Ofsted criticises the government for its lack of clarity about and support for Religious education
The Ofsted Annual Report published today presents the organisation’s findings for the areas they inspect including schools. NATRE is pleased to see the recognition of the challenges faced by teachers of RE and the impact on children.
Winners announcements - Spirited Arts 2023
NATRE are delighted to announce the winners of the 2023 Spirited Arts competition. Congratulations to all of our winners and their teachers. As always, the standard of entries was high, so selecting winners was challenging for our team of judges.
NATRE Speak at Oral Education Select committee hearing on Recruitment and retention
NATRE spoke to the Education Select Committee about the impact of teacher training shortages in RE, highlighting its importance in a session reported by Schools Week and TES. RE was recognised as a shortage subject, and an open letter was sent to the Secretary of State calling for more support for RE.
NATRE analysis of GCSE and A level examination data for Religious Studies reveals interesting variations between nations and regions
Reports compare RS in England & Wales. Short course removal impacted qualifications; A level entries stable in England, declined 33% in Wales (since 2020). Further investigation needed.
Shortage of RE teachers “dangerous cycle” within religious education
The shortage of religious education teachers has been highlighted in a Religion Media Centre briefing. Only six people have come forward to train as RE teachers in Wales, and in England, no RE teacher training courses have reached their target of entries.
The RE Hubs website is LIVE!
RE Hubs, led by Claire Clinton, has launched www.re-hubs.uk, a one-stop website for the RE community. It offers resources, CPD, event listings, and connects teachers, speakers, and local groups. The aim is to enhance communication, confidence, and sustainable RE provision.
NATRE calls for the DfE to read its own data and reinstate bursaries for trainee teachers of RE.
NATRE urges DfE to reinstate RE bursaries based on own data. Prioritization of EBacc negatively affects RE workforce. 51% of secondary RE teachers focus on other subjects. Shortage of qualified RE teachers evident. Urgent action needed. NFER predicts low trainee recruitment.
Shared Space project features in a DfE research report on social integration in schools and colleges.
The Department for Education (DfE) has released an independent research report examining approaches to promote social integration in schools and colleges. This report includes the highly anticipated Shared Space project, a collaboration between NATRE and the University of Bristol. Discover how this project applied contact theory to Religious Education, fostering social cohesion among students.
Religious Studies provisional examination entries holding steady in England but a worrying decline in entries for A level in Wales.
At GCSE, data for England published by Ofqual on 1st June shows Religious Studies GCSE entries have seen an increase of 6% to more than 245K. However, it is disappointing that several other subjects threatened by the English Baccalaureate and associated school performance measures are continuing to see a fall in numbers.
NATRE Secondary Survey 2023
NATRE is conducting this secondary survey (its tenth) to obtain information about the current state of RE in all types of schools so that it can continue to support the teacher in the classroom by raising awareness of the impact of government policy on RE. Surveys like this help us when talking to key stakeholders and that is critical at the moment given the ongoing recruitment crisis for teachers of RE.
Two-thirds of secondary early career teachers rate subject knowledge training as ‘poor’ or ‘very poor’
The National Association of Teachers of Religious Education (NATRE) has conducted a flash survey among secondary school teachers in their first two years in the profession. The survey found that almost two-thirds of respondents rated the programme’s teacher standard of developing good curriculum and subject knowledge as either poor or very poor...
Why does the rate of entry for GCSE Religious Studies vary so much around England? Does the 2021 census provide part of the answer?
In answer to a parliamentary written question asked by Janet Daby MP and answered by Nick Gibb MP in January, the minister provided a table ranking each local authority in relation to the number of entries for GCSE Religious Studies in 2022.
Minister admits that most teachers of secondary RE mainly teach another subject.
In response to the parliamentary written question asked by Janet Daby MP, minister for school standards; Nick Gibb MP admitted that 51% of the total number of secondary teachers of RE spend most of their teaching timetable delivering a different subject.
Record number of young people enter ‘big picture’ competition
30,000 young people from across the globe have taken part in a major competition to express their views on some of the biggest questions in life through art. A record-beating total of 3,196 entries from 523 schools were submitted for judging, an 18 percent increase on last year.
Take action on RE say leading politicians as more students take the subject at GCSE
Five year funding gap is letting down a ‘record number of students’ as new data suggests many disadvantaged GCSE students go on to take it at A level. The number of students in England and Wales taking a GCSE course in Religious Studies GCSE has risen to 253,225, an increase of 0.6% from last year.
School and government performance on religious education failing record number of students, says landmark data review
Neglecting RE leaves ‘gaping hole in the school curriculum’, says Father of the House Sir Peter Bottomley in the wake of the Government’s commitment to level up education across the country.
