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Teacher-training in RE: the end of an era

by
06 December 2013

iStock

From Linda Burton

Sir, - Your report (News, 29 November) about the allocation and funding of teacher-training places in RE gives some idea of the very mixed provision across the country, and indicates that overall there is an increase in numbers for next year.

This overall increase, however, hides some very worrying regional variations: while Edge Hill and Cumbria have received allocations of 20 places each, the university-based courses at both Durham and Newcastle have received zero allocations, thus closing the courses.

No rationale has been given for these changes, but they cannot have been based on quality judgements, since the course at Durham received an Outstanding grade from OFSTED only last April.

The closure of the RE PGCE secondary course at Durham brings to an end a tradition of teacher-training in RE dating back to the founding of the College of the Venerable Bede in 1838.

That this decision should have been made without consultation, explanation, or warning seems particularly hard to understand and accept. Many in the north-east are devastated to see the end of high-quality teacher-training in RE, and are worried about the implications for the next generation of north-east schoolchildren.

LINDA BURTON (Lay Canon)
RE PGCE Course Leader, Durham University; Chair of Durham
SACRE
School of Education, Leazes Road
Durham DH1 1TA

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