Religion: Education

Department for Education written question – answered am ar 9 Chwefror 2024.

Danfonwch hysbysiad imi am ddadleuon fel hyn

Photo of Baroness Sherlock Baroness Sherlock Shadow Spokesperson (Work and Pensions)

To ask His Majesty's Government, further to the Ofsted Annual Report 2022/23: education, children’s services and skills, published on 23 November 2023, what plans they have to implement the recommendation contained in that report to improve the provision of high-quality professional development for teachers of religious education.

Photo of Baroness Barran Baroness Barran The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Education, Lords Spokesperson (Equalities)

Religious Education (RE) is an important part of a school’s curriculum and can contribute to a young person’s personal, social, and academic development. When taught well, the subject develops children’s knowledge of British values and traditions, helps them to better understand those of other countries, and refines pupils’ ability to construct well-informed, balanced and structured arguments. This is why is it remains a compulsory subject in all state-funded schools in England for each pupil up to the age of 18.

Department officials read Ofsted’s 2023 report with interest. The department is already providing support for RE teaching in a number of ways. The department is offering a £10,000 bursary for RE trainee teachers starting Initial Teacher Training courses in the 2024/25 academic year. It has published this information on the ‘Get Into Teaching’ website and will be marketing the offer to prospective teachers through other channels.

To support teachers when they are in post, and to ensure high standards and consistency of teaching, RE resources will be procured by Oak National Academy during the second tranche of its work. Oak will work closely with the sector and utilise sector experience when producing new materials for RE. This will ensure that high-quality lessons are available nationwide, benefitting both teachers and pupils, should schools opt to use them. Oak RE resources will be available for teaching from autumn 2024, with full packages expected to be available by autumn 2025.

The department also continues to offer eight week subject knowledge enhancement (SKE) courses in the 2022/23 academic year for candidates who have the potential to become outstanding teachers but need to increase their subject knowledge. The eight week SKE course, available in religious education, can be undertaken on a full time or part time basis, but must be completed before qualified teacher status can be recommended and awarded. Eligible candidates could be entitled to a SKE bursary of £175 per week to support them financially whilst completing their SKE course.

More information on these courses is available here: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/subject-knowledge-enhancement-an-introduction.

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