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Shortfall in qualified teachers of secondary-school RE

by
24 October 2014

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From Mr Ed Pawson

Sir, - What amazing news to read (News, 3 October) that the Government is to restore its financial support for graduates training to become secondary RE teachers.

The evidence from the Department for Education's own workforce survey has been clear for some time: there is a frightening shortfall in qualified RE teachers in secondary schools. There is an indisputable need to bring more RE teachers into schools, and reinstating bursaries is but the first step towards redressing this imbalance.

I remain puzzled, however, about why the amount to be offered to RE graduates is less than half of that offered to geography or design-and-technology graduates earning a 2:1 degree. Without specialist RE teachers, we cannot expect schools to enable young people to develop their understanding about the complex patterns of religions and world-views in the contemporary world.

If we want a fairer, more respectful society, then religious literacy has to be high on our agenda, and it requires expertise to enter into informed conversations with teenagers about religion.

ED PAWSON
Chair of the National Association of Teachers of RE (NATRE)
The King's School, Ottery St Mary
Devon EX11 1RA

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