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.


AS Religious Studies Revision for Ethics

It is quite hard to find appropriate past exam questions for you to have a peek at, so the ones included below are useful but the marks per question are slightly different to what WJEC currently use on the legacy paper (part ‘a’ will be 30 marks and part ‘b’ will be 15 marks for you next summer).

  1. natural-law
  2. utilitarianism-and-embryo-ivf
  3. christian-ethics-and-situation-ethics

More relevant to the WJEC course is a list of previous exam questions for the Ethics paper… as-ethics-past-paper-qs … I wonder which exam paper we’ll do for the Mock?!

I really like the following flow chart revision pages for the main points from the Ethics paper:

Penultimate item for today; we have some ethics revision worksheets: ethics-summary-sheets. I have left the last few pages which ethical issues such as abortion and euthanasia as you’ll need to refer to ethical issues when judging the success of ethical arguments. Moreover by know those issues at AS level you’ll surely blast the GCSE out of the water!

Last but not least we have a page of the YouTube clips we used in our RE Ethics lessons in September and October. They might be a starting point for your own YouTube aided study.ethics-youtube-clips-for-class

Happy revising!