Is RE a mandatory GCSE subject?

(74 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.

knitknack Wed 16-Oct-13 18:38:04

A school can make ANY subject it likes a 'core' GCSE (ie one that all students take). It's up to THEM not the government (although they can't opt out of the ones the government DOES rule on, such as English or Maths). You'll have to find another school if you object that much.

You do realise that RE (or Religious ethics and Philosophy as it's more widely known) is a FANTASTIC GCSE to prepare students for A Level/uni don't you? I'm a history teacher and I hugely value the contribution that RE makes to students' ability to argue and write coherent, meaningful essays.

They also debate ethical issues that society NEEDS them to consider such as abortion or euthanasia... why on earth would you not want that??

The religious aspect is important too. We're looking at terrorism in the modern world in history at the moment, I can't imagine trying to teach that (surely one of the most relevant subjects I can teach in history, in terms of students' lives in the modern world) with a group of kids who DON'T know the basic beliefs of and differences between muslims, christians and jews...

... not to mention the other religions that they study.

Again - why WOULD you not want that? Studying world religions is VERY different to 'doing Christianity', which is NOT was RP&E is these days.

tougholdbird Wed 16-Oct-13 19:07:59

Um....it's not that I wouldn't want it knitknack, I just think he might want other things more and there is a limit to how much he can do.

And at the risk of sounding unbearably smug, we talk about all that stuff at home already - maybe not to same degree, but it is stuff I think I can cover more as he gets older. Other subjects, I don't stand a chance.

KatyMac Wed 16-Oct-13 19:44:50

I pulled DD out of RE (Citizenship & Ethics) because she was doing enough GCSEs IMO (she already has the equivalent of 6 & is taking another 7) I didn't think she needed RE & IT on top of that.

More recently we have pulled her from one of the classes as part of flexi-schooling; which is helping but doesn't solve DD's problems

englishteacher78 Wed 16-Oct-13 19:50:28

It doesn't really help the stats much anymore because RS is not part of Gove's EBacc. Although at the same time he insists it must be taught in some way through KS4. At my school it is covered in PSHE and PD lessons and then RSS is offered at GCSE level as an option. It is actually growing in popularity at the moment as more of the students become aware of the philosophy element of the course.

friday16 Wed 16-Oct-13 20:15:19

But I still maintain it should be an option, not mandatory.

Then good luck repealing primary legislation, specifically S.80(1)(a) of the 2002 Education Act. That traces back to the 1944 Education Act (S.25 et seq, if we're keeping score) via the 1996 At (S.376-ish, I can't quite recall) and, I suspect, to earlier legislation on school boards, although I've never looked it up. It was the price exacted by the established Church for folding their schools into the state system, and it's unimaginable it could be repealed without nuclear warfare (the CofE own a lot of real estate, and could if it wanted to take its ball home close the schools and sell the land for housing).

tougholdbird Wed 16-Oct-13 20:34:40

But friday it isn't mandatory at GCSE for all pupils, inspite of that impressive sounding legislation. Interested to get the background though - that explains why it gets special treatment over, say, history or geography.

Snowfedup Wed 16-Oct-13 20:37:14

I loved RE it was interesting and we learnt about all religions which only further confirmed my atheism (although was lucky to have a brilliant teacher who taught us to critically analyse all the inconsistencies in different religious teachings)

I'm really glad I did it as I love to discuss argue the fine points of theology even now (and often know more about for example the bible than some Christian friends)

bsc Wed 16-Oct-13 20:51:43

It is mandatory to study it! It's just not mandatory to sit the GCSE exam.

Our school do a course that is mostly philosophy and ethics, and they only have 1 lesson a week. Those that will manage do the full GCSE exam, others the half GCSE, and those that won't manage it aren't entered at all- there's no pressure put on the pupils in terms of their other subjects that way.

BTW- loads, really loads go on to do it in our 6th form (I think half the 6th form last year!) Obviously because it's a good course, and complements many AS/A2 s too- the AS/A2 we do is also more ethics/philosophy too.

friday16 Wed 16-Oct-13 21:02:07

"But friday it isn't mandatory at GCSE for all pupils"

So instead they could study it, but not do the GCSE. If that makes you happy. Speaking as a hardline atheist who can find Papists under any bed, it's a good GCSE, well taught in my kids' school.

But then, I've read your thread on your views on ICT. Speaking as a thirty year IT industry veteran with a first degree in computer science, now taking a sabbatical to do a full-time PhD in computer science, I'd rather my kids did GCSE RS. You, obviously, know better, and I defer to your deeper knowledge.

NoComet Wed 16-Oct-13 21:03:03

My DD has ended up doing full GCSE because the half course exam disappeared or something. Seems to be a GCSE for not a lot of effort so she's not complaining.

Schools are great at time wasting, assemblies, RE, PHSE, Welsh, French, Shakespeare, Lord of the Flies, Hockey, Netball, Careers, needlework, cookery all these were a considerable waste of my time.

NoComet Wed 16-Oct-13 21:04:27

ICT is appallingly badly taught and another frequent waste of time.

TheBuskersDog Wed 16-Oct-13 21:31:04

Well my son's school must be breaking the law, he did RE/PSHE in years 7 and 8, this was replaced by Citizenship in years 9 and 10 with the exam at the end of year 10. In year 11 he studied only English, Maths, Triple Science, his chosen GCSEs and ICT.

