Good news for Religious Education bursaries!

Good news for Religious Education bursaries, but challenges remain in the recruitment of secondary RE specialists.

Regular readers will know that NATRE, in partnership with others including Culham St Gabriel’s Trust (CSTG) and the Religious Education Council (REC), have been engaged in a four-year campaign to restore the bursary for trainee secondary teachers of Religious education in England.

These activities have included:

  • Lobbying of MPs and Lords across the political spectrum with one-to-one meetings virtually and in person.
  • Publicising an Open Letter brokered by CSTG sent to the Secretary of State for Education and signed by 30 parliamentarians, faith and belief leaders, grant-making trusts, and associations linked to RE
  • Presenting evidence both in writing and orally to an inquiry by the Education Select Committee inquiry into Recruitment, Retention, and Training
  • Encouraging NATRE members and REC member organisations to write to their MP to support the campaign
  • The commissioning of a range of news and magazine articles presenting the case for bursaries to a wide range of stakeholders

This morning, Tuesday, 10 October, the Department for Education in England published its plans for bursaries for trainees in the 2024-25 recruitment cycle as follows:

20244 teaching bursaries
Funding: initial teacher training (ITT), academic year 2024 to 2025 - GOV.UK (

Whilst this is good news, we must not be under any illusion about the extent to which these bursaries will improve the impact of the recruitment crisis facing the profession. The big issues such as workload, the cost of living, and pay, have not gone away. Furthermore, given that RE recruitment for 2023-24 is likely to fall short by around 60% of the target and this has placed many University and School led courses to become unviable, we face challenges in the year ahead.

We already have the situation where 51% of teachers who teach RE, spend most of their time teaching another subject and this raises serious questions about how we ensure all children receive the quality of RE to which they are entitled. Senior leaders are already telling the government that they cannot deliver the sort of rigorous RE programme when they cannot recruit teachers with the appropriate expertise.

Nonetheless, we must celebrate this announcement, it is a step in the right direction, and you can be assured that NATRE will continue to work alongside its partners to push for a better settlement for all teachers of RE.

This website uses cookies, if you'd like to know more about these cookies here's our cookie policy.Accept