Pupils study the OCR Examination Board Religious Studies B (Philosophy and Ethics). As the title suggests, the emphasis is on Philosophy and Ethics, and the course will be of particular interest to those pupils who enjoy discussion, debate and critical thinking. The new specification includes a unit on Islam, which is an incredibly valuable opportunity to evaluate and develop a better understanding of a highly influential and topical religion.
It is worth pointing out that pupils do not have to be a follower of a particular religion to be able to study this subject, though Christianity will be the focus religion.
There will be the opportunity to investigate theological and moral questions such as:
- Can you prove that God exists?
- Why do people suffer?
- Are Christian ideas about marriage out of date?
- Is it ever right to fight?
This course gives pupils the opportunity to explore such questions within the different Christian denominations. It is not so much about regurgitating a series of facts but about appreciating the views of others, expressing personal views and developing a clearer understanding. There is also a need to express these ideas and beliefs in writing.
A selection of the following units will be studied throughout the two years:
- Relationships, Medical Ethics, Poverty and Wealth (Ethics 1)
- Peace and Justice, Equality, Media (Ethics 2)
- Deity, Religious and Spiritual Experience, End of Life (Philosophy 1)
- Good and Evil, Revelation, Science (Philosophy 2)
The examination consists of four one-hour written papers, each worth 25% of the total GCSE marks. There is no coursework.
The subject would be particularly useful for any student wishing to pursue a career that involves interaction with a diverse range of people, such as hospitality, law, politics or medicine, for example.
Religious Studies is a highly respected GCSE amongst universities for its clearly transferrable skills. The practical usefulness of the GCSE is also acknowledged and valued by industry professionals.