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Rise in students who want to teach RE

Mon 22 Feb 2016
By Hannah Tooley

There has been a surge in the number of pupils who want to teach Religious Education (RE). 

Analysis of the latest teacher training applications show there has been a 31% rise in religious education applicants in a year, up from 650 to 850, The Times has learnt.

Overall applications for secondary teaching places fell by 0.8% compared with last year.

Last week The National Audit Office criticised the government for the falling number of people training to be teachers for the past four years.

RE was second from bottom, after design technology, in meeting targets for recruitment.

Less than two thirds of the required target number began training - compared to 93% in maths and 87% in languages.

It is thought that the numbers taking up RE this year could be higher.

The Religious Education Council says that it has encouraged more people to take up the profession with its 'beyond the ordinary' campaign, which targeted those changing careers and graduates to take up RE teaching.

The job also comes with tax-free bursaries to cover training up to £9,000 for those with a first-class degree or PhD, or £4,000 for those with an upper-second degree.

Chief executive of the council, Rudolf Eliott Lockhart said: "These new figures are very encouraging.

"Great RE teachers help our young people make sense of their world by encouraging them to critically assess the issues that lead the headlines every day making it as exciting to teach as it is to study."

In addition A-level entries to study RE have more than doubled since 2003.

It is thought almost 1,200 schools put forward no pupils for an RE qualification in 2015, according to The Economist.


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