Key Stage 4


GCSE Religious Studies A (8062)

The course is split into three distinct sections. Students study 2 overt topics covering beliefs and practices within both Buddhism and Christianity. They also cover 4 thematic topics, covering a range of philosophical and ethical issues. Students will be challenged with questions about belief, values, meaning, purpose and truth, enabling them to develop their own attitudes towards religious issues. Students will also gain an appreciation of how religion, philosophy and ethics form the basis of our culture. They will develop analytical and critical thinking skills, the ability to work with abstract ideas, leadership and research skills. All these skills will help prepare them for further study.
Students will consider different beliefs and attitudes to religious and non-religious issues in contemporary British society. They will develop an awareness of the religious traditions of Great Britain, with particular focus on Buddhism and Christianity. This knowledge may be applied throughout the assessment of the subject content.
Students study the different elements in a prescribed order, to allow them to develop their religious understanding and the skills required to demonstrate their knowledge. The succession of skills from one topic to another will allow each student to grow in confidence throughout the course and be in the best possible position to sit their three exams during the summer series.
The topics will be delivered in the following order;
  • Christian Beliefs
  • Crime and Punishment
  • Christian Practices
  • Peace and Conflict
  • Buddhist Beliefs
  • Relationships and the family
  • Buddhist Practices
  • Religion and Life
Throughout the three years of study, students are assessed in a variety of ways, all of which relate to the 5 key areas of assessment in the GCSE exam. Many lessons begin with a topical question, which helps students to develop their ability to conclude their thoughts, which is need for the extended 12 mark questions. Plenary questions take the form of the 4 and 5 mark questions from the terminal exam, which develop skills of explanation. Finally, SMHW quizzes are used to ensure that all students are able to achieve full marks for each section of the exam, where single marks are awarded.
In addition to these different levels of questionning, students complete formative assessments at a mid-point in each topic and at the end of each topic. The mid-point assessments are synoptic and include sections from the previous topic that has been studied, in addition to the one currently being delivered. These assessments feature 2 examples of 1 mark, 2 marks, 4 marks and 5 marks questions. The end of topic assessments only focus on the assessment currently being studied. Again, students complete a 1 mark, 2 marks, 4 marks and 5 marks question but also complete a 12 marks question on the topic. For in class assessment, students are only allowed a mark-per-minute ratio, to better prepare them for the terminal exams. Although SPAG is assessed in both styles of assessment, marks are not added to the marks that students achieve for the assessed content.
Exams throughout Key Stage 4 are either based on past papers or sample material, or are written by Mr Phillips, as there is limited number of standardised assessments available, with the course only being launched in 2016.