NATRE Primary Survey 2022 - Have your say!
NATRE's bi-annual primary survey is now live! This survey to obtain information about the current state of RE in all types of schools for Primary age children so that it can continue to support the teacher in the classroom by raising awareness of the impact of government policy on RE.
Minister recognises implications of White Paper for structures that support RE
A question tabled by former SACRE member Janet Daby MP has prompted this important statement by Minister for Schools, Robin Walker MP. NATRE will be pleased to take up this offer to work with the new 'arms-length curriculum body' in partnership with other stakeholders in high quality RE.
RECRUITMENT OF Lead Director of Regional Hubs
We are seeking a lead for the revised infrastructure project the ‘Regional Hubs’. We need a leader for this unique Regional Hubs project, which aims to provide a platform for all those who support and resource the teaching of Religious Education / Religion and Worldviews.
Failure to meet statutory requirements on RE will be taken into consideration in the Ofsted ‘quality of education’ judgement
Dame Christine Ryan: Chair of Ofsted, gave evidence to the parliamentary Education Committee in September 2021 and was asked about the inspection of RE by the Chair; Robert Halfon MP. The committee showed real concern about schools and academies breaking the law by not teaching RE to pupils in all year groups.
Inspecting RE: An examination of OFSTED inspections
The publication of the Religious Education Research Review was greeted positively by many teachers. We investigate whether inspectors are taking account of the factors identified in the research and if this is improving the potential of inspections to drive up standards in RE.
An analysis of a survey of teachers on the impact of government policy on student opportunity to study GCSE RS
This is an analysis of the data gathered from a questionnaire on the impact of government policy including accountability measures and the English Baccalaureate on Religious Education.
Spirited Arts 2021 received its highest number of entries!
Annually we run the Spirited Arts competition which is engaged with in schools within Religious Education lessons. This year we worked with the Jo Cox Foundation, and one of our 5 themes was Jo's quote from her parliamentary speech "We are far more united and have far more in common than that which divides us."
Joint initiative with CSTG: Progression with the Infrastructure project
Between 2018-2020 a grant was awarded to RE Today Services by Culham St Gabriel’s Trust and The Jerusalem Trust to develop an infrastructure of regional support across 10 regions in England. Read the full article here.
Call for National Plan as Religious Studies GCSE entries slip
The number of pupils taking GCSE Religious Studies in England and Wales has fallen slightly in 2021, despite previously remaining stable since 2017. To safeguard the subject, the Religious Education Council of England and Wales and the National Association of Teachers of RE are calling for a National Plan, as recommended by the Commission on RE in 2018, to be funded by Government.
Hundreds more opt for Religious Studies at A-level in 2021
The number of Religious Studies A-level exam entries has increased 6.1 percent year on year. The subject outperformed other A-level subjects as a whole, which increased by 5.1 percent, with a greater increase than most other humanities subjects.
National newspaper misrepresent NATRE and Anti racist resources
NATRE are disappointed to see that a national newspaper have produced an article misrepresenting our anti-racist RE materials. The resources do not ‘tell’ teachers what to teach they provide resources to inform teachers about the different concepts and provide a glossary of terms so teachers understand the terms used in this area.
NATRE welcome OFSTED’s RE research report
Ahead of NATRE's special #REchatuk twitter conversation with Subject lead Dr Richard Kueh HMI on 17 May, NATRE warmly welcomes Ofsted’s Research review report on religious education, which highlights the priority Ofsted places on the importance of high quality RE in all schools.
Time for the government to address the consequences of their neglect of teachers of RE?
The demands of teaching Religious Education are generally poorly understood. A teacher of RE in modern Britain, must not only understand the principal religious and non-religious worldviews, but also the diversity within and between those traditions. Fewer than a third of the 633-trainee secondary RE teachers in this academic year have a degree in Theology or Religious Studies.
Does studying RS GCSE improve your overall academic attainment?
Local Authorities where there are higher rates of entry for GCSE RS, fair well in a range of performance measures. Data published by NATRE on GCSE RS entries in 2020 shows that rates of entry vary widely between local authorities.
Funding boost to get ‘Understanding Christianity’ resource to over one million pupils.
The Understanding Christianity (UC) resource commissioned by the Church of England and developed by RE Today has reached over 5000 schools and over 1,000,000 pupils across the UK since it first launched in 2016. Now thanks to generous funding from Allchurches Trust this project will be rolled out even further with an aim to reach 1000 community schools.
