December 2023 Religious Studies subject update

14 December 2023

Welcome to your Pearson Edexcel Religious Studies December 2023 subject update!

Hello colleagues,

I can't quite believe that we're almost at the end of 2023 and that the school term is coming to an end.   Thank you to all of those who have been in touch with me via email and Teams meetings; I've really enjoyed the opportunity to hear your views and share these with the RS team here at Pearson Edexcel.  Whatever your plans over the upcoming holiday, I hope you have a fantastic and restful break!  

As always, please do get in touch with me if you have any queries or I can help with anything.  

Best wishes, 

Susan Currey

Religious Studies Subject Advisor 

Read more
Season's greetings

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If you have any questions, then please do contact me:

☎ Call: 0344 463 2535

✉ Email: TeachingReligiousStudies@pearson.com

💻 Book a Teams meeting with me: https://bit.ly/3rEVLx8

This update includes:

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Pearson National Teaching Awards

The 2024 Pearson National Teaching Awards are now open for entry!

The Pearson National Teaching Awards aim to raise the profile of the teaching profession, highlight the positive impact teachers and school leaders have in our society – with pupils, parents and the wider community, and show teachers how much they are valued.

Entry is free, and the awards are open to all state and independent schools and FE colleges in England, Wales and Northern Ireland.

2024 entries are now open, and we want to get as many early entries in as possible. Deadline for applications is 1st March.

A nomination can have a huge impact, not just on those entered, but on the whole community. Become part of the 25 year legacy and enter today at www.teachingawards.com

A 2023 Silver Winner said: “The profession needs to be shouted from the rooftops. They work incredibly hard & dedicate their lives to young people - it’s vital they get the recognition they deserve.”

If you enter before 22 December you will be eligible for early bird feedback on your entry, along with the chance to win 2 x free tickets to one of the prestigious 2024 celebratory events to meet and network with fellow educators.

2024 Categories

  • Outstanding New Teacher of the Year, supported by the Department for Education  
  • Lifetime Achievement, supported by the Department for Education·      
  • FE Lecturer, supported by the Department for Education·      
  • FE Team of the Year, supported by the Department for Education      
  • Headteacher of the Year in a Primary School, supported by Hays Education     
  • Headteacher of the Year in a Secondary School, supported by Hays Education·      
  • Teacher of the Year in a Primary School·      
  • Teacher of the Year in a Secondary School, supported by Nord Anglia Education      
  • Digital Innovator of the Year, supported by Nord Anglia Education      
  • Primary School of the Year – Making a Difference      
  • Secondary School of the Year – Making a Difference      
  • Excellence in Special Needs Education      
  • Early Years Team of the Year      
  • Teaching Assistant of the Year·      
  • Impact through Partnership     
  • Unsung Hero

Don’t forget to watch this year’s awards live on BBC The One Show from 20th-24th Nov.

A level spec image

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AS and A Level Religious Studies

World of Belief is a new podcast that explores some of the most complex, emerging questions about the human experience through the lens of religion and faith. Representing a spectrum of views, the series engages listeners in critical thought about the role religion plays in reacting to modern issues.
The podcast is presented by Dr Holly Morse of the University of Manchester and is produced by Amanda Hancox.

Each episode of the podcast also links in with elements of our Edexcel A-level Religious Studies curriculum, making the series not just a great listen for those interested in contemporary religion, but also a valuable resource for teachers and students.

We have identified where each podcast links to our A level specification so that you can use these to extend knowledge, or use with students in class or within extended study.  

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World of belief

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We have collated a range of useful teaching and learning resources to support you when teaching Paper 1: Section 1 including:

  • 1.1: The Design Argument
  • 1.2: The Cosmological Argument
  • 1.3: The Ontological Argument
Design argument links

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This resource includes a range of links to useful resources to support subject knowledge or those that can be used as teaching and learning resources.  They include:

  • Links to subject knowledge reading
  • Useful video clios
  • Articles/blogs
  • Podcasts

*Any views and opinions expressed through materials linked to this document are solely those of the external provider. These views and opinions do not necessarily represent those of Pearson. Please be aware that the link provided contains third party video content, which may contain advertisements. 

