Key stage 4
While there is no legal requirement that pupils must sit public examinations, they deserve the opportunity to have their learning in the statutory curriculum subject of religious education accredited, and therefore it is hoped that all students will follow a public examination syllabus during key stage 4.
Those who do not elect to study a full RE GCSE in KS4 have the right to RE lessons throughout key stage 4. If there are pupils for whom the attainment of a pass in a GCSE examination is not a realistic target, but who still wish to have some kind of certification, they could be prepared for an accredited Certificate of Achievement (entry level qualification) in RE. Where schools anticipate needing to enter pupils for this certificate they will probably need to consider whether their choice of syllabus is co-teachable with the GCSE syllabus. An alternative, however, is for the school to provide students in years 10 and 11 with RE lessons where the focus is on expanding learning and enthusiasm without the concomitant pressure of sitting a public exam.
For schools that do not offer the GCSE, the school must ensure that the full key stage 3 curriculum is taught, and that in key stage 4 the subject material detailed in the agreed syllabus is covered. This can be delivered from a single religious perspective or by using a thematic approach where more than one tradition is studied. Where a thematic approach is used, a comparative study is expected.
Links to personal experience and the wider community is needed throughout this key stage, and it is hoped that students will reach an understanding of the commonalities of spiritual experience as well as the diversity both within and between different religious and non-religious traditions.