RE - the truth unmasked!

Posted by: Rosemary, 18 March 2013

NATRE, the subject teacher association for Religious Education (RE), welcomes the report RE: the truth unmasked, published today by the All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on RE, which highlights the lack of support for, and provision of, qualified RE teachers.

There is no more important resource required to achieve this end than the supply of well- qualified good teachers. This insightful and detailed report from the APPG on RE sends a wake-up call to the DfE and all schools about worrying deficiencies in the supply, training and support for RE teachers in primary and secondary schools.

Parents will be shocked to learn that over 50% of those teaching RE in secondary schools did not train to teach the subject and have no post-A level qualification in RE.  NATRE believes that secondary RE should be taught by specialists in the subject, not by teachers with other specialisms who have a few spare lessons on their timetables. Furthermore, in a quarter of primary schools responding to the survey, RE is taught by teaching assistants who are not qualified teachers. Many teaching assistants provide a valuable service in our schools, but NATRE believes teaching should be led by teachers.

Our children deserve a better service than the one described by this report and NATRE calls on the government to respond urgently to address this appalling situation. The coalition government claims to stand for rigour in education and yet this report shows that even the formal requirement that teachers have a ‘secure knowledge’ and ‘a critical understanding of developments’ in their subject are being flouted in respect of Religious Education.

Mr Gove is on record as saying that politicians shouldn’t talk about religion, but we do not need him necessarily to talk about religion. As Secretary of State for Education, it is his responsibility to talk and, more importantly, to act in support of Religious EDUCATION!

NATRE calls on Mr Gove and his department to work with the RE subject community, including representatives of teachers, to agree a series of practical measures to ensure that the right people are teaching RE to our children and are then appropriately supported as specialists throughout their careers. Only then will the invaluable learning experience that RE brings to many children in this country become a reality for all.


For further media information:
Ed Pawson
Tel: 01404 812 982; Email:

Deborah Weston
NATRE Executive

Rosemary Rivett
NATRE Executive Officer
Tel: 0121 430 2959 Email:

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