RE Today Services news RE Today Services works nationally and internationally to support Religious Education in schools. RE Today is wholly owned by the charity Christian Education, and is committed to the teaching of the major world faiths. Fri, 16 Feb 2018 10:12:00 +0000 Chronic shortage of RE teachers in schools Fri, 16 Feb 2018 10:12:00 +0000 Pupils will fail to filter out the stereotypes that contribute to religious discrimination while a shortage of RE teachers remains, says the Religious Education Council of England and Wales (REC). The charity, which believes that high quality specialist teaching about all faiths, beliefs and worldviews is essential for all school children, is leading a consortium to re-launch the Beyond the Ordinary campaign, designed to attract career changers and graduates to train as RE teachers.

The REC is responding to a shortage of qualified RE teachers in schools and a need for greater incentives to attract new recruits:
• For entry into initial teacher training in 2017, 405 places were filled[1], falling well below the Government target of 643. To reach that figure requires 1 in 20 graduates with a relevant degree to elect to train as a RE teacher.

• According to the Government’s 2016 School Workforce Survey around half (55%) of staff teaching RE in schools have no post-A level qualification in the subject.

• The REC is pressing the Department for Education for higher bursaries for RE teachers. Currently a first-class degree holder will receive £9,000 and an upper second-class degree holder will receive just £4,000 towards their training costs. By contrast training for similar specialist subjects such as Geography and Classics offers a grant of £26,000.

• The charity is also calling for funding for Subject Knowledge Enhancement courses, which enable graduates with a wide variety of degrees to apply for RE teacher training. School statistics show a generation keen to learn about the differences between faiths, beliefs and cultures in society. Over 60% of all 16-year olds take RE at GCSE and A level entries have more than doubled in the last 15 years. “This year we hope our campaign will capture the interest and imagination of those who may have considered teaching but may not have thought of RE. We have proved that showcasing the intellectual challenge of the subject and highlighting the rewards for teachers who have the opportunity to tackle complex and sensitive issues with teenagers, really resonates. We’re hoping to interest more would-be RE teachers who have a rich understanding of - and interest in - the subject, as well as real-life experiences to navigate this fascinating, highly-relevant subject.” RE specialists come from a variety of backgrounds. The PGCE course is open to graduates from a variety of academic disciplines and from all sorts of diverse backgrounds. A lack of subject expertise in schools – according to OFSTED around half (46%) of specialist RE teachers have no post-A Level qualification in the subject – shows that there are opportunities for fast career progression.


Media coverage received

Media enquiries (including campaign images and video):
Tel: 0207 736 1888
Colin Hallmark / Harriet Johnson, 3:nine Communications

Notes to editors:
•Anyone looking for more information about training to be a RE teacher should visit

•Previous Beyond the Ordinary campaign waves have seen an almost immediate surge in PGCE applications to train to become a secondary school RE teacher. The campaign was the first of its kind to draw attention to the stimulating nature of RE teaching. Fronted by RE teacher Lynsey Wilkinson, it uses media partnerships, social media and direct-mail campaigns to drive awareness and point prospective candidates to a promotional film which tells the story of Lynsey’s experience.

•Campaign lead, Kathryn Wright, director of the Teach RE course at Culham St Gabriel’s, believes that good RE teachers can come from all walks of life as they develop their students’ critical thinking skills and contribute significant benefits to society as a whole.

About the Beyond the Ordinary campaign

Beyond the Ordinary is an initiative to encourage more people to train as specialist RE teachers. It is being led by the Religious Education Council of England and Wales (REC), with support from the National Association of Teachers of RE (NATRE) and the Association of University Lecturers in Religion and Education (AULRE).

The campaign has received funding from the Culham St Gabriel’s Trust, the Sarum St Michael Educational Charity, the Jerusalem Trust, the St Christopher’s Trust, the St Luke’s College Foundation, and the All Saints Educational Trust.

Successful candidates will be eligible to receive training bursaries of £9,000 per year (for a 1st class degree or PhD) or £4,000 per year (for a 2:1) from the Department for Education.


