RE Key Stage 4

GCSE Religious Studies (Year 10 and 11)

GCSE Religious Studies

GCSE Religious Studies currently follows the AQA Specification A.  There are two distinct topics

Unit 2: Ethics

  1. Right to Life (Students assess Christian and secular views towards when life begins, examining pro-life and pro-choice arguments surrounding the issues of abortion and euthanasia.  They examine the Christian teaching on the sanctity of life, and assess whether this conflicts with the concept of having a good quality of life.  Additionally, students explore possible alternatives to abortion and euthanasia).
  2. Medical Technologies (Students examine a range of Christian attitudes, beliefs and teachings towards an array of issues in medical ethics.  Themes include the use of embryos in medical research, reproductive and therapeutic cloning, fertility treatments, and the issues of designer babies and savior siblings).
  3. Personal Responsibility (An investigation of Christian teachings on sexual relationships and the use of drugs.  Students discuss Christian attitudes towards homosexual and heterosexual relationships, contraception and the legal age of sexual intercourse.  Furthermore, students examine the possible causes and effects of taking drugs, and assess Christian teaching on illegal, medically prescribed and socially-acceptable forms of drugs).
  4. Social Responsibility (An exploration of the themes of commitment, responsibility, equality and compassion within the Christian faith, particularly focusing on the issues of marriage, family life and equality.  Students differentiate between civil and religious marriages, including same-sex marriage and cohabitation.  Students examine Christian teaching on divorce and remarriage.  Students differentiate between prejudice and discrimination, exploring Christian teaching on racism, sexism and religious discrimination.)
  5. Global Issues (A study of characteristics of LEDCs, causes of poverty, forms of aid and Christian teachings on helping those in need.  Students also examine Christian teaching on the earth as God’s creation, stewardship, dominion and responses to environmental issues such as deforestation, pollution and climate change).
  6. Conflict (Learners are introduced to the concepts of justice, forgiveness and reconciliation.  Students examine Christian teaching on war and pacifism, examining in particular attitudes towards nuclear proliferation and terrorism.  Students explore whether it is possible to justify war.  Additionally, students explore the causes of crime and aims/forms of punishment, including a study of fines, imprisonment, community service and the death penalty).

Unit 10: Jewish Studies

  1. Beliefs and Sources of Authority (An exploration of the major beliefs within the Jewish faith, including those relating to God, the Messianic Age, the Covenant and those found in the central prayer: Shema.  Students examine a comprehensive range of sources of authority within the Jewish tradition including the role of the written and oral Torah, Jewish colleges, rabbinical courts and contemporary scholarly writings from modern rabbis).
  2. Worship (Learners explore the significant features of public worship, comparing both Orthodox and Liberal forms of Judaism.  Students assess the features and furnishings of the synagogue, interpret Jewish symbolism and compare the roles of the rabbi and chazzan in daily prayer).
  3. Festivals and Pilgrimage (Learners will examine how and why various festivities are celebrated/commemorated within the Jewish year, particularly those falling on New Year, Yom Kippur, Passover and the weekly celebration of the Sabbath.  Students will examine the role of the Holy Land in Judaism, considering the significance of visiting the Western Wall and the Holocaust museum of Yad Vashem).
  4. Personal Lifestyle (Students will explore how Jewish beliefs and traditions affect day-to-day lifestyle of Jews, both in Israel and in the Diaspora, specifically Jews living in modern day Britain.  Themes include kosher food laws and the separation of milk and meat, the role of the local community, synagogue and rabbinical court, ritual and social clothing rules, and the potential difficulties Jews may experience living in modern day Britain.)
  5. Family Life (An examination of the symbolic rites that mark significant moments in a Jew’s life, including naming ceremonies, circumcision, coming of age ceremonies, marriage, funerals and the issue of bereavement.  Students also consider how the community and rabbis can support Jewish family life.)
  6. Equality and Justice (Students focus on Jewish beliefs, teaching and attitudes towards equality, focusing specifically on racism, sexism and religious discrimination.  Students discuss the Orthodox and Liberal attitudes towards the role of women, examining the extent that Judaism embraces contemporary British values on equality of the sexes.  Students also examine the persecution of the Jews during the Holocaust, considering post-Holocaust Theology and rabbinical responses to such a challenge to faith.)


Currently, students take two 90minute written examinations in May/June of year 11.  These exams assess knowledge, understanding and evaluation of the themes detailed above.  There is no controlled assessment component in this course.  100% of the assessment comprises of these two exam papers.

How will the GCSE curriculum prepare my child for life in modern Britain?

GCSE Religious Studies offers pupils the following preparations for life in modern Britain:

  • Develop knowledge and understanding of the role of Christianity in modern Britain
  • Develop knowledge and understanding of one other principle religion in modern Britain
  • Explore what is means to live in a multi-cultural Britain
  • Instill tolerance in a diverse British society
  • Reflect on the role of the individual and community in British society regarding a number of issues including identity, culture and faith
  • Reflect on the importance of religion in the lives of others living in Britain, and how religious beliefs influence the lifestyle of people around us
  • Explore how morality and virtue can contribute to British society
  • Challenge the prejudice and discrimination that currently exists in modern Britain
  • Reflection on personal beliefs and how these may impact those around us
  • Develop respect for others
  • Consider personal responsibilities towards ourselves and others
  • Encourages empathy, generosity and compassion

Information about extra-curricular sessions and extended learning opportunities available to my child.

In recent years, Religious Studies pupils at Coseley have taken part in:

  • Debate at the Council Chambers
  • Documentary making using Video Software
  • GSUS Live (Interactive Truck tackling the big questions from a Christian perspective)
  • Visits to places of worship
  • Charity work

Does my child need any specialist equipment for this subject?

No specific equipment is required for Religious Studies lessons.

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