asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science what is his estimate of the present shortage of teachers of religious studies in secondary schools; and what steps he is taking to alleviate the shortage of teachers of religious studies and to improve the teaching of religious studies in all schools, including primary schools.
The latest available estimates of teacher vacancies in January 1980 indicate that there were about 100 vacancies for full-time teachers of religious education as main teaching subject in maintained secondary schools in England and Wales. Teacher training institutions have been asked, in their planning for the 1980s, to maintain and if possible increase, the proportion of their places devoted to the training of specialist teachers of religious education. My Department's advice to the institutions has also emphasised the importance of giving adequate coverage to the subject in the professional preparation of primary school teachers. The teaching of religious education is one of the matters to which attention has been drawn in my Department's consultative paper "A Framework for the School Curriculum"