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Should Religious Studies be compulsory?

This thread is part of the Curriculum Conversations project aiming to explore your thoughts and opinions regarding the subjects we learn at school.

Religious Studies is taught throughout the keystage 3 curriculum and can often be made a compulsory GCSE subject in some schools.
Do you agree with this?
Did/ does your school make you do RS for GCSE?
Do you enjoy studying RS and do you think it helps you to develop key life skills?

Post your thoughts below!

More curriculum conversations like this

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I didn't have to do RS but covered theology at A level in Philosophy.
It's easy to say stuff should be compulsory and hard to enforce, but I do think it can be very valuable just in exposing people to different thoughts and ideas to foster respect and the ability to consider your own views critically too. But the current curriculum is pretty Christian-centric :tongue:
Nope religious studies like English literature should be optional from KS4 and beyond. If you're going to make it complusory don't make pupils have to do a GCSE in it like my old one did (still salty about that) and make pupils learn about a diverse range of religions not just 2, or if it's going to be 2 only then make sure that the religions don't have a ton of overlap (you know what 3 religions I'm talking about already that schools like to select for GCSE and have lots of overlap).

Maybe schools could teach 1 religion a year? E.g if the school does Christianity and Islam at GCSE they could do ok let's make pupils learn about Buddhism in Year 7, Judaism in Year 8, Hinduism in Year 9 then Christianity and Islam in Y10&Y11 (so you wouldn't do any Christianity or Islam before GCSE level unless the school is religious (Muslim or Christian school in this context)). Obviously this could cause issues for uppers schools, middle schools or if a child moves school but this could allow pupils and teachers more time to discover the religions as opposed to schools trying to cram teach them all in Y7-Y8/9 (doing several religions in a single academic year as opposed to 1 religion per year) then reteach the GCSE religions again in more depth.
Also wouldn't teach any religious stuff in primary or lower schools (would allow pupils to wear religious garments), only secondary school and above.
Religious Studies is taught throughout the keystage 3 curriculum and can often be made a compulsory GCSE subject in some schools.
Do you agree with this?
Strongly opposed to making it a complusory subject at GCSE level, sure make it complusory to learn about religion at GCSE level but don't make students do formal the GCSE on it if they don't want to (regardless of whether the school is religious or not unless it's a private school).
Did/ does your school make you do RS for GCSE?
Yep and still kind of annoyed about that 3 years later.
Do you enjoy studying RS and do you think it helps you to develop key life skills?
I mean it makes you aware of different cultures I guess but I'll have to agree with @becausethenight the curriculum is too focused on Christianity (I know that the UK is a Christian country but still) and in my view the monotheistic abrahamic religions in general.
Original post by Mesopotamian.
This thread is part of the Curriculum Conversations project aiming to explore your thoughts and opinions regarding the subjects we learn at school.

Religious Studies is taught throughout the keystage 3 curriculum and can often be made a compulsory GCSE subject in some schools.
Do you agree with this?
Did/ does your school make you do RS for GCSE?
Do you enjoy studying RS and do you think it helps you to develop key life skills?

Post your thoughts below!

More curriculum conversations like this



Religious studies was taught during school for me. I enjoyed learning religious studies a lot because even though I was learnt and bought up with the teachings from my parents and for example my mosque teacher and Islamic scholars it’s always such a privilege to learn your own religion and for other to learn about it, other skills learnt was the introduction of other religion nowadays these skills gives you an opportunity and chance to choose, think, be cautious as to what religion you wish to hold a faith within and study further.
I don't think it needs to be compulsory at GCSE level, but I think that it is important for all children to learn about the world's major religions, what their key beliefs are, and what their different practices are. Religion has a huge influence on the world and shapes the behaviour of so many people. If children didn't study RS at all, then when they end up coming face to face with people of different religions, or even entering any career that requires an understanding of people's behaviours and views (e.g. politics, economics, marketing), they're not going to have a clue what's going on.
Religious studies should be taught, but not compulsory at GCSE level.
If anything, a compulsory GCSE narrows the focus from actual understanding of various religions to rote memorisation.
i went to a catholic secondary and primary and was taught religious studies and in my secondary school they made religious studies a compulsory gcses to take. Personally i think religious studies gcse was pretty easy and was compuslory due to it be a catholic and a really religious i think religious studies should be a compulsory school if the school is religious otherwise it should be optional whether you want to take it as a gcse or not. i think religious studies is helpful as it give you some insight into other religions. i really enjoyed doing religious studies as a gcse even though i am not catholic or chrisitan but i am hindu which is another religion! :smile:
but... but... It was misinterpreted by the patriarchy!!! :frown: :frown:
Original post by becausethenight
But the current curriculum is pretty Christian-centric :tongue:

Is it now?

When I did religious studies at gcse & a level, the focus was mostly on the other two abrahamic faiths and non-abrahamic asian religions.
Had to wait until undergrad to study Christianity in greater detail.
Original post by Rufus The Red
Religious studies should be taught, but not compulsory at GCSE level.
If anything, a compulsory GCSE narrows the focus from actual understanding of various religions to rote memorisation.

