NATRE calls for funded subject knowledge enhancement courses to be retained after April 2024

Discover insights into upcoming funding cuts for teacher training, focusing on Religious Education (RE), and their impact on recruitment and retention

In September last year, Deborah Weston, on behalf of NATRE, had the privilege of giving oral evidence to the Education Select Committee in the Palace of Westminster. The occasion was part of an inquiry by the committee into teacher recruitment, retention and training. The committee seemed well informed about the teaching profession's crisis, and members asked searching questions about the specific issues in particular subjects. At the time, RE had no bursary, and the irony was not lost on NATRE; of the five subjects represented, RE was the only subject in that position.

Given the well-documented crisis in teacher recruitment, causing serious issues for schools in delivering a broad and balanced curriculum, when cutting DfE spending, you’d be forgiven for expecting that funding designed to maximise the opportunities to recruit trainee teachers would be protected. However, this week, it was announced that funding would be withdrawn on April 10th for five subjects but retained for another 5. The chart below shows the choices the DfE have made. A government spokesperson said, “We are continuing to offer Subject Knowledge Enhancement funding in subjects with the biggest sufficiency challenges …”

However, this is not true, as the chart below shows. Some subjects recruiting at the lowest levels against their DfE target have lost their funded SKEs, harming recruitment.

Secondary Subject Target recruitment for 24/25 With offers this cycle % of target Accepted this cycle % of target
Business Studies 1200 7% 6%
Others 2155 10% 8%
Computing 1330 13% 12%
Design & Technology 1565 13% 12%
Music 820 16% 13%
Chemistry 1220 22% 18%
Physics 2250 21% 19%
Modern Foreign Languages 2540 22% 20%
Art & Design 1095 24% 23%
Mathematics 3065 28% 25%
Religious Education 580 30% 26%
Drama 450 30% 27%
Geography 945 36% 31%
Biology 1120 40% 35%
English 2290 42% 39%
History 725 62% 55%
Classics 20 170% 145%
Physical Education 625 163% 147%


Subjects with SKE funding withdrawn from April 10th
Subjects with SKE funding maintained

Why Religious Studies needs funded SKE courses to support teacher recruitment and retention.

  • Typically, less than 30% of those training to be teachers of RE have a degree in Theology or Religious Studies. This means we need graduates in other subjects to meet our targets.
  • Subject knowledge enhancement courses give the trainee and the trainer confidence that the applicant can access the course.
  • Even though the DfE recruited less than half of its target for recruitment for the current training year, it has cut that target from 655 to 580 for courses beginning in the autumn of 2024.
  • As of March this year, accepted offers for secondary teacher training constituted 27% of that target, and those holding offers 30%.


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