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.

This has been welcomed by NATRE who surveyed nearly 500 primary teachers from across the country. NATRE believe this finding has come about following many months of lobbying and working with a variety of partners including Department for Education (DfE), Ofsted, parliamentarians, and teacher organisations.

Ofsted’s release of the new Education Inspection Framework (September 2019) emphasises the importance of a broad and balanced curriculum including RE for all pupils in all school types and the expectation of pupils ‘to know more and remember more’.

NATRE hope to see this trend continue, with the resumption of Ofsted inspections to take place in the new year.

NATRE’s research found:

  • 46% of academies without a religious character have reported an increase in time to teach RE
  • 29% of Agreed Syllabus schools have reported an increase in time to teach RE
  • 21% of schools including academies with a religious character reported an increase in time to teach RE
  • Almost 28% respondents said that RE teaching time had been increased compared to 17% in 2018
  • 68% of respondents stated, there has been no change in timetable time for RE in the last academic year
  • Most significant reasons given for the increase were:
    - Change in senior management/subject leader 18%
    - The introduction of a new Agreed Syllabus 21%
    - Change to whole school curriculum design 22%
  • Only 4% reported a decrease in time spent on teaching RE compared to 7% in 2018 and 12% in 2016

Ben Wood, NATRE Chair, has commented:

"It is very good to hear that many primary schools are recognising the importance of RE by providing more time for teaching RE in what is a packed curriculum. This commitment to a broad and balanced curriculum is to be welcomed, as is Ofsted's ongoing commitment to 'deep dives' in RE. What is now especially important is that primary teachers of RE are given the subject specific training they need to ensure that the most is made of this time, enabling pupils to understand and explore the diversity of beliefs and practices they see in the world they are growing into."

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For media enquiries and a copy of the survey report, please contact:

Mubina Khan-Daniels, Strategic Marketing Manager on 07985 466 653 / 0121 415 3970 email mubina@natre.org.uk website www.natre.org.uk

Notes to editors

  • Download the full Primary 2020 NATRE survey results here.
  • Online research conducted by NATRE in the spring and summer terms of 2020. Replies were received from 489 individual primary schools in England, of different types.
  • NATRE is the subject teacher association for RE professionals in primary and secondary schools and higher education, providing a representative voice at national level and publications and courses to promote professional development through its annual membership. NATRE’s Executive consists of a majority of serving teachers from primary and secondary schools who are elected for a three-year term of service.
  • Education Inspection Framework

For more information visit:

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