Campaign assets for media use include photography and the short film featuring Lynsey Wilkinson and the students from the Redhill Academy in Arnold, Nottinghamshire:


Strictly RE is growing! Fri, 16 Feb 2018 09:55:00 +0000 Over 270 teachers and professionals of Religious Education (RE) from across UK attended Strictly RE, The National Association of Teachers of RE’s (NATRE) national conference, on the 27 January 2018 at the etc. venues in London.

Strictly RE has become a key date in the diary for most RE professionals with the number of attendees growing year on year. The conference is designed to inspire and equip teachers and professionals of RE with knowledge, techniques and 27 interactive and thought provoking seminars, as well as opportunities to collaborate and share best practices with peers.

Key-notes on the day were delivered by Mary Myatt who gave a truly inspirational talk on ‘Leadership in RE’ and Mark Evans, HMI speaking about ‘Life in modern Britain, SMSC and RE: only connect’.

The seminars explored an array of primary and secondary topics ranging from subject knowledge, practical teaching and learning ideas and current changes in the RE world.

Comments from delegates:

97% have rated the conference very good to excellent.

‘Good speakers encouraging positive attitude for the subject. Well organised event with excellent choice of seminar choices and discussions; good resources and networking opportunities with professional.’

‘Speakers were excellent. Seminars were excellent. Venue is very easy and pleasant. Lots and lots of really practical suggestions and ideas. Great staff bonding. Lovely general atmosphere. Re-energising. Affirming’

‘Coming to this conference keeps me fresh - as I’m mostly on the giving end of training, it’s great to have input from some experts. I really enjoyed Mary’s keynote, and thought how professionally she handled the tech issues - and having two sessions with Lat was much food for thought, as always.’

Daniel Hugill,  NATRE Chair, has commented:

‘Strictly RE 2018 was a wonderful day. The dedication and passion of teachers of RE was on display throughout the day. The keynotes speaker and seminar leaders provided delegates with much practical inspiration and affirmation. The delegates left equipped, supported, and encouraged. I am already looking forward to 2019!’

To top it all off, the event was trending on Twitter on the day!
To see what people said click here for the archived tweets #StrictlyRE.

Keep an eye out on Facebook NATREupdate for photos from the event.

REtoday magazine spring 2018! Thu, 11 Jan 2018 14:18:00 +0000 Are you looking for inspirational lesson ideas, or interested in keeping up-to-date with the latest developments in RE? REtoday magazine could be just the thing for you!


This term’s edition has opinion pieces from Brian Cox on truth and Alvin Plantinga on religion in philosophy, over 30 RE classroom ideas for your pupils such as ‘14 key moments in Jesus’ last hours’, five perspectives on science and faith from different religions and beliefs, creation stories, reactions to the Commission on RE Report and much more…

Get a copy of this full-colour magazine every term, providing you with all the latest RE news, developments and reviews along with practical classroom ideas and activities and informed comment on the theory and practice of RE.

View our contents page – REtoday_V35_No2_contents.pdf

Sample articles

How do you get REtoday magazine delivered to you every term?

REtoday is published three times a year in September, January and April by RE Today Services, and is edited by Lat Blaylock.

It is available as part of a NATRE membership which includes curriculum books, as well as many new benefits, such as discounts on courses, online seminars, FREE downloadable resources, access to RE Advisers and much more.

For more information and to join, see the Membership section of the NATRE website.

Check out our brand new secondary resource! Tue, 21 Nov 2017 13:49:00 +0000 Exploring essential concepts: a poster pack for RE


We have a brand new resource for all of you secondary teachers of RE, Exploring essential concepts: a poster pack for RE is a collection of 12 artworks which were created by Si Smith for one of our popular series of curriculum resource books, Essential RE. The series was written to provide ideas and classroom resources centred around 12 essential concepts that are both at the heart of religious and non-religious worldviews, and also of central value for getting pupils to think about their own understanding of themselves and the world around them.

We have gained permission off the artist to pull these together into a poster pack for you which displays the 12 Essential RE covers onto hard-backed posters that you can use in your RE lessons along with the teacher guide book on how to use these best. On top of all of this you also get access to 190 downloadable images of the various images used within the covers.

Find out more here

25 primary schools put the Archbishop’s under the spotlight in a live online Q&A session Thu, 16 Nov 2017 10:32:00 +0000  Archbishop-Justin-and-Fiona-Moss-edited.jpg

We are delighted to have been asked by the Diocese of Leicester to host a live webinar with the Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby during his three-day visit to the city.

