Arrangements for the reform of GCSE criteria for RS have been announced; it is intended that the new exams will be available for teaching from September 2016.

Qualifications Committee

The REC’s Qualifications Committee was established in March 2014, chaired by Deborah Weston, to build on the work of the REC’s former Curriculum, Assessment and Qualifications Committee – which conducted the RE Review in 2013.

The Committee is working in partnership with the awarding organisations, Ofqual and DfE, and with REC reference group members,  to deliver the reforms.

On  Wednesday, 9th April 2014, DfE confirmed that plans were in place to reform the GCSE and GCE criteria for a number of non-EBacc subjects, including RS, in time for first teaching in September 2016. This announcement represented a significant positive step forward in policy terms since it brought RS into line with the plans for non-core EBacc subjects such as History and Geography which would also be introduced in 2016. See the press release here.

The Qualifications Committee has the following terms of reference:

  • a. monitoring and advising on the provision of a suitable range of qualifications to ensure that pupils’ learning in Religious Studies is properly valued and accredited.
  • b. providing advice and support to the DfE and/or Ofqual, both generally and in order to conduct specific exercises such as the revision of ‘conditions’
  • c. communicating regularly with the DfE, NCTL and Ofqual on matters related to qualifications
  • d. analysing standards and other data in order to monitor trends, celebrate successes and identify any areas of concern about their performance and delivery
  • e.commissioning analysis of research into aspects of qualifications
  • f. providing advice to other RE Council committees such as the Professional Development Committee, Public Relations Committee, the RE Expert Advisory Group on matters to do with qualifications
  • g. working in partnership with the awarding organisations,  making them aware of the work of the committee and of the views of the RE Council and of its individual member organisations
  • h. consulting with representatives of communities of religion and belief where that is necessary for the successful completion of a task
  • i. undertaking an immediate task regarding the reform of GCSE Religious Studies and subsequently to engage with reform of GCE as well
Qualifications Reference Group

A Reference Group was also set up in March 2014 to provide opportunities for consultation with representatives of religions and belief in relation to qualifications.

The following organisations are members of the RE Council; many already have public examination papers relating to their traditions whilst others may look to develop these in the future.  All have been invited to take part in the Reference Group to contribute to the task of reform of subject criteria.

1.      Al-Khoei Foundation
2.      Avanti Schools Trust
3.      Board of Deputies of British Jews
4.      British Humanist Association
5.      Buddhist Society
6.      Cambridge Muslim College
7.      Catholic Association of Teachers, Schools and Colleges
8.      Catholic Education Service for England and Wales
9.      Church in Wales Division for Education
10.  Church of England, Board of Education
11.  Church of Jesus Christ of the Latter Day Saints
12.  Clear Vision Trust (Buddhist)
13.  Council of African and Afro-Caribbean Churches
14.  Eastern Orthodox Deanery of Great Britain and Ireland (Patriarchate of Constantinople)
15.  Free Church Education Committee
16.  Hindu Council (UK)
17.  Hindu Forum of Britain
18.  Institute of Jainology
19.  ISKCON Educational Services
20.  Islamic Academy
21.  Methodist Church
22.  Muslim Council of Britain
23.  National Council of Hindu Temples (UK)
24.  National Society (Church of England) for Promoting Religious Education
25.  National Spiritual Assembly of the Baha’is of the United Kingdom
26.  Network of Buddhist Organisations (UK)
27.  Network of Sikh Organisations
28.  Oxford Foundation
29.  Pagan Federation
30.  Roman Catholic National Board of RE Inspectors and Advisers
31.  United Sikhs
32.  Zoroastrian Trust Funds of Europe