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
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,
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.