Teachers: Religion

Department for Education written question – answered at on 22 November 2023.

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Photo of Robert Buckland Robert Buckland Conservative, South Swindon

To ask the Secretary of State for Education, whether she plans to take steps to increase the availability of Religious Education teacher training courses.

Photo of Jim Shannon Jim Shannon Shadow DUP Spokesperson (Human Rights), Shadow DUP Spokesperson (Health)

To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what plans her Department has to ensure a high standard of primary religious education training in (a) Initial Teacher Training and (b) early career teacher induction.

Photo of Damian Hinds Damian Hinds Minister of State (Education)

Religious education (RE) is an essential part of a school’s curriculum and remains a compulsory subject in all state funded schools, including academies, to all pupils up to the age of 18. RE develops an individual’s knowledge and understanding of the religions and beliefs which form part of contemporary society, as well as serving to inform their own values and behaviour.

The department is offering a £10,000 bursary for RE trainee teachers starting Initial Teacher Training courses in the 2024/25 academic year. The department has published this information on the ‘Get Into Teaching’ website and will be marketing the offer to prospective teachers through other channels.

The mandatory Initial Teacher Training (ITT) Core Content Framework (CCF) sets out a core minimum entitlement for all trainees of what should be covered during their teacher training. While all ITT courses must encompass the CCF in full, it remains for accredited ITT providers to design their full course curricula in a way that is appropriate to the needs of trainees and for the subject, phase, and age range that the trainees will be teaching, which for some ITT courses, would include religious education training.

To be awarded Qualified Teacher Status, trainee teachers must demonstrate that they satisfy all of the Teaching Standards at the appropriate level, including Part Two of the standards, which requires all teachers to demonstrate consistently high standards of personal and professional behaviour.

The department has publicly committed to reviewing the ITT CCF and Early Career Framework (ECF) alongside each other. Building on lessons learned from the first few years of CCF implementation and ECF delivery, the department plans to revise the CCF and ECF into a more closely combined framework, or set of frameworks, which cover the first three years or more at the start of a teacher’s career articulating what trainee and new teachers need to know and need to know how to do.

This underpins a joined-up sequence of training and development over at least the first three years of new teachers’ careers to support them at the start of their new career. The department aims to ensure that what new teachers learn across these early years of their career delivers continuous, coherent and complementary learning for all trainees and new teachers, and provides the confidence and skills for a lifelong career in teaching.

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