November 2023 Religious Studies subject update | Pearson qualifications

November 2023 Religious Studies subject update

29 November 2023

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

Hello colleagues,

It has been a busy school year so far and I hope you have managed to achieve everything you wanted, while at the same time, ensuring you have balance within your workload.  Thank you for all of the feedback you have provided and I appreciate people taking the time to get in touch and let me know your queries and thoughts about information in previous subject updates.  

I wanted to take the opportunity to share some key updates, event information and useful resources with you.  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

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.

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AS and A Level Religious Studies

A level 20-mark 'Analyse' exemplar answers

We have published a range of 20-mark 'Analyse' student answers from the summer 2022 exam series to help exemplify how different levels and marks were awarded.  These include answers across the range of papers and mark range with analysis against the level descriptors.  

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A level 10-mark exemplars

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Training events that have ran so far this academic year have now been uploaded onto our 'past training material' section of our website.  These include:

  • New to Edexcel (resources and recording)
  • Feedback from Summer 2023 exams (resources and recording)
  • Assessment and Marking (resources*)

* recording will be uploaded soon

These can be accessed at the following link:

New to Edexcel

New to Edexcel

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Feedback from Summer 2023

2023 Feedback

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Assessment and Marking

Assessment and Marking

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GCSE

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GCSE Religious Studies (Specifications A and B)

Earlier this month, we released further information about our finalised amends to our GCSE mark scheme level descriptors for (d) evaluation questions, for Specification A and Specification B.  

Finalised mark scheme level descriptor amends

If you have not yet read this, you can see what was sent out at the following link:

Finalised level descriptor amends

Documentation on our website

To prevent confusion, we have removed past exemplar answers using the old level descriptors from our website, along with outdated past training content.  Any important materials will be updated and re-uploaded to our website.  

Exam materials (including mark schemes and examiner reports) from previous exam series will remain unchanged.  

Following my recent update about GCSE Religious Studies level descriptor amends in (d) evaluation questions, we wanted to follow up and share some information about grade boundaries to help guide and reassure centres. The level descriptors have been adapted to ensure the best student exam experience, but our assessment processes will ensure that all students get the GCSE grades that they deserve.

You can read more about this at the following link:

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 is now available:

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

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Further support will include:

Support Details Booking link

Live event explaining the amends and examining example answers alongside the new level descriptors. 

(A pre-recorded version of this event will also be made available in advance for those who are unable to attend.)  

Thursday 14th December

(16:00-17:30) 

Booking link

 

Link to pre-recorded training will be available soon

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

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.

We have collated all Edexcel GCSE Religious Studies Specification A past questions across years for each paper.  

This provides an overview of the different questions asked on each paper over the qualification cycle so you can see how a topic has been assessed in different ways.  

*You will need your Edexcel Online login to access this as it includes the most recent exam materials.  

Exam question overview

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International GCSE RS

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International GCSE Religious Studies

Level 4 exemplar answers

To help centres to understand the requirement for level 4 in our 12-mark 'Evaluate' and 10-mark 'Discuss' questions, we have published some exemplars alongside commentary as to how each meets the level descriptors.  

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IG exemplars

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For those who are new to this qualification, this video provides a brief overview of our International GCSE RS specification, including the differences between linear and modular routes.  

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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 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 an article about the debate in the Church of England about the introduction of prayers of blessing, for same-sex couples, known as Prayers of Love and Faith (PLF). 

TOTM

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Westminster Abbey Annual Sixth Form Question Time provides an opportunity for students to debate, pose questions to a panel of politicians, activists and faith leaders, discussing their concerns and interests.  

Key information

Date: Tuesday 6th February 2024, 13:30 – 15:00
Location: St Margaret’s Church, Westminster Abbey
Price: £6 per student
Maximum number of students per school: 15

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