On the hunt for 800 more RE teachers

A campaign to attract more graduates to become religious education (RE) teachers has been launched.

The Beyond the Ordinary campaign, created by the Religious Education Council of England and Wales (REC), highlights the £9,000 bursaries available to cover training costs for the subject.

A three-minute video forms the campaign’s centrepiece and focuses on the experiences of RE teacher Lynsey Wilkinson and her students from Redhill Academy near Nottingham.

It is launched as the Department for Education announced that more than 800 initial teacher training places will be made available for RE from September.

Successful candidates with first-class honours degrees will be eligible to receive the £9,000 bursaries; those with upper second-class degrees could receive £4,000.

Campaign lead Kathryn Wright said: “RE teachers come from all walks of life, from postgraduates with relevant degrees to career-changers looking for a new challenge.

“A teacher trainee coming to RE as their second or third job tends to be looking for a subject that will offer a challenge, draw on their life skills and is different and more stimulating than what they are used to.

“This campaign is intended to capture the interest and imagination of those who may have considered teaching, but may not have necessarily thought about a career as a RE teacher.”

Since 2012, entries to RE GCSE have risen 19 per cent while A-level entries have increased more than any arts, humanity or social science subject over the past 10 years.

Rudolf Eliott Lockhart, chief executive of the REC, said: “There is a growing need for qualified specialist RE teachers in our schools, so now is a great time to enter the profession.

“Increasing religious literacy is extremely important in today’s society. Issues of religion and belief frequently top the news agenda and helping students make sense of them is immensely rewarding and intellectually stimulating.

“No other career gives people the opportunity to tackle the big questions in life and to explore the impact of faith and belief on people’s lives like RE teaching.”

For more information about training to be a RE teacher visit www.teachre.co.uk/beyondtheordinary

Pic: A still from the Beyond the Ordinary campaign showing RE teacher Lynsey Wilkinson and her students from Redhill Academy


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  1. MrsRoberts

    I think this campaign is unnecessary,I have been looking for a full time permanent RE teaching post every week for the past 6 years!I am currently only able to get part-time employment.I am an RE specialist with over twenty years teaching experience.Each of the past 6 years on average 2 to 3 suitable full-time permanent vacancies arise within the county I live in Gloucestershire and Wales where I would like to live.It is my perception that people do not want to teach RE because generally schools undervalue it and therefore the timetable of an RE teacher is often much heavier than those teaching equivalent subjects such as History and Geography.It is not uncommon for an RE teacher to be responsible for teaching every pupil in a school for one hour a fortnight.This workload means it is impossible to achieve a work life balance and difficult to progress in your career when you are unable to know each of the 700 pupils you see as individuals and cater to their individual learning needs.If you can’t demonstrate this,you cannot progress.A comparison for example might be a full-time History teaching seeing 11 separate classes every week for 2 hours each week,a full time English teacher with 5 classes for 4 hours each week,whereas the RE teacher may see over 40 classes per week for one hour.I love my job and am passionate and committed to my work but I wonder how sustainable a teaching career is with all the stress,pressure and workload issues and a hire and fire target driven culture.I would like to see RE having equal time on a timetable with the other Humanities or sadly teachers are being set up to fail.