Teachers report a lack of training to teach RE

Nearly half of trainee primary teachers have had between zero and three hours of RE training, new research by the National Association of Teachers of RE (NATRE) has revealed.

NATRE is launching the results of its national NATRE Primary Survey 2018 this weekend at its annual conference Strictly RE, where over 300 teachers and professionals from across the UK are expected to attend.

The survey of over 500 primary teachers from across the country has revealed some worrying truths about the provision for RE in primary schools.

A quarter of teachers report that colleagues within their schools have a lack of confidence in teaching RE, both in terms of what to teach, but also how to teach RE.

NATRE’s research found:

  • Nearly half of trainee primary teachers have had between zero and three hours of RE training
  • 30% of primary RE teachers have had no subject specific training in the last year, not even in a staff meeting
  • 1/3 of teachers who started teaching in the last 5 years have no qualification at all in RE, not even a GCSE.
  • Over 50% of schools have a HLTA taking some of their RE lessons
  • Many primary schools do not give adequate time for RE

This demonstrates the need for teacher training in line with recommendation six and seven of the Commission on Religions Education report ‘Religion and worldviews: The way Forward – A national plan for RE’.

Furthermore, though many teachers report no instances of withdrawal from RE, too many are reporting that selective withdrawal is being used, either to withdraw students from learning about Islam, or so that students only learn about Christianity.

Ben Wood, NATRE Chair, has commented:
‘It is undoubtedly disheartening to hear such news, but not surprising. We know there are wonderful examples of high quality RE going on in primary schools, with excellent teachers who use the subject to help their students grow up with a broad understanding of and open-minded attitude to the world and the people who inhabit it. But we also know that there are too many students who don’t get the quality of RE they deserve and are entitled to receive. This not only risks students’ own futures but also the future cohesion of our wonderfully diverse country.

And these concerns are not limited to primary education. A similar account emerges about secondary schools. It angers me that young people are being denied an important part of their education, that colleagues are losing their jobs, that the superb examples of high quality RE in some schools are not replicated in the school down the road and that government that speaks warm words about the value and importance of RE, but then does little to correct the situation.’



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Nearly half of primary teachers have three hours of RE training or less

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