After a twelve month enquiry, the RE APPG recently released its findings on the state of RE in schools today. The report makes for very sorry reading, but reinforces what most in the RE world already knew: That RE is being undervalued and undermined. It’s being squeezed out of the timetable, funding is being reduced and children are being given a bad deal.
- Over 50% of those teaching RE in secondary schools have no qualification or relevant expertise in the subject
- A quarter of all primary schools that responded said the lesson was given by a teaching assistant
- Primary and primary trainee teachers lack confidence and expertise in teaching RE, especially in diverse and multi-cultural classrooms
- Support for RE teachers at a local level has been dramatically reduced by local authority funding cuts and the academies programme
- Bursaries for RE trainees have been removed and there has been a radical reduction in applicant numbers for 2013/14
- Because of this lack of training and support many of those teaching RE are unable to meet the Department for Education’s Teaching Standards, selling young people short in their schools.
This makes for very sorry reading. Whatever you think about the place of RE in the curriculum, it is currently there and young people study it. Why not give it appropriate funding, time and training for it to be of real benefit to those who study it. Imagine if it did and received the best training and teachers. The possibilities are endless!
I think it’ll be interesting to see how the RE Review responds and the recommendations it makes to take RE forward. And then we just need Gove to join us all in 2013 and accept the recommendations!