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The need to support RE teacher-training

by
06 September 2013

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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.

MARK CHATER
Director, Culham St Gabriel's Trust
60-62 Banbury Road
Oxford OX2 6PN

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