R.S Blockbusters

I love this time of year because you can finish those jobs that you have been trying to sort out for the whole year! For me it was organising my DVD collection from old spec to new spec. This DVD collection is available to my students – as a sort of Netflix’s- where they can borrow any DVD they wish. Unfortunately, as you well know, the new spec does not provide time for watching full films and documentaries. Therefore as I do not want my students to miss out on developing their wider understanding, I have built my ‘Blockbusters’ cupboard.

Here are my DVDs:

First Year Philosophy:IMG_1275.JPG

First Year Ethics:


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It’s Arrived!!!

And it looks fabulous! IMG_1206Exactly the same structure and layout as the last text book too #highlightofday!

Here’s hoping that I can get a little bit of planning under my belt before September starts!


If you are interested in viewing it, please click on the link below for the Amazon store.

Oxford A Level Religious Studies for OCR: Year 2 Student Book: Christianity, Philosophy and Ethics

Organising a New SOW: Second Year

The time has come to start planning the second year of the New Spec. To my horror there is a surprising amount of new content still to cover (I can’t believe there are another 6 topics to cover in Christian Thought!). So I thought I would make a start and the best way to do this is by organising my SOW, creating an overview map of exactly how long I have and how to cover both new content and revision.

So a couple of pointers first:

  • My students sit an exam at the end of the first year which means I have to cover all the first year modules rather than split equally over the two years (see: Updated SOW: Let’s be realistic! for first year SOW)
  • There is no team teaching or sharing of spec so students cover each section as a chunk: Philosophy, Ethics then Christian Thought.
  • I have five hours teaching time for second years per week.

The first big change from first to second year is the order of the sections, with Christian Thought coming first. This is very simply because it is the only section with 6 new modules to cover, so I just need to get those out of the way. I am also quite happy (ish) with the Philosophy and Ethics as they do not look much different from the old spec.

Second of all I am going to integrate revision into the Philosophy and Ethics sections and then leave some time at the end to revise Christian Thought again and fill in any final Philosophy and Ethics gaps. I have made this decision for two reasons. One because I believe students should be starting to revise their knowledge after Christmas and secondly because it then splits up revision. Revision is very hard work for both student and teacher therefore breaking it down into more manageable chunks seems wise.

This is how it looks:


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Predictions for A2 Ethics

I am not a gambling sort 714583-exam-1401318461-908-640x480of person but I would bet money that you will be asked two application questions. But what about the other two questions? Well, as with my previous predications, all I have to go on is the patterns, links to the specifications and gut instinct (call it my ‘intuition’ if you like).

Meta Ethics: even though this came up last year I still think there is a possibility of it re- appearing (as it makes more appearances than not in the exams). At the end of the day it is not a popular topic therefore it often rears its head repeatedly. If so, my predications are either: Ethical Naturalism specifically or a question worded with Non Cognitive e.g ‘A non cognitive approach is the only way to understand ethical language’ (as emotivism not asked since 2011 and prescriptivism since 2012).

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New Spec Reflections: What’s the Verdict?

I have never hidden the fact that I am loyal to OCR, teaching nearly a thousand students over eight years. But entering my ninth year with a looming new spec, I spent many weeks weighing up the pros and cons of remaining with OCR. My decision: Better the devil you know! (See: Out with the Old and in with the New: OCR Spec Changes) Was this the right decision though?

Interestingly I started writing this post about five weeks ago, with the first round of new spec exams dauntingly close but still two topics to cover in class. So I waited. Not because I didn’t have the time (because whoever has any of that!) but because I wanted to see the exam questions. Were OCR going to let me down at the last hurdle, setting ridiculously hard questions and be the straw that finally breaks the camel’s back of a grueling year? Or were they going to be fair and manageable to those students who had put in the work and revision? At that stage I just had no clue – my crystal ball of predictions was on the blink and I just prayed for the best outcome.

So writing now, the day after the first Philosophy exam, I am relieved by the exam questions which seem fair. Questions 1 & 2 were worded short and simple (not the usually long winded wording of OCR – as seen in Q3), also 1 and 2 were left pretty open with no one philosopher specified. This means, in my opinion, that anything relevant to the question will be awarded marks. So I am content with the questions so far but is this blissful ignorance as we approach the second round: new spec ethics? We will see in a week!

So my overall reflections of the year…

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