Interesting and positive report about the vitality of RS in the UK
The publication of the British Academy’s Report, Theology and Religious Studies Provision in UK Higher Education, in May 2019 was widely reported in the press, where the study of religion was presented as a relic in terminal decline.
NATRE Curriculum Symposium: expression of interest
NATRE is excited to announce that it will be running a 24 hour residential curriculum symposium in Autumn. We have been planning to run this for almost a year but took the decision to wait until it can be run as a face to face event as we want to create a curriculum learning community.
A National Plan for RE summarised
This document was produced by the RE Policy Unit (REPU) in collaboration with the REC’s Education Committee. It attempts to summarise the vision for our subject set out in the Commission on RE Final Report including the Statement of Entitlement published in September 2018.
Teaching Islam: Challenging prejudices
How can we teach about Islam more authentically in RE lessons? Ahead of Interfaith Week – November 8 to 15 – Lat Blaylock, co-author of a new resource, considers the duty of education to tackle stereotypes and challenge prejudices. Written by Lat Blaylock featured on SecEd
New anti-racist Religious Education resource for teachers
A new suite of free teaching materials to help teachers of Religious Education plan and provide learning around racism and prejudice has been launched by RE Today and the National Association of Teachers of RE (NATRE). The project was initiated by the Free Churches Group and Methodist Schools and funded by the Westhill Endowment.
Shadow Minister for Faiths; Janet Daby MP asks the Minister for Education Nick Gibb MP a question about RE
NATRE, the REC and RE Today had a very productive meeting with the Janet Daby MP in October 2020. They learned that the Shadow Minister, who is the MP for Lewisham East, had served on Lewisham SACRE and was fully conversant with the issues surrounding the subject.
What are worldviews and why should schools teach them?
Theos launches latest report ‘Worldviews in Religious Education’. In celebration of the launch of Theos’s latest report, ‘Worldviews in Religious Education’, join Theos and Culham St Gabriel’s Trust on 21st October at 7.30pm for an evening of panel discussion and Q&A, as we consider the concept of “worldview” and how it can enhance religious literacy in the UK – with particular implications for how Religious Education is taught in schools.
Over 95% of primary teachers report time spent on teaching RE has increased or stayed the same
Almost a half (46%) of Academies without a religious character, almost a third (29%) of Agreed Syllabus Schools and a fifth (21%) of Schools including academies with a religious character report increasing their time for teaching RE, new research by the National Association of Teachers of RE (NATRE) has revealed.
Inter Faith Week 2020 opportunities for schools
Inter Faith Week starts on Sunday 8 November and concludes on Sunday 15 November. The Week is a great opportunity for pupils to explore inter faith issues and for schools to build relationships with faith, belief and inter faith groups in their community.
A level results 2020
NATRE was disappointed to hear of so many instances of students missing their university places because of the way A level results were awarded. Too many teachers have reported too many examples of results that have been significantly downgraded to the detriment of students’ options for the future.
Religious Studies A-level entries compare well against other humanities
The number of Religious Studies A-level exam entries has declined at a lower rate than other humanities in 2020, performing better than some subjects despite a backdrop of overall declining entries and changes to the examination system.
Ofqual confirms changes to some GCSEs, AS and A levels next year but not to examinations in RS
NATRE responded last month, to the Ofqual consultation on examinations in 2021. You can read our comments in this news piece. Ofqual released their decisions on 3rd August regarding the cohort of students who will be taking their GCSE’s, AS or A levels in 2021.
OFQUAL responds to queries from NATRE members
We are pleased that our Examinations and HE officer was able to meet with OFQUAL for a one to one conversation. She was able share your questions and queries regarding the ranking and grading process and the subsequent results that students of RS will receive this year. The following document records the questions asked and the responses given by OFQUAL.
Equipping and building a community of leaders for change
Want to develop your expertise as a leader for change? What to work more regionally or nationally? Culham St Gabriel’s Trust is partnering with all the main RE Organisations including NATRE to pilot a new fully-funded leadership programme.
101 RE mentions in Ofsted primary and secondary reports
This latest publication from NATRE includes all the Ofsted reports published so far that mention RE that we can find. There are 101 of them! Teachers including middle and senior leaders might find it interesting to discuss some of the points that have emerged so far.
DfE statement on Religious Education and Collective Worship in Academies and Free Schools
In 2012, NATRE supported the Department for Education in the production of some ‘Questions and Answers’ about Religious Education and Collective Worship in Academies and Free Schools. This document has now been updated to a new format and should be helpful to teachers and others looking for guidance on Government Policy with references to legislation.
What are secondary school inspection reports saying about Religious Education?
NATRE has been monitoring references to RE in both primary and secondary school Ofsted reports under the new framework. The primary reports have been shared here and the four secondary examples are set out below.
