

urbanfox1337 Wed 03-Feb-16 12:33:35

Oh great catslife. Do you have to choose between RM and graphics at some stage? How is the balance between work on a computer verses hands on creating. Any idea of how the assessments go yet, eg is it possible to get very high marks when creating something? Do children on the course take it seriously or is there a lot that treat it as any easy option and muck about?

I feel in some subjects like RE/RS the teachers are not completely sure what the details of the new course will be. They are misleadingly pushing the philosophy side of it because because that seems to appeal to kids now, hardly anyone is interested in the religious side of it.

catslife Wed 03-Feb-16 13:08:57

Hi urbanfox
They can choose to make the product using any materials they like so it could be paper/cardboard/plastic/wood or metal depending on what the project requires (or what is available in school), but it can be decorated with suitable graphics as well.
The marks are roughly 50% for the design process (some of which is done on a computer) and 50% for making and evaluation. In Y10 they did short projects to improve skills and they are doing the final project in Y11. Yes it is possible to obtain high marks. I understand that PD is seen as a bit more academic than RS which reduces it being seen as an easy option. dd is one of only 2 girls taking the subject so possibly has a slightly different perspective but gather that most pupils are taking the subject seriously and finding it a good contrast to essay based subjects.

urbanfox1337 Thu 04-Feb-16 21:02:47

Sorry to bring this post up again but have a specific question I hope someone can answer. Had meeting with RE teacher this evening and got lots more info, plus all the things she didn't know, which was fine as well.

So my question is, according to the AQA website specifications, 2 religions out of the 7 listed have to be studied. However the teacher was adamant they would ONLY be studying Christianity and I didn't understand her explanation as to why. Could she be right that you can only study one?

catslife Fri 05-Feb-16 08:39:55

I suspect the teacher is incorrect, according to the specification you can either teach Christianity or Catholic Christianity but not both.

Icouldbeknitting Fri 05-Feb-16 09:11:05

I read the syllabus and it clearly says two religions from seven. I would email/write to the teacher along the lines of "lovely to see you - thank you for your time - I thought you said X, the syllabus says Y - confused, please clarify". At least then you will have the response in writing.

Mistakes do happen, at a local school the entire year failed a particular modern language GCSE because they had been taught one syllabus and entered for another. It shouldn't happen but it does.

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