PRSOM
Original post by sophie hart
i went to a catholic secondary and primary and was taught religious studies and in my secondary school they made religious studies a compulsory gcses to take. Personally i think religious studies gcse was pretty easy and was compuslory due to it be a catholic and a really religious i think religious studies should be a compulsory school if the school is religious otherwise it should be optional whether you want to take it as a gcse or not. i think religious studies is helpful as it give you some insight into other religions. i really enjoyed doing religious studies as a gcse even though i am not catholic or chrisitan but i am hindu which is another religion! :smile:


Nah even in religious schools it shouldn't be complusory in my opinion (if it's a state school).
Original post by Talkative Toad
Nah even in religious schools it shouldn't be complusory in my opinion (if it's a state school).

A lot of religious schools are dependent upon the donations of affiliated traditionalist churches, sects or other faith movements for the majority of their annual budgets.
Whether through direct cash funding, sponsorship, encouraging their financial backers to donate, providing free teaching staff or equipment.

Many religious schools have boards of governors, the majority of their staff and management committess dominated by personnel from such traditionalist groups or their most hardcore supporters.
The religious traditionalists will never agree to relinquish their control.
Nor cease the indoctrination attempts or to enforce the mandatory teaching of their favourite interpretations of religion and daily religious culture in practice to all pupils/all pupils of a specific age range.
Original post by londonmyst
A lot of religious schools are dependent upon the donations of affiliated traditionalist churches, sects or other faith movements for the majority of their annual budgets.
Whether through direct cash funding, sponsorship, encouraging their financial backers to donate, providing free teaching staff or equipment.

Many religious schools have boards of governors, the majority of their staff and management committess dominated by personnel from such traditionalist groups or their most hardcore supporters.
The religious traditionalists will never agree to relinquish their control.
Nor cease the indoctrination attempts or to enforce the mandatory teaching of their favourite interpretations of religion and daily religious culture in practice to all pupils/all pupils of a specific age range.

Probably true sadly.
Original post by londonmyst
A lot of religious schools are dependent upon the donations of affiliated traditionalist churches, sects or other faith movements for the majority of their annual budgets.
Whether through direct cash funding, sponsorship, encouraging their financial backers to donate, providing free teaching staff or equipment.

Many religious schools have boards of governors, the majority of their staff and management committess dominated by personnel from such traditionalist groups or their most hardcore supporters.
The religious traditionalists will never agree to relinquish their control.
Nor cease the indoctrination attempts or to enforce the mandatory teaching of their favourite interpretations of religion and daily religious culture in practice to all pupils/all pupils of a specific age range.

This is true with my school and most religious state schools in england
Original post by Mesopotamian.
This thread is part of the Curriculum Conversations project aiming to explore your thoughts and opinions regarding the subjects we learn at school.

Religious Studies is taught throughout the keystage 3 curriculum and can often be made a compulsory GCSE subject in some schools.
Do you agree with this?
Did/ does your school make you do RS for GCSE?
Do you enjoy studying RS and do you think it helps you to develop key life skills?

Post your thoughts below!

More curriculum conversations like this




You should be taught about the history and philosophy of religion as you will learn about the different religions which are part of human culture. Although I don't think it should be compulsory.
(edited 1 year ago)
Original post by Rufus The Red
Religious studies should be taught, but not compulsory at GCSE level.
If anything, a compulsory GCSE narrows the focus from actual understanding of various religions to rote memorisation.


It's not compulsory to take GCSE RE/RS but legally it has to be taught.
Original post by londonmyst
A lot of religious schools are dependent upon the donations of affiliated traditionalist churches, sects or other faith movements for the majority of their annual budgets.
Whether through direct cash funding, sponsorship, encouraging their financial backers to donate, providing free teaching staff or equipment.

Many religious schools have boards of governors, the majority of their staff and management committess dominated by personnel from such traditionalist groups or their most hardcore supporters.
The religious traditionalists will never agree to relinquish their control.
Nor cease the indoctrination attempts or to enforce the mandatory teaching of their favourite interpretations of religion and daily religious culture in practice to all pupils/all pupils of a specific age range.


No, state CE and Catholic schools are funded by the LA a small portion comes from the Diocese.

If you know differently can you post a link?

https://www.gov.uk/guidance/voluntary-aided-schools-capital-funding
Original post by londonmyst
Is it now?

When I did religious studies at gcse & a level, the focus was mostly on the other two abrahamic faiths and non-abrahamic asian religions.
Had to wait until undergrad to study Christianity in greater detail.

The way it is at the moment is that at GCSE (don’t know anyone who took pure RS to A level) you pick 2 faiths and study them in detail. Most schools are Christian and simply pick Christianity + Islam (or even CofE + Catholicism) as they don’t have the resources to teach anything else, so the numbers of people studying 2 other faiths is tiny, even if they can technically be taught. Obviously, there are plenty of other issues with this system though anyway.

For me as part of Philosophy Pre U the theology component was entirely Christian ethics and we were discouraged from mentioning other faiths as the examiner may not understand it :tongue:

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