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Religious Studies back in the fold for exam overhaul

02 May 2014

SHUTTERSTOCK

RELIGIOUS STUDIES is to be included in the overhaul of GCSE and A-level exams, along with core-curriculum subjects such as history and geography, the Departmentfor Education has agreed. The decision has delighted religious-education specialists, who blamed the omission of RS from the list of approved EBacc qualifications for the downgrading of their subject in school.

"The turnaround is clear evidence that the Government has accepted our argument that religious studies is an academically challenging subject," said John Keast, who chairs the RE Council (REC), which will be involved in the exam reforms.

A-level RS is regarded by the Russell Group of universities as a good qualification for university entrance. At GCSE, more students completed the exam course in RS than either history or geography, Deborah Weston, who chairs the REC qualifications committee, said.

"It is important that examination standards are consistent across the subjects. Research at Durham University into the relative difficulty of a wide range of examination subjects placed RS firmly in the middle," she said.

The new-look GCSEs will be introduced next year, and the first exams taken in 2016. Grades A-C will be replaced by a nine-point numerical system and a tougher pass-mark.

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