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RE trainee teachers to get bursaries

03 October 2014


GOVERNMENT bursaries for trainee religious-education teachers are to be restored. Graduates with first-class degrees will receive £9000 to take up places on postgraduate training courses in RE; those with an upper second will qualify for a £4000 grant.

Announcing new and increased bursaries for a range of subjects, the Schools Minister, David Laws, said that they were intended to raise the standard of teaching by attracting more top graduates into schools.

The bursaries for RE compare with grants of up to £20,000 for good graduates training to teach physics, chemistry, computing, and languages. All are "shortage" subjects that have too few specialist teachers.

The Bishop of Oxford, the Rt Revd John Pritchard, who chairs the Board of Education, has led the parliamentary campaign to restore RE training bursaries, withdrawn three years ago.

The decision to restore the bursaries may have been influenced by evidence of a significant drop in the numbers of those taking up RE training places. Evidence from the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS) showed that, as the academic year began last month, only 58 per cent of postgraduate RE training places had been taken up, meaning a 42-per-cent shortfall in the Government's own target.

The reintroduction of bursaries was greeted with relief by RE leaders. A member of the RE Council and director of the Culham St Gabriel's Trust, Dr Mark Chater, said he hoped that the grants would result in a swift improvement in the quantity and quality of trainees.


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