The key outcomes of the 2017 A level results in England and Wales for Religious Education are as follows:

  • 23,856 RS A level entries were recorded, a small decrease of 4.0% on 2016.  Much of this decrease is explained by a decrease in the number of 18-year-olds in England, Wales, and Northern Ireland of 1.7%
  • Despite the decrease in entries for RS, there are still more than double the number in 2003 (11,132 entries were recorded in 2003)
  • The increase of 114% in the number of entries for RS A level since 2003 is greater than for any arts, humanity or social science subject (the nearest subject is Political Studies with an increase of 90%).  Among all subjects, only Further Maths has seen more rapid growth than RS
  • 23.3% of entries for RS A level were awarded an A or an A*
  • There were 16,308 entries for RS at AS level, a decrease of 54% on 2016; this reflects the decline across all subjects where the number of AS entries fell by 40% across England and Wales.  Despite the drop there are still more entries than in 2003 (15,482 entries were recorded in 2003)

The importance of RS A Level as a subject for Higher Education entry and for graduate recruiters is increasingly recognised by independent bodies. The Russell Group of top universities has made it clear that RS A level provides ‘suitable preparation for University generally’, and both Oxford and Cambridge University include Religious Studies in the top level list of ‘generally suitable Arts A levels’.

In fact, almost 21% of students admitted to Oxford University to study English and 13.5% admitted to study History in 2015 had an RS A level, more than those with Economics, Physics and Business Studies A levels.1

Employers are also recognising the value of religious literacy. For example, in February 2017, EY announced the creation of Religious Literacy for Organisations (RLO), a diversity and inclusion training programme designed to help organisations better understand religious inclusion and its positive impact on business process and performance.

Career prospects for those that take Religious Studies/Theology at degree level are also very bright, with 25% of 2015 graduates going on to work in the fields of legal, social and welfare, 11% choosing to become educational professionals and almost 5% managers.

The high number of pupils taking A level and AS level Religious Studies is all the more impressive for coming at a time when there is a shortfall in recruitment for teacher training in Religious Education.  Evidence collected by the National Association of Teachers of RE (NATRE) suggests that headteachers are finding it increasingly difficult to recruit RE specialists.

Comment from Daniel Hugill, Chair, National Association of Teachers of RE (NATRE)

"Congratulations to the many students receiving their Religious Studies results today.  Their results are the product of their hard work grappling with some of the most difficult questions to ever puzzle humankind. Congratulations to their teachers too who have worked tirelessly to ensure that their students can reach their full potential.  It is of little surprise to those of us who teach RS that it remains so popular amongst young people.  RS A-level is an excellent preparation for both further study and for entering the world of work.  RS is a subject that helps young people gain access to a wide range of degree courses including those at the most prestigious Universities.  Our most recent Freedom of Information request found that more than 1 in 10 students admitted to Oxford’s Philosophy, Politics, and Economics (PPE) and History courses had studied RS A-Level. This statistic increases to more than 1 in 5 for students admitted to study English.  The subject matter and approach of an RS A-level helps to equip students with the skills, knowledge, and attitudes necessary to succeed in modern Britain.”

Comment from Rudolf Eliott Lockhart, Chief Executive, Religious Education Council of England and Wales (REC):

"It’s fantastic to see how popular Religious Studies A level remains.  This is a highly rated subject that offers pupils the opportunity to explore crucial questions in relation to beliefs, values and morality. In doing so it provides an excellent preparation for living in a multi-faith, multi-cultural world.  What’s more, Religious Studies is a rigorous, academic A-level that provides an excellent foundation for further study in a wide range of academic subjects, and remains a very attractive qualification to universities.  These results are really encouraging, but there’s still work to do.  I hope that the Government will want to work with us to turn enough of today’s keen A level pupils into tomorrow’s teachers to help meet the shortfall in appropriately qualified teachers of religious education that we currently face.”

 

Numbers of A level entries in arts, humanities and social sciences in England and Wales by selected subject area, 2003 to 2017

 

A level subject area

2003

2005

2007

2009

2011

2013

2015

2016

2017

% change 2003 to 2017

Religious studies

11,132

14,929

16,841

18,899

19,952

20,851

23,372

24,849

23,856

114%

Political studies

8,683

10,008

11,088

12,277

13,715

14,302

14,087

14,462

16,467

90%

Economics

17,153

17,087

17,016

20,546

23,476

25,755

27,202

28,827

29,557

72%

Sociology

23,498

25,709

26,663

28,472

29,703

29,681

31,378

32,968

33,625

43%

History

40,089

42,735

44,035

46,617

48,590

49,786

53,548

51,974

47,877

19%

Law

12,350

14,510

15,487

16,276

14,351

12,484

10,701

11,209

11,487

-7%

Geography

33,467

30,552

29,538

30,226

29,348

30,871

35,221

34,180

35,820

7%

ALL SUBJECTS

721,887

752,602

774,842

815,603

834,735

817,916

818,359

799,524

792,527

10%

Notes: GCE A level results of A level candidates in England and Wales.