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GCSE

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GCSE Religious Studies (Specifications A and B)

In order to support centres to understand the changes that have been made to our level descriptors, we will be providing a range of support:

Event 1: Introduction from our Chair of Examiners

This on-demand training session features our Chair of Examiners Dr James Holt explaining the changes to our level descriptors and what this means for teachers and students.  

Videos

Play
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Event 2: Exploration of level descriptor amends

This on-demand pre-recorded session aims to explore the level descriptor amends, focus on the explicit skills required and explore what answers look like at each level.  

Videos

Play
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Further support will include:

Support Details Booking link
Interactive training module, reviewing example answers alongside the new mark scheme, allowing you to practice applying the new mark scheme. On-demand  Link to on-demand training available soon
Question and Answer event, reviewing frequently asked questions and allowing you the opportunity to ask any further questions regarding these amends.  

Tuesday 16th January

(16:00-17:00)

Booking link
We will publish a range of exemplar answers to help you understand how to apply the amended level descriptors.   To be published in upcoming subject updates  
From January, we are offering an additional mock marking service that will use the new mark scheme level descriptors. This paid-for service will be available from January 2024 Link to mock marking webpage

Q&A

If you have any outstanding questions that you would like to submit in advance of the Q&A event, please submit these using the form provided: 

Link to form

From January, we will be offering a mock marking and moderation service for GCSE Religious Studies.  

The Pearson Edexcel Mocks Service can help your students gain vital insight into the examination process, while saving you valuable time.  These services will be using the amended level descriptors to give you the opportunity to see how questions perform under the new criteria.  

These services are currently available to order now for the following most popular papers:

Specification A: Paper 1A, Paper 2F, Paper 3A

Specification B: Paper 1B, Paper 2C

*You can request other papers on an ad-hoc basis

 

What is the Mocks Service?

The Mocks Service for GCSE Religious Studies helps you to achieve consistency in marking across groups of schools, departments and cohorts. Students sit exam papers. The papers are marked by Edexcel senior examiners applying the new level descriptors and the results are uploaded to ResultsPlus for detailed question level analysis.

It is designed to be flexible for your needs:

  • Submit entries for the whole qualification or only entries for one paper
  • Submit your whole cohort, cohorts across the Trust, a sample, or as few as 5 papers

What is the Moderation Service?

Our moderation service helps support teacher understanding of the Pearson Edexcel mark scheme and provide confidence that marking is consistent across schools, departments and cohorts. Our moderators supply commentaries and reports to help identify areas that need improvement and that could benefit from additional CPD.

We recommend you submit a sample of around 15% of your own marked papers which will be reviewed by our team of Pearson Edexcel moderators. Within 21 days of us receiving your papers, we will provide personalised script commentaries and a detailed moderation report outlining trends and gaps in marking and feedback on student responses.

International GCSE RS

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International GCSE Religious Studies

In October, we informed you that we have updated our entry codes to align with the religions studied in Paper 2 to improve the student exam experience. 

You can read more about these changes and view our frequently asked questions (FAQs) at the link below:  

Pearson Edexcel is committed to ensuring their qualifications and assessments are the best they can be.  We strive to ensure our qualifications are engaging and that we offer valid assessments which are accessible and provide learners with the opportunity to show their knowledge and understanding.  

We'd love your feedback on our International GCSE Religious Studies qualification (both content and assessment) to understand teacher and learner experiences so, if you have a few minutes to spare, your time and advice would be greatly appreciated!

This survey is anonymous and by submitting a completed survey before the 20th of December, you will be entered into a random prize draw, for a chance to win a £30 Amazon voucher. 

With thanks from the Pearson Edexcel International Religious Studies team.

*Please note, we will only use the information you provide to contact you in connection with RS qualification and resources market research. We will not publish or share this information with any third party without your permission and we will delete your details on completion of the research project. 

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Enrichment and Teaching and Learning Support

Every month, we release an edition of 'Topic of the Month' with the aim of supporting cultural capital and stimulating discussion within the classroom. 

Each edition ties a current news event to our qualification content and enables students to see the bigger picture of what they are learning and how it relates to the world around them.  Each edition includes a link to an article alongside some key discussion questions to encourage thought around the subject.  

This month looks at the person of King Herod.  

TOTM

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I hope you found this update useful. 

Please get in touch with me if you have any questions and from everyone in the Pearson Edexcel Religious Studies team, we wish you a fantastic break!

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