Ohwhatwitcheryisthis Wed 16-Oct-13 21:35:09

Dd's academy have opted out of the exam. It's great, they have gone from a frankly boring syllabus (what do Christians/Muslims/Jews believe about ....) practice for half a sodding gcse. Now they choose what they want to talk about. This week conspiracy theories, next week the banking crisis. They get the rare opportunity to have a mature debate about things outside the national curriculum and explore the wider world. previously it was oh shit is re-now its- oh great its ppre. not saying re doesn't have is place in understanding the world, but it was soooo dull and frankly not relevant. (as laid down in the NC not the school btw)

tougholdbird Wed 16-Oct-13 22:02:08

friday not sure what I have said to deserve that amount of spleen? I just would prefer my DS to learn more computing rather than Philosophy and was seeking advice on how best to broach this with the school. I feel bewildered now.

friday16 Wed 16-Oct-13 22:12:15

I just would prefer my DS to learn more computing rather than Philosophy

Which is funny, because here in computer science, we'd rather people learnt more Philosophy. Seriously: we have joint research programs with them. We'd also like people to be able to write essays, which they might get a leg up with. We couldn't give a toss about any of the content of GCSE ICT, which is almost completely worthless.

Unexpected Wed 16-Oct-13 22:46:13

You needed to check which subjects were mandatory at GCSE in your particular school before your dc started. My dc attend a faith school so RE GCSE is mandatory, I'd rather dc did something else but it's a humanity (well, not if you are Michael Gove), it teaches them to debate, see different viewpoints etc and it is not a particularly difficult GCSE so what's not to like really? I would much rather that they didn't have to do IT GCSE at their school which I DO think is a waste of time (the course content, not IT per se) as they seem to have spent five years getting to a point of competence which my dc, and probably many others in the year, passed somewhere in Year 8.

tougholdbird Wed 16-Oct-13 22:49:47

You may find it funny, friday, I do not unfortunately.

If you could share any of your wisdom on how to encourage a child who wants a career in computers, I would be very grateful, since it hadn't occurred to me that choosing RE over ICT was the obvious first step.

OddBoots Wed 16-Oct-13 22:52:58

If someone wants to work in and has an aptitude for computers then they would be beyond the GCSE ICT syllabus well before they were 16. The new upcoming computer science GCSE is a different matter but the old ICT is almost pointless for most people.

tougholdbird Wed 16-Oct-13 22:53:15

unexpected I have already admitted that error, but as it wasn't a faith school it just didn't occur to me.

How did your DC achieve their competence? Without anyone in the family to help, relying on self tuition feels like a big gamble.

mummytime Wed 16-Oct-13 23:13:46

My DS is at a specialist computing and engineering school, he dropped ICT as soon as he could. No one was bothered when he wanted to study for a BTec in IT.
He learnt by playing games, then working on Minecraft and adapting others code, coding in Scratch. And the other key skill is Maths, which is what good Universities are looking for.

Colleges he looked at did want to ensure he knew IT was nothing like school ICT.

tougholdbird Wed 16-Oct-13 23:25:19

Thanks mummytime - sounds like best thing I can do is stop stressing about the school and what they are teaching and crack on with encouraging DS to upload minecraft to the raspi and muddle through it with him as best I can!

Thanks all - this has been very enlightening smile

friday16 Wed 16-Oct-13 23:33:54

a child who wants a career in computers

Is it that they want it, or you want it for them? If they want it, they'll figure it out. Job with Google? Good PhD in computer science. To do computer science at university, the requirement is maths, maths, maths, maths. There are very few serious computer science courses that don't require an A or A* in A Level Maths. Even they need a pretty good excuse as to why you haven't got it, and teach you equivalent maths in the first year as an extra requirement.

ErrolTheDragon Wed 16-Oct-13 23:54:03

Depends what you mean by 'a career in computers' - I've written software for a living for over 25 years, hardly any formal training ... the entry level qualification for the sort of stuff I write is a PhD in chemistry because that's what our software is about, learning to code is the relatively easy part. (and yes, maths is essential). If he's interested in the hardware side I'd guess physics would be essential and electronics, if available, would be good.

DDs school would probably suit your DS ... RE GCSE not mandatory, they do a combination of RE/citizenship/PSHE/'beyond the curriculum' whatever that is for a total of an hour (or maybe two) a week during ks4, nothing like half a gcse's worth, nothing onerous. She would have liked to do it for GCSE despite (or because of) being a self-declared atheist, but not as much as she wanted to do computer science and electronics. (Apart from its being a girls' school, that is!)

englishteacher78 Thu 17-Oct-13 05:18:50

Upthread someone suggested their school was breaking the law as did Citizenship not RSS at KS4. The KS4 requirements for RS can be met through 'citizenship'. We meet ours through a one hour a week lesson called 'personal development' which runs alongside the option RSS.

thatmum48 Thu 17-Oct-13 08:44:03

My son goes to a RC comprehensive school and they are forced to pick re for one of their 4 gcse subjects. Basically meaning they only have 3 choices. I do find this rather irritable to be frank.

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