A Level Entries Report

1 February 2024

A report on A Religious Studies examination entries in 2023

NATRE have recently published the following worrying statistics, with all data in part one is taken from tables published by the Joint Council for Qualifications (www.jcq.org.uk).

The overall trend in A level entries for Religious Studies over the last 4 years has been steeply downward in Wales but fairly stable in England.

Since 2020, entries for RS A level in Wales, have fallen by just over 33% from 1126 to 748
During the same period, entries in England, were fairly stable with a rise of just under 1% from 14,564 to 14,690

Attainment at grades A-C was similar in Wales (77.8%) as England (79%), however, students in Wales achieved a higher percentage of A and A grades (31.4%) than their peers in England (25.4%)

As with GCSE, there is a wide variation between the counties of England in terms of the uptake for RS A level. At the time of writing this data was not available for the counties of Wales.

National average by county is 1.88% in England, so congratulations to Rutland with 3.61%, the top of the table, and at the other end is the Isle of Wight with just 0.85%.

Without a high A Level take-up the future for teacher recruitment seems very bleak. In England the drop in entries from 2016 to 2023 is 34%, in Wales the numbers peaked in 2016 at 1892, and in 2023 had dropped to just 748, a drop of 165%. We have yet to see if the new RVE curriculum will help at all in raising these numbers.

What we do know is that RS at A Level has been severely hit by its exclusion at GCSE from the EBac and the demise of the short course, the Informed Choices document published nearly a decade ago by the Russell Group, which endorsed just 15 Facilitating Subjects, the abandonment of AS Levels, and the general poor state of RE in KS3 and KS4, as documented by OfSted, have all led to the uphill struggle we now face in gaining recognition and recruitment.

Well done to those many schools and colleges which have, nonetheless, bucked this trend and thrived!