What are primary school inspection reports saying about Religious Education?
NATRE is continuing to monitor comments on Religious Education in reports of schools inspected under the new Ofsted Education Inspection Framework this term. The following document includes excepts from 14 primary school inspection reports that provide a window on how the vision for the process we discussed here is working out in practice.
Innovative practices in teaching about religions and worldviews
INVITATION TO PARTICIPATE IN PROJECT: The Faiths & Civil Society Unit, Goldsmiths, University of London, and the Education for Social Justice research group at London South Bank University, are launching a new project to explore and showcase innovative approaches to education about religion(s) and worldviews in schools.
ACCELERATE Programme Applications Closing March 31st 2019
ACCELERATE is an evidence-based PD programme specifically designed for teachers beginning their careers. It offers a mix of coaching sessions, online resources and face-to-face activities. The ACCELERATE programme is fully funded by the DfE. Apply today!
Wanted: Regional RE Networks Ambassador - part time contract
RE Today Services and NATRE are running a 2-year project to build a national support infrastructure for Religious Education. Key to this project are 10 x part-time contracts to take the lead in each region – helping shape the project and then manage the project, budget, deliverables and reporting.
Why schools should pay careful attention to the school workforce census
In response to our State of the Nation report in September 2017, the DfE has taken some small steps to improve schools’ accountability for their Religious Education. In May 2018, the detail of what schools including academies must publish online was amended slightly to ensure there was absolutely clarity that Religious Education must be included in the published curriculum.
New2RE programme September 2018
Are you likely to be a newly qualified secondary RE teacher in September 2018? Are you keen to extend your repertoire of strategies for teaching RE? Would support with deepening subject knowledge be helpful as you teach six religions and non-religious worldviews? Would you value having an experienced RE teacher/leader as a personal mentor? If so, you'll be pleased to hear about the New2RE programme from the National Association of Teachers of RE (NATRE).
Parents 'abusing right to withdraw children from RE lessons'
NATRE has become increasingly concerned about reports that the use of the legal right of parents and guardians to withdraw their children selectively from parts of RE; especially from trips to mosques, synagogues and other places of worship has been becoming more common.
Dispelling some myths about SACRE funding
NATRE members who serve on SACREs often contact us about problems with funding. There seems to be a certain amount of misinformation being shared suggesting that Local Authorities no longer receive funding for SACREs and Agreed Syllabus Conferences. This is simply not true.
NATRE complaint to the Secretary of State for Education results in a school reinstating Agreed Syllabus RE.
This report describes the outcomes of a complaint NATRE made against a school with the aim that all pupils on the roll would receive their entitlement to RE as described by the local Agreed Syllabus.
Interim report from the Commission on RE (CORE)
NATRE are pleased to note that CORE has produced a substantial interim report of their work. This uses much evidence from the State of the Nation report, published by the National Association of Teachers of RE (NATRE), the Religious Education Council and RE Today on September 18th.
IMPORTANT message for ALL NATRE members
Introducing a new way to access your termly mailing resources If you are a NATRE member you will shortly be receiving your termly mailing of REtoday magazine and curriculum book(s). To make things easier for you, we have created a space on the NATRE website for you to easily access your eResources.
NATRE & RE Council's joint statement on Religious Education and the 2017 General Election
With the General Election fewer than 50 days away, and political parties hurrying to put together their manifestos, here are four things that we would like to see them include in order to help ensure that all pupils are able to have high quality religious education...
New2RE programme September 2017
Are you likely to be a newly qualified secondary RE teacher in September 2017? Are you keen to extend your repertoire of strategies for teaching RE? Would support with deepening subject knowledge be helpful as you teach six religions and non-religious worldviews? Would you value having an experienced RE teacher/leader as a personal mentor? If so, you'll be pleased to hear about the New2RE programme from the National Association of Teachers of RE (NATRE).
Want to get involved in the NATRE Executive?
Our current Executive Committee ends its terms of office at the end of February 2018, and this term we are seeking nominations from serving RE teachers to work on this national body for three years from March 2018 – February 2021. We will elect up to 8 primary teachers and 8 secondary teachers.
Motion for Conference Concerning Religious Education: REtain RE [motion 40]
The NASUWT shares NATREs concerns about the increasing non-compliance of schools regarding the teaching RE. There is a motion up for selection for the NASUWT annual conference to enlist the union's support in strengthening the compliance of teaching RE in schools.
The Commission on Religious Education Call for Evidence
The Commission on Religious Education (CoRE) is an independent body that was established to review the legal, education, and policy frameworks for religious education (RE) and to make evidence-based recommendations for policy makers and educationalists to consider.
