RE-teacher applicants leap by almost half
Posted: 02 Nov 2006 @ 00:00
A LARGE RISE in the number of graduates seeking training as RE teachers has
been reported by the Graduate Teacher Training Registry.
Applications for postgraduate courses in religious education beginning next
September are almost 50 per cent higher than at the same time last year,
compared with a seven-per-cent average rise for other subjects.
The raw figures for England show that 498 graduates have applied for
specialist RE training, compared with 336 at the same time last year. There
have also been many more applications from men: 163 applied, compared with 120
The increase reflects the Government's decision last year to encourage the
recruitment of more graduates to teach RE for secondary schools, by offering
"golden hellos" of £2500 to specialists. Official RE recruitment strategies
have also targeted those with degrees in sociology, psychology, and philosophy,
as well as in theology and religious studies. The campaign to widen the pool
was pioneered by the Anglican Culham Institute's Teach RE project.
The director of Culham, the Revd Dr John Gay, said: "The rise also seems to
confirm the trend towards greater interest in RE, shown in schools by the
massive increase in examination entries in the subject."
But he called for more booster courses aimed at increasing the subject
knowledge of RE trainees without specialist first degrees. The Teacher Training
Agency (TTA) currently runs four booster courses, but they cover only a quarter
of the potential specialists.
In response to the shortage, postgraduate training places have been
increased to 786 for 2006-07 and 2007-08. It now seems probable that all the
available places, 46 per cent of which are in Church of England institutions,
will be filled.