In an amongst his busy schedule he agreed to join us at Billesdon Church of England Primary School in Leicestershire, where RE Today Adviser Fiona Moss and team hosted a live webinar to 25 schools and 100 pupils across the city.

Through the beauty of technology the Archbishop, Bishop of Leicester Bishop Martyn and Director of Education Carolyn Lewis interacted with 100 pupils through a Q and A session around prayer. Ahead of the webinar pupils were asked to submit pre-prepared questions, these were then passed back out to the schools to vote through an interactive poll on the day to decide which questions they most wanted the Archbishop to answer. He was asked many thought-provoking questions by the pupils about prayer and worship such as;

‘Sometimes our prayers are answered, sometimes not. What should we do about this?’

‘As well as praying, is there another way to communicate with God?’

‘Why did you dedicate your life to God, and did prayer help with this decision?’

And many more…

Overall it was a fabulous day enjoyed by all, including the Archbishop who was extremely impressed with the RE Today’s professionalism, webinar software, presentation and coordination of the day.

Here are what some of the children had to say:

‘It caused the children to think really deeply about the big questions in life!’
Joy Hardy, Head teacher, Queniborough CE Primary School

‘The children really enjoyed being part of something special. They were interested in questions from other schools and these triggered more questions form them. They enjoyed hearing the answers form the panel.’
Louisa Sylvester, Teacher, Market Harborough C of E Academy

‘The discussion they had around the questions during the event really impressed me. It was lovely to sit behind them and allow them that time to discuss their thoughts in such a special way.’
Debbie Yeomans, SHLTA, St Margarets Primary School

Pictured above L to R: Archbishop Justin Welby and RE Today Adviser Fiona Moss.

‘Chatting to the RE commissioners: your chance to tell them about RE in your school’ Wed, 08 Nov 2017 09:09:00 +0000 #REchatUK took place on Monday 06 November at 8pm-9pm
If you missed it and want to catch up on the discussion you can see it here:

‘Chatting to the RE commissioners: your chance to tell them about RE in your school’
If you have any suggestions for a great topic be please send a tweet to @NATREupdate.
Keep an eye out on our #REchatUK timetable to see when the next #REchatUK will be.

For regular updates follow us on @NATREupdate.

#REchatUK Poster - for your staffroom to help get others involved in RE.

Dispelling some myths about SACRE funding Thu, 26 Oct 2017 11:51:00 +0000 NATRE members who serve on SACREs often contact NATRE about problems with funding. There seems to be a certain amount of misinformation being shared suggesting that Local Authorities no longer receive funding for SACREs and Agreed Syllabus Conferences. This is simply not true. The document below from NATRE sets out the facts about funding and includes references to statutory documents. We hope it helps you to ensure that SACRE receives the funding that National Government intends you to receive to carry out your duties.

As SACRE funding is provided as part of a grant that covers a number of duties that Local Authorities must provide, NATRE would be keen to hear from individuals about the amount of funding that is being provided as a percentage of the overall grant. We will work with NASACRE (The National Association of SACREs) to collate this information and take steps help to encourage reasonable decisions about the funding of SACREs and Agreed Syllabus Conferences.

Funding for SACREs 2017

Spirited Arts 2017 gallery is now live! Thu, 26 Oct 2017 11:24:00 +0000 NATRE would like to thank all of the schools, teachers and pupils for taking the time to enter the 2017 Art in Heaven competition. Congratulations to all the winners!

(Photo by: Abigail McKnight 14 - ‘Does science leave no room for religion’)

There were five categories in the Art in Heaven competition this year, all attracting very large numbers of entries.  NATRE estimate that over 20 000 children and young people took part in the competition, and they would like thank them all, and their teachers for the insight, hard work and spiritual thinking that went on. Winning one of the 40 prizes is a great achievement!

Many teachers wrote to share experiences of the competition: ‘it has an impact on standards, depth, creativity and enjoyment in RE for pupils aged 5-18’. Judging, as always, was a tremendous challenge. The winners all receive a shopping voucher, and winning schools are also rewarded with a voucher worth £35 to spend on NATRE / RE Today resources, membership or CPD of their choice. All entrants sent to NATRE receive certificates of achievement.