Source: Joint Council for Qualifications (JCQ)

Wednesday, 12 July 2017 09:51

Mission Animation Day in Clifton Diocese

missio low resIn June 80 children from seven schools in Swindon and Malmesbury, Clifton Diocese, gathered together in joyful celebration for a Mission Together Animation Day.  The morning was spent with children making friends with one another, engaging in group activities, and reflecting on their role as ‘children helping children’ with Mission Together, the Pope’s official children’s charity for overseas mission.

Through the day children learnt that even though they are all unique individuals, they can make a big difference to building God’s kingdom when they act together and support one another.  The Good News Bracelets made by the children, reminded them of the hope and love they bring to other young people around the world who are living in poverty when they pray and share- as Jesus taught.

The sessions were followed by an afternoon Liturgy led by Missio’s National Director, Fr Tony Chantry and Missio’s Diocesan Director for Clifton Diocese, Fr Gary Brassington.  The chaplaincy team from local secondary school, St Joseph’s Catholic College, Swindon helped the Liturgy to run smoothly with the addition of their prayers and reflections.

Many congratulations to all the pupils and students for their words of wisdom and thoughtfulness as they carried out their tasks. Thanks also to the staff - teachers and chaplains – who generously gave up their time to help organise the event and who provided inspiration for future Mission Together animation days.  Final thanks goes to Holy Cross Catholic Primary School, Swindon for hosting a wonderful day.

Thursday, 11 May 2017 14:35

Praying the Rosary for Peace

St Marys 1At the start of May, Pope Francis encouraged Catholics to pray the Rosary for peace. Around the same time Mission Together, the Holy Father’s official children’s charity for overseas mission, paid a timely visit to St Mary’s Primary School (Batley) to deliver a special assembly. St Mary’s has a long tradition of reciting the Rosary with its pupils in May, a practice fondly remembered by ex-pupil and Mission Together education team member, Claire Colleran.

Claire was delighted to have been invited into her old school at the start of Lent to speak to pupils about Mission Together and how, as children helping children through prayer and giving, they can share in the mission of the Church and deliver God’s love to all people, everywhere, just as Jesus taught us.

Following that assembly, St Mary’s had adopted Mission Together as their Lenten charity and helped raise funds by selling the charity’s Mission Rosaries. Although Mission Together was just one of a number of the school’s Lenten charities, St Mary’s still managed to raise a wonderful £350 to help children living in poverty overseas.

Claire was invited back in to St Mary’s to collect the cheque and to lead a Marian inspired Mission Rosary assembly. Parish priest Fr Eamonn Hegarty came along to bless the children for their efforts to share God’s love with others through their support of Mission Together.

RE Coordinator, Mrs Jennie Blanchfield, said of the visit; ‘The children fully embraced Mission Together and its concept of children helping children. They could see through their prayers and giving that they can make a small change to children's lives all around the world. They were totally committed to collecting as much loose change as possible to put in the Mission Together Boxes.’

Father Eamonn Hegarty added, "Once again the children of St Mary's have shown how generous they are."

Mission Together supports the physical, spiritual, and emotional wellbeing of children around the world. If you’ve been inspired by St Mary’s efforts and would also like to encourage children to help children, contact missiontogether.org.uk to arrange an assembly, or download user friendly assemblies (including the Rosary assembly delivered at St Mary’s) and other resources from our website. 

Monday, 08 May 2017 12:53

Pope Francis' Mega Youth Poll

In 2018, Pope Francis will meet Bishops and others to talk about Youth, Faith and Vocational Discernment. At this gathering they will discuss how the Catholic Church can accompany all young people in their faith and help them to hear God’s call. Please can you encourage your students aged between 13-29 years old to use the Mega Youth Poll so that they can tell the Catholic Church in England and Wales what life is like for them, their thoughts on faith and how we can help them to hear God’s call by using this link https://www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/schools-youth-poll or scanning this QR code with your phone.

 

 

Please encourage your students to share their thoughts rather than what they think we would like to hear. For a list of the questions asked  in the Mega Youth Poll, Click HERE

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