Religion: Education

Department for Education written question – answered on 27th June 2022.

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Photo of Tim Farron Tim Farron Liberal Democrat Spokesperson (Environment, Food and Rural Affairs), Liberal Democrat Lords Spokesperson (Communities and Local Government), Liberal Democrat Spokesperson (Housing, Communities and Local Government)

To ask the Secretary of State for Education, with reference to the Ofsted research review series: religious education, published on 12 May 2021, what plans his Department has to ensure access to high quality in-service training for leaders and teachers of religious education.

Photo of Tim Farron Tim Farron Liberal Democrat Spokesperson (Environment, Food and Rural Affairs), Liberal Democrat Lords Spokesperson (Communities and Local Government), Liberal Democrat Spokesperson (Housing, Communities and Local Government)

To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what plans his Department has to ensure the quality and quantity of primary religious education training in initial teacher training and for early career teachers.

Photo of Robin Walker Robin Walker The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Scotland, Minister of State (Education)

One of the department’s priorities is to ensure that we continue to attract, retain, and develop the highly skilled teachers needed, as set out in our Teacher Recruitment and Retention Strategy in 2019. In the 2020/21 academic year, the department exceeded the postgraduate initial teacher training (ITT) target in religious education (129% of target), and in 2021/22 we met 99% of the target.

The department does not prescribe the curriculum content of initial teacher training (ITT) courses. However, courses must be designed so that teacher trainees can demonstrate that they meet all of the Teachers' Standards at the appropriate level. The ITT Core Content Framework sets out a minimum entitlement of knowledge, skills and experiences that trainees need to enter the profession in the best position possible to teach and support all children and young people. The framework is not subject specific but sets out a minimum entitlement to training that accredited ITT providers must incorporate into their primary and/or secondary ITT curricula. It is up to partnerships to make choices around curriculum and sequencing to suit the subject, phase, and age range that trainees will be teaching.

Beyond the first few years of teaching, the department’s priority is to help all teachers and school leaders to continuously develop their expertise throughout their careers. We have improved our training support offer to all schools and teachers, to ensure that they receive high quality training and development at every stage of their career, from initial teacher training and the introduction of the Early Career Framework (ECF) reforms through to leadership qualifications.

The ECF reforms were introduced to improve support for early career teachers. The ECF itself underpins what all early career teachers should learn about and learn how to do based on expert guidance and the best available research evidence. It is designed to work for all early career teachers of religious education as well as all others regardless of subject, phase and/or school.

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