reThinkRE | good quality RE for every young person in every school
Update – Summer 2016
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Youth Debate

Wednesday 13th July was a busy day at the Houses of Parliament.  As well as a change of Prime Minister, we had some real fresh thinking in the form of the inaugural Youth Debate on RE, hosted by Mary Glindon MP, with special guest comedian Sara Pascoe.

The debate brought together around 70 school students from across the country to examine the question: ‘Is RE important in schools today?’ in front of an audience of politicians and other influencers, including the then Secretary of State for Education, Nicky Morgan MP. 

Exam results

The number of students taking A level RS this year rose more than any other arts, humanity, or social science subject. Meanwhile RS GCSE full course entries reached their highest number since 2002. However, as a result in declines in short course entries, 100,000 fewer students studied RS this year compared to 2010. More

Commission on RE

A new Commission on Religious Education has been established to review the legal, education, and policy frameworks for the subject.  The review will be a wide-ranging, inclusive and evidence-based process designed to inform policy makers. The ultimate aim will be to improve the quality and rigour of religious education and its capacity to prepare pupils for life in modern Britain. More

RE teacher trainee applications soar

The second year of the Beyond the Ordinary campaign to attract trainee secondary RE teachers has delivered a surge in applications from potential candidates.

The 2015 recruitment cycle ended with RE teacher trainee application numbers outperforming all other PGCE subjects generally, and other humanities subjects in particular.  This year’s new approach, which has focused on maintaining the legacy of the first year’s efforts - harnessing social media and making direct communication with students - is delivering even more impressive results. 

According to the most recent University and College Admissions Service (UCAS) statistics for July, secondary RE teacher applications in England and Wales are up by over 20% year-on-year – with two months still to go! 

As a point of reference, over the same period, all secondary specialist PGCE applications in England and Wales are in line with 2015 figures, up just 1.6%, while all teaching applications overall are down 4%.

The Beyond the Ordinary campaign started in March last year, highlighting the stimulating and rewarding nature of RE teaching, as well as the return of tax-free bursaries to cover training costs.  The campaign has included a promotional video, direct mail campaigns, social media promotions and media partnerships, including online activity in partnership with The Guardian newspaper which started in early June.

The campaign came about as a result of concerns in recent years over the drop in numbers training as specialist RE teachers.  It had an almost instant impact, and the application numbers show how successful the campaign - funded by the Culham St Gabriel’s Trust, Exeter St Luke’s, the Jerusalem Trust and the St Christopher’s Trust – continues to be.

Deborah Weston OBE, NATRE Research Officer and Chair of the RE Public Relations Group, said, “These latest figures are incredibly encouraging, and clear evidence that when we tell the story of how exciting, dynamic and interesting RE teaching can be, people are attracted to the profession. 

"Great RE teachers help our young people make sense of their world by encouraging them to critically assess the issues that lead the headlines every day, making it as exciting to teach as it is to study. 

"It takes teachers and students beyond the ordinary together and debates often go on among the students well beyond the timetabled lesson, into the school corridors and playground.”

For more information about training to be a RE teacher visit

The ReThinkRE campaign team

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