From Dr Mark Chater
Sir, - Margaret Holness does well to draw our attention to
the serious fall in teacher-training numbers for secondary RE (News, 23 August). As far as
we are able to tell, the main reason for this decline has been the
Government's cancellation of the training bursary, which could lead
to a drying-up of good, committed graduates coming into the
profession. It therefore behoves all the Churches, religious
communities, and others who care about RE to help shore up the
supply of RE teachers.
Culham St Gabriel's Trust, working with the other church college
trusts, has led a campaign to make graduates aware of our
bursaries. This year, we have collectively helped more than 50 RE
trainees - a drop in the ocean compared with the need to fill 320
places. Could parishes consider sponsoring a trainee for a year?
Could charities and individuals consider contributing to a common
fund for bursaries?
We have a vision of excellence in RE teaching, supported by
sufficient numbers of qualified teachers with confident knowledge,
flair, and dedication. We cannot allow RE to succumb to this
recruitment crisis, and are very open to offers of collaboration,
to meet this threat together.
Director, Culham St Gabriel's Trust
60-62 Banbury Road
Oxford OX2 6PN