Religious Studies | Pearson qualifications

Religious Studies

Subject update | 21 March 2024

New Entry Level Certificate in Religious Studies

This provides details of our new entry level certificate in Religious Studies

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New Entry Level Certificate in Religious Studies

We’ve listened to your feedback and after working with a range of key stakeholders, we are delighted to be able to introduce our new Entry Level Certificate in Religious Studies. This complements Pearson Edexcel’s GCSE Specification A qualification, when Catholic Christianity and Judaism are chosen as the two religions for study (with a 75:25 split).

This qualification has been designed to ensure that students working below Grade 1 at GCSE have an alternative qualification to adequately reward their studies. This is in line with Pearson's pledge to "ensure all learners and educators feel included in education“, so that all learners have the opportunity to succeed.

This ELC can be used as a progression course prior to GCSE, or students could be entered for both ELC and GCSE, or this could be offered as an alternative to our GCSE qualification.  


When is this available?

First teaching 2024

First assessment 2025

What age groups is the qualification approved for?


How is this qualification structured?

Our ELC is co-teachable with our GCSE Specification A qualification and the content is aligned with content within Papers 1A, 2F and 3A. Content is divided into four different papers.

Paper 1: Catholic Beliefs, teachings or practices
Paper 2: Catholic Wisdom and Living
Paper 3: Jewish Beliefs, teachings or practices
Paper 4: Catholic Philosophy and Ethics

1.1 Beliefs and Teachings


1.2 Practices

2.1 Sources of Wisdom and Authority

2.2 Forms of Expression and Ways of Life

3.1 Beliefs and Teachings


3.2 Practices

4.1 Arguments for the existence of God


4.2 Catholic teachings on relationships and families

Each area of the GCSE specification has been aligned but adapted to make it more accessible. This can be seen in the following example:

GCSE Specification A content
Equivalent ELC content


The Trinity: the nature and significance of the Trinity as expressed in the Nicene Creed; the nature and significance of the oneness of God; the nature and significance of each of the Persons individually: God as the Father, Son and Holy Spirit; how this is reflected in worship and belief in the life of a Catholic today.

The nature of the Trinity:

  • God as Father, Son and Holy Spirit
  • the oneness of God in three persons.

The Trinity described in the Nicene Creed:

  • God as maker of heaven and earth
  • the Holy Spirit as the giver of life, who has spoken through the prophets.
  • God the Son, who became human to save all people

How the Trinity is reflected in worship and belief for Catholics today:

  • in pouring of water in baptism
  • making the sign of the cross in prayer.

How will this be assessed?

The assessments are designed to be accessible for students working below Grade 1 at GCSE. Assessments will take the form of a 20-mark test for each paper. Students can be taught and assessed at any point throughout the course. Each test can be completed by students (within controlled conditions in the classroom) when they are ready, before being marked by centres. A sample of students’ tests will be moderated by Pearson Edexcel in the May following entries being made.

Here is an example of from one of the sample tests:

ELC example 1

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ELC example 2

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How do we enter for this qualification?

Once all tests are completed, entries for the entry level qualification need to be submitted by 21st February as with other qualifications.  

To find out more

We are running an online event designed for teachers wanting to find out more about this qualification: 

Pearson Edexcel GCSE Religious Studies: ELC launch event

17th April 2024 (16:30-18:00)

Booking link

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