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Number of students taking A level in RS is highest ever

24 August 2012

Starry-eyed:  Hector Manly (left) and Edward Zeidler, of Hurstpierpoint College, West Sussex, achieved nine A* grades at A level be­tween them

Starry-eyed:  Hector Manly (left) and Edward Zeidler, of Hurstpierpoint College, West Sussex, achieved nine A* grades at A level be­tween them

THE number of A-level students taking the examination in religious studies rose by 700 this year to 23,000 - the highest ever total, and more than double the number of entrants ten years ago.

The results published last week show that five per cent of entrants earned the top A* grade, and all but 1.4 per cent of entrants were awarded grades A to E. The subject was more popular than politics and physical education. More than 31,000 entered for religious studies at AS level.

RE professionals say that the level of interest confirms that the Secretary of State, Michael Gove, is wrong to exclude the subject from the English Baccalaureate. The GCSE results out next week will be an early indication of whether the EBacc has begun to affect RS at 16-plus.

"The figures put religious-education teachers in a strong position as they fight for the subject against the impact," Lat Blaylock, the editor of the magazine RE Today and an executive member of the National Association of Teachers of RE, said.

The high number of entrants at AS level - which includes subjects studied for general interest rather than for university entrance - demonstrated that religious studies was an area widely enjoyed by young people for its philosophical rigour and human interest, Mr Blaylock said.

In common with some other subjects, including languages, the AS-level results in RS showed a gender bias: 7000 male students entered for the subject, compared with 16,000 female students.

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