The Religious Education Council of England and Wales (REC) has launched a campaign to encourage graduates and career changers to train as RE teachers.
Called Beyond the ordinary, the campaign will highlight the benefits of a career in RE teaching and raise awareness of the re-introduction of bursaries that will be made available to cover training costs.
According to Rudolf Eliott Lockhart, chief executive of the REC, the campaign is the first to specifically target trainee RE teachers and is being funded by donations from charitable trusts.
To help boost the campaign, REC has created a three-minute video documenting the experiences of RE teacher Lynsey Wilkinson and her students from Redhill Academy, near Nottingham.
It presents RE teaching as a career that is far from ordinary, and communicates the breadth and diversity of RE in schools today.
Some 817 initial teacher training places are available for RE from September 2015. Successful candidates will now be eligible to receive training bursaries of £9,000 a year (for those with a 1st class degree or PhD) or £4,000 per year (for a 2:1).
Mr Lockhart added: ‘There is a growing need for qualified specialist RE teachers in our schools, so now is great time to enter the profession. Increasing religious literacy is extremely important in today’s society. Issues of religion and belief frequently top the news agenda and helping students make sense of them is immensely rewarding and intellectually stimulating’.