From the Principal of Bishop Grosseteste University College, Lincoln
Sir, — Your education correspondent’s report (News, 6 January) about teacher training for religious education may have given readers the impression that Bishop Grosseteste University College will be ceasing to offer training for RE teachers because of the very small numbers of places that the Government has allocated to us for this purpose for 2012/13. This is quite untrue.
While we very much regret that the Government is reducing the level of national investment in the training of RE teachers, and would be delighted to train many more than the three we have been allocated, we will certainly run the programme with those numbers. Indeed, three is the number we have been allocated for the current year, too: the recently announced allocations do not represent a change for us. We have been working successfully with cohorts of fewer than ten students for several years now.
Our model of delivering highly rated teacher training allows us to provide a top-quality experience even to very small numbers training in an individual subject. Some elements of the programme are provided in common to trainees in all subjects; so our trainee RE teachers cover the required general professional studies in groups with trainees in other subjects. Our RE teacher trainees also benefit from the institution’s thriving theology programmes, soon to be supplemented by a new BA (Hons) Theology and Society programme.
The vital subject-specific elements of the teacher-training programme itself are delivered in very close partnership with schools, providing our trainees with one-to-one mentoring and support from experienced RE teachers. This is very much the model that the Government is encouraging for the future, having announced that it will support small cohorts only if they are trained through a school-led model.
The expert quoted in your article as saying that it is not possible to provide high-quality teacher training for subject cohorts of fewer than ten would be very welcome to contact us to learn more about how this can be done. In the mean time, we look forward to continuing to support the teaching of RE in the schools of Lincolnshire and well beyond with highly trained subject- specialist teachers.
Bishop Grosseteste University College
Lincoln LN1 3DY