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Extra cash call for recruitment

PUBLISHED: 11:14 11 February 2002 | UPDATED: 11:19 03 March 2010

IN light of a new report of a serious shortage of religious education teachers a senior specialist is calling for £10,000 in extra cash payments as a recruitment enticement.

IN light of a new report of a serious shortage of religious education teachers a senior specialist is calling for £10,000 in extra cash payments as a recruitment enticement.

The shortage of RE staff is a serious problem for many secondary schools claimed the report of Chief Inspector of Schools, Mike Tomlinson.

Only just over half of those teaching RE in secondary schools are qualified in the subject, a situation that is worse than in any other subject.

Geoff Hundleby, Suffolk County Council RE advisor, said he wants to see teachers in the subject given cash inducements.

Currently those in certain subjects seen as a high priority, like modern languages, receive £6,000 while training and a £4,000 golden handshake at the end of their first year. RE specialists do not.

Mr Hundleby said: "There is a shortage of RE specialists, nationally it is very critical for well qualified teachers in this field.

"Every local education authority, Suffolk included, has been affected by this cold wind, although we have weathered the situation better than some.''

The report, published within the last few days, found that: "Where a subject is taught by a high proportion of teachers with limited qualifications in the subject, the lack of subject knowledge manifests itself in lower expectations, weaker teaching and less effective learning."

The Chief Inspector's report is based on data from school inspections carried out by OFSTED (Office for Standards in Education) during 2001. It shows that the match of teachers to subjects across the curriculum has deteriorated generally, and is now unsatisfactory or poor in one in five schools.

The situation is worst in RE though, where in only three out of ten schools was it regarded as good.

The Church of England's chief education officer, Canon John Hall, said the shortage showed the need for urgent action by the Teacher Training Agency (TTA), which should work closely with the church colleges to recruit many more RE specialists.

RE professionals have also urged the Department for Education and Skills to offer the same inducements to newly recruited RE teachers as it does to those of other shortage subjects, a step it has so far refused to take.

Dr John Gay, director of Culham College Institute, a centre for research and development in RE, is to meet TTA officials next week to seek funding for new recruitment initiatives.

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