THE Government has raised significantly its training target for
secondary religious-education teachers for the next academic year,
it was announced last week. Almost 800 places on courses for
post-graduate RE specialists will be available next September,
compared with just under 500 this year.
The move, taken together with the return of £4000 bursaries for
RE, suggests that ministers have accepted the case made by the
Religious Education Council of England and Wales that the subject
suffers from a long-standing shortage of specialist teachers.
The revival of bursaries, announced in September, appears to
have come too late to stimulate recruitment for this academic year.
The Universities and Colleges Admissions Service reports that only
390 of the 500 RE training places in England for the 2014/15 year
have been taken up.
Professor John Howson, a teacher-supply expert, said: "The
current take-up of PGCE places in RS [Religous Studies] suggests
that meeting the new recruitment target will be a challenge.
However, renewed government support for the subject, and
particularly the availability of bursaries, will do much to improve
the situation next year."