Does studying RS GCSE improve your overall academic attainment?

Does studying RS GCSE improve your overall academic attainment?

Local Authorities where there are higher rates of entry for GCSE RS, fair well in a range of performance measures. Data published by NATRE on GCSE RS entries in 2020 shows that rates of entry vary widely between local authorities; from 11% of the cohort at the bottom of the scale and 77% at the top. Furthermore, those authorities with higher rates of entry have:

  • higher attainment 8 scores across the curriculum
  • higher rates of entry for the English Baccalaureate (EBacc)
  • higher percentages of performance for EBacc subjects at grades 9-4

We all know that correlation does not equal causation, but this data reaffirms Ofsted research about the importance of a broad and balanced curriculum, David Lundie and Mi Young Ahn’s findings in “GCSE at the Crossroads” [1] and similar research into rates of entry for GCSE Music carried out by Cambridge Assessment. [2]

Perhaps the time has come to remind school leaders questioning the value GCSE RS, and offering fewer teaching hours, or cutting it from the timetable entirely at Key Stage 4, that these actions are not only likely to reduce pupil progress in Religious Studies, but also reduce their performance across the curriculum.

[1] https://davidlundie.files.wordpress.com/2019/08/gcse-religious-studies-report.pdf

[2] https://www.cambridgeassessment.org.uk/news/taking-music-qualification-linked-with-higher-achievement/

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