The web gallery gets hundreds of thousands of hits: do use it with your pupils as preparation for the next competition and as good RE. The winners and the full range of commended entries are now available to view on our website. Next year’s competition details are available online, and the fresh themes for 2018 are enclosed with this mailing. We look forward to seeing your pupils work next year! Many schools have built the competition into their schemes of RE work, and we encourage this!

NATRE’s Spirited Arts competition benefit from the generous support of the All Saints Educational Trust and the Westhill Trust, so we run the competition on a free to enter basis! Thanks to them for their invaluable support.

Check out the Spirited Arts 2017 gallery here.

Fancy taking part next year? Spirited Arts 2018 themes are available here.

Interim report from the Commission on RE (CORE) Thu, 21 Sep 2017 13:15:00 +0000 NATRE are pleased to note that CORE has produced a substantial Interim Report of their work. This uses much evidence from the State of the Nation report, published by the National Association of Teachers of RE (NATRE), the Religious Education Council and RE Today on 18 September. The report shows that the commission share NATRE’s concern over the number of state secondary schools struggling to meet their legal requirement to deliver RE.  NATRE and the REC are calling for the Government to make a clear public statement that it is not acceptable for a school to provide no RE and to review how provision is benchmarked.

We are pleased that the commission has called for more evidence and comment as a result of this report. We would like to encourage all our members to send comments and further evidence to CORE. The report notes that the commission need more evidence on RE in primary schools and we hope that our members will be able to engage with the commission on this. One of the commissioners will be taking part in our #REchatUK on Monday 6 November 8-9pm.

Daniel Hugill, Chair, NATRE comments:

‘NATRE welcome the publication of the Interim Report ‘Religious Education for All’ from the Commission on Religious Education. We are pleased that the Commission has made clear recommendations and that further consultation will follow. We would encourage all teachers of RE to engage with the report and respond to the consultation. NATRE will be working hard to assist NATRE affiliated local groups to discuss and respond to the Interim Report.

We are especially pleased to see the Interim Report reflecting NATRE’s own concerns over training, provision, and the effects of school accountability measures. These are all areas where NATRE have long campaigned and were reflected in the joint NATRE and RE Council report ‘State of the Nation’ published just last week.’

800,000 secondary pupils lose out on religious literacy Thu, 21 Sep 2017 13:09:00 +0000 New analysis of the Government’s School Workforce Census reveals that more than one in four (28%)[1] state secondary schools are struggling to meet their legal obligation to teach pupils about major religions and systems of belief, depriving teenagers of vital knowledge about different faiths and beliefs in community, public and world affairs.

All state-funded schools, including academies and free schools, are legally required by the 1998 School Standards and Framework Act to provide Religious Education as part of a balanced curriculum.

The analysis of Government figures prompted the Religious Education Council and the National Association of Teachers of RE (NATRE) to create a new State of the Nation report. The report includes data from the School Workforce Census and GCSE figures, as well as survey responses from 790 secondary schools. The research found that:

  • 25% of all schools surveyed said a weekly RE lesson to ensure pupils understand different religions and beliefs is not available. In academies and free schools, where RE is determined as part of the funding agreement, this figure rose to 34% for 11 to 13 year olds, and 44% for 14 to 16 year olds. Four per cent of schools with a religious character do not offer a weekly lesson.
  • RE also receives the lowest level of teaching time in academies and free schools. A majority (56%) dedicate less than 3% of their timetables (around 40 minutes) to RE; this low level of RE is only found in a third of schools where a locally agreed syllabus applies and 10% of schools with a religious character.
  • Despite Religious Studies GCSE remaining a popular choice among students, it is still allocated less than the recommended level of teaching time of two hours per week in many schools; 43% of pupils are taught their GCSE full course in under one hour a week, nearly half (48%) receive one hour and a half or less of teaching.
  • Students are more likely to have a teacher trained with the appropriate level of subject knowledge and expertise who can create a space to discuss faiths and beliefs in a school with a religious character (90%) than in schools where RE is determined with the locally agreed syllabus (73%), or academies and free schools where RE is determined as part of their funding agreement (66%).

