“Religious studies is accessible to candidates of any religious persuasion or none”

Course Detail

Religious Studies offers an academic approach to the study of religion, philosophy and ethics. It is accessible to candidates of any religious persuasion or none. This course is designed to nurture the development of critical and reflective thinking with the aim of developing a greater understanding and appreciation of religious beliefs and teachings, as well as the disciplines of ethics and philosophy of religion.

Emphasis is placed on critical analysis and the construction of balanced, informed arguments within the context of a religious, philosophical and ethical awareness.

The Religious Studies A-Level has three units: 

  • Philosophy of religion which addresses philosophical issues and questions raised by religion and belief. These include arguments regarding the existence or non-existence of God, ancient phiolosophy, soul, mind and body, the nature and influence of religious experience and the problems of evil and suffering.
  • The study of Religion and ethics which is characterised both by a study of ethical language and thought through significant concepts and the works of key thinkers, illustrated in issues or debates in religion and ethics, and also by the application of ethical theory to issues of importance. Includes study of natural law, situation ethics, kantian ethics, utilitarianism, euthanasia and business ethics.
  • Developments in religious thought which provides an opportunity for the systematic study of the religious tradition of Islam. This includes exploration of beliefs, prophecy and revelation, tradition, God is One, human destiny, Shari'a, Sufism, values and teachings, sources of wisdom and authority and practices that shape and express Islamic identity.

Additional Entry Requirements

GCSE English: 5

GCSE Maths: 4

All A-Level courses are two year courses. You will sit the AS exams at the end of Year 12 and the A-Level exams at the end of Year 13. Although the AS grade will not count towards your final A-Level grade, you will need at least a grade D at AS to be able to continue into Year 13.

How will I be assessed?

At the end of Year 12 you will be assessed through three written examinations each lasting 1¼ hours. Your result from these examinations will form your AS grade.

At the end of Year 13 you will have three written examinations each lasting 2 hours; your result from these examinations will form your final A-Level grade.

Where can this course take me?

The Russell Group of top universities has made it clear that Religious Studies A-Level provides ‘suitable preparation for University generally’. This course will equip you to go to university where you can study religion or philosophy further. The course is particularly useful to students thinking of careers in Media, Law, Politics, Social work, Teaching and Community Work.

News from the R.E department

Year 12 Visit to London – Central Mosque and St Paul’s Cathedral 17th July 2017.

On Monday 17th July, Year 12 students travelled with staff from the RE Department, by train to London.  It meant an early start – with people arriving at Lea Hall from 6.30am!  Students successfully navigated themselves around London using the underground, arriving at St Paul’s for 10.30am.  Students were given a guided tour of the cathedral, dome and galleries and then took part in a Big Issues discussion with a member of the Cathedral’s religious staff.  Areas covered included; good and evil, euthanasia, homosexuality and beliefs about the soul.

Students then made their way to Regents Park Mosque to meet with a representative of the Mosque and they were again able to ask questions both about the mosque but also about beliefs relating to their A Level course.

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AS and A2 Candle Conferences in Manchester and Oxford.

Candle Conferences are led by Dr Peter Vardy (former Vice Principal of Heythrop College, University of London). These events for Year 12 and 13 students cover core Religious Studies topics and content and have been designed to support students in developing crucial AO2 skills in critical analysis, evaluation and structuring written arguments. During the day, students will appply the knowledge and understanding tio typical A-level essay questions, effectively developing and practicing their skills in making academic judgments, framing a thesis and developing supporting reasons, analyzing & engaging with scholarly debate, identifying & evaluating counter-claims, building to a justified, persuasive conclusion.

In addition to topic summaries, students receive notes which provide a wealth of scholarly quotations and short extracts of primary texts, reading lists, revision tips, advice on essay structure, model essays and plenty of suggested tasks and activities. Far from being boring exam-cramming or a day of endless “enrichment” lectures, all the events feature a debate – often with concurrent twitter poll – as well as a whole-group discussion and plenty of other opportunities to share, discuss and complete short written activities. The event gives students a real idea of what attending an academic conference can be like today as well as the chance to ask questions and find out what people from other schools are asking or saying.

"When we went to Oxford, I actually understood what was going on; Peter Vardy talked about all the things we had covered so it was enjoyable and helpful."

"The Oxford trip was very informative; Peter Vardy is very good at speaking.  It helped to run over what we have looked at this year and the debate at the end was interesting."

"‘We were given a good insight into sexual and gender ethics before starting the topic."

"The Oxford visit helped with understanding how to evaluate when essay writing."

Year 12 visit to places of worship

This time the focus was on places of worship closer to home, and certainly Birmingham has a rich history. Students visited the Oratory, St Martins in the BullRing and St Chads.

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