January 2024 Religious Studies subject update

Mon Jan 08 11:25:00 UTC 2024

Welcome to your Pearson Edexcel Religious Studies January 2024 subject update!

Hello colleagues,

Welcome back! I hope you had a truly fantastic and restful break!  The new term is upon us and we have a range of useful resources and updates to share with you including our new GCSE Interactive Marking resource.  I hope you find them useful!

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 

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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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General Qualification Updates

How to submit an appeal from 01 January 2024

From 1 January 2024, we are pleased to confirm that there will be a new web form for centres and private candidates to use when they wish to submit an application to appeal or request a review of an administrative decision. Using this web form will help to guide centres and private candidates in the information that needs to be provided in an application to appeal. This will help us to ensure we can process all applications promptly.

The web form will be available on our main Post-results web page and on our Post-results services web page for T levels, and will be operational by 1 January 2024. From that date onwards we will no longer accept appeal applications that are made directly to our appeals email inbox. Appeals submitted to the inbox prior to 01 January 2024 will be processed. We will return any applications to appeal that are sent to our appeals inbox from 01 January 2024 to you with a request to submit them using the web form.

Centres and private candidates must use the web form to submit appeals related to:

  1. the outcome of reviews of marking/moderation (within 30 calendar days of the date of the decision)
  2. the decisions made in relation to student or centre malpractice (within 14 calendar days of the date of the decision)
  3. the decisions made in relation to access arrangements, special consideration, reasonable adjustments (within 14 calendar days of the date of the decision)
  4. the outcome of a preliminary appeal in any of the areas above. An application for an appeal hearing must only be made once a preliminary appeal has been conducted and must be made within 14 calendar days of the date of the preliminary appeal decision.

Centres and private candidates must also use the web form to request the review of an administrative decision in areas such as decisions made in relation to very late arrivals and where we have issued an aegrotat (estimated grade).

Further information on the appeals process can be found in the JCQ Appeals Booklet 2023.

Further information on appeals, including fees, can also be found on our website. Our website will be fully updated by 1 January 2024 to refer centres and private candidates to our webform.

General queries about issues that are not appeals should not be submitted on the appeals webform as we will not be able to process them. If you need help with a matter that is not an appeal, please contact our customer services team for assistance. This will ensure your query can be routed to the appropriate team without delay.

A level spec image

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Exam entries

You can find the different combinations for our AS Level Religious Studies papers and their associated entry codes below.

The deadline for submitting entries for AS Level Religious Studies is 21st February 2024.  Following this date, late entry fees will apply.  

The individual entry codes can be found on p.41-42 of the information manual below:

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Notes:

There are four papers for AS level Religious Studies:

Paper 1: Philosophy of Religion

Paper 2: Religion and Ethics

Paper 3: New Testament Studies

Paper 4: Study of Religion Paper 4 has six options:

  • 4A: Buddhism
  • 4B: Christianity
  • 4C: Hinduism
  • 4D: Islam
  • 4E: Judaism
  • 4F: Sikhism

Candidates must sit three of the four papers. There is one forbidden combination: candidates cannot be entered for both Paper 3: New Testament Studies and Paper 4B: Study of Religion (Christianity).

You can find the different combinations for our A Level Religious Studies papers and their associated entry codes below.

The deadline for submitting entries for A Level Religious Studies is 21st February 2024.  Following this date, late entry fees will apply.  

The individual entry codes can be found on p.43-44 of the information manual below:

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Notes:

There are four papers for A level Religious Studies:

Paper 1: Philosophy of Religion

Paper 2: Religion and Ethics

Paper 3: New Testament Studies

Paper 4: Study of Religion Paper 4 has six options:

  • 4A: Buddhism
  • 4B: Christianity
  • 4C: Hinduism
  • 4D: Islam
  • 4E: Judaism
  • 4F: Sikhism

Candidates must sit three of the four papers. There is one forbidden combination: candidates cannot be entered for both Paper 3: New Testament Studies and Paper 4B: Study of Religion (Christianity).

You can find the different combinations for our GCSE Religious Studies Specification A papers and their associated entry codes below.

The deadline for submitting entries for GCSE Religious Studies is 21st February 2024.  Following this date, late entry fees will apply.  

The individual entry codes can be found on p.24-26 of the information manual below:

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You can find the different combinations for our GCSE Religious Studies Specification B papers and their associated entry codes below.

The deadline for submitting entries for GCSE Religious Studies is 21st February 2024.  Following this date, late entry fees will apply.  

The individual entry codes can be found on p.26-32 of the information manual below:

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You can find the different combinations for our International GCSE Religious Studies papers and their associated entry codes below.

The deadline for submitting entries for GCSE Religious Studies is 21st March 2024.  Following this date, late entry fees will apply.  

The individual entry codes can be found on p.17 of the information manual below:

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Further information and frequently asked questions (FAQs) regarding the changes made to our International GCSE Religious Studies entry codes can be found at the following subject update:

Subject update

GCSE

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GCSE Religious Studies (Specifications A and B)

On 14th December, we ran an online training session for teachers to discuss the amended (d) question level descriptors, explore the skills expected within these and examine what an answer would look like at each level.  

For those who were unable to join us, we have a pre-recorded on-demand version available to watch.  

Videos

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This interactive resource supports teacher understanding on how the amended level descriptors are applied to a range of exemplar answers, and allows teachers the opportunity to practice applying the new level descriptors before listening to examiner commentary and analysis.  

Interactive marking activity front cover

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Interactive marking activity guidance

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Interactive marking activity questions

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On Tuesday 16th January (16:00-17:00), we will run an additional Question and Answer event, reviewing frequently asked questions and allowing you the opportunity to ask any further questions regarding these amends. 

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

To ensure alignment with recent changes made to our mark schemes, question papers and published taxonomy, we have recently released updates to our sample assessment materials for GCSE Religious Studies Specification A (1RA0) and B (1RB0).

For ease of accessibility, we have provided all sample assessment materials as an archived file (.zip) which, when extracted, offers general marking guidance, and presents each individual question paper and mark scheme as a separate document, all of which are presented in portable document format (.pdf).

Specification A: Sample assessment materials (Issue 2)

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Specification B: Sample assessment materials (Issue 2)

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We are now 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

To support teachers who may be new to teaching this course, we have created a new guidance video on navigating the content of the specification.  This video aims to explain how those new to the course use the different sections of the specification.

Videos

Pearson Edexcel International GCSE Religious Studies - Getting Started: What to teach?
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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.  We have extended the deadline to give people more time to complete this outside of holidays.  By submitting a completed survey before the 14th of February, 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

The Royal Institue of Philosophy is running an essay competition for their journal 'Think'.  

The judging will be undertaken by Dr Stephen Law, editor of Think. Previously Reader in Philosophy at Heythrop College University of London, Stephen Law is now based at Oxford University Department of Continuing Education and researches in the philosophies of mind, language, metaphysics, and religion.

They are looking for essays of less than 1,200 words that engage with any one of the following three themes:

  • Could a machine think?
  • Is it morally wrong to eat meat?
  • Can I know that the world I experience is real?

The winner will be published in an issue of Think, the shortlisted candidates will win a year’s free subscription to Think, and other prizes will be awarded to all those who make the longlist.

The essay submission will be assessed for academic merit and rigour.

I hope you found this update useful. 

Please get in touch with me if you have any questions!

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