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Thursday, 17 August 2017 13:38

Entries for Religious Studies A level remain high with the fastest growth among arts, humanities and social sciences

The key outcomes of the 2017 A level results in England and Wales for Religious Education are as follows:

  • 23,856 RS A level entries were recorded, a small decrease of 4.0% on 2016.  Much of this decrease is explained by a decrease in the number of 18-year-olds in England, Wales, and Northern Ireland of 1.7%
  • Despite the decrease in entries for RS, there are still more than double the number in 2003 (11,132 entries were recorded in 2003)
  • The increase of 114% in the number of entries for RS A level since 2003 is greater than for any arts, humanity or social science subject (the nearest subject is Political Studies with an increase of 90%).  Among all subjects, only Further Maths has seen more rapid growth than RS
  • 23.3% of entries for RS A level were awarded an A or an A*
  • There were 16,308 entries for RS at AS level, a decrease of 54% on 2016; this reflects the decline across all subjects where the number of AS entries fell by 40% across England and Wales.  Despite the drop there are still more entries than in 2003 (15,482 entries were recorded in 2003)

The importance of RS A Level as a subject for Higher Education entry and for graduate recruiters is increasingly recognised by independent bodies. The Russell Group of top universities has made it clear that RS A level provides ‘suitable preparation for University generally’, and both Oxford and Cambridge University include Religious Studies in the top level list of ‘generally suitable Arts A levels’.

In fact, almost 21% of students admitted to Oxford University to study English and 13.5% admitted to study History in 2015 had an RS A level, more than those with Economics, Physics and Business Studies A levels.1

Employers are also recognising the value of religious literacy. For example, in February 2017, EY announced the creation of Religious Literacy for Organisations (RLO), a diversity and inclusion training programme designed to help organisations better understand religious inclusion and its positive impact on business process and performance.

Career prospects for those that take Religious Studies/Theology at degree level are also very bright, with 25% of 2015 graduates going on to work in the fields of legal, social and welfare, 11% choosing to become educational professionals and almost 5% managers.

The high number of pupils taking A level and AS level Religious Studies is all the more impressive for coming at a time when there is a shortfall in recruitment for teacher training in Religious Education.  Evidence collected by the National Association of Teachers of RE (NATRE) suggests that headteachers are finding it increasingly difficult to recruit RE specialists.

Comment from Daniel Hugill, Chair, National Association of Teachers of RE (NATRE)

"Congratulations to the many students receiving their Religious Studies results today.  Their results are the product of their hard work grappling with some of the most difficult questions to ever puzzle humankind. Congratulations to their teachers too who have worked tirelessly to ensure that their students can reach their full potential.  It is of little surprise to those of us who teach RS that it remains so popular amongst young people.  RS A-level is an excellent preparation for both further study and for entering the world of work.  RS is a subject that helps young people gain access to a wide range of degree courses including those at the most prestigious Universities.  Our most recent Freedom of Information request found that more than 1 in 10 students admitted to Oxford’s Philosophy, Politics, and Economics (PPE) and History courses had studied RS A-Level. This statistic increases to more than 1 in 5 for students admitted to study English.  The subject matter and approach of an RS A-level helps to equip students with the skills, knowledge, and attitudes necessary to succeed in modern Britain.”

Comment from Rudolf Eliott Lockhart, Chief Executive, Religious Education Council of England and Wales (REC):

"It’s fantastic to see how popular Religious Studies A level remains.  This is a highly rated subject that offers pupils the opportunity to explore crucial questions in relation to beliefs, values and morality. In doing so it provides an excellent preparation for living in a multi-faith, multi-cultural world.  What’s more, Religious Studies is a rigorous, academic A-level that provides an excellent foundation for further study in a wide range of academic subjects, and remains a very attractive qualification to universities.  These results are really encouraging, but there’s still work to do.  I hope that the Government will want to work with us to turn enough of today’s keen A level pupils into tomorrow’s teachers to help meet the shortfall in appropriately qualified teachers of religious education that we currently face.”

 

Numbers of A level entries in arts, humanities and social sciences in England and Wales by selected subject area, 2003 to 2017

 

A level subject area

2003

2005

2007

2009

2011

2013

2015

2016

2017

% change 2003 to 2017

Religious studies

11,132

14,929

16,841

18,899

19,952

20,851

23,372

24,849

23,856

114%

Political studies

8,683

10,008

11,088

12,277

13,715

14,302

14,087

14,462

16,467

90%

Economics

17,153

17,087

17,016

20,546

23,476

25,755

27,202

28,827

29,557

72%

Sociology

23,498

25,709

26,663

28,472

29,703

29,681

31,378

32,968

33,625

43%

History

40,089

42,735

44,035

46,617

48,590

49,786

53,548

51,974

47,877

19%

Law

12,350

14,510

15,487

16,276

14,351

12,484

10,701

11,209

11,487

-7%

Geography

33,467

30,552

29,538

30,226

29,348

30,871

35,221

34,180

35,820

7%

ALL SUBJECTS

721,887

752,602

774,842

815,603

834,735

817,916

818,359

799,524

792,527

10%

Notes: GCE A level results of A level candidates in England and Wales.

Source: Joint Council for Qualifications (JCQ)

Read 1472 times Last modified on Thursday, 17 August 2017 13:42