Watch some films as part of your Easter Holiday Revision

It was once part of the GCSE Religious Studies course that you had to watch numerous films with topical content and answer questions about them and how the media portrays religion. It’s why most RS teachers know every word to Bruce Almighty (references to the power of God, Jesus’ miracles, evil and suffering, parting of the Red Sea, prayer) and have a DVD collection in the garage with the Miracle Maker (Jesus’ life in plasticine), East is East (community cohesion, Islam, homosexuality, family, food laws, arranged marriage, mosque), the Vicar of Dibley (Anglicanism, community, prayer, sermons) and Bend it Like Beckham (family, sexism, Sikhism, community cohesion) using up box space.


Even though you’ll no longer have to write about specific films or TV programmes in a Religious Studies exam, you can still watch films to remind you about key topics such euthanasia, abortion, the environment, animal welfare, the death penalty, war, relationships, and gender equality, and anything which helps you remember Christianity and Islam better. Below are some ideas to get you started (most films suitable for 15 years and older):

hackshaw Ridge

Hacksaw Ridge – pacifism, war, Seventh Day Adventism

Miracles from Heaven – miracles, family

Tree of Life  – prayer, suffering, family

Mary Magdalene – Jesus’ life, women in biblical times

Amazing Grace – about Wilberforce a strong Christian and man who fought to abolish the slave trade

Exodus: Gods and Kings – about Moses OR The Prince of Egypt – about Moses

I Can Only Imagine – prayer, family, story about famous Christian song, faith

Noah – Noah’s Ark,

Dead Man Walking, The Life of David Gale, Monster’s Ball – all about the death penalty

Blackfish, The Cove, Food Inc, Earthlings, Vanishing of the Bees – all about animal rights

Me Before You, The Sea Inside, Million Dollar Baby, A Short Stay in Switzerland – euthanasia


Juno, Cider House Rules, Revolutionary Road, Dirty Dancing, Obvious Child – abortion

All ABout My Mother, Carol, Beautiful Thing, The Times of Harvey Milk – gay rights

This is just a drop in the ocean of what’s available. Check out Netflix, Amazon Prime, and TV channels like BBC, ITV and Channel 4, for their documentaries on crime and punishment, war and conflict, and moral issues too.





Head Transplants one step closer in humans

The first human head transplant is planned for later this year and it looks one step closer as scientists report that they’ve successfully transplanted a smaller rat’s head onto another larger rat. The operation involved three rats in total: the donor, the recipient and a third used to maintain the blood supply to the transplanted head. After the operation, the rat whose head had been transplanted was able to see and feel pain, showing the brain was functioning despite having been detached from its original body.

Not all scientists are impressed with this path towards human head transplants: Hunt Batjer, the president elect of the American Association for Neurological Surgeons, has criticised the plans to transplant a human head. “I would not wish this on anyone,” he said. “I would not allow anyone to do it to me as there are a lot of things worse than death.”




Revision Resources for Legacy AQA

At our school the topics we chose to study for the legacy AQA RS course are:


  1. Animal Rights
  2. Environment
  3. Prejudice
  4. Early life (abortion and children)


  1. Medical Ethics (fertility, cloning, transplants)
  2. Elderly and Death (euthanasia)
  3. Drug Abuse
  4. Crime and Punishment

Remember we chose these to be our topics because they come in from 1st to 4th on the exam paper. There were fears that if we’d studied topics 5 or 6 then you might not have known which questions to answer in the exam.


You can use some other school’s excellent revision resources but just take care to stick to the topics you’ll be expected to answer on the exam…



A very strong, user friendly website to help support your legacy GCSE RS studies for this summer is REquest. Useful pages are on Morality and Ethics; Ultimate QuestionsSocial Issues; The Natural World; and Life and Death.


For students completing the new AQA GCSE (9-1) the whole of the website is useful with its information on how the Bible is used, Festivals, issues Christians face, Jesus, life as a Christian, and places.

Children learning to be Buddhist monks

The BBC have a beautiful collection of photographs showing young children learning to be Buddhist monks in the Himalayas.


You can see the conch shell in front of the boys. Today the conch is used in Tibetan Buddhism to call together religious assemblies. During the actual practise of rituals, it is used both as a musical instrument and as a container for holy water.


Remember that if you’ve chosen to use Buddhism in your GCSE exam this summer you need to know more than the basics on the ‘cheat sheet’ above. Why not check out these online guides?

  • BBC guide to religions: Buddhism
  • BBC Schools Religion: Buddhism
  • 8 Brief Class Clips about beliefs in Buddhism from the BBC
  • Use this page to find Bitesize Revision pages about Buddhism and the topics we learn such as Life after Death, Abortion, Crime and Punishment and many more.
  • A really good YouTube video is about the Religion and Life paper, and although they talk about the War question which we’re not studying all the other 4 topics are shown and Buddhism is referred to throughout. Mark Warwick has a really useful YouTube page where there are numerous useful videos to help your GCSE preparation.