Concerns over non-compliance in RE
As readers will be aware NATRE has been in discussion with senior officials from OFSTED to highlight issues of concern to teachers of RE including non-compliance in the teaching of Religious Education in schools and academies. NATRE has recently noticed possible signs that our concerns are being taken more seriously although we are not yet at the point where we can say that an Ofsted inspection will automatically identify issues with RE.
Funding boost to promote inter-religious and cultural dialogue
The National Association of Teachers of RE (NATRE) and the University of Bristol have successfully won two research bids for a joint project exploring better ways of promoting inter-religious and cultural dialogue in the classroom.
Full course GCSE Religious Studies entries rise, but number of schools with no RS students at all is increasing
The number of pupils in England and Wales taking GCSE Religious Studies full course has risen again this year, up 5.3% against 2014 to 283,756. This echoes the increase in A Level entries, which are up 6.5% this year compared with 2014.
Does RE work: Small scale practitioner inquiry funding
The book based on the AHRC/ESRC “Does Religious Education Work?” won the Society for Educational Studies book prize and the research team have donated the prize money of £1,000 to NATRE to fund a small-scale practitioner inquiry into one of the themes raised by the project.
Ask your Prospective Parliamentary candidates to sign the pledge!
As we approach the general election prospective Parliamentary candidates are happy to listen to the views of the voter. This is a good opportunity to ask candidates in your area to sign the 'Make Religious Education Flourish' pledge.
RE Teaching: Beyond the Ordinary
When was the last time someone asked: “So what do you do?” “I teach RE” will spark a reaction. Just as the subject itself generates positive reactions and inspires school children of all ages. Beyond the Ordinary is a new campaign to find extraordinary individuals who have what it takes to train to become RE teachers.
Have your say - Newly Qualified Teacher Survey 2015
The 2015 Newly Qualified Teacher (NQT) Survey, on the quality of initial teacher training, opened on Monday 9 February 2015. It is aimed at NQTs who successfully completed their training in England during 2014. Complete the survey by 2 March and have a chance of winning an iPad Air 2.
NATRE talks to the BBC about teaching sacred text
On Sunday 23rd November Daniel Hugill, NATRE Executive member and Secondary School RE teacher was interviewed 11 times on local radio stations around the country. These interviews followed the Bible Society's recent report on the teaching of sacred text www.biblesociety.org.uk/news/more-sacred-texts-in-schools-would-help-children-love-thy-neighbour-as-yourself-say-teachers/
Examination Reform in Religious Studies 2014 – Frequently asked questions
What do you think about the reform of GCSE and A level Religious Studies exams? We want to hear what you have to say and so NATRE will be hosting an extraordinary #REchatUK on Twitter on Monday 17 November at 8pm -9pm.
Get your copy of Reform magazine
Reform, a magazine of religious comment, reflection and debate is making free copies available to RE teachers for use in schools. The magazine, published monthly by the United Reformed Church, is a forum for discussion across a range of ethical and theological issues.
RE 4 Real – What do school leavers really need to know about religion and belief?
The Faiths & Civil Society Unit (FCSU) at Goldsmiths, University of London is undertaking a cutting-edge project to explore what school leavers really need to know and understand about religion and belief in the contemporary world.
RE regional strategy pilot launched
A new strategy for RE professional development has been launched. It aims to make sure there are more robust arrangements for training and supporting teachers of RE and is based on Recommendation 4 of the Religious Education Councils’ (REC) Review of RE in England (2013).
Statement on GCSE and A Level reform
NATRE and The Religious Education Council (REC) are delighted that the Department for Education has accepted the case for the reform of GCSE and A level examinations in the subject on the same time scale as EBacc subjects such as History and Geography, with first teaching from 2016.
Your school could win £600 and £600 for the teacher!
The Hockerill Educational Foundation and NATRE have joined forces to provide the educational world of Primary and Secondary education with a new prize which recognises the work and dedication of those who teach Religious Education in primary and in secondary RE.
Religious Education can reduce religious misunderstanding and conflict, say MPs
An inquiry by the All Party Parliamentary Group on Religious Education (RE) has found that RE lessons have a key role to play in reducing religious misunderstanding and conflict. The investigation heard that when schools provide young people with a good education on religion and belief, the potential for tension and friction in multi-faith communities is reduced.
Charities react to funding gap for trainee RE teachers
A new fund to support trainee Religious Education teachers wanting to work in secondary schools is being set up by a group of four independent charitable trusts. The fund has been established to dampen the impact of a Government decision to cut training bursaries for RE PGCE students.