NATRE’s Research Officer, Deborah Weston, said: “Whilst many schools, including academies and free schools, are continuing to deliver good RE, these statistics highlight serious problems that have implications for cohesion and inclusivity in our society, as well as presenting questions around the role of specialist RE teachers in schools. By developing knowledge and understanding about different religions and worldviews in the security of a classroom, young people have the opportunity to engage with complex, diverse and constantly evolving subject matter.

“Today, it is important to be religiously literate and to understand and question the accuracy of claims about different religions. RE provides for critical exploration of individual beliefs and values, whilst opening up the discussion about religion and belief in the communities we live in. These figures are alarming as they provide statistical evidence of a trend we have been hearing about from RE teachers, and come at a time where respect and tolerance for others’ beliefs is essential.”

Chief Executive of the Religious Education Council of England and Wales (REC) Rudolf Eliott Lockhart, added:

“More than ever, as our society becomes multicultural and religious extremism dominates the news agenda, we need young people to be religiously literate. We have been encouraged by an improved profile and better understanding for RE in schools from policy makers at both Ofsted and the Department for Education. They have committed to paying closer attention to RE, which makes these new statistics about schools’ struggling to provide required levels of RE all the more alarming.

“RE knowledge is vital in ensuring all school leavers go into the world of work and beyond, understanding the differences, identifying distortions and being part of the broader change needed to ensure communities are cohesive and well-integrated for future generations.”

In light of these findings, both the REC and NATRE remain committed to ensuring all pupils in all schools receive fair access to Religious Education. They are calling for the Government to make a clear public statement that it is not acceptable for a school to provide no RE as well as to review how provision is benchmarked.

Access the full reports here:

State of the Nation report

GCSE Religious Studies 2014-2016 report

NATRE report on the provision for RE


For media enquiries please contact:

Colin Hallmark or Harriet Johnson, 3:nine Communications:

Tel: 0207 736 1888; 07745 914170;


Notes to editors - State of the Nation report methodology

The School Workforce Census analysis was undertaken following a Freedom of Information (FOI) request on 4th February 2017 by the National Association of Teachers of RE. The FOI request gained data for each school that admits secondary aged pupils in England, for each of the five years 2010-2015 and for each year group: the number of hours of RE taught (including those where the information provided would be ‘no response’ or the response is zero); the number of hours taught to the year group; and the percentage of the RE hours taught. We found that 787 schools (28%) of all the 2,793 Census schools said they gave no time to RE in Year 11. We then multiplied that figure by the average state secondary school size (1,000) to reach a figure of 800,000 pupils.

State of the Nation polling was carried out through an online survey sent to all secondary schools in England. A total of 790 responses were recorded, and from these we can ascertain that 318 were from schools where a locally agreed syllabus applies, 93 were from schools with religious character (including academies where a Diocesan of ‘faith-based’ syllabus applies), and 139 were from academies without a religious character (but where the funding agreement states the requirement for RE provision). The remaining 240 schools could not be identified, but their input has remained part of the valid data set.

As such, we found that schools with a locally agreed syllabus were over-represented (from 25.6% nationally to 40% within this data set), schools with religious character were underrepresented (from 39.7% nationally to 11.7% within this data set), but academies without a religious character were very proportionally represented (17.5% nationally and 17.7% within this data set). However, if it were possible to identify the remaining 240 schools within the data set, it is possible that the representation of different types of schools would level out.

National Association of Teachers of RE

NATRE is the subject teacher association for RE professionals in primary and secondary schools and higher education, providing a representative voice at national level and publications and courses to promote professional development. NATRE’s Executive consists of a majority of serving teachers from primary and secondary schools who are elected for a three-year term of service.

Religious Education Council of England and Wales

Established in 1973, the Religious Education Council of England and Wales (REC) brings together over 60 national organisations. These comprise academic and professional associations specialising in religions and religious education, as well as individual religions and belief organisations inclusive of the range of faith communities found nationally, including Humanists UK.

[1] Analysis of the Government’s School Workforce Census focused on the number of hours of RE taught; the number of hours taught to the year group; and the percentage of RE hours taught. We found that 787 schools (28%) of all the 2,793 Census schools said they gave no time to RE in Year 11.