Tonight I have received the news that my local secondary school, Thorp Academy, has decided to cut A-level Religious Studies.
This cut follows the Academy’s scrapping of A-level Politics, Physical Education and Spanish – some of the options that many people in my year group were planning on taking when they reach Year 12. The cuts have all began after my school – the school that I have defended when Ofsted absolutely slated us not too long ago – was made into an Academy and sponsored by the Northern Education Trust, NET.
Changes to the A-level options have deeply unsettled and upset me as I had originally planned to take Politics and RE. When I spoke to a few of my friends about this, they had planned on doing similar things: one decided she wanted to take RE and PE and my other friend wanted to study Politics. I understand that the lack of interest in such subjects may lead to money being wasted and all of the other financial negatives that may come tied to this, but if we can’t have Politics or PE or Spanish, at least let us have RE.
RE is a massively popular choice at GCSE and I chose it with the intention of doing it at A-level, as did many others in my class and the second class. Yes, two classes of GCSE RE students, yet they are scrapping it at A-level. The thing about RE is that is develops awareness and knowledge, it makes you think and makes you understand. Scrapping the A-level option means scrapping all of that. How can we deny students who so desperately want to study this society in depth the right to do so?
Philosophy and Ethics are two hugely important things and, in eyes, they are becoming far more popular now than they ever have been! As described in Thorp Academy’s sixth form prospectus, the A-level RE course is ‘academically rigorous’ and surely this should be a reason to keep it. What about those of us in Year 10 at the moment who had their A-levels planned out at Thorp Academy, who planned on doing RE at A-level and then studying religion in further education? Surely this will only decrease the number of students who attend our sixth form and surely that can only have a negative impact on our school?
It is not just me who wants to keep RE and I know this through the response I have had from my friends on social media and also through conversations in school. And let’s not forget our teachers who, of course, just want to teach. Let’s not forget about them because this has a direct impact on them too – they can’t teach the most interesting and developed part of the subject they have devoted their career to.
RE is unique, dynamic and packet full of opportunity. We cannot let this become another example of this government’s apathy towards education. This battle has now became a little too close to home and we need to prevent it before it’s too late. RE will have a demand by 2016 and it will be gone before we have the chance to demand it.
Let us study what we always set out to.